DVD Review - BBTV 29-Jul-2008
The second installment of BBTV from Brass in Concert has lots of features, debate and high class playing to enjoy.
British Bandsman Television - A new Dimension in Banding
Approx playing time: 2 hours
Launching a new product into a market place not traditionally used to innovation can be a difficult task.
When the new product is also targeted to a specific niche market then those who have invested time in its development have to be confident that there is not only the room, but also the appetite, for it to first capture the imagination, and then the long term interest and purchasing power of potential customers.
Brass band bubble
In our own little bubble of the brass band world, it has been the British Bandsman newspaper that has provided a weekly round up of what goes on in our specific musical niche market, and the fact that it was launched in 1887 and is still going strong, is testament to its success and ability to adapt as the years have gone by.
It has fought hard to maintain it readership – from the twin threats of increased magazine competition and that of the internet, and despite the reservations of some traditionalists, it is fair to say that the British Bandsman of 2008 now meets its own weekly publishing remit.
However, in an age when there is such a diversity of media outlets many believe that brass bands have certainly missed out on the almost limitless potential of cheap television production.
Although at present the set up costs involved (and potential advertising revenues) would seem to be prohibitive in going as far as launching a bespoke brass band television channel, British Bandsman has opted to increase its potential customer base with the launch of BBTV – a DVD based programme which will be produced three times per year.
In essence it is a ‘light entertainment’ programme of features, based around specific events, giving the consumer the chance to take a diverse look at different aspects of the brass band movement.
The original pilot edition was launched last October and wasn’t an overwhelming success – enthusiastic ambition rather outreaching the reality of producing a product that despite its potential and many highlights, was far too long and disjoined whilst suffering from a number quality control issues.
For the brass band cognoscenti however it was a fascinating glimpse into the future. The potential was there for everyone to see.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again then, and this second edition has in its way benefited greatly from being able to just about iron out all those gremlins that made the first venture so uneven.
This is a whole different ball game, with the clarity of sound making for enjoyable and comfortable listening, whilst the scope of the content, and the integral ingredients themselves benefiting greatly from a much more disciplined editing process.
There is still a little unevenness in sound at times (as well as lighting), but overall this is a huge step in the right direction – the content is sharper and more focused, the features so much better polished and presented, and the whole package having a coherent editorial direction from start to finish.
The focus for this DVD is brass entertainment with the programme coming from last year’s Brass in Concert Championships.
SP& S Managing Director Trevor Caffull is interviewed talking about Brass in Concert, his company’s involvement with the event, and even the vision to get brass bands on cable television, whilst Bandsman Editor, Kenneth Crookston, drops in on Grimethorpe’s pre-contest rehearsal in showcase the preparation with interviews with MD Philip McCann and Band Manager, Terry Webster.
Adjudicating at last year’s Brass in Concert was Michael J Garassi and there’s a fascinating interview with the Brass Band of Central Florida MD, as there is with Ulf Rosenberg, the President of EBBA. Joining Ulf at the contest was the Eikanger Band from Norway and Iwan Fox (having done an introduction in Norwegian) talks to three members of the band about their trip.
Anything that succeeds from an audio and visual point of view in this kind of production needs an anchor, and BBTV has Frank Renton on fine form throughout – a indispensable professional link.
Frank takes the viewer from one interactive segment into another, including his discussion forum, ‘Renton’s Round Table’ where he is joined by Kenneth Crookston, 4BR Editor, Iwan Fox and Ray Farr.
The four of them look ahead to the Brass in Concert contest the following day after filming (which does make it strange looking forward when in effect its now six months ago) and even further ahead to the Europeans at the start of May. You’ll have to watch to see if there is any disagreeing like Question Time, but you get some very interesting view points, nonetheless.
Of particular interest to many will be the behind the scenes footage of Black Dyke recording the music of Edward Elgar at Cadogan Hall in January this year where the band was conducted by Sir Colin Davis. In an interview with Philip Wilby you get an insight into Sir Colin’s thoughts on the experience of conducting Black Dyke.
Overall, BBTV seems intent on bringing a fresh approach to a variety of subject areas that it intends to cover, and they welcome suggestions as well from you the viewer on matters that they can focus on.
It seems BBTV has now found its feet and with further improvement to the production process for the third edition it has the undoubted potential to provide an entertaining and thoughtful extended brass band programme to an audience that is hungry for something that gives value and provides something different.
As with all new products, it is the consumer that will decide on the success, but if this second edition of BBTV is anything to go by it seems the future is looking rosy.
There are two ways to purchase BBTV at the moment: 3 issues for £40 or an individual stand alone instalment at £15.
Two further editions are planned for 2008 and BBTV is certainly well worth a look at.
To subscribe to BBTV – British Bandsman Television contact 01933 445442, via the website www.britishbandsman.com/bbtv.asp or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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