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, 17 May 2011

You can park there!

Monday 16th

I went to bed happy last night. The material was safely in London. I had enjoyed the afternoon at the Tutankhamun exhibition followed by a nice Thai dinner, and to cap it all we only had only live broadcast to do at just after eight am.

I joyfully set my alarm for 6:30 am and drifted off looking forward to lovely dreams.

My perfect dreamland exploded when a noisy text message arrived at 4 am.

It was Gary with the news that it appeared that the material we had from the facilities house was all technically unusable and did I have any shots that I had shot that would cover things, particularly the opening title sequence for “The Late Late Show”.

So slightly cold, sitting in my pants, I sent what rushes that I could over to London.

There was then no point in going back to bed. I got ready to leave for our one live broadcast.

Feeling cheated out of valuable sleep Gary and I met Grainne and Alan the satellite engineer in the street opposite the Irish Parliament, the Dáil.

Grainne had been at the location for a while. She, unlike Gary and I had simply woken up very early.

The Dáil.

There was, as ever a little problem to be dealt with. From the only legal place for Alan to park the truck it was not possible to get a signal to the satellite.

The helpfulness and warmth of the Irish became apparent once again. When Grainne pointed out the problem to two Garda officers they came over, pushed back a line of crowd control barriers and allowed Alan to move the truck onto a section of double yellow lines.

Gary and the Garda move the barriers.

The truck and camera in position for the live broadcast.

We were only going to do the one broadcast so would only be there for a little while. Things might have been different if we had been planning to stay there for the normal almost four hours.

Grainne in front of my camera.

When the little broadcast was finished Grainne, Gary and I nipped round to the Press Centre that had been set up in Dublin Castle to pick up our accreditation.

The way things were going if you didn’t have this pass huge chunks of the city would be out of bounds over the next four days.

Entrance to the...

We also took the opportunity for me to get some shots of the place that had been home to the British administration until Michael Collins received the hand over to the Irish people on January 16th 1922.

I then had a bit of a technical problem. The radio mic that had arrived from London decided not to work.

So I had to use a mic in a cable which involved dropping it down Grainne’s trousers for the piece to camera that we needed to do.

Gary and I then went on to get a few shots of the security operation that was in evidence all around the city.

I filmed some of the many Garda and a small bit of the miles of barriers that had been put up.

Out near the military airport at Baldonnel that the Queen will fly into I filmed a little Garda check point.

We dashed back to Dublin Castle to send the material to ITN for the lunch time news.

Some of the many satellite trucks at Dublin Castle.

It was time then to get breakfast. I had been up since 4 am and the clock was now showing almost noon. No wonder I was feeling a little hungry and thirsty.

In the evening I set about editing the little report.

Grainne came to record her voice over and discuss what was going to be on the agenda in her live broadcast in the morning.

Grainne speaking to Zoe, one of the editors in London.

A few years ago I would have taken myself into my office and given myself a severe talking to when I started to look at the material that I had filmed earlier in the day.

The pictures at the Garda check point were a bit too blue, for some reason the colour balance had gone slightly off.

In the old days it would have been a major problem, senior cameramen and editors would have wanted to know how it happened. Technical boffins would have been called in to see if there was any way that the quality of the colour could be improved. My arse would have been metaphorically kick up and down the corridors of the now non-existent City Road studios.

Now with a simple click in the powerful editing systems the colour would be perfect.

The up side to my little downer was that I would not have to get up early for the live broadcasts.

My colleague Simon had arrived with Daybreak’s chief correspondent Richard Gaisford and he would supply his undoubted camera skills in the morning at Dublin Castle.

Grainne went home, Gary went to bed and I finished off the easy edit and sent it over the internet to Daybreak. It was approaching midnight when it was all done and dusted.

Editing the report.

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