DETOUR is a monthly online TV programme showcasing unsigned Scottish bands. Each show is 30 minutes long and episode two has been recently posted. It is presented by Ally McCrae and David Weaver who met at Stirling University while, they say, “attempting to study philosophy”.
One of the reasons for Detour was a decision by the BBC to scrap its Radio 1 show, Introducing in Scotland, which was about the best new unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar music in Scotland, and presented by McCrae. A petition trying to save it – and its Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts – attracted over 14,000 signatures. There is now an UK-wide, BBC Introducing show.
Who commissioned the production?
Commissioned? What does that mean? We have done this entirely of our own volition and for the love of the music being made in this country as well as a love of all things live. We are currently having some very interesting conversations with different organisations about taking this concept to another level, both in a traditional sense and in other ways. In short, though, we are very proud of what we have achieved with no budget and some good friends working together for the sake of it – imagine what we could achieve with a budget and to be paid for this.
Explain the thinking behind the production’s ‘look and feel’?
We obviously want to showcase the bands in the best way possible while maintaining the real, close and intimate atmosphere that you would experience at a live show. We don’t stage it like a studio, what we put out is a real representation of what happens on the night. We aim to keep our production values as high as possible while still engaging the viewer in the live environment.
Who are the key personnel? How were they recruited?
Euan Robertson – a pal and a staff photographer on the NME – is as involved with the production as we are. Like all of us, he does it for nothing. There is a pool of six supremely awesome camerapeople we work with, who have a keen eye for the action. Again, we are all pals/young professionals to the game. Joe Merrick provides the graphics, Ben Cowie is our visual director/cameraman and we have two sound men and four production assistants. We are very much a team of friends but this is the first time we’ve all really stepped up and worked together professionally.
Pre-production is done mainly by Euan.
Four of us – Ally, Weaver, Euan and Joe – are graduates from Stirling University. Ben doesn’t need a piece of paper, he is a self-made man. To be honest, the connections were all made with extra curricular activities at uni, all of us were lucky to have the opportunities we had at uni. It was the university’s student radio station where we all learned our trade.
What kit and software?
Cameras: Canon 5D MkII, Canon 7D, Sony Z7. Editing done on Final Cut Pro 7 by Euan, Ally and Ben.
What have been the main production challenges?
Operating on zero budget has its problems and we have had to call in a lot of favours. Time is also an issue as we are all doing other things to make money. We don’t have an in-house sound engineer and since we rely on the availability of friends, that can be tricky. Really though, we haven’t encountered anything too hard. We know what we want to get out of it and it’s just been a case of making it happen.
What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?
This is the biggest ‘team’ production any of us have undertaken, we’ve all worked on separate, smaller productions together but nothing of this magnitude where we’ve had to have defined roles and rely on each other to carry out our jobs properly. It’s super rewarding to see it come together and I guess the fact that we’ve been able to stop being pals for a production and act professionally – until we get to the pub afterwards – is a great thing.