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, 7 June 2012

Euro 2012

Wednesday 6th June

Yesterday I flew down to a London that was at the peak of the queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

There was a little delay in taking off from Edinburgh because there were some birds on the runway.

Dealing with the birds
Job done time to put the gun away
An appropriate day to be coming into London over Windsor Castle 
The driver that came to meet me at Heathrow asked if I had a book for the drive to the South Bank because the whole city was locked down to traffic.

We skirted around the road closures and got to a spookily quiet London Television Centre much more quickly than I anticipated.

From al the reports and hype in the media I had expected to see, if not every house and shop at least every second one covered in red white and blue.

I was rather surprised the relative lack of bunting and flags.

The Daybreak office was not the usual hustle and bustle of a weekday. The only people I were those that were quietly going about the business of putting tomorrow’s programme together.

There was some new kit for me to collect and check that I kind of knew how it worked.

Once that was done and I had said hello to a lot of the folk in the office it was time to head to my airport hotel.

This morning it was not too early a start to head in a taxi with small pile of boxes to terminal 1.

Another trip, another trolly full of kit
I was negotiating my laden trolley from the drop off point to the terminal entrance when a chap in a hi viz jacket accosted me and asked if I was Martin.

Slowly and suspiciously I said yes to him.

Peter introduced himself to me and told me he was there to help with the excess baggage and customs.

Inside I met up with Ravi the producer and Tiffany the correspondent.

Thanks to Peter and the helpful guys at Customs and check-in everything went smoothly.

Peter leads with my trolley of kit
All tagged and ready to go 
The three of us were soon through in departures getting a few last minute items from the array of shops.

Tiffany went to the currency exchange to get some Polish Zlotys and Ukrainian Grivna.

The girl at the counter told her that they had only just taken delivery of Grivna. It was not a currency that they normally carried and that Tiffany was the first customer to ask for it.

We flew to Krakow via Munich.

There was just enough time for us to get from the arrival gate to the departure gate with no opportunity to have either a quick coffee or browse around the very nice looking shops.

We had switched our phones on as we walked. It was then that the e-mails and messages flooded into our inboxes telling us what was wanted for tomorrow’s programme.

It was going to busy from the moment we landed in Krakow.

Waiting to take off from Munich as another aircraft comes in to land
Leaving Munich
Downwind to land at Krakow
Final approach to Krakow

We had to get to the England team hotel before they did to get the arrival shot. The plan was that I would get the exterior shot and ITN would be inside to see the guys coming through the entrance into the lobby.

Things were still going smoothly. Our kit came on the belt first. The driver taking us to our hotel was waiting for us as we came out of the arrival hall. The hotel check-in was quick. Our hire car was waiting for us at the hotel.

On the drive to our hotel look at who past us
We dumped our stuff and headed for the England team hotel.

When we pitched up after our power walk between the hotels Russ the ITN cameraman was in place to get the shot of the players getting off the bus.

There was no facility inside.

The bus was due any moment so I positioned myself at the end of the street to get a long shot of the bus coming towards the hotel.

The England team hotel is down this street
Ravi got the little camera out and prepared to do some shots with Tiffany.

Ravi with his camera at the ready
It was after that there was a little bit of stress.

The shots that Russ and I had taken needed to be fed back to London for not just the ITN Evening News programme but also for the BBC because it had been a pool.

We took our cameras to the control room that had been built up from lots of bits of kit that had arrived in lots of boxes to feed the material to ITN MCR (master control room) in London.

Outside the control room on a roof was the main live positions for ITN and the BBC.

The rooftop live broadcast area
The view from the rooftop over Grand Square

The control room
Then the problem reared its head.

There was an incompatibility problem between the camera and the system, which meant that it was only possible to hear audio but not the pictures.

Trying to get the pictures to London
A VT machine was needed to play the tape to London. Unfortunately that was at the ITN hotel a half an hours drive away.

Signal routing map

So none of the shots made it for the evening bulletin.

Ravi, Tiffany and I then grabbed a bite to eat whist we waited to get the final word from Daybreak on what it was exactly that would be needed for the morning’s programme.

Even over diner they're on the phone
It was going to be a busy one for us with lots of live broadcasts into the news bulletins, the main programme and possibly one in Lorraine’s show. These would be over and above what we needed to edit.

Back in Ravi’s sumptuous suite in the hotel we deprived ourselves of much needed sleep putting together the report, liaising with Daybreak in London about scripts and organising guests to join us nice and early to be on one of our broadcasts.

Tiffany talking about her script with Ravi

By the time the day’s work was done we would be getting about three, maybe four, hours sleep before going live.

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