The sessions for Ladders Film & TV began at Sunderland University – impressively they have recently jumped 30 places from 2016 to 2017 in the Guardian rankings. As if it couldn’t get any better, they have their own dedicated cinema room, radio station and state of the art recording facilities.

Sounds dramatic but as you can already see, you are in for a treat.

We began in a room filled with none other than students, Ladders mentor Chloe Rodham and visiting speaker Tim Lozinski. They talked through a variety of mics, one in particular that most of the youngsters could identify was the OmniMic which are the ones you’d find in theatres, coming through wig or perhaps around the performers in order to pick up the sound. You could feel the eagerness to get up and test all the equipment in the room which was a great feeling because you then got a feel that the group were instantly going to be very hands on. Seeing them try and retain the technical information about what he had just said to them was rather amusing for everyone as obviously some nerves and uncertainty was evident for the new experience. Watching them forget in an instant brought a giggle to us all! Nonetheless, they were able to jump straight back in so go team amazeballs!


The group then went on to watch clips and identify how a camera was moving throughout – that was fun because we were totally flung off as to how much the camera was moving in the scene – once you concentrated on looking for it.

After lunch, the group had a workshop in the green screen studio. Students were given a script page from a Hollywood sci-fi movie to suit the green screen environment for post-production. We built on our sound and camera skills from the morning and got to use a follow focus set up. Half the group were in the role of the crew in the scenario with the other half cast as actors in the scene. They then swapped roles in rotation so that everyone had a practice of each of the different production tasks.

After the team wrapped up shooting, they were given a tour by Ian McPake and Gary Stubbs – tutors on the BA and Masters media courses at Sunderland Uni. We saw the wide range of professional facilities the university offers and heard about Spark TV and Spark FM – Local media companies that produce and broadcast out of the campus. It was truly fascinating to see so many different aspects of the industry – from working the camera to broadcasting to an audience.

The second session entailed a rather experimental undertone, and this primarily allowed the young people to begin to try and play around with the footage from the previous session. Upon uploading the footage onto the computer, it became apparent very quickly just how much hilarity and enjoyment was flowing amongst everyone because of some simple fun play about on the software. Simply stretching one actor’s face made the interaction in the scene infinitely more hilarious. But on a more serious note, they were guided through how to transform their green screen footage, placing the actors into a space setting. Soon enough, the students were able to make composite in new backgrounds, looking at how they could make rotating planets and motion graphics to add in to the scene.

I think over the coming weeks this group are going to have a lot of fun and with an overload of valuable information, creating their own projects in the coming weeks will be very exciting! Watch this space…