Behind the scenes: Filming during lockdown

By Elspeth Briscoe

When the lockdown was announced Learning with Exerts had to consider whether it was even possible to continue creating the exciting new courses we had planned with a variety of tutors across the UK.

These included a three Michelin starred chef in London, a baker in Bath and a 75 year old fitness instructor in self-isolation in Blackburn - so the solution had to be small enough to be couriered around the country and straightforward enough to be set up and operated by people with zero production experience. On their own. Without compromising on quality...

Henry and Kendal on shoot, prior to lockdown

After eliminating several alternatives, our production team decided the new iPhone 11 Pros were the best compromise between picture quality and ease of operation. And we discovered a secret weapon - a little known app which increases the amount of information the camera can record ten fold - as well as allowing the settings to be manipulated like a conventional broadcast camera. We just needed to remember to order the phones with the big memory!

That was the pictures taken care of, but one of the things which lets down many people's user generated content is the lighting and sound. So we threw a couple of lights and professional mics in the peli case too and sent it off. 

Rob Ludgate, Henry Richards and Kendal on set with Sir Muir Gray, prior to lockdown

Our team have made content for brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and BMW, so if they were happy with the picture quality, so were we. The biggest challenge though, was ahead - talking the tutors through the set up and directing the shoot. So, one day in mid-March our Head of Production and director, Rob Ludgate, along with so many others, took their first foray into Zoom... 

First zoom meeting with Paul A Young
Remote filming for Paul A Young's course 'How to Make the Perfect Easter Egg'
Remote filming for Paul A Young's course 'How to Make the Perfect Easter Egg'

Their previous experience including remotely guiding contributors doing video diaries and undercover filming for current affairs programmes and news investigations gave them a good start. But the real prize has to go to the man who has been described as 'The Real Life Willy Wonka' - a man who proved that he is not just a master of chocolate, but a master of production and a true broadcast pro, Paul A Young. After a lightning fast set up, he was able to record the following film in under THREE hours: How to Make the Perfect Easter Egg at Home.

Paul proved to us that lockdown wouldn't stop us from bringing new courses to the Learning with Experts community - and that the quality of our videos wouldn't have to be compromised by the rules of social distancing.

"Thanks so much to you Rob and to both Kendal and Henry, I really appreciate all the guidance. You made filming really fun!" - Paul A Young

After the success of Paul's course, it seemed that we had found the perfect solution. We could continue to create exciting new courses, while keeping both our team and tutors safe during these uncertain times.

Since filming Paul's course, we haven't wasted a minute longer! With so many exciting new tutors in the pipeline, we couldn't wait to start working on our next project. Next on the list was Richard Bertinet - a highly acclaimed chef who has spent much of his professional life devoted to the art of bread making, with three of his internationally acclaimed books “Dough,” Crust,” and “Crumb” dedicated to teaching top chefs and enthusiasts of the craft.

Richard jumped at the challenge, and the next stop for our remote filming kit was the Bertinet Kitchen where we got to work with our new Bread Making course.

Behind the scenes at the Bertinet kitchen
Behind the scenes of the Bertinet kitchen

Next stop, the remote filming package was shipped over to Le Gavroche where it was time to get started with Classic French Cuisine: The Roux way with Michelle Roux Jr. There are few UK restaurants as globally influential as Le Gavroche. The Mayfair establishment has trained more than thirty Michelin starred chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Monica Galetti.

Behind the scenes of the shoot with Michelle Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche
Behind the scenes of the shoot with Michelle Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche

During this course, the UK culinary gives you a behind closed doors insight into his world and techniques, teaching you his chef’s secrets, his philosophy and the influence of his culinary hero, Georges Auguste Escoffier. Book your place

A message from Elspeth Briscoe, CEO

“I want to say a huge thank you to both our outstanding production team as well as our tutors, who have put their heads together during the current world crisis to ensure that we can continue to bring our students inspiring courses during lockdown. 

Our production team have adapted fast to the current climate, coming up with creative ways that they can keep both the team and tutors safe, without compromising on video quality. We are truly lucky to be working with such an excellent team of videographers, photographers, editors and producers.

I set up Learning with Experts because I believe that learning new skills throughout our lives is fundamental to being fulfilled and happy as humans. And that we learn best when we're in groups. The ability to bring people together while doing something they love couldn't be more important in this uncertain period we face."

Elspeth Briscoe

This antique is one of founders of this site. I'm highly collectible, definitely authentic, with an interesting patina. Rare for an internet geek.

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