Kingston University student grateful for Olympic opportunity

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KU television and video technology student, Adam Plowden, 21, experienced the pressure of live broadcasting during his job for Olympic Broadcasting Services over the summer.


The opportunity was set up through Kingston University and the Broadcast Training Programme (BTP), which operates parallel to the Olympics, giving university students the chance to work as broadcast professionals.


“With the Olympics it’s all live. There’s no retakes, there’s no second chances. You literally have to get the shot, get everything,” Mr Plowden said.


Relief role


“My role for the Olympics was as a relief audio assistant, which means I could be deployed and sent out to venues all around the UK to help out with the audio at the different sports venues and broadcast compounds.”


The BTP has trained over 7,000 students from all over the world since it was set up by American Jim Owens. Kingston was one of seven UK universities to be selected for London 2012.


Mr Plowden was based at the International Broadcast Centre in the Olympic Park, although his job as a relief worker meant he got to travel to many different venues including the North Grenwich Arena for gymnastics and basketball, the Olympic Park for hockey and the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony.


Gymnastics
“One of my favourite parts was when I was drafted over to Wembley Arena for the rhythmic gymnastics and I did the audio setup there. A couple of the crew guys from CTV [Central China Television] and I got everything ready for the Arena’s changeover from badminton to gymnastics.


“It was a really big job as there were three courts which all had to be deconstructed. Then we needed to construct the field of play for the rhythmic gymnastics in just 12 hours, then I had to check the microphone plans and lay all of them out, making sure everything was wired up properly.”


Mr Plowden, a television and video technology student, believes the contacts and experience he gained through the programme will prove very useful for his career.


“Everyone you spoke to was either a professional or a student on the broadcast training programme, and very happy to talk about what they did; I made some great contacts and I still keep in touch with some of the people I met through the relief crew.”


Freelance


Mr Plowden also works as a freelance videographer through his production company, Adam Plowden Videography, although he said that his work at the Olympics was very different.


“You have to be continually switched on and it’s hard on the brain if you’re doing a 12-hour shift. There are sometimes poor blokes out there holding mics in the pouring rain a good 10 hours and that is part of the job.


“I was lucky enough to avoid being a microphone-in-the-rain man, but at the hockey they have huge firemen’s hoses they use to wet the pitch to make the ball move faster, and I got sprayed by one of those during half-time.”

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