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.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Confusion but we got there in the end, Brisbane that is.

Sunday 23rd

After finishing with my toilet bag all that needed to be done was to stick it in my case and close it up along with all the other boxes once I had checked that they were packed correctly.

I had breakfast with Phil, Tadek the Sky News producer and Jonathan the Correspondent where we exchanged the memory cards that we had been copying each other’s material from.

Then I checked out and got a porter to take the boxes up to the waiting bus that would take us on our little shooting tour and finally drop us off at the airport.

There had been much discussion amongst us all about how much of our kit we would need to take for a short day in Brisbane.

All we needed really was the basic kit with which we could shoot and edit.

However, what would happen if there was a big story when we were in Brisbane?

We decided that it we would take it all. So I got it loaded on to the bus.

Then the confusion started.

The events that we were going to were a church service and another reception at Government House.

We knew that all we might get at the church would be the Queen arriving and departing because we were not allowed into the church. It is a very small one and added to that the minister would only allow those who were in his regular congregation to be in the presence of god and their majesties.

However, there was a plan that we could at least get some other colour material there.

That then changed. Only Phil and the Sky boys would go along with Peter.

The next event on the schedule was slightly more interesting for us all even though it was yet another reception with the Queen and the Duke shaking more hands.

One of the hands that they would be shaking would be the star of the film “The King’s Speech”, Geoffrey Rush.

That was the pull for us. There would be shots of him with the queen and we would get a nice little interview with him afterwards where he could tell us what it was like meeting the Queen and what they talked about.

There was a three-way flurry of calls going on between the TV producers, the Australian media facilitators and the Buckingham Palace media people.

After a fair amount of discussion it became clear that we would not be going to Government House and not getting access to interview the Australian movie star.

So, suddenly we had some unplanned down time with no rooms to spend it in.

Then another change of plan happened. Duncan had decided that on balance he would keep his room on for the one night we would be in Canberra so that he could leave some of his kit.

The cost of the room would probably be less than the cost of the excess baggage charge to take lots of boxes that would never be opened on a day trip to Brisbane.

So, Phil and I were then also able to leave some of our kit that would be surplus to requirements on tomorrow’s job in his room.

The only problem for me was that my kit was already on the bus.

When the bus came back for what should have been the pick up to take us to Government House I was able to heave some of the stuff back off and dump it in Duncan’s cluttered room.

The kit boxes in Duncan's room.

There was a danger that even though I had an extra hard drive I might run out of storage space and with memory cards flitting between the three of us I could end up without one in the reader attached to the camera whilst my colleagues were busy ingesting material.

This time I knew exactly where to find what I needed much closer to the hotel than the one I had been taken to the other day.

I nipped into the city, only a five minute taxi ride and got what I needed in the Dick Smith’s store and a camera shop in the Canberra shopping mall.

Just before we boarded the bus to take us to the airport I had time to ingest the material from both Peter and Phil that they had shot at the church and the reception.

At Canberra airport.

The glamour of TV, packing on the pavement.

Squeezing kit, cameraman, producer and correspondent into the lift at the airport.

ITN at one desk with the BBC at the other.

The events of the day were of little interest to the news desk back in London so we did not have to do any editing or feeding.

We just needed to get to our hotel in Brisbane and get a few hours sleep before a day that we knew would be one of the most stressful and frantic on the trip.

This was because the events should provide great picture opportunities, thus a huge amount of material would be generated and need to be ingested into our systems. Also the time frame for getting the material back to London was not long. We needed to get on an early evening flight back to Canberra.

Arriving in Brisbane.

Brisbane at night form my hotel window.

I was grateful for a couple of free hours on our arrival in Brisbane because it would allow me to see my son who left Scotland back in March to do the backpacking thing and was now in Brisbane.

I joined him in the backpacker hostel area of the city where we had a drink surrounded by Kiwis celebrating their team’s win in the Rugby World Cup Final.

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