Technical Supervisor, Mike, explains how he got to work at Buckingham Palace
“We get to work in different environments with so many different people. It really is a team effort”
Job Title: Senior Technical Supervisor
What area of Sky do you work in? Sky Production Services (Studios).
How did you get to where you are now? I studied Broadcast and Digital Technology at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. During my time in education I became very interested in the vision control side of studio productions. After Ravensbourne I continued to improve my skills with placements at The London Studios and Maidstone Studios. My first paid job in broadcasting was the lead in a small lighting and vision team for Quiz TV. After a year with Quiz TV I then became a freelance Technical Director working primarily for Sky Vegas and Eurosport. I have here for 10 years now and have enjoyed working with a range of video formats from SD to UHD.
Describe a typical day: It's hard to describe a typical day. One of the reasons I came here was for the variety in work. A typical week can involve a range of programmes and genres. One day you can be working on a red button / interactive programme, then a day or two later an entertainment programme like DC Fancast or Harry Hill’s Tea Time. It really does help having a range of different sport and entertainment programmes to work on.
The Technical Supervisor is one of the senior members of the production. They are responsible for leading the technical crew in providing the operation of our studios. They are also present to advise the client on technical matters and to be responsible for the technical quality of the output. A Technical Supervisor is the kind of halfway point between the production team and the support teams working close with both the client and engineering.
What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis: As mentioned before the Technical Supervisor can work across a number of areas from Interactive Applications to News Operations.
In my time here, the technology and methods used to produce content has changed a lot. I had the opportunity to work closely on our own produced 3D programing. With this I worked closely with technology companies, clients and our own crews. Highlights of this work was spending several days working at Buckingham Palace to co-technically manage the Queen’s Christmas Message. That then led to me technically managing the joint Sky UK, Germany and Italy 3D production of The Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.
The Technical Supervisor is usually one of the first members of the crew in. They start with setting up and configuring the Studio for the day’s programme and work with all disciplines to make sure the facility is ready. Once production are clear of the studio and gallery the Technical Supervisor shuts down and resets to a normal configuration.
What is the most enjoyable thing about your job? I know it’s a cliché, but I would say it’s the people. We get to work in so many different environments with different people and there really is a team effort.
What would be your advice to someone who'd want to do your job? As frustrating as it can get at times I wouldn't change the path I've taken or the industry. If I had the chance all over again, I would have done more maths as it's never been my strong point but really can be helpful. The shift hours are not always the most social but the sense of achievement at the end of a good show is second to none.
An Interesting fact no one else knows about you? I have been known at times to wear nail wraps on my fingers to stop me biting them.