Life as a Broadcast Engineer

Dan Storr, Broadcast Engineer

How long have you been with Timeline and what is your role?

Eight years and counting. My current role is Broadcast Engineer, but this doesn’t really reflect everything I do. Day-to-day, my role varies massively. One day I could be rigging kit in the rain somewhere in the UK. Two days later I could be on a boat providing RF support somewhere hot and sunny. I get the chance to work alongside many different departments on a wide range of jobs, filling many different roles. I have had opportunities to learn about aspects of all of the technical departments.

How has your career progression route changed?

When I started at Timeline in 2010 I knew nothing about TV and hadn’t even comprehended what making TV involved. The first skill I remember learning was how to end a Cat5 cable. Since then I must have ended over 3000 ends, so that knowledge has come in very handy. From then onwards, every day has been a school day at Timeline. I have picked up or figured out something new every day, and have always had people around me willing to share their knowledge.

My first real role for Timeline was as an Edit Support Engineer. From this I built up a base on edit systems and set ups, which naturally progressed into using edits on live shows and learning about EVS networks. I then got an opportunity to travel the world with the Volvo Ocean Race as a Junior RF Engineer (knowing nothing about RF, I found this a big jump). Having completed the Ocean Race Series, I ended up on many more RF jobs, which required me to know about aspects of Vision. So this is what I learnt next. Four years ago, I started assisting with the design of the Manchester City in-house media system and spent 6 weeks installing a two-gallery system for match day production.

Following that experience I got the chance to design and build a flyaway kit for the PSA World Squash Tour and saw this kit through its first year of transmission. Having acquired knowledge of full systems engineering, I was given the chance to work on the America’s Cup World Series for BT Sport as Senior Engineer for their on-location presence. The tour ended with a 4-week stop in Bermuda with full flyaway OB. I was given the chance to Unit Manage this on site and be the Lead Engineer for the duration of the 4 weeks.

Describe the atmosphere at Timeline:

Timeline is more like a family than a group of colleagues. The team attitude doesn’t only extend to the crew onsite. No matter what day of the week, or time of day it is, someone will always answer the phone to help should you have issues to which you can’t find the solution. You are never alone on a job at Timeline even if you are the only person on site.

The team is extremely friendly and there are often social occasions. The Timeline Christmas party has become the industry-wide event of the year and it is always planned around sporting events to ensure that the maximum number of Timeline staff and clients can attend.

Please describe a day in the life of…

A day in the life of Dan Storr? Well, as no two days are the same, this is an impossible task. Fortunately, 70% of my working days start by waking up in a warm/exotic location and heading to work with a great team of skilful engineers all wanting to get the job done without a hitch. Once a job is successfully completed, the day can often end in a drink with the team and some time to have a laugh.

How would you describe our service?

Timeline strives to offer the best service possible to all its clients, and will go to any lengths to ensure the job goes smoothly and that the clients leave with big smiles on their faces. I believe that everyone at Timeline is willing to go the extra mile, no matter what is thrown at us. Should there be last-minute requests from the client for a change, or should a kit fail, we always make sure that the show doesn’t suffer. Everyone at Timeline works to the best of their ability. If something can be improved upon, we will make every effort to do so.

Do you find your work challenging and varied?

Having had the opportunity to learn about all aspects of broadcast engineering, I find that every day at work is slightly different to the last. There are no monotonous and repetitive tasks in any of the jobs I undertake.

What has been one of your best achievements at Timeline?

I think one of my biggest achievements at Timeline was my input on both the sailing events for the London Olympics and Rio Olympics. This was a great opportunity to work alongside great companies and people, and to provide some of the best coverage of the Olympic sailing ever seen.

What is the best location you have been to?

This is another tough question. Having been given the chance to travel around the world a couple of times, I couldn’t pick just one location. So the top three would be New Zealand, Brazil and China. All of them have a ‘view from the office’ like no other, as well as sun, sea and sand. And all whilst being paid. That’s a pretty great deal if you ask me.

What attracted you to Timeline?

I was introduced to Timeline by a friend back in the summer of 2010, when an extra pair of hands was needed at the de-rig of Wimbledon. I knew he enjoyed working for the company and with the people at Timeline, so I wasn’t hesitant when taking him up on this offer. It is the people, the work ethic and the company’s can-do attitude that has kept me working happily for Timeline.

Fancy joining our team? Take a look at our current vacancies.