UK broadcast hire company Procam has donated £100,000 of HD equipment to the MAMA Youth Project to give disadvantaged young people hands-on experience of a range of broadcast technology and further their route to employment in the industry.
Procam’s investment has provided the charity with HD cameras, lighting and sound equipment. This means that filming of the organisation’s TV show, created by the young people themselves, will be captured in high definition for the first time.
The MAMA Youth Project (MYP) gives young people aged 16-25 from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to undergo hands-on training and gain real-world experience in the broadcast industry. As part of the scheme, Procam took on two trainees for a 13-week period, after which both were taken on as full-time warehouse technicians.
Trainees Jack Lucas and Callum Tunmore give their own accounts of how they found the experience.
Jack Lucas, audio trainee
I began my time at Procam not really knowing what to expect, but with big hopes and expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. Although I had gained some experience as a sound recordist during my time at the MAMA Youth Project, after spending just a couple weeks at Procam I realised there was still plenty for me to learn. The range and variety of equipment that they own is quite staggering and can seem a bit daunting when you first start, but all of the staff members have been really friendly and willing to pass on their knowledge and give advice.
Due to my interest in audio, I was able to spend a lot of time working in the sound department with Steve Peck and Louis Boniface who would always answer any questions I had about the equipment. It was here that I learnt the most about how Procam operates and how serious they are about providing the best service possible to all their clients. This would include meticulously testing every single piece of kit, making sure everything is clean and presented neatly. It is this attitude which I think helps make Procam as successful and well respected as they are.
I didn’t just spend 13 weeks in the kit room, I also got to go out with the projects team to Under The Bridge at Chelsea’s football stadium to help with the Made In Chelsea end of season show. This was a great learning curve as although I’ve had experience working on shoots, they were on a much smaller scale. I got to help with both the rig and shoot day working under Procam’s sound supervisor Nick Way, who really looked after me and made me feel part of the team.
Having met some of the Procam staff whilst at MYP, I remember asking them what it was like to work there and they all had good things to say. They made it clear that it isn’t an easy ride and that you have to work hard and be driven, but if you truly want to build a career as a camera op/sound recordist, then there’s no better place to do it.
My advice to those considering a technical job in the industry; if it’s something you are passionate about and enjoy then go for it. A hire company is your opportunity to arm yourself with all the know-how needed to make it. I didn’t study for TV at university and whilst my degree (Music & Audio Technology) helped with my understanding of audio, it didn’t give me the hands-on experience and knowledge that I’ve already gained from my short time working at Procam.
Callum Tunmore, camera trainee
From the age of 16, I had been involved in a few small productions, and worked with a production company in my home town of Norwich. I was then in the sixth form, and made the decision to try and jump straight into the industry as an alternative to university. I was taken on by the MAMA Youth Project, and worked as a camera operator for a series on a Sky 1 commission. From this I gained a broadcast TV credit, valuable industry and kit experience, and above all a 13-week paid placement with Procam.
During my time filming the show, I was operating ENG broadcast cameras, full lighting setups and all the other components we needed to create a professional production. All of the kit I was using was from Procam, so it meant I had a head start in understanding some of their equipment. During the 13-week placement I had with Procam after the show I undertook a massive range of tasks, with no day being the same. I was able to get hands-on experience with Procam’s extensive range of equipment and I felt I was learning an incredible amount on a daily basis. I was also sent out as a driver on occasion, which helped me familiarise myself with a range of procedures and clients that Procam deal with.
After the placement, I was taken on at Procam on a permanent contract as a warehouse technician. The main benefit of the role is that I’m constantly using and testing every part of the kit, so I’m able to learn how to use it, as well as troubleshooting problems which are invaluable on set. Since being employed full time, I’ve been out on numerous shoots, ranging from a night time shoot in the London Stock Exchange to a high end commercial with a model. I have been working as both a camera trainee and a technical assistant on these jobs, but the work goes far beyond the job title. I’ve been training with the fantastic DOP Saul Gittens, and through working with the team that Procam employ I’ve gained a lot of expertise, as well as the friendships that have subsequently blossomed. I’ve been using a huge range of kit from the C300 to the F55, and been able to get hands-on experience with the industry’s best kit, which is incredible considering I was in college just last year.
Despite being Procam’s youngest employee at 18, I found their work is based entirely on professionalism and the sheer amount of hard work everyone puts in, so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a career with them instead of university.
It’s a common fact that graduates will come out and have to start at the bottom like everybody else, as the experience and credits I’ve got simply can’t be taught or learnt at an educational level. With a set career path to become a DOP, I believe I am in the right place to achieve this. I feel fully in my element at Procam, and overall it’s an amazing place to be, with great people who have helped me achieve so much in the six months I’ve been in London, and will undoubtedly continue to help me achieve my goal of becoming a lighting cameraman.