Tony Valentino: One Year On

RF SolutionsSpecialist Cameras

We’ve caught up again with Tony Valentino, Gravity Media’s Head of RF and Speciality Cameras in the UK, just over a year after he joined the Gravity Media team. Back in late 2019, we were getting to know Tony: his views, and some highlights of his career to that point. This time around, we aimed to get his insights on the industry, what Gravity Media means to him, and his views on one of the oddest years in history.

What was my greatest challenge in 2020?

Like everyone, I found it odd not being with my team in the office, and having the banter around the serious business of delivering the best for clients. But I’ve adapted, as everyone has had to, and screen life with some occasional park life is what passes as normal for now. I can’t lie, I prefer face-to-face meetings with clients, and I enjoy chance encounters of the kind you get at conventions and fairs like NAB or IBC, but the remote meetings get the job done and they’ve kept a lot of businesses in play until times get better.

My highlight for the year?

I came to Gravity Media to apply my experience and make a difference. Despite the obvious constraints, I think I’ve done that. I came looking for innovation and challenge, a warehouse full of specialist kit, and a strong in-house development capability. I found that and more, alongside a strong R&D ethos and matching team spirit. I was delighted to be joined by a former colleague, Peter Sarginson, and in the background Peter and I have been hatching ideas, working on innovations and new projects. That creative work has its own energy, and should lead to some exciting developments for clients soon.

What’s impressed me most about Gravity Media?

I joined knowing that Gravity Media had a reputation for its breadth of talent and equipment but, even knowing that reputation, I’ve been stunned by the actual diversity of skills, experience, industry contacts, platforms and kit – both mainstream and specialised. There’s probably nothing in broadcasting that this group can’t turn their hands to, or know someone to collaborate with. It makes my work life so much easier knowing that the skills, knowledge, expertise and equipment for designing great project solutions is at my fingertips.

What are the latest developments in technology?

Before we cover the latest developments, there’s so much of the existing equipment that we haven’t exploited fully yet. I’m particularly impressed by the range of remote and miniature cameras we have in our collection. These are brilliant for both reality programmes such as I’m A Celebrity, and also sports coverage where it seems there’s a specialist miniature camera application for almost every conceivable scenario. With new camera technology emerging, many of these devices are high resolution (4k and 8k) cameras and high frame rate for slow motion action replays, allowing us to provide all sorts of action coverage, including 360° shots, that simply wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago. I could go on and on about the existing and upcoming technology, but perhaps that’s for another blog.

What else am I looking forward to?

So, putting the technology aside for another piece, I think it’s back to the face-to-face contact. I could put it down to my Italian roots where we all embrace and shake hands a lot – like the French with their multiple kissing tradition, but it’s simpler than that. People are meant to have some sort of physical contact with each other, and the past year has taught us that on-screen meeting time is no substitute. Even if it’s only with out-of-bubble family members, it would be great to get back to normal human greetings sometime soon. And then there’s travel. I’m not getting my hopes up, but our industry really needs international travel to be up and running, so that’s another wish for 2021.

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