Friday, 18 March 2011

The Invisible (Camera)Man...

It's inevitable that as a news cameraman, you will find yourself standing on the steps to a local courthouse. There's no getting away from the fact that most news stories will either start as a court story, or end up as one. Accepting that fact, I again found myself standing in the pouring rain, waiting for the defendant, the aggrieved, and the law.

Now as any person of the lens lugging persuasion will tell you, if you can get the shots required without a fuss, all the better. Make yourself as inconspicuous as possible, avoid the in yer face confrontation and things should go just dandy. However, court stories can throw curveballs at you that are not expected, such as defendants who would very much like to shove your camera where the sun don't shine. Families who are grieving for lost loved ones and see me as a big intrusion into their private lives, and even mean looking drug dealers who come over to you and ask if they looked good as you filmed them. Yep, strange things happen on court steps. I've been shouted at and threatened by thugs, businessmen, conmen and even grannies, I've stood for hours at a time waiting for the perp to leave the building and find that he left hours ago through the back door. All manner of things have been tried to avoid the public glare of the lens, many to no avail, some to spectacular success.

So it was a relief this morning to turn up at court at 9am sharp, and the defendant to walk up 30 seconds later and ask you if you would like a walking in shot. Music to my ears I tell ya. No shouts, no argy bargy, no thuggery. It doesn't happen this way very often, but when it does, it makes your day knowing that you won't have to chase after him, risk a thumping or fall over your own size 11's in the rush for a 3 or 4 second wobble shot. Today was a good day, all things considered. Except for the bloody rain...

Paul Martin.
Media Attention Ltd.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A fit of the jiggles..

An American friend of mine, Lenslinger recently wrote about filming ladies of a certain age... Exercising. And I agree, filming women trying to improve their image whilst jiggling about to 70's and 80's pseudo rock, dressed in loose fitting, sweaty jumpsuits makes a cameraman nervous. Trying to film a four shot sequence of a 40 something housewife with a 4lb weight in both hands, marching on the spot to The Eye Of The Tiger makes for a volatile mix. She had the eye of the tiger alright, and I was the doe eyed newborn deer about to have it's jugular lacerated if I did not remove my lens from beneath her ample, dare I say it, voluptuous frontage.

Filming from behind... Advisable.

This was a delicate situation, that needed a delicate response. Should I move in to film as they slowly gyrated their hips whilst sat on a giant rubber ball, or should I just zoom in and capture the pelvic floor tightening exercise from afar..? I think you know which one I chose.

There was a chink of light in this darkness of male indecision. I saw it out of the corner of my squinty left eye.. One of the ladies smiled at me. It could however have been a painful wince as her sports bra pinged open, or a response to a muscle spasm from the pelvic area, following over tightening, but I took it as an invitation to sidle over, get up close, and film the jiggles.

You see, in this game, you take a chance on what you perceive to be an open invitation. I could have missed that small but telling smile. But having seen it, out of all the other looks that said "Please take that lens away, or I will perform an impromptu colonoscopy upon you" I took the chance and came away with the sequence required. And thank the Lord Almighty for that, as next up was the boxercise routine. And I'm sure one of those ladies was looking at me as her sparring partner...

Paul Martin

Monday, 7 March 2011

Canadian With A Camera.

I've written about other photographers and Cameramen before... So i'll do it again. Especially when i come across a website that is both rich in content for those of us in this industry, and entertaining in the fact that the cameraman who writes it was in the Canadian Navy. Glen Canning Is a VJ from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, who writes, blogs and takes pictures from his part of the cameraman and broadcasting world. I would imagine that world to be mainly frozen, but he manages to thaw my rock hard brain with intelligent articles, good pictures and information from the VJ world.

Glen has actually replaced his right eye with a lens...

Now i don't really do the VJ thing... Y'know, filming, writing, editing, journalism, producing and mopping the floor on your way out, but if you are heading down this route into the media industry, there can be no better place to start your journey than reading through this website, and hoovering up all the information that is freely given by Glen, who i assume only carries cameras this small and light to avoid falling through ice sheets in the Canadian wilderness.

Being formally of Her Majesties British Army, i shall try to heft my large, heavy and unwieldy camera until my back snaps, stoic in the knowledge that a former member of Her Majesties Royal Canadian Navy is running around the colonies with a camera so small and light, he could outrun a Polar Bear in a hundred yard dash... and write and edit a story on the way....

You can visit Glens website here:

Paul Martin