LAST night, Sir Chris Hoy’s: How to win Gold was broadcast across BBC One, UK-wide.
It was also aired on BBC Scotland, after having been broadcast in Scotland only, last week.
Here, producer, Colin Murray, answers the questions…
Who commissioned the programme?
The programme was commissioned by Ewan Angus at BBC Scotland and was part of the BBC’s landmark output around the Commonwealth Games.
Explain the thinking behind the production’s ‘look and feel’
The look and feel developed as the project went on. I started off knowing that I didn’t want formal, potentially stilted interviews. I thought that Chris should do something more interesting and playful for the viewers – and that doing something with the contributors might also help to take his mind off being in front of the camera. So we worked hard to find not just contributors but activities and places that would allow us to see Chris and the contributors in a new light.
The complexity and psychological intensity of sport doesn’t always come across, so it was our aim to try to communicate the drive, the hunger that might keep someone practising the same activity and hurting themselves every day in training for years and even decades. I knew that I wanted the film to be about intensity, and the emotional investment that goes with competing in elite sport.
As far as the look goes, it was about creating a visually-interesting world, where we used some of the stylised high-production value visual methods of sport films, but to our own ends. I also captured the contributors with multiple cameras at each location, more like a drama dialogue sequence than a traditional documentary.
Who are the key personnel? How were they recruited?
Behind the scenes, the key creative personnel were a mixture of established and new collaborators. It was edited by Ed Horne, and shot mostly by Alastair McCormick, both of whom I’ve worked with in the past. To get across the emotion, I wanted to work with sound design and create a very specific mix. Luckily, BBC Scotland currently has very talented people in the sound department so I didn’t have to look very far. The soundmix was created and mixed by the dynamic Lucy Watt and Paul Flitcroft. It was great to be able to work with so many talented people throughout the production.
What kit and software?
We shot mostly on C300, with a whole range of camera toys. Cut on Avid, graded in Baselight.
What were the main production challenges?
It sounds really dull but the biggest challenge was just getting the contributors in our production’s timescale. A-list names are surrounded by agents so getting people pinned down and committed to turn up at a specific place and time wasn’t without its challenges. Fortunately, we had a terrific production team.
What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?
I learned that sport can be much more complicated and emotionally challenging than is often assumed or articulated. We get the gloss, the event and the drama of the victory or the defeat but often the real drama might have been played out behind the scenes. As a cyclist, I particularly enjoyed riding the London Olympic track with Chris, shooting from various cameras mounted on my bike, even though in retrospect I do look ridiculously slow!