Brian Barnes [barnesytv]
What is your specialty? Production, direction, something else?
I suppose in many ways I am a jack of all trades. I know the punchline to this but for me it means I can meet many needs.
I like to help people and solve problems.
If you need a full production, just shooting or editing, a webinar or podcast some duplication or training or mentoring or a workflow solution, I can sort it.
So not a very concise answer but ultimately I have been in the business for 28 years in an engineering role and production.
Is there a link to a site where we can see references to your work?
Yes www.activideo.co.uk is my company web site, we have a few things on display at theactivideo on you tube and my blog is www.barnesy.tv
How did you begin in this field? Who introduced you to it?
It was down to my chemistry teacher Mr Topham; he took us to see A Question of Sport being made at BBC Manchester when I was 16. I saw all the lights and cameras and decided it was exciting and that I would work there, a couple of years later I started as a technical assistant at the BBC in Manchester. I completed my engineering qualifications and just like me in the industry, A Question of Sport is still going...
Which have been the most symbolic works of your career?
Many, from my first editing experiences on Granada Tonight and the pilot show of This Morning, working as the vision supervisor on Brothers McGregor and many studio shows. Working as vision controller on Brookside, Waterfront Beat and Hollyoaks and later as the Head of Technical Operations on Hollyoaks.
Outside of engineering my first ever production was a travelogue in Nepal Climbing a peak called Lobuche, within Activideo a teaser for the top of the line Brother sewing machine was one of my favorite creations.
Do you work for a client, for the audience, or for your own creative adventure?
Hopefully all three in equal measure, the job doesn't exist without the clients desire, to be is to be perceived and so an audience is vital but without some personal creative adventure the cake doesn't get iced...
What should a good script have in order to interest you?
Good interpersonal interactions, amusing stimulating dialogue, a journey and protagonist that engages me and a twist I can't guess.
Name three contemporary directors or producers that you admire.
Frank Darabont, Ridley Scott, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
If an actor delivers the lines but is not believable, how do you direct him/her?
Find a way to tap into the required emotion from another personal experience and take them into the right zone, if that wasn't working find a way to mix it up and stimulate them to stretch their envelope.
Are you the type who instantly knows when a take is good, or one who does another three takes to be safe?
I pretty much know when a take is a good one but in the edit with goal posts moved by the client/producer it always pays to have an alternative.
Plus it is so easy for someone else to say later can I look at the other take, if you don't have one you always look a poor show.
If I have two I like, even if I get over ruled on one, I win...
How interested are you in image technologies such as robotized cameras, special effects, etc.?
Very interested but rarely get the budgets to explore. I would like to use expensive motion control and compositing on the right job of course, not just for the sake of it.
Do you enjoy post-production, or do you prefer to leave that in the hands of other professionals?
I have a background in post so I always like some input somewhere. I know eventually though I have to let go and allow others to enhance the product.
My background does facilitate good communication.
Do you approach an editing session with a clear idea of what you want to do or with an attitude of experimentation?
I usually have a good idea of structure but the edit process is one of creative exploration and polishing the product. Also serendipity plays a part!
What magazines or websites of the sector do you follow regularly?
High Definition, regional film and video, northwest vision and media,
Do you eat popcorn at the movies?
I am more of a chocolate ice cream type of guy
What do you think of public subsidies for cinema?
Not a bad thing but it should be bringing the voice of the public closer and more thoughtful arthouse movies that are exposed.
Hollywood has enough cash to promote.
Do you change the dialogue after selecting the actors in order to adapt the characters to them?
Only at the last minute to fine tune, it is their job to play the character not the other way around.
Which do you like more, large budget or small independent productions?
I don't have a budget preference I just like good films, these can be large or small budget.
Do you like to experiment with new technology immediately or do you prefer to wait for it to develop?
I like to get in early with good ideas so i can leverage them for longer but I jump over generations to maximise previous investment and leap forward.
Is the future of cinema the Internet? Mobile phones?
No, the younger generation is digesting their material more from mobile and laptop but the TV and the cinema screen have their place.
We all prefer to digest different material in different ways. The interactive/computer/internet areas will merge into the living room and we will still want to have the really big screen experience with family and friends.
Does the concept of interactive video stir up creative thoughts for you, or does it leave you cold?
I think to some extent it is over rated. A crafted film should take the viewer to another place, another emotion. The journey is determined by the director and the team, the viewer either likes or dislikes it.
Interactivity is more relevant in gaming where the narrative is more manipulated by the user.
It is good on DVD with extra material and web sites to mine deeper into the subject material or behind the scenes.
What recommendations do you have for someone who wants to break into in the industry?
You have to have belief in yourself, an informed opinion, energy and stamina and integrity. Caring about the production and your colleagues is good in building team work.