There was a time, back in the day, when I thought I might end up running my own production company. I sort-of have, in a way, though not quite in the manner I might have expected. Life’s interesting like that.

Anyway, I had a name for the not-production company. It was based around a single visual gag: at the end of our productions, in that three-second slide where the company name flashes up, I was going to use a black frame with the company name emblazoned in big bold block capitals, in a pale-mid grey, with a hint of white outline and drop shadow.

The name would have been ‘Media Offline.’ And every time one of our shows went out, producers and editors right across the country would have caught a glimpse of the production caption, and in a sudden moment of panic they’d have thought, in unison, “Shit! Was that mine?”

‘Media Offline’ is a frame that Avid edit systems display when they can’t find the clip they’re supposed to play at that point. This usually means you’ve forgotten to turn a drive on, or the network’s on the fritz. But it also has an annoying habit of cropping up on a single shot in the timeline, just as you’re laying the final edit master back to tape.

But luckily, you were watching, caught it when it happened, noted the timecode, made very sure the editors saw it too, and left them to it while you wandered out for another coffee. Right?

I’ve never seen the Media Offline card actually go out on transmission, but it must have happened, and we all live in fear of it being on our show. Hence, using it as a production caption would be a very, very evil joke indeed.

I guess it’s unlikely to happen, now. But at least I can have a mousemat.

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