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Chance to channel industry experts earns DMU students vital skills

Exciting media production days with industry experts have equipped students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with vital employability skills and experience needed for the workplace.

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Based on key television broadcasting elements, the second year Media Production students were recently tasked with creating a full eight to 10-minute original television programme to air ‘live’ at a specified time.

Students were given the brief on the day, but after the pre-production and planning stages, they drew on the expertise of three industry professionals, who have also worked with the likes of the BBC Training Academy.

The demanding brief called for three key segments, opening graphics, music, presenter elements and a pre-recorded video insert.

Dana Selassie, Lecturer in Television Production and Advanced Television Production, said: “We split students up into four groups over four weeks, so they could all fully benefit from working with our guest experts.

“The days simulated a real-life scenario as closely as possible and students had to create the magazine-style production from scratch.

“The experience was a real test of technical competency, effective communication, time management and creativity.”

Full responsibility for running the show was given to the students, but the experts were on hand to support them in a consulting capacity during the six-and-a-half hour challenge.

They also offered crucial feedback, as well as helpful suggestions and industry tips for future productions.

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Students from each group organised themselves in specific roles for the day such as Director, Vision Mixer, Auto Cue Operator, Lighting, Sound, Cameras, Floor Manager or Presenter.

Bethany Lockett, the 22-year student who directed one group, said: “Being thrown into a professional situation in the deep end was a really interesting personal challenge.

“Dealing with input from three different experts was a good lesson in multi-tasking and I feel like the day has prepared me for a real TV set. It has also been good practice for our final assessment of the year.”

Some students in smaller groups, like James Pell and David Hind, had the chance to try out a number of different roles on the day.

James said: “Each of the guest experts had a different specialism within the industry, so it was really good to get very specific and tailored advice.”

David Hind added: “It was a really exciting experience. Even though getting the brief on the day was daunting, we’re such a close group and we pulled together like a family.

“We respect each other’s strengths and use them to achieve success. We know how to have fun during stressful situations, but also when to be professional.”

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As a Presenter for her group, Celeste Jennings said: “Getting the brief on the day fostered a high level of professionalism on our part.

“Knowing these people are from the industry and getting the chance to impress them was important. In my role I really had the chance to the shine for the cameraman.

“We had a session with all three experts back in November to get to know them and what they would be bringing to the table. This made sure we could really maximise their expertise on the day.”

Helen Ackerley, Senior Lecturer in Digital Video and Television technology at DMU, said: “The Media Production Days allowed students to work alongside industry professionals in the Television Studio gaining further valuable experience and employability skills.

“The students, academics and professionals collaborated in producing high standard television programmes replicating a realistic situation. The experience was thoroughly enjoyed by all that was involved.”

Posted on Wednesday 9th March 2016

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