Jamie talks about his Work Experience in Broadcast Operations
"It was amazing to see how fast paced it was, all this live content coming in and you have to churn it onto the show as quickly as possible"
Role: Work Experience in Broadcast Operations
This is ideal for anyone who wants to work in TV production
People often think that TV is just about the cameras and the studio - but, because I do a lot of live streaming on YouTube at news events as I run my own online news channel, I wanted to see how it’s professionally done in the industry to get a better idea of where I want to work. Operations is basically how you get things on TV, how the programmes are broadcast. And I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to work in TV when they’re older as it gave me a really great overview so, when we did go to the studio, I could see how everything works.
You’re taken through the departments, learning as you go
On the first day, I worked in service integration, which is making sure all the different channels on the satellites are being broadcast between the right dishes to the right satellites. That was the most detailed in terms of coding, which I’ve never really done before, but once I’d got the hang of that it helped me understand everything else. I went into satellite operations the next day, and saw how they get a signal from a truck to Sky studios, how you book the satellite and plan it out - then we went to the master control room which was one of my favourite bits. I watched them bringing in live feeds, checking the audio and video was there and all okay, before sending it on. That’s the first point of communication with the onsite team, so you get to see what goes on before it gets edited. I remember that day was a bad one for them, because there was a problem with the BT tower, so the TV went to colour bars. They had to solve it really quickly, and it was great to see how they reacted to the problem!
There are so many jobs that go into making TV that you don’t realise
On the Thursday, I learnt all about play-outs, physical transmission and inserting commercials and checking the subtitling is there, that the audio and video is in synch. That was really good because you get to see the final element of the broadcast before it goes out to the public. It interested me how they put in the adverts, how they push the signal out and how they check that everything is working properly. I was shadowing, and one of the team was on training, so I was able to sit in that. They were broadcasting tennis, so I could see how they get in a live feed from a third broadcaster, and adapt it. They have to put in the right graphics and everything. You don’t realise how many teams and how many jobs there are, not only in the industry in Sky, but in that one single department, and how they all have one massive role. They all have to work as a giant team.
Talk to everyone - because you might get asked back!
On my last day I bumped into Dickie Davis, the legendary sports presenter, got talking to him, and he asked if I’d be interested in coming back to working on Sky Sports News. Obviously I said I’d love to, so went in one Saturday and did a lot of running, making sure all the gallery staff and studio staff got all the tea and snacks to keep them happy as well as helping the assistant producer to get in the live feeds, learning how to use the different software to try and get all this live footage in. It was amazing to see how fast paced it was, all this live content coming in and you have to churn it onto the show as quickly as possible. I also got asked back to help with platform operations, looking after the On Demand content and checking the captions, subtitling and everything.
You’ll learn from others how you can get a job at Sky
I can’t do work experience at Sky News yet, because I’m not 18, but I got to meet up with some apprentices in software engineering, and speak to them about what an apprenticeship at Sky is like. I’ve got another year left at college, then I’d love to do an apprenticeship there. One day, I’d love to work at Sky News!