The people behind Timeline: an interview with Oliver Bennett

We’re taking you behind the scenes to discover what it’s like to to work at Timeline. Here we talk to Ollie Bennett, who was recently appointed as Technical Manager at BT Sport.

Please tell us about yourself:

Hello, my name’s Ollie. I joined Timeline just over 4 years ago as a Technical Operator but I have recently been promoted to Technical Manager at our base in BT Studios. My responsibilities include the planning and delivery of productions at BT Studios in Stratford. It is my responsibility to ensure the technical requirements for a show are implemented and to be a point of contact between client/production team, freelancers and Timeline’s technical teams.

I first got into the broadcast industry after studying a Media Production BSc course at De Montfort University in Leicester. After graduating I joined a SIS as a Technical Operator. I worked here for about 3 years on lots of horse racing/betting TV channels including the Sky Sports ‘At the Races’ channel. It was a great company to start off at as it exposed me to various areas of television. My work would vary daily between working as a Vision Mixer, EVS operator, Sound Supervisor, Graphics Operator or Editor.

How has your role developed at Timeline?

I joined Timeline as a Technical Operator, similarly to my old role at SIS I would work across many disciplines. At this point I wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to go in. To be honest I was probably thinking more about which operational seat I would prefer to be in, in a gallery (Vision mixer/EVS Operator.) The more exposure I had at Timeline, the more I learnt and the more I realised I enjoyed working with lots of different people, helping solve problems and working across all disciplines. I naturally started picking up more responsibility and found myself becoming really interested by the Technical Manager/Resource Manager role. It was a role where I could utilise all of my previous experience rather than specialising in one field.

What attracted you to Timeline?

Timeline is a company that have always pushed boundaries and delivered. I feel like we are always at the forefront of broadcast technology working with 4K, IP and HDR technologies as well as leading the way (especially recently) with remote production work flows. Working for Timeline for the past 4 years, I have realised how much exposure you get at the company. What some would describe as “being thrown into the deep end” is one of the best things that Timeline have done for my career, enabling me to gain the amount of experience that I have in all areas of broadcast, to get to where I am now.

What’s it like to work at Timeline?

Timeline employs some fantastic people. It’s really great to work in an environment where everybody is happy to share knowledge and go above and beyond for the team. (We also have a reputation for throwing the best parties).

What has been one of your best achievements at Timeline?

My biggest personal achievement at Timeline to date is being promoted to Technical Manager.

Please describe a typical workday

I think the great thing about working at Timeline TV is that there is no such thing as a typical work day. Every day is different and even the most regular show that we broadcast will spring new and exciting challenges that you may have never encountered before.

What is the best project you have worked on at Timeline?

I have worked on so many exciting projects for Timeline, that I could reference for completely different reasons. One that sticks out from recently was the remote production for BT Sport’s coverage of the Bundesliga. In lockdown 1.0 we started broadcasting the Bundesliga matches using Vmix out of our homes. Sitting in my bedroom broadcasting the only football that was happening in the whole world at the time was something I was so excited and proud to have been a part of. I think it’s a perfect example of how Timeline pushes the boundaries of technology and delivers it.

If you could open a Timeline office anywhere in the world where would it be?

At the moment… anywhere where the staff can actually attend it and don’t have to work from home!

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