Behind The Scenes
Back in March when the Coronavirus pandemic first hit, we very quickly had to make a decision about how The Running Channel could continue producing videos twice a week on YouTube, without actually being able to work together. Not an easy process to find solutions for!
We are a small team and are usually based out of an office in central London, but when it became clear that we all needed to work from home, it meant that the team was soon scattered around England.
How to carry on filming our videos was the main hurdle we faced as a team, because on a usual day we’d have 2 or 3 presenters and our videographer Tom on ‘set’.
Not only that, but our content plan for future videos was packed full of fun and exciting videos at races like the Icebug Frozen Lake Marathon that I was going to be tackling in Norway, The adidas 1 Hour Run and The London Marathon, to name a few. We were also about to start filming and producing a whole selection of videos to help all of you who were planning on taking on spring marathons. As soon as we realised that the races wouldn’t be going ahead in the spring we tore up the plan and started again from scratch.
We all put our heads together as a team to come up with video ideas that we knew would be important to you, our audience, during these unprecedented times. One of the first videos we made during lockdown was Andy’s running vlog about how to embrace running on your own – which for some of us was a totally new concept because we’d usually be running in groups, clubs and crews. We also filmed and produced two follow-along home workout videos – something we had never done before, but for all of us wanting to stay on top of our fitness and finding ourselves at home for the foreseeable future, it seemed like the kind of video we could make to help with that.
When we launched them on our YouTube channel on two consecutive Saturdays it was great to go live on Instagram and Facebook to do the routine along with some of you at the same time and feel like we were a community working out together. For me, it plugged a gap where parkrun used to be on a Saturday morning.
So that’s a little look behind the scenes of which videos we made and why. Now for a bit about the how! The Running Channel’s videographer Tom takes care of the filming, sound and editing for all of our videos, but as we’re not allowed within 2 metres of each other due to the pandemic, the filming and audio side of things had to be handed over to the presenter team to self-shoot instead. We had a bit of a crash course with advice from Tom, YouTube tutorial videos and online cribsheet notes for how to get the best out of our cameras and the best way for us to record the highest quality audio we could. We also had the GoPros that we use for filming when running.
When it comes to choosing the type of videos we’ve been making during lockdown, I also now have to consider how we will film them without having Tom around and how to get the best out of the equipment and skills we have. So it’s all a bit of a mix of everything. I’ve still been writing the scripts to include all of the presenters without physically being together, so Andy, Rick and Kate all get their scripts through and record their lines and then send them all over to Tom to sift through and put together into a final video. The bonus to all of this is that Tom has more editing time and can make some super jazzy graphics and animations on the videos – check out the first of our Challenge Accepted series for some of that.
We’ve all really missed being together physically and having the workplace banter that is usually rife in The Running Channel office, but we have daily catch-ups on video calls and there’s still plenty of banter (even if it is dad jokes from Andy), but we really can’t wait to get back to a new ‘normal’ where we can be out at events with you all, filming together as a team and having fun again.
Filming With The Emancipated Run Crew
With the Black Lives Matter movement front and centre on the global news agenda, I’ve spent the last month in conversation with some amazing people from lots of different parts of our wonderful, diverse global running community.
Together with the rest of The Running Channel team, I have done my best to listen, to learn, and to work out how we can be a genuine force for good moving forwards. Most importantly we have been focused on making sure that what we do is meaningful and long-lasting.
Through those conversations, I was introduced to Denise, Jules and Trojan from London’s Emancipated Run Crew – a Black running crew created to give runners a safe space to be themselves, and to encourage those who might not otherwise take up running as a leisure activity to get involved.
We spoke to the guys from ERC about featuring in a Running Channel video, and giving them a voice through our platform in order to share their experiences. Meeting them was fantastic, and hearing many of their stories first hand left a lasting impression on me – I felt grateful that they were able to share so candidly with me, and excited to be part of such a big and important conversation.
In particular, speaking to Trojan about his experiences of running as a Black man in light of the Ahmaud Arbery case in the US opened my eyes to a reality I had never considered. Having to be so self-aware and self-conscious on a run, and trying so hard to make sure other people don’t see you as a threat must be exhausting, but despite this, I was still left with a real sense of the joy and satisfaction that Trojan and the other ERC members experienced through running.
I’m excited that my job allows me to meet new people in this way, and that Denise, Jules, Trojan and the rest of the crew were so open to engaging in an open and honest discussion about difficult subjects, and also about our mutual love of running. I hope that our final video does this justice.
My day spent in Dulwich Park filming is a day I intend to remember and continue to reflect on. Thanks for reading, and please get in touch with us on all the usual social channels if you would like to ask any questions you might have.