Having experienced what felt like the longest September of our lives, Dan and I arrived at 80A Armslodge (Gilesgate, DH1 1HY; correspondence always welcome) on October 1st. The house has 16 people living it in, 14 of which are American sports scholars which provides a great opportunity for learning about the copious amount of American football on the TV.
Phil welcomed us officially to the North East the following day with a trial run of our morning commute – a scenic walk along the River Wear – and a tour of Maiden Castle, the Durham University sports facility.
We started in earnest at 9:30 on Monday morning by watching a documentary by Jon Muir. This documentary is the self-filmed (and beautifully so) record of his 1600-mile solo crossing of the Australian desert. It took him four months and he survived only by drinking rainwater and eating animals he encountered and then killed. Through watching it, Phil wanted us to see the importance of preparation and the skill of using resources available to you to solve problems that could be faced.
We then went outside to identifying all the different filming options we have and how they all connect together. Tuesday was similar but with a focus on the software we would be using to capture, analyse and code what we will be filming. It was a lot to take in but was very worthwhile for starting to get our heads around the equipment, especially ahead of the Durham vs Hartbury rugby match we were covering on the Wednesday.
Our first BUCS Wednesday involved Dan, Joel and Phil filming and coding a 1st XI Mens football match whilst James and I took the trip over the Tyne bridge to film Newcastle’s 1st XV Mens rugby. Before all this, we spent the morning setting up two cameras for the Durham vs Hartbury game. When the match came around the atmosphere was brilliant. It was under lights, with music blaring and a crowd of just under 2000 supporting. The result wasn’t what Durham wanted going down 29-25 but it gave us, as the analysis team, plenty to work on to see where they could improve.
Phil took us up to see the Riverside on Thursday to see the ground and the office that Performance Advantage works out of. The ground is stunning and we are both looking forward to spending some time up there once the cricket season starts.
Friday saw us take a trip further north (I didn’t think it was possible!) to Bamburgh and the Holy Island. Phil was keen to show us the ‘real North East’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The weather wasn’t the best but the scenery and coast was stunning. During the day we spent time using the cameras to capture footage for a film Dan and I were to make. Due to the deserted nature of the coastline, we were able to get the drone out and have a go at flying it whilst trying to capture some sea side footage. Although the drone worked fine, the screen wasn’t charged up resulting in our first ‘Jon Muir Moment’ where we had to adapt and use other devices available to us.
The week culminated in having the opportunity for me and Dan to code and film our first Hockey match unassisted. This was probably where the most learning of the week to place as we had to follow the processes we had learnt and make sure everything was set up the way it should be. It was really valuable to have this experience so early on and should hopefully stand us in good stead moving forward.
You can see the video of our week here:
By Bertie Kennedy and Daniel Wiseman