Calum Barre, class of 2011

I am currently employed with Gems Tv and Gems Tv Extra, working as a technical operator.  Gems TV is a reverse auction shopping channel specialising in jewellery, which broadcasts 24/7 on freeview  channel 43. The company also owns Gems TV eXtra and Jewellery Maker.Before university I had picked up work with a local company, and using the skills developed through the course I kept working there as a freelancer throughout my degree.

After the summer season and an amazing graduation in September, I started seriously applying for full time work as my freelance work had dried up, and eventually landed an interview for Jewellery Maker as a floor manager but was passed on to their parent station Gems Tv, due to my previous technical experience. The second interview by the way is one of many where I have been sat in front of another Lincoln graduate.

As a technical operator at Gems Tv I now rotate between camera operating and preparing the products for the show. The shifts are anti-social but all on crew and staff are a good laugh. As well as honing previously developed camera skills through day to day work, I am also slowly taking up training to cut the shows live.

My first bit of work post uni was a 1st Ac on a short film set in Barmouth and Aberdovey. Filming on the beach took all of our skills, as a 1st assistant cameraman using the Panasonic AF10. Changing lenses and keeping the glass free of sand was paramount, as was supporting the Director of Photography. We used a 3m jib knee deep in the sea, and as a team as we also fought against 30mph gusts and pouring rain before we finally pushed back to reshoot on a later week. It was this day where I think I summed up my experience within the industry perfectly, while stood with the DP and the camera the wind and rain smashing against a singular bright green tarp whilst everyone had run back to cars….. “so you work in the media…. I bet that’s glamorous”

Throughout the rest of the summer I worked with the company on a variety of projects, both commercial video and live event. This included shooting Afro Celt Soundsystem at the Hay festival and working on both the technical set up and operation for 2 weeks on the Lichfield festival, where I spent my time sleeping on the floor with another crew member. Who needs glamour when you can have a laugh though.


During this period I was in pre-production for a short horror film with fellow Lincoln Graduate Matthew Spencer, which went into production in late August. Despite no real funding we managed to get around £4,000 of in kind help from people working for free (big thanks to Current Lincoln student Alec Albury) and equipment hire from JTV and the University of Lincoln. We shot the entire thing in uncompressed pro-res HQ and with prime lenses. We are currently editing it with view to entering it into film competitions and starting on the next project.


  1. Dont be afraid to do heavy lifting; you may be a graduate but the easiest way to get let go is to moan about carrying stuff. It’s actually one of the more important parts of production, especially in Outside Broadcasts
  2. That said, don’t be over keen with your lifting, look after your back and your ears…. you need them
  3. Keep trying for work and take every single piece of advice going.
  4. If the freelance work dries up, you may be unemployed. Seriously consider signing on for Job Seekers’ Allowance till the work picks up, or you will waste all the money you saved.
  5. Stay in touch with people from uni.It’s unlikely someone will let you do the big job, so create the opportunities yourself by working together on short films and commercial video.
  6. If it’s paid work it most likely isn’t below you.


The big things that concern me at the moment are employers taking advantage of the current economic situation as well as unscrupulous companies taking advantage of students for experience that won’t really benefit them. I would advise any new entrants to join BECTU. The first year will only be £60 or 1% of your income; not only will they offer you aid in employment issues but they will help with debt collection from freelance clients

One thought on “Calum Barre, class of 2011

  1. Great update Calum, thank you for taking the time. Brilliant advice, especially about joining BECTU. Couldn’t agree more. Stay in touch and good luck!

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