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Jon Kennard


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Jeremy Humphries: “We have a vast array of fantastic talent”


What does the future look like for employees of the TV and film industry? We caught up with Skills2Film's Jeremy Humphries to find out.


What are the main L&D challenges surrounding film and TV professionals at the moment?

I can speak from both sides of the camera on this – as a cameraman and also as a broadcast skills trainer. Undoubtedly the plethora of new equipment that we are bombarded with is the thing to keep across. And it is not for the faint-hearted - a combination of the industry aiming to be solid state in terms of image capture and at the same time a steady infiltration of new HD cameras means that those who have the budget have to be across what is the correct piece of kit, does it provide a comprehensive link into with what gear already exists within the company, will this new camera be obsolete in 6-12 months, what are the post production implications of last year shooting on tape, this year recording to card? And of course, how much does it all cost.

Are these unique problems to this industry or something that affects all types of business?

Undoubtedly all types of businesses face their development challenges. In the broadcast sector it is an era of change not seen since we moved from film to videotape in the late 80s. Nonetheless change is exciting and these new challenges are areas that once harnessed will bring a smooth and cohesive approach to the entire image capture and post production procedure – one that has been becoming more fragmented and confusing of late.
Fundamentally, the time is right for businesses to start using these pioneering changes to facilitate the use of broadcast skills within their own corporate entities.

What is your reaction to the coalition's pledge to provide tax breaks for the creative industries in this year's budget?

I was listening just yesterday to a producer on the radio saying how they felt when the incentive provided by tax breaks meant he could keep his feature film production in Britain. We know that we have a vast reservoir of fantastic talent behind the camera for which the shooting of productions in the UK can surely only be of benefit. On a more organic level and as a broadcast skills trainer I am aware of the volume of up and coming talent keen to get into the TV and feature film industry.
This coalition pledge has to be a two-pronged approach, the incentive is welcome of course, but we also need to make sure that we can produce a constant supply of technically trained and competent technicians to meet the demand.

How will the increasing number of freelancers change the training requirements of the industry?

The change will come in a more intrinsic demand from above – that is broadcast employers taking on staff that not just shoot or edit, BUT have the ability and training, to do both. This is key to the training requirements of the industry. A cohesive approach needs to be taken linking the various skills so that the training works in combination, which in turn gives freelancers more opportunities.
It should not be overlooked that training now is much more of a broad perspective approach. In other words, those we train do not see their skills in isolation, but in context of what effect it has on the next process in the system, and significantly often working in smaller and smaller teams, what effect it will have on their workload. If nothing else the training the industry now provides needs to be targeted, but placed within the overall scheme of programme production.

What are your training tips for the future?

Take an interest in new equipment. Be diverse, if you are interested in camera operation, fine. But know about audio and editing too. Practice. Ok, the technology is changing but the fundamental to all film production – telling a story – will always be the same. Do as we do on location - when filming watch, listen, study the face of those you film – their eyes are the soul.
Harness the new technology; when I was an assistant at the BBC, 25 years ago, I would often have to walk miles to a red phone box to get an OK from the laboratory that the film from the day before had come out. So use the instant medium we now have, see what it can do for you. The camera will always be like a pen; used in the correct hands it can tell wonderful stories. It has in the past and surely will regardless of the future.

Jeremy Humphries is managing director of Skills2Film

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Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

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