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.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A live Leap of Faith

Thursday 19th

The five of us, Elise, Mark, John, Maria and I had real sympathy with the four downsizers when we met on the hotel’s 12th floor at around 5:45.

It had taken a lot of willpower and more than one alarm call to get us up out of our beds. So we had a bit of sympathy with the downsizers for what we were about to do.

We were off to get Richard, Aimee, Jordanna and Laura up out of their beds and down to the beach area for a pre dawn workout.

Mark and Elise rang and knocked on their doors and gave them the order to get downstairs in five minutes all kited up.

When they came down I filmed Elise putting them through a workout and giving her fitness tips.

We needed to work as quickly as possible because the soft predawn glow and rising sun would not last long.

The silhouette shot of them doing their warm up stretches looked great. I wished that I had time to get a few stills of it as well as the video for the programme.

As soon as that was done it was time to get ready for the main live broadcasts.

Another Dubai dawn.

There were three to do, one down at the beach area, one on an area around half way up the Ziggurat that houses the Leap of Faith and the grand finale when the guys would actually come down the slide.

Bit of early morning cleaning..

Inside the tank...

...and on the outside as well.

Faith prepares her scripts.

There were three cameras being used on most of the broadcasts and some of the short live shots and teases

Sarah get her talkback.... Mark goes over the script with Ali and Simon.

Emma gets her talkback.

Richard sets up the satellite truck.

The final broadcast of the day would be the one where three of the downsizers and Emma zip sown the slide and splash into the pool at the bottom.

This would also be the most complex of the three technically and had the highest potential to go wrong.

So, we concentrated on rehearsing that one first to make sure that we had it all covered.

Andy would be at the start of the slide with Emma and the downsizers.

Dameon would cover the guys as they slid down at breakneck speed from the middle floor.

I would be at the bottom to see them fire out of the tube into the water.

Going through the scrips at the bottom of the Leap of Faith.

Once we were all reasonably happy that we all knew what we were doing it was time to turn to the rest of the morning’s broadcasts.

Setting up the food segment.

The first broadcast would be at an area near the pool. An area had been roped off for us. The producers had asked for a little gazebo, table and chairs to be in that area for the food item that we would do.

The hotel’s efficient organisational machine swung into action and exactly what was asked for was inside the toped off area.

They say that it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. That saying should be more relevantly applied to producers and editors of television programmes.

The gazebo, table etc was no longer required in this area.

Suddenly with no hassle the things were taken away.

It was like watching an army of ants at work as lots of guys descended on the stuff and carried it away.

The things are moved.

Nigel and Simon in "the gallery".

Simon the director.

Technically things all went off well.

Jordanna gets texts from friends after the broadcasts.

Aimee after we were off air.

Emma, Ali and John.

The end of a period of broadcasts is normally a cause for celebration. When we came off air this morning it was with mixed feelings for various reasons.

It was Simon’s last set of foreign live broadcasts as Daybreak’s senior staff director. Those of us who had worked with him for many years, recently with Daybreak and in the past with GMTV were trying to keep our emotions in check.

The Daybreak "Downsize in Dubai" team.

The live aspects might have been over but there was still more shooting to be done in the evening.

Andy pitches in with helping putting the sound kit away.

Dameon tidies the cables.

After we had derigged the kit had to be taken back to the hotel to be stored for the short time it would be until we checked out.

The room that we had been using as a store/office was going to be used for something else some we were allocated a room at the other end of the vast hotel.

Buggies and bodies were organised to take the kit to the huge room that had been allocated.

The only problem was that once we had had lugged all the kit form one end of the hotel to the other we found that the room was being prepared for a rather large event.

Setting up the room.

The kit outside the room.

There was a bit of internal discussion between various departments in the hotel. The result of which was that we would need to take the kit back to the original room.

By the time this had all been sorted out it was time to head over to the trendy Nasimi beach bar to film Mark asking Aimee, Jordanna, Richard and Laura about their experience and show them some messages from folk back home.

Mark does a quick autograph for Aimee before we start shooting.

There were also some pieces to camera to do with Sarah and Mark for a couple of things that would be transmitted on Friday morning when we were heading home.

The final thing to do was record the voice overs.

Recording the voice over.

Simon, Nigel and I then packed away our kit. We might have finished our long day, starting at 5:50 and now ending at around 8 pm but, Wurzzle, Christina and Ali still had some editing to do.

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