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.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

We Saw David Cameron. Did He See Us?

Wednesday 19th August

Oh the joys! An extra unexpected hour in bed, but still up before 6 am.

I went down to the location for the down the line interview with the Conservative leader David Cameron.

The Ramada Jarvis hotel just outside Hull were very helpful and allowed us to use their conservatory area.

I had briefly checked it out last night and it looked OK.

This morning I started to see it was not going to be quite as easy as I thought.

The various backgrounds outside the conservatory were not ideal, cars, brick walls or green bin things seemed to be out of every window.

However, there was also a reasonable bit of greenery dotted around that would serve nicely as an acceptable backdrop, if I positioned things carefully.

The next thing I had to deal with was the problem of reflections. 

After a few moments of looking around I found the best spot. If the shot was on a long enough lens and I could use a narrow depth of field things would look quite good.

I put a chair in place, set the camera on the tripod and had a look.

“That’ll do.” I thought.

I started to set up a light when an other thought was forming in my head like a little smoke ring whisping up into up into the still sir.

“The sun’s not up yet I wonder where it is going to rise from?”

The thought like the smoke ring faded quickly as the sun popped it’s strong powerful head up over a cloud.

Like the best interrogators spot lamp the blinding light shone straight at me and right down the barrel of the camera lens.

I would have to rearrange things.

I fiddled about a bit moving things and came up with an reasonable shot.

The problem now was that the greatest key light ever was very much a side light.

I would need to soften it a little otherwise Mr C. would be looking very shady indeed.

I dashed over to the hotel reception and they were able to give me exactly what I needed.

With a liberal use of that most wonderful of bits of kit, gaffer tape I taped up a big white table cloth over the widow the sun was shining through.

The Tablecloth Soft Light. 

I finished faffing around with lights and the camera.

Pete the sound recordist had the sound kit all ready.

Simon the satellite engineer had done his stuff. The pictures and sound were getting to GMTV and we could hear the talkback.

Time to wait.

Things were looking good as we approached the broadcast time.

In fact it was getting very close to broadcast time.

About three minutes to go before air and the “great” man came in.

Pete and I said, “Good morning,” as he went to sit in the obvious seat.

I think he may have grunted something back but there was no sign of the genial gent I had seen a few months ago in York when he paid a visit to the GMTV “Credit Crunch Family”.

In a slightly irritated fashion he asked Pete to adjust the sound of the talkback and show him where the volume knob was and to have it within reach.

Pete obliged. Then Dougie the technical director and Ravi the producer in London said hello over the talkback and thanked him for joining us.

Then we heard Emma Crosby reading the link into our item.

She then addressed her questions to Mr Cameron.

He answered in the smooth accomplished way you expect from a senior politician.

After the last question about the elections in Afghanistan the interview was over.

Almost before I had my eye out of the camera eyepiece he was standing up taking off his microphone and with the help of Pete removing the talkback earpiece.

He then marched over to his minder and made some comment about the interview that I could not quite hear.

If he said thanks or good-bye I didn’t hear it.

“Do you think he realises we exist?” said Pete.

I then though, “I didn’t get a picture of him for the blog.”

He was in and out so quickly there just wasn’t time.

I hit the road north after a call to the office.

I would be doing a live broadcast tomorrow from outside Greenock prison, the current home of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi the Lockerbie bomber.

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