While media training courses often face derision from the more elitist and established academic disciplines, it is refreshing to see the enthusiasm with which the BBC Academy has launched its new ‘College of Production’ website. Based around the idea that media professionals, like the rest of us, need constant updating as new production practices come along, the College of Production is a clever way of servicing the needs of professionals within the BBC, and other parts of the media industry, while also appealing to a wider audience who are hungry for tips and tricks to improve the quality of their media production work.
Focussing on Television, Radio and Online, the college uses a range of short video presentations, some extended discussions in podcasts, and a set of impressionistic blogs to relate the personal experience of the many thousands of people who are involved in programme making, and who support programme making, at the BBC. So there are role profiles that tell you about what a Production Manager will do, and there are videos that will show you how to avoid under or over-exposing your video images in a news report.
Often starting with the basics – such as some very useful advice about setting up a tripod – the college is aiming to provide ever more detailed and focussed videos and profiles over the coming months. So the college not only gives established creative production teams a reminder and refresher about key aspects of their job, but also aims to give colleagues in different departments an insight into what is involved in jobs that they have previously only ever heard rumours about. For someone wrapped up in television, the otherwise murky and unknown world of radio or online media must seem quite distant.
But far from being an internal assessment of the training needs of the BBC Academy, the college goes on to be an attractive resource and essential information hub for media production courses in schools, colleges, universities, community media groups and the many, many independent producers who are toiling away to produce their own media, and who want to raise the standards of their work.
I will certainly be using the site and will be using it with my students. It’s like having a set of masterclasses in one place from one of the worlds most important media organisations.