Quick Tip: HITT for your podcasts and live video
Could an intervals app help keep your podcast or video on track?
This week I’ve been talking to students about planning and timing for a broadcast assignment. They have to work in a team to produce a studio-based news programme. That means scripts, running orders and shouty directors. Timing is something that I’ve banged on about most — if you don’t know when each bit starts and ends, then the programme runs into the ground.
In the ‘old days’, you had a PA sat next to the director running multiple stopwatches, checking the timings for each element and making sure it all ran on time. Now studios have playout systems that track all of that for you. But that's in ‘fancy TV studios’. What if you don’t have that but still need to keep an eye on your timings. What if you have a live podcast and you want to keep to a basic structure but you don’t have the fancy kit (or a PA!)
As always, I’m interested in finding easy to access solutions to problems like this, so I started looking at apps that offered a way to set multiple timers.
The running order
Let’s say we have a running order that looks like this:
00:00:00 — Intro music
00:00:30 — sponsors message
00:00:50 — this week preview
00:01:10 — First Guest
00:04:00 — Second Guest
00:06:00 — Group Chat. No longer than 3:00 mins
00:09:00 — Next week and goodbye
00:09:30 — End credits
The standard alarm on most phones will allow you to set multiple times. So you could set an alarm for each section of your show. The problem is that you’d need to start your show at a preset time. More fundamentally, Alarm apps don’t do seconds and in the broadcast world, seconds count. So I needed something that would measure intervals in seconds. That’s when I thought of HITT trainers.
High-intensity interval training is a popular way of getting fit (so I’m told!). It requires short intervals of high-intensity exercises with rest in between. To stay on track, you can get apps that track when to start each interval over a period of time. This seemed ideal for the job.
So I found an interval timer called Seconds and set it up with sections of the programme instead of exercise intervals. The app allows for haptic feedback, buzzes or beeps as well as a voice that counts down. But most will give you some sort of buzz or feedback when each interval is due or you can mute them altogether. So you could have your device in your pocket, buzzing to keep you on track. Or set it to mute and have it on the desk so you can track the time.
What I liked about Seconds, in particular, was that it showed a countdown, the time elapsed and time remaining. All the timings you need to keep your broadcast on track. I’m sure this isn’t unique to interval apps but I’ve not dug too deeply.
Hopefully, that’s useful. Not too left-field.
Let me know what you think.
I really like this idea. The fact that it’s online means you can share it among the presenters and contributors which make remote contribution possible. A neat solution