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, 28 September 2010

No seal for sporrans.

Wednesday 22nd

It was not the best of days to be heading on a long journey north.

We were stuck in a long and frustrating traffic jam that lasted over an hour as we approached the Forth Road Bridge.

The cause of the long delay.

On the north side the sky was heavier than Adrian Chile’s pay packet and rain fell thicker than a footballer with a hooker that charges an extra ugly tax.

As we got nearer the highlands the weather cleared a little and the sky brightened occasionally.

I was once more proud of my country as Gregg made all the right noises about how magical the Scottish scenery was even when the clouds shroud the hills as if to to try and hide their beauty and only reveal it to the lucky few.

We arrived at Ian Chisholm’s kilt shop in the centre of Inverness much later than we had wanted.

Ian, a jolly ruddy faced man in a colourful kilt and matching red shirt met us once he had dealt with a customer.

The story we were doing was that one of the main materials for making sporrans, seal skin was being banned by the EU, but the Inuits in northern Canada were challenging the ban because they claim that they are being prevented from selling one of the biggest by products of their seal meat trade.

Ian’s shop was perfect for what we wanted and he was an excellent interviewee. Not only did he look the part but he spoke very eloquently with that great Scottish trait of using understated passion.

I filmed the many sporrans hanging around the shop and a few of the kilts

The next part of the journey was to see what an alternative to seal skin could be.

Kate Macpherson at a farm near Beauly out of Inverness has a picturesque little workshop where she puts her taxidermist’s training to good use by making sporrans out of road kill.

The favourites appear to be foxes and badgers.

The Sporrans.

Although she is not allowed to solicit or pay for any of the beasts that she makes into rather wonderful looking sporrans she manages to get enough to keep her business afloat.

Once a fortnight or so a local will appear with an animal that has met its demise at the front end of a car, van or lorry.

If it is not too badly damaged she is able to transform it into a kilt accessory to be worn with pride.

It was a very easy piece for me to shoot and although a bit nervous and self conscious Kate gave Gregg a very good interview.

Gregg interviewing Kate.

It had been one of those good days when things came together well.

That included the vox pops we did in Inverness town centre asking what people thought about the use of seal skin.

One of the first people we stopped to talk to was from one of the areas in Canada where seal skin is produced.

The day had been long but it was far from over. The report still had to be edited and sent to Daybreak in London.

I was looking forward to that because it meant that my day was coming to a close. Gregg would edit the piece and send it over an internet connection to the boys down south.

I joined Gregg in his hotel room to record his commentary and put the material into the Avid laptop to allow him to edit.

The vision of me getting to bed nice and early faded quicker than Wayne Rooney’s hope of a quiet weekend of domestic bliss.

A vital cable and a part for Gregg’s computer was missing. It would not be possible to get the material from my camera into the laptop.

Once again my mac came to the rescue. Unfortunately it meant that I was also needed because Gregg, a dab hand with the Avid was not au fait with the Final Cut system.

So I set to work and we got a nice two minute piece done.

The mac that works, again.

Then the fun and games started.

The technical details are pretty boring but in a nutshell it took a bit of frustrating fiddling and jiggery pockery to get the report sent down to Daybreak when it should have been very straight forward.

Praying that it works Gregg?

Then the day finally ended about four hours after I had been hoping that it would.

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