Remembrance Remembered

WITH JUST OVER A MONTH TO GO BEFORE THE EVENT, the club was approached by the director of the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Colston Hall, Bristol to produce a video. Now anyone who has ever tried to record a small amateur dramatic production in a church hall will know that it is not an easy task. Just imagine then a show three and a half hours long, dozens of standard bearers, actors in dramatic tableaux, a singing group, a religious service and two military bands, all in front of an audience of two thousand people!

How did we tackle it and more to the point why did we tackle it? I think the answer is that some people love a challenge.

The British Legion wanted the video on sale as soon as possible after the Festival in order to raise funds for their Poppy Appeal, so a main consideration was the speedy editing of a multi camera set-up allowing time for the editor to eat and sleep, as well as edit. More of that later.

A week or so before the Festival, John Gorst made several visits to the Colston Hall to reccie camera positions, locate mains electric points and arrange a sound feed from the main mixing desk. The night before, the hardy volunteers from the club turned up to see what they had let themselves in for.
At midday on Saturday 6th November John, Dave Mitchell, Ron Elson, Tim Belsten and myself negotiated a security search to unload and set up a Volvo full of equipment whilst watching rehearsals progress in fits and starts. Nearly eleven hours later the same rather tired volunteers packed everything back into the Volvo and headed off, sleepy-eyed, into a damp Bristol night.

Enter a brave man. On the Sunday morning Dave Mitchell started to view and log all the footage taken by the six cameras that were used. But this was only the beginning. Using a Casablanca Solitaire machine equipped with a revolutionary new piece of software called 'QuadCam' he set about editing the mass of footage down to a watchable length. 'QuadCam' enabled the images from up to four cameras to be synchronised to let the operator produce a 'live' edit, cutting from camera to camera like a director in a television studio. How does it work? That’s another story.. CLICK HERE FOR THE TECHNICAL BIT.

After a mammoth effort from Dave, two weeks later an edited master tape running at just over ninety minutes was produced, professionally duped and VHS copies went on sale in early December to the delight of the Royal British Legion and the relief of Dave!

Many things were learnt and great satisfaction achieved by the five members who made it all possible and, after all, that’s what BFVS is all about, isn’t it?

Bob Bennett, March 2005.