Commentating: it’s harder than it looks…

Keith commentating

A couple of weeks ago I got a chance to make my live commentating d??but. I picked up the mike for the first time at Silverstone alongside my good mate Ben Evans who arranged the opportunity.

We took up station in commentary booth one – that’s where ITV commentators James Allen and Martin Brundle call the British Grand Prix from – for the BRSCC meeting featuring Club Formula Three, Formula Jedi, Formula Junior, Ford Fiesta and other races.

How did I get on?

First of all, standing up and talking for eight hours, or however long it is, is hard – and I didn’t do half as much talking as Ben did!

I suspect it was a very different experience to commentating for television, because we had to tell people at the track what was going on at the bits of the circuit they couldn’t see.

That was particularly difficult because for the most part we couldn’t see much either! The commentary box gave a great view of the exit of Luffield down to the start/finish line, plus the pits and a glimpse of Brooklands, but the rest of the national circuit was out of view.

One of our monitors showed a cycle of camera angles from around the track but this wasn’t being controlled by anyone and it was pure chance whether they showed us any significant action (a bit like Formula One Management’s camera work then).

In addition to that we had two timing screen which were invaluable for reading the races and, of course, indispensable in qualifying.

While Ben provided the meat of the commentary I tried to chip in every now and then with things he hadn’t seen. At first it was very difficult because I knew so little of the series being run, but after the lunch break I got to grips with things a little better and by the later races I was really enjoying myself.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Here’s a few pictures from the day:

Ben commentating

Ben Commentating

Door to the booth

ITV booth

Inside the commentary booth

Commentary screens

Timing monitor

Timing monitor

View from the booth

View from the commentary booths

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