WE were all a bit worried about how Oscar Puffin would take to the idea of leaving his Rouge Bouillon studio home of 26 years for a new life at La Pouquelaye. But Oscar is a progressive Puffin and he saw the advantages of the new studio complex — he could not wait to get up here.
For the rest of us involved in producing the local programmes, the feeling was much the same. A purpose-built complex into which the Company had poured hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of new equipment, the latest technology, was not only a great challenge but also a great chance to improve the visual impact of our output. For the first time in the Station’s history there was to be a studio given over entirely to the use of the local programmes department. That was real luxury — no other departments would be vying for the use of the studio. That meant a studio set could be designed for Channel Report which, once built, would not have to be moved. A professional television set designer was brought in from the UK to produce the idea for a set from which Channel Report could be presented each evening. A set which included two distinct areas — one suitable for presenting news stories, the other, a more relaxed area which would be suitable for the presentation of ‘lighter’ reports, for example sport and drama stories, or Video Choice. From this section of the set the presenters would be able to act in a more relaxed manner and talk to each other as they linked the programme together.
On top of all that there is another major bonus related to the move. La Pouquelaye boasts two main studios, the second of which will have a number of uses, one of which is to give the local programme makers a second studio if they want to make special programmes, for example a discussion programme featuring the candidates in a major local election. At Rouge Bouillon, with only one main studio, a special programme could only be mounted, either by dismantling the Channel Report set, or by squeezing the special programme into the other end of the studio. Neither solution was ideal, both led to compromise.
The new complex is also far more efficient. The newsroom where the reporters and production team compile the news bulletins and Channel Report is at one end of the building. Next door the camera crews have their headquarters. A news story usually begins on the telephone in the Newsroom. The reporter then finds his camera crew close at hand so that together they can plan how they will film the pictures and record the interviews for the report. Once that is done the videotape editor assembles the package — he is also situated next to the newsroom. Next along the corridor is the dubbing suite where the sound engineer records the reporter’s voice-over. Then the report is then ready for transmission.
The offices of the maintenance engineers come next as we follow the path from newsroom to studio. The engineers keep all the equipment functioning and they are in constant touch with the newsroom explaining how repair work on any suspect piece of machinery is going.
The Guernsey newsroom is linked to the Jersey newsroom by means of computer so that the news editor in Jersey can constantly keep up to date with the development of stories across the water. The Guernsey studio is linked to the new Jersey studio by means of a micro wave link which allows Guernsey reporters to present the news section of Channel Report live each evening. Nor are the smaller islands forgotten. Live pictures from Alderney have just been injected into Channel Report for the first time using the IBA transmitter link from Alderney to the new Jersey studio.
All in all, ‘The Move’ has been a great boost for the local programme makers at Channel. It is allowing them to bring the same level of top quality service to each of the Channel Islands — it is helping them to make better programmes.