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.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Curtsy Controversy

Friday 21st

I was not an early start to the schedule today.

However, I did get up early to try and give Avid another kicking now that I had it on the ground.

I was just thinking about getting some lunch when Georgina called and asked if I could get up to the Parliament Building with a VT (video tape) machine to plug into the Australian Channel 7 bureau.

With this we would be able to get the Australian broadcasters pictures of the evenings Prime Minister’s reception which would be attended by the Queen.

Both the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and the Queen would be giving speeches.

I hot taxied it the short distance with one of my black flight cases containing one of the VT machines that I had with me.

Swiftly I was taken through security up to the office and gave the guys there the machine and a couple of tapes to set it up.

I dashed back to the hotel to get ready for the bus to take us to Government House for a Duke of Edinburgh award ceremony.

The time for lunch had now passed. I quickly changed into my smart clobber because the protocol at these events must be followed.

So, trussed up in suit with collar and tie I picked up my kit and went for the bus.

Government House Canberra.

The event would take place in a very classically elegant room near the entrance to Government House.

Rather a nice venue in Government House.

Three Australians were to be given Duke of Edinburgh Fellowships.

The D of E Fellowship pin.

There was a little roped off area that signified the media pen. We all took our positions after a little chat about what was going to happen and the way it would happen.

The Australian cameraman and I got sound feeds from the lectern from where the speeches would be done.

Our little roped off area by the windows.

We were ready to go.

One of the main shots that I wanted to get was the master of ceremonies announcing the entrance of both the Duke and the Governor General. He would be asking the audience to stand.

This bit of natural sound and pictures would tie in with the story that was still floating around. It was the curtsy controversy.

Should the Australian Prime Minister have curtsied to the queen?

Tim could use this material as an example of the protocol and briefings given before meeting or, being in the presence of the royals.

The MC kept looking towards the door for a signal to make the announcement. Several times he looked like he was about to make it but, obviously received a no signal.

To make sure I got the shot I needed to keep rolling until it happened.

There was a lot of tape wasted on a shot of a man looking furtively at a door and then looking as if he was going to speak but then not speaking.

Eventually the Duke appeared and off we went.

I filmed all the action, the speeches and the giving out of the pins, trying to make sure that I got as many close up shots of the Duke as I could and making the whole thing as editable as possible.

In reality there was little chance that any of the material would make air for any of the broadcasters today.

It was however much needed for archive purposes.

As the proceedings were coming to an end we dashed outside where the stills photographers would get a posed photo of the Duke with the important people at the function.

It had all been rehearsed without the Duke before the ceremony started. He is famed for not hanging around too long for pictures.

He did stay longer that we expected but, it was he who called a halt to the photographers.

It had been a long time since I had seen the Duke in the flesh. I was impressed at how fit, healthy and active he is for a man in his nineties.

He is very lively and his voice belies his age. It does not contain the fading laboured tones that come with the ageing process.

That was it for us as far as getting stuff with the Duke went. He was off to a private reception with the guests from the ceremony.

Georgina and I waited until that was over to get some little interviews with people who had met the Duke at the reception.

One of the questions that needed to be asked was about people’s opinions about how to greet the Queen and the Duke.

The bus had already taken everyone, all four of them back to the hotel and come back to pick up up.

Georgina had the big bus all to ourselves for the ten minute journey to the Hyatt.

Our private bus.

I was in the process of getting the material into the laptop when Tim called.

He was up at the Parliament house reception.

I stopped what I was doing and we went up to Parliament House where Tim and I did some vox pops with departing guests about the continuing curtsy controversy.

Channel 7 doing their live broadcasts in front of the Parliament Building.

The satellite trucks.

That did not take long.

Then we made our way to the underground car park to join the rest of the small media pack to get the bus back to hotel to begin the edit.

Georgina went off to retrieve the machine and tape from Channel 7’s bureau in the building.

The story of the night was now two fold, the curtsy controversy and a great picture of the Queen and Duke encountering one of Australia’s women basketball players, Liz Cambage who is 7 feet tall.

It was going to be a tight edit but not too bad.

The edit went pretty well right up to the point where I needed to sent the edited piece to London.

An error message that I had never seen before pinged up onto the screen.

I tried a few different to get rid of it, like closing the application and rebooting the computer but, it was still there saying that it could not read the files and a lot of computer gobbledegook.

Immediately I had to pester Bob.

He talked me through a work around and I got the piece sent.

It had arrived in enough time for us not to be too stressed. Although, I was not exactly laid back.

The strange error message, after Bob had gone away to investigate it, turned out to be another way of saying that the disk was full.

That of course was quickly sorted and had the message simply said that to start with I could have remedied it quickly with no stress at all.

I was still ahead on points but far from a decisive knock out.

Georgina checking wires and Tim talks to ITN in London .

Once again during the process we had gone through dinner time. I also realised that I had not eaten or drunk much since breakfast time. No wonder I had a headache.

The usual over priced room service came to our partial rescue as we ate and worked.

The Remains of the Dinner!

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