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

Trooping the Colour Oz Style.

Saturday 22nd

Today’s event was, we collectively thought just going to be an exercise in collecting material for archive.

Tim and Georgina help with the kit. Arthur loves it!

The Queen was to present new colours at Duntroon, the Australian Military College in Canberra.

It was slightly overcast when we arrived at the parade ground in the college and worked out who would do what from what position.

Daniel gives a briefing in where the camera positions are.

Phil (Sky News), would be on a gantry high and right at the back of the parade square to get the head on shot of the Queen as she made her speech. He had the longest lens out of the four of us.

Duncan (BBC), would be on one side looking towards where the Queen would inspect the troops. His prime role would be to do the pieces to camera.

Peter (Queen’s Cameraman), would be close to the podium where the Queen and the Duke would stand. He’d get most of the close up shots and the arrival.

I would be on the opposite side from Duncan and get a good shot of the Queen as she walked over to inspect the troops.

The BBC's Duncan sets his tripod on the piece to camera position.

All we had to do now was wait for things to start. It did not take long for the clouds to melt away under the heat from the sun and those of us in the protocol required dark suits began to feel it’s effects.

The media pen opposite my position, Duncan's on the far right.

My camera position.

She's over there!

The Queen would not get there for a while but, there was a lot of marching, saluting and walking around with flags, which is what the colours are, before that.

I did some nice shots of some of the activity. The cadets looked good in their bright, crisp white uniforms, buckles, buttons and badges shiny and golden, some even had a few medals pinned to their chest that flashed with the bright sun as they marched to the rousing tunes from the red clad band and the loud commands belted out by the officers.

The cadets on parade.

I knew that the chances of any of it making air were slim, perhaps one cut away shot nothing more and without the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh in shot would not even make it to the archive. It was a shame because it was all good stuff.

I looked around and my three colleagues were doing much the same, probably thinking the same but, it helped pass the time and was an enjoyable thing to do.

Multi tasking for local radio, or is she a photographer with a mic?

When the Queen arrived we all started working in earnest. I got a great close up of the Queen as predicted when she came over to start the inspection. Apart from Peter’s my camera was the closest one she would get to on this event. Most of the time we’d all be zoomed right in working on the longest focal length of the lens with a double extender selected and still we’d just about get a mid shot.

The only thing wrong with the shot was that she was fairly expressionless. It would have been great if she had been smiling broadly, which she sometimes does.

The Queen and the Duke on their little podium during the march past.

For the rest of the time I did the best I could until the black Range Rover with the crown on the front whisked the Queen and the Duke around to a little garden party.

Georgina retrieved the VTR machine that had once more recorded the Australian pool material.

The VT machine, Tim carried it in Georgina carries it out.

I went back in the bus to the hotel to start the ingestion process of my material, the Australian pool stuff and Phil’s card.

He stayed with Georgina to help with a little interview with a veteran that had been presented with the Military Cross by the Queen back in 1953 and had met her again on this trip.

I got all the material in and waited for the BBC card and the one from Peter.

When they arrived back I got all that material ingested.

It was looking like that would be it for the day given that it was Saturday and the bulletins were quite short.

Rather to our surprise all our organisations wanted packages. So, tucked away in our respective rooms we began to work.

Work space and sleep space in one.

I was in good humour and feeling that things were looking up.

I felt that I had the Avid in a bit of a death grip and a victory was not too far away.

We started talking about what we needed.

Preparing to do battle with Avid and it's sneaky ways.

The main elements required to build the report were Tim’s piece to camera and an interview with the veteran along with a few set up shots of him.

The bulk of the material was on Duncan’s card which I was pleased was already ingested and in the machine. So, there was nothing to hold up proceedings.

I had Tim’s piece to camera sitting ready to go.

The veteran’s interview was the last thing in the BBC material. It would be dead easy to find. So no worries there then.

I also needed a couple of shots from the Sky card.

That was also already in. So no worries there then either.

With a bit of my stuff and some shots from the Australians it would be an easy job at last.

That was of course until the Avid ambush.

I went to get the Sky material. I could not see it. I had been looking at it only a few moments previously but, now it was nowhere to be seen.

It had to be there, but where?

I asked Georgina to see if she could locate Sky’s card because I might have to take it in again.

I then went into the BBC material and spun on to the end.

The last shot was of soldiers on the parade.

There was no sign of the old chap.

“Strange, but don’t worry I still have the card here.” , I said trying not to show the feeling of dread that was coming over me.

I inserted the card, as usual a couple of times before the computer decided that it would recognise it and saw the list if files grow in the window in Avid.

The files normally highlight themselves in yellow as they pop up.

Sure enough there was a big yellow column of files.

However, above that were several file names with no details beside them not highlighted in yellow.

I clicked on the last of the bright yellow files. The picture popped into the screen. It was the same as the last shot that I already had in the computer.

Those greyed out ones must be the material.

By chance the large jolly man that is Duncan was at the door of my room.

He came and had a look and scratched his head. There appeared to be no reason that the files should not be recognised.

At least he knew of a way around this particular problem. He nipped off to his room and reappeared with his camera through which we were able to get the material into the laptop, not quite as quickly as from the card. It was not much that we needed so it was not a major problem.

What helped not slow things up more was that I had found the Sky material.

Now at last we were in a fully go mode to get cracking with the edit.

It all went off fine with all the screens only going to grey once during the process.

In the end we had a nice little report with some really nice smiling close up shots of the Queen that Peter had shot during the short time he had to work with at the garden party and a good interview with Arthur Pembroke MC, the Australian veteran soldier.

The enjoyable thing about getting the piece done and away to London and have the people at ITN say that they were happy with it was that we did not have to have another room service meal.

We got to the restaurant in the hotel in time to have a meal at the buffet before it was cleared away.

The only bit of work left to do was something that I hate doing, packing the kit and my personal stuff for a short one might trip.

Tomorrow the plan would be, we would do some shooting of the Queen going to church and then some pieces to camera at Government House before jumping on a flight to Brisbane.

We would film there on Monday and come back to Canberra on Monday night.

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