Torturing MPs

Last week I was gadding around Northern Ireland (first time there!), running SciCast workshops in schools and at W5. Right now I’m setting up next week’s trip to Devon, and starting to work through the backlog of films. Which is easier said than done, since we’re shooting faster than I can edit (particularly with all the prep). But there’ll be new stuff going up on the site fairly regularly, and the pace should pick up a little as we work out the inevitable bugs and become more practiced with workflow stuff.

John Healey SciCast thumbnail

First up, this masterpiece from the launch event, at Swinton near Rotherham. Local MP John Healey came along, so we spent the morning turning 20 teenagers into two studio crews. When Healey arrived at 2pm he was fitted with a radio mic, told which cameras to talk to and which not to block, and talked through what was going to happen. Two takes were shot (with proper sync claps and countdowns), and the crews switched over to record a second experiment.

None of this involved me – by the afternoon, the students knew exactly what they were doing, and they did it. They knew that not one of them was going to get everything right, but they knew to trust their colleagues to cover their backs. The atmosphere was remarkable; talk about collaborative work against tight time pressure, I think they might have grasped that part of the project. Great job all round, anyway.

This is the first of the ‘use an MP as a stooge’ films – the second (and notes to support this one) will appear shortly. SciCast film page here, or click the piccy. Credit to Healey, by the way – he was unhesitatingly up for a laugh, helped put some nervous kids at their ease, and I think managed to talk to everybody in the room personally, particularly the students. Sure, this is what one expects of modern politicians, but he didn’t simply do the job – he did it well. Respect due… and I’ll be interested to see where he ends up in the coming reshuffle.

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