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, 16 March 2011

Now they've got snow to contend with.

Wednesday 16th

I felt like it had hardly been worth going to bed when I got up at first light to do the interview with Simon.

Outside the hotel in the sharp white frosty air before activity breathed warmth into the city I did some shots of Cordelia and Simon having a walk.

Beside a pretty little lake they sat on a bench glistening with ice.

Neither of them complained about having cold bottoms as Simon told of his experience in the earthquake and showed a photograph of the utter devastation around his building.

Cordelia and Simon looking a bit cold because it was cold.

We then returned to the hotel to enjoy a hearty Japanese breakfast.

After that in my room I edited the interview and the shots into a report lasting nearly two minutes.

The hotel internet was very fast so the piece was in London very quickly in plenty of time for the programme.

We then went to the airport at Akita to do our live broadcasts and for once we were in very good shape in terms of time to set up and all the batteries in the kit were chock full of as much charge as I was able to ram into them.

The reason for the airport was that Cordelia would be talking about the people that were busy trying to get out of the country, mainly foreigners.

If we were lucky we might see some at there and be able to interview them.

Plan A was to do the live broadcasts from inside the terminal building using the internet that was there.

Plan B was to be outside with the terminal in the background.

I was keen for Plan A to be the one for two main reasons, I would probably be able to use mains power and outside the snow was falling quite heavily.

So Plan B it was then!

The internet connectivity in the terminal was not good enough to be relied upon, which I found surprising.

Arata parked the car in a space that offered the best shot of the terminal and I set the kit up.

The satellite dish was quickly chirruping away to tell me it was pointing in the right direction and had a good signal.

The camera and kit set up in the car park.

We had only done two broadcasts when I checked the battery power on the laptop.

It was already down to just under fifty percent.

This was not good news because not only did we still have a few broadcasts to do but we were wanted on standby in case Richard’s BGAN failed, which it had done already that morning.

The view of Akita terminal.

For one of the reports we did a recording just after we had done one of the live broadcasts.

When that was played out in place of one of the scheduled live reports I could get the laptop charged up so that there was less chance of failure in the later broadcasts when more people are watching.

We managed to get the other broadcasts done without the batteries failing.

The main problem really was the weather. Heavy snow falls were quite frequent

Down came the snow.

However, there were breaks in the snow showers...

...but, it was still very cold.

Although we had been up since 6 am after only three or so hours sleep the day was not finished.

We had been told that if we went to a police station we would be able to get a piece of paper that would let us use the highways that had been closed to normal traffic.

Our colleagues from ITN had one such bit of paper and it made their life much easier on the roads.

The officer at the police station was indeed happy to issue the bit of paper with the all important stamp on it until he found out that the car had a Tokyo registration and not an Akita one.

There was no way he was going to stamp anything concerning any vehicle that had not been registered in Akita.

When we got back to the hotel we had time for a nice Japanese meal.

It was so delicious and well presented that we could not help feeling guilty about eating it when not too far away there were people, like Arata’s mum having to cook basic foods on improvised cookers.

When we went to bed the plan for the morning was that we would take a long drive back to the Sendai area, do some filming and drive back.

To make the plan work we would need to be up and out at 5 am.

Given the state of the snow that was still falling the chances of going anywhere were slim at best.

We would have wait until the morning to find out.

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