Don’t panic! Advice from multi-camera directors – part 4: Scott Imren

Scott Imren Multi-camera Director

In the most recent post in this series, we heard from multi-camera Director Del Brown. In this post, we hear from Scott Imren to get his advice on being a multi-camera Director.




Scott Imren Multi-camera DirectorSCOTT IMREN

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What are some of your biggest multi-camera directing achievements?

Certainly the most spectacular event I get to direct is the Goodwood Revival, motorsport’s historic weekend at the famous Sussex track. Take a grid of priceless original racing cars driven by the likes of Sterling Moss and Jackie Stewart, surrounded by mechanics and thousands of spectators all dressed in pre-1966 costume, add a smattering of celebrities and royalty, then have a squadron of Spitfires fly over, and you feel like you’re on the set of a major Hollywood blockbuster with a limitless budget!

We cover all this for the big screens around the event (edited down later for broadcast on ITV) with 12 cameras around the track, one RF camera in the pit lane and the occasional helicopter. Replays, highlights and (very welcome) ad breaks come from EVS, and it’s all produced from an OB truck.

At the other end of the scale, but equally challenging, is a series of chat shows I’ve directed for the BBC called Rendezvous with Zeinab Badawi. Shot on location in Marrakech and Tanzania, sourcing reliable OB kit, sets and locations that are approved by the security services of the Heads of State that were to appear on the show proved to be quite an adventure! We had to bring in a truck and lighting from Nairobi for the Tanzanian shows as the local TV industry was not set up for hire. The Marrakech production was all controlled by a PPU (portable production unit) sent in from the UK.


What makes a good multi-camera Director?

There are two main factors to directing a good show. Firstly, the Director needs to have an acute attention to detail. They are ultimately responsible for everything that appears or is heard in the programme. A camera operator may have framed up a beautiful cutaway of a sports spectator, but if he’s wearing an Adidas hat and the sponsor of the event is Nike then the Executive Producer won’t appreciate the ‘art’ you may think you’ve created.

The other skill I believe is equally important is the ability to create the right environment for the production. Making TV, especially live TV, can be a very stressful undertaking, so a confident Director will set the right atmosphere. I have worked with panicky Directors in the past and their fear spreads throughout the crew and to the presenters which ultimately has a big effect on screen. Confident and calm presenters will come across much better and a crew that trusts the Director will produce their best results. A good multi-camera Director is only as good as their crew so finding and keeping the best operators in the industry on your side is essential.


What’s the worst thing that’s happened while you’ve been directing a live multi-camera production?

During the ad break on the ITV News Channel the presenter’s autocue pedal stopped working. An engineer promptly rushed in to fix it. With just 30 seconds to go before air I insisted that he leave the set and we would control the autocue from the gallery. However, he stayed a little longer, convinced that he’d almost finished fixing it, with me continuing to shout at him to get off the set. At the point I hit the button to fire the opening titles sequence he hit the floor and lay down behind the presenter’s desk. However, the timeline sequence that was now unstoppably underway included a wide shot of the studio that left the viewers wondering why there was a dead, or perhaps sleeping, body in the studio!


Have you got any advice for anyone looking to become a multi-camera Director?

A good multi-camera Director should understand as much about each of the technical roles of making a show as possible so that they can get the best out of each operator and know how to keep a show looking clean on air when technology is doing its best to thwart you. So, start in a multi-skilled studio environment and learn about vision-mixing, sound, lighting, cameras, VT, graphics, floor managing and prompt. You may not become an expert at each of these but some knowledge of what they entail will go a long way when directing.

As budgets in the industry continue to shrink, the occasions where there is one person for each of the jobs above are increasingly rare.  So, being multi-skilled will help you get the directing roles, especially if you can also set up a vision mixer and cut your own cameras.


In the next post in this series, we talk to multi-camera director, Ollie Bartlett.

One thought on “Don’t panic! Advice from multi-camera directors – part 4: Scott Imren

  1. Pingback: Don’t panic! Advice from multi-camera directors – part 5: Ollie Bartlett | Trickbox TV

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