Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Sat' Trouble at The Colosseum and a Wobble Too Far

Tuesday 26th May

It was already warm in the predawn light as Elaine and I got in the taxi to take us to meet the satellite truck at the Colosseum.

Colin the engineer was already there when we pitched up. He started to get the equipment organised and the dish put up.

New Technology in front of the Result of Old Technology.

A short while later I saw him deep in conversation on the mobile. 

From his body language I could tell that there might be bad news on the way.

The discussion was about the signal drifting off the satellite. At this point would not get the items on the air.

I called GMTV to warn them that there could be a problem.

The American in the satellite control room in Atlanta talked Colin through various things they could both do to try and sort things out.

The conversation continued as Colin touched the screen with crossed fingers. Maybe that had something to do with it.

Anyway it all came good and we got away with it again.

Colin Checking the Numbers 

We did lots of broadcasts all a variation of the same theme. I started on Elaine with some ruins in the background and then panned off to the Colosseum as she talked about us being in it’s shadow.

I then brought her back into shot as she continued to talk.

I am around 5’ 10” and Elaine is in the region of 5’ 4”. The Colosseum is quite big and we were pretty close to it.

In order to get both her and the fantastic building in the frame at the same time I had to lose at least a foot in height. 

The result was that I had to walk backwards and hold the shot in a very low posture. The framing was not too bad.

The problem was that I was not too happy with the how wobbly the shots were. There is always an element of wobble in a hand held camera. That is one of the things that gives it a feeling of immediacy.

However, for me the combination of not having a wide angle lens and being in a slightly awkward position made for the wobbliness to be too much. I would forgive viewers for thinking that they were experiencing a bit of an earthquake.

The feedback from the chaps back at London was very favourable. They thought that the items looked good. 

Although, I would put “must do better next time” in my report card.

The Prologue to the Wobble

Breakfast at a local cafe where Colin ordered a large Latte. Mama Mia!!

Colin and his Mega Coffee

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