I graduated in Media Production – specialising in Single Cam – from LSM last year. After 3 or so months of the hell that is job hunting and a couple of unsuccessful interviews, I finally landed an interview with Red Bee Media in London. The position advertised was Media Assistant but came with no job description so I didn’t actually find out what it was until I started! Red Bee is one of the largest playout and channel management businesses in the UK, providing services to a number of broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, UKTV, BT Sport and Channel 5. They provide services such as playout, media management, creative services, access services (subtitling and audio description) and content discovery. It’s basically the broadcasting ‘behind the scenes’ side of television.
So I had quite an intense ‘competency test’ based interview in November and was called a few hours later with the offer of a job, to start the following week.
I worked as a Media Assistant for about 4 months, which entailed a variety of different shifts: I worked with BBC Worldwide, carrying out quality checks on daily schedules for a wide range of European, South African and Scandinavian channels – checking that subtitles, languages, aspect ratio, sound, timecodes and picture were all correct before they could be passed for playout. My second shift involved working with the BBC and Channel 4 teams in the Library/’Media Intake Area’. Daily tasks included removing all the ‘dead’ (already broadcast) tapes and sending them back to the Archive unit; pulling out the Channel 4 tapes due for transmission; maintaining and ordering stock for Channel 4; checking that all tapes for broadcast the next day were safely with Media Management Operations (where all the tapes are ingested onto a server to be played out) and various runner tasks. My other shift was with BBC iPlayer, this was spent monitoring the four live iPlayer streams and ensuring that the correct programming was ‘blanked’ (e.g. Family Guy/certain films etc aren’t allowed on iPlayer). This particular shift was spent in the BBC Playout suite, where BBC One, Two, Three and Four are controlled, and where the Continuity Announcers are based so I got to shadow some Playout Directors and see how the playout process worked.
I recently got promoted to a Media Management Librarian with Red Bee Media for BBC TV in White City. This means, as part of the team, I’m responsible for managing the tapes coming in for transmission, ensuring the correct material is here in time and is taken to Media Management Operations, sending tapes back to Production for edits or tech review and monitoring the storage of emergency and standby material. It’s quite a lot more responsibility and stress, but I’m enjoying it regardless.
I’d still like to get more into the Production side of things, but I think I’m lucky to have a job in this field at all, and it’s an area I would never have considered before! There is a large Creative department and there’s always opportunities to advance within Red Bee but either way I’d consider it great experience for the moment. If anyone’s interested in getting into this side of media or if you’re looking for work experience, we offer it in several departments around here or even just keep an eye on the careers page and if anything comes up – feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or need any interview prep!
If I could offer any advice to those job-hunting, it would be to keep gaining as much experience as possible and just fill up your CV. During university, I was lucky enough to get work with BBC local radio and volunteer for BBC Introducing which is a great way to get a foot in the door with BBC, particularly if you’re studying radio. I spent the Summer before graduation making videos, creating my showreel and editing film companies’ marketing videos for free; after graduating, I volunteered with a media department 4 days a week whilst looking for work, and in my interview for Red Bee, all of this experience came into play.