James O'Neill's Blog

November 20, 2006

Back from Barcelona.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 3:13 pm

A non technical post … normal service will be resumed shortly.

I’ve been to a couple of Tech-eds and IT forums (fora ? ) before but this one was a whole new experience, mostly because of the work Steve and I are doing for the Virtual side; which meant I didn’t get to see a single session.  

People kept saying “hello” to me. Yes, I know this shouldn’t seem wierd, but my few minutes of fame meant people I’ve never met would say hello, people I had seen for ages were at here and say hello too – putting me through the worry of “If I really do recognize this person, who on earth are they ?” It’s been a reunion for about 10 “alumni” of Microsoft Consulting Services as well, as well as some who are still serving – who seemed a lot happier to say hello than when I was in MCS…  

Shooting for theVirtual side was … …no I can’t sum it up in one word.

I don’t want to lapse into saccharine statements about everyone being lovely, but the truth is that we did get wonderful co-operation from our interviewees; even when it wasn’t totally convenient for them. We made the conference manger turn his radio off to inteview him during a mini crisis and promptly stopped filming to discuss whether we could ask him X,Y or Z. He didn’t turn rude or angry, but made it crystal clear that we needed to get on with the interview – and that was as close as we got to anyone getting annoyed with us; galvanized into action we started recording and got a brilliant piece for the conference wrap up – and then didn’t use it.

There was some tension about what we filmed and used; Steve and I aren’t TV reporters – the success of channel 9 shows that our audience likes the “unvarnished” style (One person told me he likes reading the blogs from the IT pro evangelists, “Because you tell the truth”). Our ,cameraman / producer / director was a pro. more used shooting things as spontaneous as a party political broadcast – and about as close to the truth. He seemed distressed when I wanted to ask the event owner “We sold out easily, so isn’t this venue too small ?” – the idea being that he could counter with the centre’s plus points, for which he’d turn a few people away in a peak year (which we think this is). Tough (or apparently tough) questions weren’t the only problem area, we couldn’t include:

  • A reference to the proximity of the prayer room to the hands on labs
  • A voice over in the style of a wildlife programme (David Attenborough) for the presenters rehearsing in the auditorium
  • A reference to the height of one of they keynote presenters
  • The story of speakers who ended up at Barcelona’s other big conference centre.
  • An out-takes piece.

Actually I’m happy with what we got, though I would rather have had more and had it a little more “RAW”, and that’s going to be my suggestion for next year. Generally the 1:1 interviews which we recorded were better than the pieces to camera, and they were at their best when we were having a conversation – that let the personalities of the people show though.  I’ve come back with one great interview which didn’t appear on the Virtual side which I’ll post a link to shortly.

When I set off for Barcelona, the papers were full of tales of NTL and ITV merging – which would mean the TV programmes I didn’t want to watch were delivered by the TV company I dropped. Sadly I still get my internet service from NTL and it wasn’t working when I got home. I’d love to interview someone senior form NTL …

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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