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, 17 June 2012

Independence Square then Sweden v England

Friday 15th June

This morning we were back at the exact spot from which we had done our live broadcasts yesterday. It was gong to be a much busier day because not only did we have news and sports broadcasts to do we also had a couple of longer Daybreak programme broadcasts, one for the Lorraine programme plus a few live and tease shots throughout the programme.

I got started on doing my technical thing, getting my camera and sound kit all connected up, Rav and Tiffany got on their phones to co-ordinate with London about what was needed from us and also to make sure that as many of the planned guests were going to make it.

All the time that we have been in the Ukraine and when we were in Poland there was an appreciable satellite delay of anything from one and a half second up to a full three seconds.

Each day once all the vital things had been done and we were happy that London could see and hear us in acceptable quality and we could hear them the delay had to be taken into consideration. 

Talking to Doug the technical director to check the length of the satellite delay

We did this so that the director could cue Tiffany slightly  before the presenters finished what they were saying to avoid an awkward silence for a couple of seconds.

Things started to get a tad fraught when the digi-link that had worked perfectly yesterday would not work this morning.

It was time to break out the little black box and the directional antenna.

Rav had to split his producing duties with being like third spear carrier from the left by wielding the long pole that had the antenna on it

Rav with the directional antenna 

There was a sense of relief when the Crusaders and Henry Winter the football writer for the Telegraph turned up.

Henry was as ever a great asset to the programme talking very knowledgeably about the England team in an accessible way with the right tone for our breakfast audience.

Henry Winter

We were pleased to see the first of our guests arriving

Arthur escorting them over to us

Rav leading Bernie in

The crusaders although very tired, I don't think many of them had been asleep or sober for long last night, put up with our manic running around doing our little broadcasts and trying to get the technical thing to work as well as it could.

It's not easy getting up this early!
The kit in-between broadcasts

Breakfast for the guys in-between broadcasts

In he midst of changing cables, batteries, antennae and power boosters the little transducer on he end of the tube hanging out of my ear that allows me to hear the talkback got pulled out and pinged down a drain grating.

Quick battery change

Rav retrieved it for me using a long pole made of pens gaffer taped to gather and a blob of blue tac on the end.

Getting the transducer

Despite the frantic morning everything seemed to work.

Getting the band in position

During the morning a big guy with a soft Aberdonian accent came up to say hello.

He had been at home in the north east of Scotland watching the Daybreak programme with his wife when we had been doing our live broadcasts from Krakow.

He thought that it had looked like fun and the weather looked better than it was at home. So he said to his wife,"I'm going out there."

He had just arrived in Kiev after a sixteen hour journey via Moscow and came over to say hello. 

We asked if he would be on the programme but he politely declined.

Shooting one of the broadcasts

Shooting the last Daybreak live broadcast of the day

Checking the script for the Lorraine pre-record

The group shot when it was all over

Back at the Stadium Media Centre in the afternoon I had a coffee and wondered about the fire hose box.
Artistic coffee in the media centre..

..paid for with vouchers that have to be purchased first.  Roughly 12 UAH to the pound 

I went to have another look and listen. Sure enough when I walked past there was a definite shutter sound.

Loitering around at the top of the stairs I listened and watched when other people climbed the stairs and got to the little window in the fire hose box.Yes, every time somebody went past it there was the sound.I was totally intrigued. Today, it being a game day security was ramped up. So, where the other day it was a thin bespectacled chap in a red t-shirt keeping an eye on me, today it was a big, thick necked, cropped haired, guy in a smart sharp suit and clear curly tube hanging down from his ear giving me his full attention.There was no way that I was going to get a chance to open the door without being seen.Another little detail that I had noticed which my fertile imagination had attached all sorts of meanings to was that all the other similar fire hose compartments on the other floors all had small lead type seals on the thin twisted wire around the hasp of the door. This door had the wire but, no seal.I decided that I was going to have a proper look behind that door before leaving Kiev.I finished off doing what I needed to do at the Media Centre and returned to the hotel.After dinner it was getting close to time for tonight's game, Sweden v England, the three of us headed to the stadium via the Media Centre.In a very wet Donetsk the delayed game, Ukraine v France was on all the screens in and around the Media Centre.This time when we climbed past the box the tell tale sound wasn't there.There was also an absence of a security man in that general area.Everyone was glued to the game.My chance had come. I pulled open the door and stuck my head in to have a good look.The concrete compartment contained two things, a dusty reel of fire hose and a big red button. Other than that it was empty.There was still room for the mystery to hang because there was space above the hose for something to be placed.Had there been anything there? Had it been removed because I had been seen giving it some attention?There most certainly had been a sound associated with people passing by.Perhaps we will never know.Then it was time to see the game.

VIP building in the stadium

The stadium in Kiev
Loads of Swedish fans

Sweden did score a couple of goals...

..but Ibrahimovic and his boys could not keep their long record of beating England.

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