As the web address suggests, I’m Simon Rishton. When I’m working, I am a freelance Vision Engineer. The rest of the time I do a lot of things involving Dandie Dinmont Terriers – walking them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, and running a website and club magazine about them. And all the time I’m the father of two and husband of one.
What’s a Vision Engineer? You know roughly what a sound engineer does? Well, a Vision Engineer does similar things with pictures. I control the technical quality of what comes out of television cameras, from exposure and colour balance to the subtleties of gamma curves and detail levels. I control video recording and replay equipment. I make video effects work so well that you don’t notice they’re there. And I fix it when it all goes wrong.
Where do I work? I work for several companies in many different places. I make soaps – Coronation Street in Manchester and Emmerdale in Leeds. I do other studio work such as Countdown and The Jeremy Kyle Show at the Granada Studios in Manchester. I do a lot of horse racing television, mostly these days for SIS Live, from all over Britain (I have worked at fifty nine of the sixty racecourses – just Newton Abbot to complete the set), and occasionally other sports Outside Broadcasts. And now I’m starting to get a lot of work such as Football Focus and Match Of The Day at MediaCityUK on Salford Quays.
How did I start? I joined the BBC as a Technical Assistant in 1982. Went through various training courses at the BBC’s Wood Norton training centre. Worked in various BBC departments, both maintenance and operations, before settling down as a studio vision engineer. Then I was made redundant, and set up as a freelance. Since then, I’ve broadened my horizons to fit into a very different broadcasting industry.