GTC Awards event reviewed
This year’s GTC Awards celebration was very different; a midweek event instead of the customary weekend (an attempt to accommodate members regularly working on OBs at weekends) and, for the first time, held at the prestigious National Film Theatre, rather than an hotel.
The day was business-like with a good variety of products brought along by GTC sponsor companies for delegates to view at the Trade Show, a very interesting programme of seminars culminating in a panel discussion with the heads of technology from all four major UK TV channels … and, of course, the launch of the Guild’s revamped logo and totally new website.
And so, by 6.30, brains bursting with new information, most people were ready for a livener of champagne. Then it was into NFT3 for the main attraction of the evening – the celebration of the best television camerawork produced this year.
The show kicked off with a great double act (Byte Sized, Improvised, Televised), fresh from the Edinburgh Festival. What an original act! They warmed up the audience brilliantly, demonstrating quite extraordinary and very funny improvisation skills by replacing ad lib the dialogue for scenes from classic films (well, it was the National Film Theatre) with almost credible lip-sync dialogue tailored to their cameraman audience on topics randomly suggested by members of the audience. They had even done their research by sitting in on the afternoon’s technical sessions allowing them to drop in some well-chosen key terms. Very, very clever.
GTC Chairman Brian Rose then introduced the Awards themselves (but whatever happened to the GTC Quiz, Brian? Well, maybe it had just got too damned difficult and obscure of late!). He did make some good points about the future of television though – not all as bleak as some would have us believe – and at least the standard of the clips played in was to prove that there still are true quality programmes being made.
Now it began to become obvious why the GTC had chosen the National Film Theatre – or as we should call it, BFI Southbank. Once upon a time nominated programmes were played out from VHS tapes and viewed on whatever TV sets the Guild could lay their hands on. But not this time. All the programmes were played off the original transmission tapes on the big NFT3 screen.
The DigiBeta stuff looked superb; but when it came to the HDTV material, well, it was quite stunning. It paid full justice to the outstanding camera skills of all the winners.
Gradually, the event began to take on all the attributes of the BAFTAs with Brian Rose reading out the citations like a latter-day Richard Attenborough, and Dick Hibberd handing over the Awards and chatting with the winners. As befits the BAFTAs, there was even the occasional tear. All that was missing was Jonathon Ross making snide remarks about the Technical Awards.
As an Awards event first and considerable technical triumph, the team had even managed an acceptance speech beamed from Kenya. From his perch on the back of a jeep, Scott Tibbles thanked the GTC for his award for the category of entertainment from the middle of the Masai Mara.
Apparently, there had been no rehearsals, several of the tapes had arrived only an hour before ‘transmission’ and the team had been hard at work, talking throughout the afternoon with the BBC base in the Masai Mara to get the clip sent over – but in truth the audience wouldn’t have known it – the presentation achieved a nice mix of professionalism and intimacy.
The only pity was the disappointing turnout of GTC members. After the formalities had concluded, the achievement of the winners was celebrated with a drinks party, a well deserved chance for organisers, award winners and delegates alike to unwind and chat with old and new friends. Taken as a package, this day offered a wonderful mix of work and play – loads of information to absorb, new toys to play with, a fantastic venue and really well put together Awards show, all topped off with copious amounts of wine and delicious food. When will more members learn that this event really is worth making an effort to get to?