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.

Monday, 24 August 2009

A Dry Day at Last!

Monday 24th August 

At least the rain had stopped and my shoes had dried out.

Outside the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood was to be the location for this morning’s live broadcasts.

The Parliament Building in the Post Dawn Light.

When I arrived the dish was up and Kevin the engineer was doing the last few techie things to allow me to hook my camera up and send my Vox Pops to GMTV in London.

When that material was all happily in the cyber world that is GMTV’s Media Acquisitions dep’t Ian the sound recordist and I rigged the kit.

My phone rang. It was Gloria.

“Can you tell the taxi driver where you are?” she asked in her Yorkshire lilt.

Rather puzzled by the request I simply said, “Yes.”

The next thing I heard was a strange accent saying, “Where about are you seer?”.

“At the front of the Parliament.” was my simple and slightly quizzical reply.

“Tank yoo seer.”

The phone then went dead.

Within no more than two minutes Gloria was climbing out of a car beside us.

The first live broadcast was just with Gloria talking to camera. 

 I positioned her where the best shot was with the building in the background in the half light of the morning.

I had selected that spot because there was a hand light up on a wall that would light her quite nicely my other light would just give a bit of a sparkle to her eyes.

I was quite pleased. It looked not to bad.

That was of course until about thirty seconds to going on air when all the lights went out and all I was left with was the reducing gloom of dawn and my little camera light.

However, it didn’t look to bad but not as flattering to Gloria as it might have been.

The next thing we were doing was an interview with the leader of the Labour party in the Scottish Parliament Iain Gray. 

Now that the light was coming up and with Iain and Gloria both being in shot I moved location a little bit to avoid a large lamppost growing out of one of their heads.

I’ve made that schoolboy error enough times before. 

It is surprising how often the thing sticking up is nowhere near the presenter. 

Then suddenly the presenter moves a little bit just as the picture is cut to transmission. They now have it as an interesting hat!!

Gloria did the interview with Iain.

Iain Gray and Gloria after the Interview.

Our next guest was the smartly turned out Angus Robertson,  SNP leader in the Westminster parliament.

He also turned up in good time. 

While he waited for his slot he caught up with the reports in the morning’s papers.

Angus Robertson and his Newspaper.

His interview was to be done down the line by Penny Smith from the GMTV studio.

This obviously meant giving Angus an earpiece to allow him to hear the programme and Penny’s questions.

Kevin produced and array of earpieces to stick in his ear.

Getting one to fit into Angus’ ear hole was easy but the bit of tube that went behind his ear was another story.

The cheeky bit of plastic kept worming its way over Angus’ ear to the point it was sticking out making him look like some strange cyborg.

It took a lot of persuasion and no movement from Angus’ head but we got it to stay still and not pop up over his ear.

Well that was of course until half way through the interview when the slippery thing slowly crept out. Thankfully not as far as it had but enough for it to be visible and annoying to me.

The Camera and the Truck.

After Angus left Gloria did the decent thing and went for the coffees as the nearby Starbucks was now open.

Coffee Boys?

Gloria in the Truck Checking her Scripts.

I looked up towards the sky and saw what looked like a hundred horses galloping across the sky swishing their tails.

I pointed them out to Ian and he confirmed that they were called mares tails and a sign of a cold front.

Kirsty McCabe doing the weather reports from an outside broadcast in Oxfordshire would be interested them I thought.

I was right. A shot of them would be used in the next live weather report which was about ten minutes away.

For those ten minutes we gazed up and saw the dramatic and spectacular cloud formation morph into a fairly nondescript mass of whispy fluffy stuff.

The shot still got used but it was nowhere near as worth seeing as it had been a few moments earlier.

The broadcasts were over. It was time to leave.

Even if we had not finished it was time to go judging by the traffic attendant tapping away eagerly on his electronic machine.

I think he was disappointed not to be sticking tickets on our windows.

We did have permission from the Parliament to be parked where we were but rather than go through the palaver of explaining that to our parking enforcer we quietly moved off.

I set course for Manchester and a shoot tomorrow.

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