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.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Another day. Another technical problem.

Friday 8th March

The satellite truck was parked out of the line of sight of the house we were heading to for this morning’s Thanks Mum surprise.
Satellite truck tucked away from mum, Anna's house
Like yesterday Christina the producer and I had done a little preview film with Harry, his brother Michael and dad Sean. Harry had written the e-mail to Daybreak nominating his mum, Anna.

We had done the little film at a community school not far away where the boys do wheelchair basketball. Harry has Spina bifida so has to use a wheelchair.
Dad Sean chatting to producer Christina
Christina helping to set up the Basketball hoop
The boys playing basketball
Michael and Harry
After the problems with the cable and sound that we had yesterday we were all determined that things would be beyond reproach today.

We got rigged and did the first of our little tasks. Keith had thought up a little gag for one of the teases that we were due to do involving him talking to himself on one of the monitors on the truck.

So we shot the little bit of tape that was needed.

When we were doing this Ray the rigger was getting the long run of cable we needed to get from the truck to the house all sorted.

Then Dave got all the sound and audio sources sorted that would mean the shot of Keith that he would talk to would be on the correct monitor, he would be able to hear what he was saying and there would be no feedback.
Keith looks on as Dave cues up the tape
Aldo Zilli the celebrity chef arrived keeping out of site in one of the vehicles. He was the surprise prize. Anna is interested in cooking and he would give her a bit of a cooking lesson on how to make a good pasta dish.

Aldo Zilli, not long to go
Producers Fred and Christina
Keith's view.. he does one of the live teases..
..and gets excited as we get close to the run and surprise 
After we had done all the short teases, live shots and tested, by a bit of vigorous running, that the cables were all tight and secure we sneaked up to a bush a bit nearer the house and got ready for the run.

We heard the Daybreak music in our ears as the programme came on air after a commercial break.

Keith rubbed his hands in anticipation of the bit of fun ahead.

The cue came from the studio and we were off.

As soon as we started our fast jog down the hill to the house in my gallery talkback ear I heard Simon the director saying that the sound was breaking up but he’d stick with it for a little.

“Not Again! Please!”, the very loud voice in my head screamed.

Frustratingly Simon told the presenters that he was coming back to them in the studio and cut off us.

There was a problem with the sound getting from Colin’s sound mixer to the camera.

We quickly changed a cable and got it working again.

The good news was that we had not been seen from the house and their telly was not tuned to STV. So, at least we had not lost the element of surprise.

There were a few rushed, stressed phone calls between us and London as the programme running order and timings were adjusted to get us slotted back in as quickly as possible.

This time when we went live the sound was OK for the short run up to the door and into the house.

As soon as we stormed into the house we were hit by the heat from the central heating. I knew what would happen next.

The lens started to mist up.

I had a cloth at the ready to give the lens a bit of a wipe if this happened.

The shot was not great but, the reaction was so good and there was so much going on with the dog leaping about, Keith exuding so much energy and Aldo being brought in that I just let it go feeling that the steaming up was not bad enough to warrant the cloth coming on to the lens to cause more of a distraction.

Feeling very pissed off we came off air.

Keith just had time to get a couple of photos done before he was whisked away in the taxi that was waiting with its engine running to get him to Edinburgh airport to catch the flight that would get him to Dancing on Ice in time for the rehearsals for Sunday’s final show.

We said our congratulations and goodbyes to Anna, Sean and the boys.

We were all at a real low because that had been two days in a row when we had dealt with four different technical problems that had caused major problems on air.

I spent the rest of the day on the phone, writing and answering e-mails discussing the whys and hows of what went wrong, and ways to prevent repeats.

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