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10-02-2015 10:20:02

Frame 25 interviews Jason Lynn, Freelance EVS Operator

Cath Cooper|Industry, Inspiration, News

 

EVS op Jason Lynn, right, pictured with former England striker Michael Owen

Here at Frame 25, we often get asked about EVS positions – what does it takes to work as an EVS operator, how much does it pay, and so on.

We’ve talked about this subject before but this time we’ve dug deeper about life as an EVS op. Frame 25 (F25) spoke to Jason Lynn (JL), who lists the BBC, BT Sport, Racing UK, Timeline TV, Sunset & Vine among his clients and has worked on numerous programmes, including Match of the Day.

F25: What’s life like as an EVS operator?

JL: As an EVS op I have to do fast turnarounds of live pictures for replays during matches, either on OBs or gallery work. That involves making analysis packages for [sports programme] pundits to talk over.

F25: What duration do they run to?

JL: However long they want – could be 30 seconds, might even be 15 seconds. It might be just somebody doing some skills, or tackling someone. It’s all about analysis and highlights. If it’s a programme I’m working on, normally I’ll make a ‘closer’ as well, which is the story of the game in 30 seconds with music. Sometimes we get a choice of music but a lot of the time it’s generic or a piece that’s been paid for [by the broadcaster/production company].

 “Be fast, work well under pressure – and grow a thick skin”

F25: What skills do you need as an EVS operator?

JL: You have to be fast and work well under pressure because it is a very pressurised environment. You also need a thick skin, so when somebody – a producer or director – is screaming for something, you’ve just got to do it and there’s no please or thank you most of the time, it’s just a case of, “Get it out now!”. But you can’t take it personally, it’s just how it is. But if an operator makes a mistake, it’s the loneliest place in the world. You’re only as good as your last job – there are no second chances.

From publican to Twickenham

F25: What kind of productions do you work on?

JL: It’s mainly football but also some rugby, motor racing, too. I’ll also do big-screen work at Chelsea, Arsenal, Twickenham and Wembley.

F25: Have you always worked in TV?

JL: No, I was a publican for six years, between stints in the TV industry. I was permanent, full-time staff in TV before I was landlord of one or two pubs, including The Lord’s Tavern, which is right next to Lord’s cricket ground, and The Black Horse, in the West End.

F25: How did you get started as an EVS operator and where did you train?

JL: I was freelancing as a VT op and an agency contacted me to tell me that there was a job going as a VT but also a trainee EVS op. I’d already decided that I wanted to become an EVS op – I’d heard from someone in the industry that there wasn’t a huge demand for VT ops any more and everyone was moving into EVS, so if you find a job where you can train as an EVS op, she said, ‘Go for it’ – so I went for that job as a VT op/trainee EVS op, which was at Input Media, and got it.

F25: Tell us a little bit about EVS itself please, Jason.

JL: EVS is the name of the company. The hardware will be something like LSM, which is the controller. There’s another thing called IPD, which is a PC-based LSM and very powerful media management tool.

F25: As an EVS op, is every shift similar or is there always the potential to throw something new at you?

JL: A lot of it is repetition. As long as you know the kit, whatever comes along, you can do. But a lot of it depends on the people you work with as well – you get thrown into the deep end a lot. The more experience the director and producer that you’re working with have, the better. When they know about EVS and its limitations, they won’t ask you to do something that they think can be done but just can’t be done.

F25: Does EVS have any competition in the broadcast market?

JL: There is a cheaper version, called Newtec, but EVS is the industry standard and going to be around for a while, I think.

F25: Is there much jargon related to EVS that you’ve had to learn?

JL: Not too much, no, not really. It’s just knowing how the kit works and what it does, what it’s capable of. The only jargon that’s used by everyone is ‘clips’ and ‘playlists’ – that’s really it, and ‘mixing’.

How much does EVS pay?

F25: How well does EVS freelancing pay? Has the rate changed much over time?

JL: I’ve been freelancing just under a year so the rate’s been steady in that time but I believe the rate hasn’t changed for ten years. It’s still £350 for a ten-hour shift, which is standard across the industry.

F25: What advice would you give to somebody who’s looking to start a career as an EVS op?

JL: Spend a lot of time learning it before you go freelance. There are some very good ops out there so you need to put the time in. EVS has been around for about 10 or 15 years now and there are some people who have been doing it for a very long time. The number of ops has gone up over the years, but then so has the demand. Everything is becoming server-based and EVS is now pretty much the standard for any production company that does live events, and not just sport.

Are you interested in becoming an EVS op? Do you already freelance as an EVS op and are looking for more bookings? Talk to us at Frame 25 to find out how we can help.

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