Procam is proud to support the National Film & Television School by providing production kit for ‘The Great British Butler’; a final year graduation project from two of its students: Ian Packard and Tom Day, on the Producing & Directing Television Entertainment MA course.
The award-winning course is continually proving to be a fast-track into the industry. Students so far have sold three Entertainment formats to Warner Brothers Television and ITV in the last three years. Recently, two student graduation shows won prestigious awards at the New York Television Festival and the department won another RTS Award for best student Entertainment show.
The show produced, The Great British Butler, is an ‘Apprentice’ style competition reality show taking ten people from the hospitality and service industry gunning to win a lucrative new role as a modern butler. With a salary of up to £150,000 a year and numerous work perks, it can be a very profitable prospect. However, the skills required are vast and extremely challenging. They will need to know everything from private security, to chauffeuring and high fashion.
“The main issue for Tom and I was ultimately the scale of the project. It’s not everyday students try to create a pilot episode of a competition reality show!” said Ian Packard. “We have been working on the project since February and not a day passed over the summer where we weren’t working late into the night. We had a very specific level of quality we wanted to achieve.”
Ian further added “Tom and I have always been very driven to achieve more and more professionalism with each project we work on and the kit that Procam very generously provided allowed us to take an idea and shoot it in a professional manner.”
To help bring the show to life Procam generously donated three Sony PMW-500 camera kits, with a variety of Canon lenses, accessories and tripods for the shoot. These kits were used by students from both the Cinematography MA and the Broadcast Production Diploma to shoot the show over a week in September. With locations including a modern mansion in Sevenoaks and a military training ground in Hampshire, these fantastic locations needed to be captured with professional industry kit. This is where Procam’s knowledge, expertise and leading broadcast technology came into play.
“Knowing early on the PMW-500 cameras provided by Procam could deliver the images we were looking for allowed us to focus on the more complicated aspects of the show.” Said Ian. “We used the PMW-500 for the ‘live’ elements of our show. We needed an ergonomic and fit-for-purpose camera that could guarantee we would capture the shots we wanted, in focus and no matter how light or dark the scenario was. I was particularly proud of the helicopter shots for the opening of the show. It’s my Michael Bay moment. When I saw it come over the horizon and the cameras rolled I was hopping around like a giddy schoolboy!”
Procam understands the importance of supporting and developing new talent for the TV industry. Whether it’s through the rigorous in house training program that all Procam crew undertake, by providing kit to educational institutions like the NFTS or the partnership in place with the MAMA Youth Project, Procam are keen to help shape those who are looking to start their career in the TV industry and develop their skills.
“I still struggle to find an adjective strong enough to express our gratitude for Procam’s support of both us and the NFTS.” Said Ian. “I think it’s hugely important that students develop relationships with professional companies like Procam because I know their generosity and support will help me build a strong relationship with them when we graduate and begin our television careers. I look at the talent around me at the NFTS and I know that students here will go places and do amazing things, Procam’s investment in our future is a significant step forward for us and I would encourage other companies to help students realise their potential.”
The Great British Butler is currently in the offline edit stage and the pilot will be completed by mid-December with the possibility of being optioned in the future.