What does a vision guarantee do?
Vision guarantees work in studio productions or outside broadcasts to ensure all aspects of the ‘vision chain’ work from end to end – from the cameras in a studio or location to the monitors in the gallery.
The vision chain starts with the cameras. On a large studio production, or on a major outside broadcast (OB), there are often 20 or 30 cameras of every type – many will be on standard tripods, others on cranes, and some may be unmanned remote cameras located behind the goal posts in a premier league match or hidden out of sight as at a royal wedding.
Vision guarantees make sure all the cameras are linked up and ready for the start of rehearsals. But it doesn’t stop there: Inside the production, sound and lighting galleries are an enormous number of monitors that also need to be perfectly set up so the director, producer and lighting director can rely on the accuracy of the pictures.
Vision guarantees also have to make sure all the peripheral equipment links up: this could be the Autocue, the computer graphics or the name caption generator. They often work on a permanent basis for a studio or an outside broadcast supplier, but some are freelance and move between jobs. On smaller productions, with fewer cameras, this role might be done by a studio or broadcast engineer, who covers sound and IT as well as vision.
What’s a vision guarantee good at?
- Electronic engineering: have a good working knowledge of electronics and electrical engineering, be able to design and configure video paths, have an in-depth understanding of multi-media hardware and broadcast technology systems
- Attention to detail: spot imperfections on the video signal, use test equipment for alignment and calibration Problem solving: come up with solutions to technical problems. This is particularly important on an outside broadcast in a remote location where spare parts aren’t easy to find
- Staying calm under pressure: be able to think creatively when your decisions will make the difference between a live programme staying on air – or not
- Communication: work well with the camera operators and gallery team and be able to respond to their needs and explain the technical situation to them.