Interview – Sheree Gedge
Sheree Gedge – EVS Operator
What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
The most rewarding part is being part of a large production that’s live and beaming to TV’s across the world. As part of my job I also get to travel the country and globe!
The most challenging part is that you can’t make a mistake. If you do the whole world or country will see, so the amount of pressure is pretty huge each time you work on a job. The other challenging part is rewinding to what the producer and director want to see instantaneously. Communication on the job is paramount.
If people were considering working as EVS operator what advice would you give them?
There are fewer jobs these days for an EVS operator as we go more digital and stream more HD. But if that was no deterrent I would say to go and study Television Production or get an apprenticeship at a network station. Build your network of people in the industry, it sometimes is more who you know. You must be able to handle the pressure from the start, it really is a sink or swim job. Do well and they will ask you back, make too many mistakes and they won’t.
What qualifications or experience is required to become an EVS operator?
Study television or screen production, doesn’t have to be at university. You need to get hands on experience, observe how an EVS operator works. Build your network.
What path did you take to become an EVS operator?
I was video editing in Sydney in a post-production house working on motorsports and wanted to get into more live sports. I looked up where there was a lack of people in the industry and at the time it was camera operators and EVS operators. I found a few short courses I could do (unfortunately these don’t exist anymore) as well as paying for a couple of days with EVS Australia. What I got out of the 2 days was a list of emails and numbers to contact to get my foot in the door. I’m now into my tenth year and loving it.
Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?
I always wanted to join the Navy to be a Combat Systems Operator, but after having knee surgery they wouldn’t take me. Also nursing and IT.
Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?
Firstly, I studied Graphic Design for 3 years, then 1 year of 3D Animation, then worked for a number of years in Advertising. I went back to study Screen Production for 3 years. Worked as a video editor in Sydney for 8 years, where I learnt to be an EVS Operator. Since being an EVS operator I have never managed to make it a full-time role as I could never get enough to sustain a good lifestyle in Sydney. So I moved to Brisbane to go back and Study more 3D animation. (Whilst still working as an EVS operator in Brisbane, where there were less operators and less competition for work.) I didn’t finish the 3D course as I got a job with an animation company as their video editor and then eventually changed roles within the company to work as their production manager.
I’d love to remain as a freelance EVS operator as long as possible but I know that technology will eventually take over and I will be without a job.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An athlete or a V8 Supercar driver.
What are your standard hours?
We are generally booked for a minimum 8 hours from most companies. We can be booked for longer though. The longer you are on-air (which depends on the sport) the longer you need to concentrate, listen, focus and be under that pressure. The days can get really long and tough.
Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
We generally sit outside the venue, or under a stadium in a huge semi-trailer truck which is decked out with the latest high-tech equipment. I will wear long sleeves and jumper in summer, in Brisbane, as the trucks are mostly set to 19 degrees and it can get cold. The equipment needs to stay cool whilst we use it. We can be on a 6am flight to another city, taxi straight to the venue, setup, start work, finish the game, shutdown, taxi back to the airport and fly home all in a day. Most of the time we don’t get time out to see the city, friends or family. I can go home with the job done and don’t need to take work home or think about it.