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, 8 June 2010

Lovely People, Yellow Cards and Bribes!!

Tuesday 8th June

On the hours drive from our B&B I had hoped to have topped up the almost five hours of sleep that I had.

The back pages of the papers put paid to that.

They were all running with the story from last night’s match that Wayne Rooney had been given a yellow card for a rather foul mouthed outburst at the referee.

I know that I did not have the shot of him getting the card, but I did have some good shots of him during the game.

So on the way to the orphanage to do our broadcasts we had to get those shots into the mac.

They were sent over to London via the surprisingly fast 3G dongle that Richard had bought yesterday.

Richard Sending the Rooney Shots.

Mareza had come to guide us to the orphanage because it was not only quite a long drive from Rustenburg but also difficult to find.

When we got there at before 6am local time a lot of the children had already set of on their journey to school.

Lorrett and her husband Pete welcomed us to what they describe as a large family home not an orphanage.

Sean, one of the older boys there was very keen to learn about what we were up to and was eager to help in any way he could.

Sean Watching Steve at Work Setting up the Satellite Dish.

So with an extra pair of hands we got things rigged.

The Wayne Rooney news had made us change our plans slightly because we now needed to find a backdrop for Richard to talk about the incident that was not specific to the home.

Thankfully that was easy because the home’s garden was right on the edge of the Pilanesberg National Park.

So just after the sun came up we did our first broadcast there.

There was not much time after that when we had to do the first of our two broadcasts telling the story of the children meeting their heroes.

Although the sun was up it was still very cold outside so we did the broadcast from inside.

All the children were very well behaved and just adorable with their beaming smiles and big wide sparkling eyes.

Richard and the Children Ready for the First Broadcast.

With my new friend Sean’s help wielding the reflector we did more news broadcasts outside.

Sean Doing a Great Job With the Reflector.

It was warm and very sunny when the time came around for us to do the second broadcast with the kids so we brought them out into the garden.

The Kids Blowing off Steam Before the Live Broadcasts.

Waiting for the cue for the Second Broadcast.

My "Assistant" Sean has a go With the Camera.

The joy and pleasure that exudes from people who we regard as having very bad circumstances never ceases to amaze me.

One of the Smiling Faces....

A lot of help in keeping the place running comes from volunteers many from the UK.

..and Another...

When you see at first hand the love and care that some people like Lorrett and Peter, and the sacrifices that they will go to to help it is very humbling.

..and Another..

The GMTV Team With our new Friends.

I for one left the large smiling and very grateful “family” with sense of guilt and inadequacy on our very long journey back up to Johannesburg.

We extended the journey slightly to see if we could get some shots of the big five by going through the National Park.

Although not entirely successful we did see some white rhino at very close quarters.

A Fantastic Sight on the Way Home From Work. (a double headed rhino)

We also saw some elephants but they were far off in the distance.

On the road we experienced the much publicised corruption in the South African Police.

Our driver was waved down as we passed by a police radar trap.

When he got out and went to speak to the policeman Richard and I were rather surprised that we’d been stopped at all because we did not think that we had been going any faster than the speed limit.

Our Driver Goes to the Police car.

He came back saying that the police had asked for his driving licence and said to him that he needed to pay a 500 Rand fine or give them a donation to get his licence back.

Our initial reaction was to film what was going on but we did not have any audio of the bribe being asked for and there we would not have been able easily to rig the driver up with a radio mic.

He went back to the two police officers and offered them 100 Rand.

They accepted and gave him his licence back.

Cash Will do Nicely Thank You.

We carried on to Johannesburg in the afternoon light.

We arrived back at the apartment ready to eat and sleep.

Ben Shephard one of GMTV’s main presenters and cameraman Nick had arrived off the over night flight and immediately gone out with Mark to shoot a piece for tomorrows programme.

It needed to be edited down to be sent to GMTV.

I pulled out the Avid that I had been given by GMTV to edit material out here in South Africa.

Nick cabled up the XD Cam Camera that he had been given by GMTV to shoot material here in to the laptop.

The pc laptop pinged to let us know that there was something there but no matter what we did the Avid edit system would not recognise the camera.

It was now nearing 7pm, Richard and I had been up since 4am.

I did not really have a sense of humour about things not working.

The solution was as ever in these situations call on the mac with Final Cut to do the job.

Richard brought his kit down and once the voice over was recorded I edited down the material so that Richard could send it to GMTV over the internet.

Nick Records the Voice Over With Ben.

Mark, Ben and I get Down to the Edit.

Then we had time to get a meal and sleep. By the time we had done the eating bit it was 10pm.

Richard might nit be doing anything live in the morning so he will have the pleasure of a bit of a lay in.

Nick would be getting up to do a live broadcast with Jim Rosenthal.

Ben, Mark and I would be getting up at around 4am to head out to the cultural village that Mark and I had recce’d the other day to do live broadcasts.

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