Students and staff work on the set of BBC drama London Kills

01 April 2022

A student holds camera tripods on a tv set
Student with camera gear

Last summer, Falmouth tutor Nick Manley employed two graduates from the School of Film & Television as camera department trainees for the upcoming series of hit BBC show London Kills.

London Kills is a hard-hitting detective drama that focuses on an elite murder investigation squad in the capital. Nick, who works as the Director of Photography for the programme, brought BA(Hons) Television graduates Olly le Bon and Matthew Lennon onto the set with him, giving the pair valuable industry experience as they embark on their careers post-graduation.

Recently we caught up with Olly to hear about his experience of life on set, how his degree helped him cope with the demands of the film industry and why moving outside of your comfort zone is crucial to making the most of your time at university.

It's important to find what you enjoy doing most so that you can give your all to it, learn your craft and then be confident when stepping out of university and applying it.


What was the best thing about the Television degree at Falmouth?

My goal was always to enter a camera department after graduating and the Television BA(Hons) course put me in a great position for this. During the three years studying, I was able to specialise in the department camerawork through a variety of university projects. 

How did your course help prepare you for life on set?

Firstly, I would say that being able to specialise in the department sector that I wanted to make a career out of allowed me to familiarise myself with the kit and practices in a variety of roles, which was really important for my confidence.

The turnaround for university projects was always fast-paced throughout all stages of production. This meant that I had to be proactive, organised and have a firm grip on my own responsibilities to the rest of the crew on the projects. These are skills that I feel have transferred well into life on set.

What was your role on London Kills? And can you give us an insight into your day-to-day activities?

I worked as a Camera Trainee on London Kills. The job was an amazing hands-on experience and my responsibilities varied day-to-day.

To list some of my responsibilities, the cameras would be loaded with cards each morning and formatted ready for filming, keeping an eye on battery and media levels on each of the cameras and replacing with fresh batteries or cards if required, helping with or carrying out lens changes, cleaning lenses and slating.

There were also days where I would splinter off with one of the camera operators which would often mean similar duties, just more responsibility on my shoulders which was a great learning experience.

As a camera department we also took care of the lighting and grip equipment, which added rigging lights and gripping (setting up tripods for the operators, dolly and track, etc.) to my responsibilities.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying a course at Falmouth’s School of Film and Television?

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone as much as possible and try to get as much hands-on practice as you can in the time you spend at the university - it's a safe place for things to go wrong!

I’d also say it's important to find what you enjoy doing most so that you can give your all to it, learn your craft and then be confident when stepping out of university and applying it.

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