I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Holiday and New Year - now we're a few days into 2019 and life can start returning to normal. Lets see if I can find the time to get back into my personal projects - including this website and the blog - so lets get caught up on the last few months and dive right in:
Wow, where did the last part of 2018 go? It's just been a bit of a blur, you see - the week after my last blog post (October 19th) I began working basically non-stop on Border Live on the Discovery Channel in the role of "Field Technical Supervisor". Actually we did a test run back in September, but then I shifted back to other projects until everything came together. In October they sent me out to one of the locations on a scouting run to make sure things would work, and then starting in November I was traveling down to the border basically once a week until we got up to the holidays. Unfortunately I can't go into much detail behind the scenes, but basically my role in the production was to make sure that the video from the field teams made it back to the main studio on the east coast in the highest quality possible.
So I spent every show (including multiple full scale rehearsals) watching the action play out in little preview thumbnails accompanied by real time encoding data - bit rate, packet loss, latency, etc from each of the cameras. In a way it kind of felt like staring at the code for the Matrix, watching all these different things happen at once. Of course I had some remote control to jump in and make minor tweaks to settings to keep the video signals streaming well. (Or as well as can be expected given the cellular environment at the border.) All in all, it was a great experience and I learned a lot, but needless to say it was a lot of work and when I was back in Houston, I was basically catching up on sleep and supporting other projects at TPC. (With a tiny bit of theatre work thrown in at CCCT).
So what else have I been up to?
Well, right around the same time I dove into Border Live, TPC started semi-daily production on a new web show out of the studio: The Ferguson File on BlazeTV, here's the description from their site: "Ben Ferguson brings you your midday news update as only he can — bold, honest, and free of liberal spin." Now, for many reasons I've started trying to steer clear of politics in my public facing social media posts, and today will be no different. It's a good show if your'e into that kind of content. My role on it as basically been more support on this one.
I've edited a couple of episodes, and I took the network's graphic package and turned it into motion graphics templates for Adobe Premiere (awesome tool by the way - can't wait for an excuse to play with it further). And I've run prompter for Ben a few times, basically just jumping in where I'm needed to get the shows out in time.
Of course besides that I've also been working a lot of liveshots at the office. That side of the business always gets busy going into the holidays for some reason.
Oh! And I made Christmas greeting cards for TPC and CCCT - well, maybe "made" is the wrong word. We bought a couple After Effects templates and I filled in the blanks and modified them as needed. Overall a fairly easy process if you know AE, but one of them just took forever to render (something like 14 hours!) and I didn't have enough time before Christmas to export it again if there was anything wrong. It was a little tense for a while there haha. check them out below:
And of course now that I'm done with Border Live I'm starting to get my head back into pre-production for The 39 Steps which I'll be directing at CCCT in a few months. My auditions are at the end of March and I've got so much to do to get ready for it! Sides to decide on for auditions, character breakdowns to finish, a set to design, crazy effects to wrap my head around, and of course promotional graphics to start working on and I'm sure there's something else I'm missing. You'll definitely be hearing more about that show in the coming weeks/months.
And I think that's it for this post. Hopefully going into the New Year, I can do better about posting regularly, we'll just have to see how well that turns out.
As always, if there's anything I've mentioned in this post that you'd like me to go into in further detail about be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Besides my ongoing "big" projects that you all know about (that I have no updates on since I last posted) I've got a few fun smaller things planned. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @tomameek for more behind-the-scenes tidbits, and to keep up with my current work, (at least when I'm allowed to post about it!)
Until next time.
Thomas Meek is an independent filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX