I recently completed a green screen project in my home studio set-up. I had quite a few problems, to put it mildly. These included:

Sarah Lockett – green screen presenting
  • needing an electrician to fix some lights in my house as they chose that moment to stop working (in the green screen area)
  • needing a new iPhone to get a 4k FRONT camera (the client needed it filmed in 4k, a higher resolution)
  • needing a premium subscription to the autocue app BIGVU to be able to film in 4k
  • unhelpful symbols in the client’s script that I finally figured out were causing the autocue app to slow (bulletpoints)
  • sunlight on the green screen, which was intermittent and seeping through the venetian blinds at just the wrong moments. Next time I may choose not to film right next to the window, of course, but I needed some of the natural light
  • needing a new connector to link the external mike to the new iPhone (the old connector refused to work with the new phone)
  • needing to hardwire (ethernet) the phone to the router to upload the HUUGE files overnight. Leaving it to upload via WiFi proved impossible, even though I have good speeds generally. Even leaving it uploading all day didn’t work.
  • The client (quite reasonably) not working weekends so I had to wait for responses from them. Being freelance, I often work weekends, nights, evenings, Sundays etc and I forget that other people don’t.
  • lots of other commitments including (a) other work and (b) taking my mum AND dad to medical appointments, which blocks out a whole day including travelling. 

Now, none of these are the client’s problems. But I asked them to be kind and forgive that the lighting wasn’t perfect (but useable, they had told me that). And I have to say, the fee was not high! That’s no excuse for delivering substandard work (which I would never do) but for the money, I put in a lot of effort 🙂 I spent days and days on this, and it really only makes economic sense for me if I can do it in one day.

Also, figuring out the solutions to these problems requires what I call “engineering thinking” – working out why something isn’t working, and how to fix it. So, something that worked yesterday has stopped working. Why? What has changed? Maybe I’ve changed 2 things. So which is it? And – not having an IT department – I have to go to @YouTube tutorials and the internet to find out the answers. Some of those answers address a sliiiightly different (but related) problem. So I have to refine and filter down to the answer I need. All this requires lots of patience, tea and chocolate!

Finally, I delivered the project. They were very happy and only asked for a few revisions/tweaks, which went much more smoothly now that I have ironed out the problems. Plus I have been paid promptly : so it’s all good *delighted emoji* !

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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