Facing change: ZDF digital typographic artist Katrin Brendel talks evolving technologies and taking challenges in her stride

ZDF is using its centralised production facility, the National Broadcast Centre (NBC) based at its headquarters in Mainz, Germany, to manage its entire production of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Shown here are staff working hard in preparation for the start of the Games in the PCR

“The coolest things in my career in terms of live sports broadcasts was being part of the graphical and operational supervision of major sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics,” says Katrin Brendel, a digital typographic artist at ZDF.

“There I saw how television works and I worked with all the technical groups involved in a production. I was in beautiful places and saw great sport. I had the opportunity to be part of a great team and send a great product to the air, and I was and am very proud of that,” she says.

Broad experience

Brendel comments on her career at ZDF: “I have worked in all areas of current broadcast graphics at ZDF, as well as in trailer production. I’ve also worked in the production of regular sports broadcasts.

“These experiences then led me to the supervision of live sports broadcasts, such as football and handball matches, athletics, and major sporting events, such as the European Football Championship World Cup and the Olympics. I have also provided on-site graphics support for major shows such as “Wetten dass…,” adds Brendel.

“Be open to everything that is happening around you and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way”

As part of her job, Brendel has recently taken on the role of deputy team leader. She comments: “In this function, I am now more active in the organisational area for sports, among other things, with my experience. The most difficult thing for me in doing this was the transition from operational to administrative tasks; finding one’s role and realising that it takes time to get used to.

“The hardest thing about it is that everything can change from one minute to the next, and that technology is constantly evolving. But what I like most about it is finding a creative and unconventional solution for all requirements, usually also at short notice,” she adds. “It excites me to look for and find creative, unconventional, and graphically optimal solutions from my administrative position.”

She continues: “I think the biggest challenge is that everything must be served very quickly and up to date, under a lot of live tension, and at the same time everything should be presented in an appealing way, both in terms of content and form.

“For this, technology is constantly developing and especially in the graphic area there must be multifunctional graphics that have to be filled with constantly changing content in sport.”

Managing change

Brendel notes a particular personal challenge that she faced: “A particular challenge was suddenly being authorised to give instructions to colleagues with whom you had previously worked at the same level, who had trained you and were about 10 years older. However, it helped that I could always rely on my professional competence.”

She continues: “The biggest change, in the last two years and in the future, is the age-related restructuring of the team. For me personally, this process brings a lot of new and fresh input, and the challenge of transferring know-how that has grown over a long period of time.”

Concluding, Brendel advises others looking to move into a similar role as here that they, “should be enthusiastic about sport”.

She adds: “Be open to everything that is happening around you and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.”


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