In Press, Speaking

Live TV Experiences

I was on a program called ‘Bloggers Block’ on Headlines Today channel tonight at 9:00 PM. It was a live telecast. Some fascinating experiences.

* I was informed that the OB van (outdoor broadcast unit) and the crew would come in to my house at 8:30 pm, half hour before the show to set up the unit.

* The time clicked to 8:45 and no sign of the van. I almost gave up when I got a call saying that the crew is having trouble with the cops for having parked the van on the road. This incident happened right outside my apartment. By the time I hurried downstairs, the problem had been sorted out. Relief. 12 minutes to go.

* We take the van to another side of the apartment but trees and electrical lines pose a problem. We finally open another gate to get the van inside. All this in a semi-panic mode. 8 minutes to go.

* Meanwhile the camera men rush inside my home to set up the camera and the lighting. 5 minutes before going live, the camera man gets a call from the studio that they are not getting the live video feeds. Panic mode heightens. The crew does a bit of tinkering with the wires and things get ok. 3 minutes to go.

* I then quickly realize I hadn’t changed my dress. Was still wearing a slightly crumpled tshirt. I must’ve created a record in shirt changing.

* I rush back and sit in the chair. One of the crew members plugs in a collar mic. He then plugs an ear piece into my ear from a walkie talkie kind of a device. This is where I get to hear the anchor. A guy in the studio did a voice test. It was too low. I say so. He turns up the volume real high. Nearly cracked my ear drum. I say so. He tones it down. Before I could say its ok, I can hear Zaka Jacob, the anchor start the program.

* My wife rushes out to my neighbours home with our digital camera to record the video from their TV. A paltry 128 MB memory card doesn’t take you far. Just 5 minutes of video recording possible. That’s hardly sufficient for a 30 minute program. She manages to take a few shots.

* There was a lot of hissing noise from the ear piece. Too late. I strain myself to hear the debate going on at the studio. Can’t make out everything.

* Then suddenly the anchor goes like this, “Let’s ask Kiruba who is from Chennai. Kiruba, what do you think about the issue?”. Your mind desperately seeks to assimilate whatever little information you were able to decipher from their conversation. I pick up bits and pieces and I then proceed to answer what I felt was appropriate.

* On one occasion, when Zaka (the anchor) asked me a question, I heard it but didn’t know it was directed at me. There was a few seconds of silence before I realised that the silence was there because I wasn’t speaking. I then quickly proceeded to answer.

* I thought I spoke pretty ok. Ideas flew in smoothly and I managed to keep my answers to the point. I liked the way how I put my views across. Don’t know what others felt. If you got to watch the program, I’d like to get your feedback.

* I don’t think the topic deserved a 30 minutes program. It was a simple set guidelines for bloggers that was set. No rules. No censorship. Just guidelines.

* Try staring at a camera continuously for 30 minutes. That’s what I did.

* Surprisingly, I didn’t feel nervous. Sitting in a studio and having a conversation with an anchor is one thing but sitting in front of a camera and speaking to a person you can’t see is another. Add buggy audio. And then add Live TV. But it was rather cool.

* Zaka Jacob did a good job in guiding the discussion.

* Overall a very fascinating experience. A big thanks to Sharavathy from the TV Today’s Chennai office for putting me on the show.