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.

Friday, 18 January 2013

X Factor audition course

Wednesday 16th January
Bishop Auckland

At 5 am Katy Fawcett, Paul and his SIS satellite truck pulled into a chilly car park of Bishop Auckland College.

Geoff the Janitor let us into the warm brightly lit performing art area with its small stage right opposite the entrance doors.

I got the kit, camera, tripod and lights in and Charles the sound recordist started to line up the camera with his sound mixer.

Paul was getting the cable in through the small window in a storeroom.

There was no great stress because our first bit of shooting would not happen until after 7 am with the first live broadcasts not until 7:45 am.

We were there to do a down the line interview with Mike Jinks the director of a course which now incorporates an element of preparing for a reality show audition.

The pressing thing for us was to find some means of getting a wee shot of caffeine to get us going. Without a fast approaching broadcasting deadline and because this was not a particularly complex job the usual adrenaline that kicks in to wake us up was not flowing.

Geoff found us a vending machine in the Hair and Beauty area that dispensed pretty good coffee. That did the job, although Charles was happy with just water for the mint tea he had brought with him.

When a few selected students arrived at around 7 am I got some shots of them doing a few snippets of performances that might be give at an X Factor audition, a bit of singing and dancing. These particular students were doing another course which does not have the audition element in it but, what they did was illustrative of what we have all seen on these X Factor type programmes.

London recorded them to be played out a bit later in conjunction with a couple of live shots of the students warming up as teases before Mike's interview.

Tutor Sue does come warm up exercises for the live shots..
..Charles gets the mic in
Sue and her students 
I set up Mike's position for the interview well in front of the stage so that I could get the performers doing some of their stuff in the background during the chat with Aled Jones and Lorraine Kelly.
Mike's interview set up with the students on the stage behind
There would also be some others joining them on the sofa to discuss the pros and cons of the course. They were Joe McElderry, an X Factor winner, Jonathan Shalit, a showbiz agent  and Arlene Phillips, a choreographer and reality show judge.

After a little film had been shown about what these reality programmes are all about it was time for Mike's little interview with Aled and Lorraine.

When his bit was done the chat continued on the sofa with Arlene being very vocal in her opposition to the very idea of any course like the one Bishop Aukland College was doing.

Mike was listening to the discussion on the programme sound in his ear. I was also listening to that and the talkback from the gallery. I could hear that they might come back to us to defend what he had heard.

They did and Mike gave a good account of himself.

Job done.

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