Terror raids making national news

On the 19 December, simultaneous raids across the region took place, arresting five people on terror offences.

From the early-morning bangs in Meersbrook, to the bomb squad turning up to a community centre in Burngreave, it’s a story that led our bulletins throughout the day.

I was sent to Burngreave at around 15:00 to see what was happening there. After shooting some video for social media, editing it sat on a traffic cone, and sending it to the server, a cordon was put in place by police.

This was later used on the BBC Six O’Clock News and Look North.

Within an hour of me arriving, the police searches had uncovered something that they weren’t taking likely. After filing my 16:00 bulletin piece, the police asked that I step away from the building.

This live Drive hit was then done on a mobile phone as the police cordon grew.

After standing around in the cold, and my line manager calling the police press office, I was finally let back into the cordon to get my broadcast van, just as the bomb disposal van arrived.

Another hit for Drive, this time on a broadcast van, and a quick handover with Look North, the ever-increasing police and media presence drew a large and excited crowd.

For me, there wasn’t much more I could do. Home just in time to see the video go out on air.

Making a Facebook Live watchable

It’s been a revelation. And the worst thing they could have ever brought out.

Facebook Live has changed the way the media can report news.

It’s been making headlines a lot over recent months after a 74-year-old man was murdered live on Facebook.

But it does a lot of good too. It means people on their coffee break can watch a breaking story unfold in front of them, filmed not just by journalists, but people on the ground.

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I watched fighting in Marseille as England fans were attacked during the Euros last year. The story hadn’t been picked up by the mainstream media, but as my brother was sat in a bar in France he told me what was happening. I could then watch, live, as mayhem broke out at Old Port.

From a news perspective, it’s a great challenge. I’ve called the police press office on many occasions asking for information on incidents that were currently taking place. They had no idea it was even happening until I sent them a link to the live video, filmed by our newspaper colleagues in Sheffield.

It means we get information very quickly, and if we’re at a scene, we can share that information with thousands of people instantly. It’s like news flashes onto people’s timelines as a story unfolds.

But what’s next for the platform?

Shaky vertical mobile phone footage, filmed too far away to see anything, should be left in 2017.

We work with our regional TV colleagues, BBC Look North (Yorkshire) on multi-camera Facebook Lives. And they look amazing.

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Graphics, high quality sound, and numerous angles makes it look like we meant to do it. This costs a lot of money though. Camera operators, satellite trucks, and a gallery aren’t cheap. Sometimes a phone has to do.

But the audience loved it. And with enough planning, we can share kit and staff with the 18:30 TV bulletin.

I’m spending my week off looking at how we can do something similar, just on a much, much smaller budget.

How do we use a camera instead of a phone to broadcast? Do mobile hotspots deliver enough speed to make the quality watchable? Are we just Facebook Live-ing something that’s just rubbish?

The short answer is that a phone is always in our pockets. Setting a laptop up, with software to load, cameras to plug in, and mobile hotspots to connect is just too complicated. Too bulky. And far too unpredictable.

Film something exciting and people will flock. Even if it’s not the best quality.

How we bring you the magic of the FA Cup

This weekend I was paid to watch football and talk about it.

Pretty much a perfect gig, made easier by the fact everything I needed to do my job was in a backpack.

Making radio is great fun – and it’s constantly changing as new technology makes our jobs easier. iPhones are my go-to piece of essential kit, whether it’s a vox pop in Sheffield city centre, to a live broadcast from a football stadium.

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I have a work-issued iPhone SE on O2, and as much data as I can go through. An iRig Pre means I can plug pretty much any microphone into the iPhone, and an external battery will mean I’ll run out of things to say before my power drops.

The BBC is one of many broadcasters that use a very clever app called Luci Live to make the quality connection between the reporter and the studio. I love it. Other colleagues have had bad experiences and so avoid it.

My other option was the satellite van I brought, but parking at the ground was at a premium and the distance was too far to be effective on wireless microphones.

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Surrounded by 2,000 people, my 4G was surprisingly stable. In fact, I noticed two drop outs, and sadly one of those was on air. For around a second. The other drop out was for around a second, so I don’t know how much that would have affected the output, if at all.

Overall, a very strong performance from the mobile kit. I could then send back the interviews to be played out before I had time to get into the warm van to drive back to base.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05m1t9g/player