Behind The Scenes – CS/N on Pagbabago2013

A rare moment of non movement

This is a time when all the labor and toiling and drudgery and frustrations and milestones converge.  I wasn’t talking about the recent polls that up until now, has yet to finalize its tally.

Pagbabago 2013 is TV5’s election coverage. And most of the motion graphics you see on TV is from our motley crew of mean, creative machines.

I want to talk about the people behind the the screen – like the cameramen, the carpenters, the production assistants, technical directors, runners, coordinators, make up artists and everyone else that work in the background. Specially us, the graphics specialists. Working with talented people everyday seem to dampen the greatness and awesome experience, when all just seem to be just a normal thing.

Well, to us, it is normal.

What I mean is, you get to work, you see people you collaborate everyday, with different talents and skill, each an important cog or nut to keep together and make this big engine of a tv network running. Creativity is our fuel. I have often felt humbled to be working side by side with such an amazing group of individuals, I forget I am one of them. To tell you the truth, these young artists never cease to amaze me. Several months passed, plans have been in play – creating the look for the News5 Everywhere website, which includes thinking up stuff that would fit in, and and make it work. I was given this task, along with a group of IT specialists I fondly call Code Wizards [Mark, Hannah and Harold must have graduated from Hogwarts] . We were given such a short time to put together something that’s credible enough to stand as a website, albeit painfully nerve-wracking.

News5 Everywhere is up and running.

But that’s just the prologue.

Back in the batcave, where cauldrons of steaming workloads have been brewing incessantly since February – title cards,production designs, transitions, all those things that you see while watching the news, those shiny, colorful stuff that carries the program names, and the hosts?  Lots of them. And more.

You see, these are not powerpoint presentations we put together with clip art. These are built from scratch. Just look at what we have in our arsenal – HP z800’s, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Maya, ORAD, Metra, 3D Studio Max – and you’ll know these are not things you play with. Heck I don’t even know how to use some of them, but I draw [which is a lame excuse for being with such good people], pretty much what an old fart like me can only do. Often times, most of us get riled when a script [regular work request come in scripts, the printed kind, not the code wizards do] is so vague we have to make do of what has to be done.

The  Pagbabago 2013 was revised so many times. Templates for enumerating candidates need to be done and redone, pictures where sorted out from the famous to the less known. Names checked. And since March, our Director and Supervisors are constantly meeting and discussing things, allocating workload to the right people, Virtual Sets, you know, the kind that is built with just the chroma canvas and not much else, pretty much the same thing they do with CGI movies, take so long to do and it has to be adjusted to fit, checking up on pending projects, harassing each other with schedules, and all the while we keep WIN – that’s Weather Information Network – always updated with regularly updated graphics, which is among such tasks as illustrating simulation drawings for the incident  reports, the hourly Breaking News, the Primetime Aksyon News, CNN Konek (which normally have their own operators, but occasionally asks for new stuff). Andar ng mga Balita, and Pilipinas News.

Oh no, it doesn’t stop there. There’s the weekend news programs like Balitang 60, Aksyon Weekend and some more random graphics needed urgently.

And even with a full load and schedule, we managed to do them all.

Some of the wonderful creations were left unused, which is kind of frustrating seeing how much effort and time was put in to create these things.

No rest for the wicked.

But no engine runs smoothly all the time. There’s bound to be some snags along the way. May 13 proved to be such a worrisome day that it actually started three days before – the building of the new physical set for the  live broadcast, my bosses nagging each other about this and that, the transmission, the reporters working on their field assignments, oh and a whole lot of other things that only happen behind the scenes.

Pagbabago 2013

There was a time when the election coverage was running as smoothly as any coverage can be, but then the count began and whoa, we thought we were behind the tally, and the anxiety rose a few notches because, we have this quirk of always second guessing ourselves. We all thought we made THE mistake. But it was some screw up with the PPCRV and COMELEC. Our problem was adjusting our production on the run, which is very hard considering all the programming, the graphics, the manual inputs.

But , like I always thought, we are good at what we do.

I honestly believe we were the sensible coverage, opting to put substance first and foremost. Let the other networks cover the polls with fanfare and pomp. We did it with grit and grace.

And so . . .

While I may have been whipping myself over the next N5e theme and it’s evolution, or probably a new layout, which I have to defend with my other boss Martin Andanar (who’s really a good guy to work with/for),  my heart, though, belong to the motley crew of nutty, nerdy bunch of graphics specialists that keeps me on my toes, to follow, to learn, or maybe teach a few tricks up my sleeve.

These guys are the best:

Dodge, Mike, Julius, John, Aries, Iris, Dom, R.A., Fernan, Edmund, Rico, Joel, Ian, Chris, Mao, Sam, Sap, Jam, Carlo, Rex, Anna, Akel, Jof, Paul, Jherz, James, Wally, Conde, Mike, Jakson, Sharon, Candice, Kathleen, Angel and a couple who went  away to do other stuff – Joy & Mikki

Now that the normal season is on, and my komiks need some time to be done, and it will be, I have a full plate.

But it feels good to be among the best.

One response to “Behind The Scenes – CS/N on Pagbabago2013

  1. Reblogged this on No Way. and commented:

    I Said it before: “But , like I always thought, we are good at what we do.

    I honestly believe we were the sensible coverage, opting to put substance first and foremost. Let the other networks cover the polls with fanfare and pomp. We did it with grit and grace.”
    Looks to me I was right the first time. Big WOOT to the people of News5, specially those wonderfully aloof creatures of CS/News.

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