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.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Cape Town Party

Friday 18th June

In the car park of the Van Hunk’s restaurant in the shadow of Table Mountain Dave and Mike got the satellite dish rigged.

We were all very relaxed. Things were sorted and working in plenty of time.

In the dark restaurant Ben checks the running order on the laptop.

Richard and Nick were going to be live at the Green Point Stadium in another part of the city.

Mark got a frantic call from Richard to say that they could not get access to the camera position because the security services had put an exclusion zone around the whole stadium area in order to carry out a sweep for explosives.

No one except South African security personnel would be allowed in for three hours . Those three hours would pretty much cover most of the GMTV's transmission time.

Richard was doing his best, pleading with the Colonel in charge for special permission to be allowed to go in to broadcast.

The answer was firm and unequivocal, NO!

While this call was coming in our own little crisis was building.

The satellite signal that we were sending out was only getting as far as Washington DC on its convoluted journey to London.

Dave and Mike make sure everything is right at our end.

Between there and GMTV there were lots of people very busy trying to sort out the problem.

Transmission time was looming up.

The signal was then found, hiding under someone’s socks at the back of a drawer no doubt.

It might have been found, but like a furry sweet stuck to a sweaty sock it was not really at its best.

By this time the programme was on air and we had missed our first slot

So to remedy our situation Richard and Nick’s was made worse. Our output was put on to the space on the satellite that was being used for their signal.

The programme had been on air for about five minutes when Doug the technical director in the GMTV gallery saw our pictures and heard our sound.

Satellite engineer Dave, happy when he hears that it's all working.

Our guests, The Four Fabios, The England Supporters Band with Bernie Clifton, and various fans were turning up to be on the programme.

The band arrive..

...Ben has a quick chat, then were on air...

..the Four Fabios and "that ball"...

...Bernie has a chat over a pukka cuppa not a pie.... don't need to salute it's only Ben....

Things were looking good for us.

The band goes for it and gives the locals a wake up call!

It was a bit more hectic for the duo at the stadium.

They were dashing around doing their thing on tape and feeding it to London via a small portable satellite dish.

The problems were being overcome.

Mark checks the scripts.

Our broadcasts were going well with lots of energy and fun.

Always time for a team photograph....

...Mark you're in shot!

Mark and Ben work out what's next.

Ben's at the horn again....

...but just for a photo.

The shots were looking good and the sound was sounding good

Then, thanks to the BBC it almost came crashing down when I was tripped up live on air.

It might have been the BBC to blame but it was Mark that did the deed.

We were broadcasting a short live tease.

I was on a shot of Ben and as we were coming to the end I moved back quickly to develop the shot to a wide shot.

Mark was looking after my camera cable behind me did not move at the same time as me. In fact he did not move at all.

He must have had pretty sore shins as I tried to climb up them when I walked backwards very fast.

I was surprised that there was no reaction from Simon the director in London. The camera must have done a real wobble.

Luckily it did not end up pointing at the sky with my feet in the bottom of frame.

Although I could do with the payment from “It’ll be Alright on the Night”.

The BBC have to shoulder most of the blame because when we were on the broadcast two of the guests that were appearing later arrived.

Mark had been momentarily distracted at the vital time.

Danny Mays and Eric Mabius are working near Cape Town on a BBC drama and had turned up to add a minor bit of showbiz glamour to this morning’s show.

The culprits share the joke with Ben.

Even stars have to wait for their transport.

Thankfully that was the only real glitch in the proceedings once the satellite things had been sorted out.

Richard did manage to get two proper live broadcasts done along with the taped bits that were sent earlier.

The only other minor problem was that we were unable to do our finale live with the boys form the band because they had to go to a prior engagement, as they say.

It sounded, from speaking to good old Bernie that the band were having almost as hectic a time as we were.

They were doing all sorts of charity stuff in addition the media events and going to the games.

So about half and hour before the end of the programme we pre-recorded the final good-bye and raucous tune from their horns and drum.

It did wake up the neighbourhood, but a pleasant relief from the buzz of the vuvuzelas.

Time for breakfast!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment