Saturday, 21 July 2012

Racking Up The Miles.

I dread to think just how many miles i have driven over the last sixteen years. Us cameramen drive... a lot. Sometimes, a couple of hundred miles in one day is not uncommon. Driving from one story to the next racks up the mileage to the point of having the insurance company laugh and rub their hands in greed at how many miles i drive per year... Bastards.

A sight not often seen. Empty roads.
We call ourselves TV News Cameramen, Photojournalists or Camera Operators, in fact i would describe my job as follows:

'Driver. Waiting Specialist. Tea drinking, cheesy puff eating street lurker and occasional cameraman.'

That about sums it up. I see more interesting things on the road than i do filming the news. I've seen people doing truly disgusting things in their cars as i drive by, illegal things and things to make a man spaff snot onto the dashboard in wonderment of other peoples stupidity. The usual stuff, like texting and phoning whilst driving is a daily occurrence. I watch people pick their noses and eat the resulting finger food. I've seen them slap the kids, put on makeup, shave and eat their breakfast at speeds of up to and surpassing 70MPH.

The driving public of this nation is a story all it's own. Ever seen a man read the paper whilst steering with his knees..? I have. I once saw a Nissan Micra pass by with no discernible driver that i could see, at the lights up ahead it turned out to be a very tiny old lady, peering through the steering wheel.

Also, i've had more close shaves than a Gillette product tester. I've sat in longer queues than a Wimbledon tennis final and used more fuel than your average mission to Mars. I spend more time in my news van than i do with my wife and seen more twinkling red lights ahead of me than there is in a Soho whorehouse.

Now, if you will excuse me, i have a knocking sound under the bonnet of the van that won't go away. It could be that badger i ran over last Thursday...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Accredited for the M.E.S.S.

The next few weeks could get awfully confusing for us TV and Press types. Today i travelled into London to sign for my Press and Cameraman accreditation, which in itself, was a surprisingly easy task. My name was on the list and i was set to go.

Press accreditation. ( Security Guard I.D. not included. )

Many of you will know that a Major Event of Summer Sports ( M.E.S.S. ) is going through security and copyright issues. The security issue being a lack of security bods leading to Her Majesties Forces being drafted in to cover the shortfalls. This i have called the Big Insecure Gateways of the Major Event of Summer Sports. ( B.I.G.M.E.S.S. ) So, why am i calling it the Major Event of Summer Sports ( M.E.S.S. )? Well, due to what appears to be an alarming clampdown on companies associating themselves with copyrighted Logo's, words and images of the M.E.S.S. it would appear that i may come a cropper if i, or my company, associate myself with this M.E.S.S. that other, much larger companies and conglomerates have paid millions of pounds to be sponsors of the M.E.S.S. Following so far...? Good.

So, i can't say that i am filming the Olym, 2012, Games, M.E.S.S. without illegally using words or phrases that have been paid for handsomely to associate with. I can't show the logo's or anything else without the fear of being hanged upside down outside the LOCOG's ( London Organising Committee of the Olym Gam ) offices. See..? Confusing.

As for security, it appears that i may have to become my own security guard.* I will turn up at the M.E.S.S. and stop myself at the B.I.G.M.E.S.S, quiz myself as to my intentions, frisk and pat myself down including a deft but confident squeeze of the groin area, check my own camera equipment and then, following a few Umm's and Ahh's, refuse myself entry for no apparent reason because i have not been trained to do so.

It may appear that my name will not be on my own list. Bloody security.

*May contain lies.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Man Responsible...

Out of the blue, on a beach in Bournemouth yesterday, i quite literally bumped into a man with his two daughters. I recognised the face straight away, the name came a few moments later. It was the man who started my career in TV News.

Craig Henderson and Daughters...

 I've been a TV News cameraman now for nearly 16 years. And despite all the bellyaching and moaning i do on a daily basis, i actually love my job. I don't think that i would want to do anything else. To get this grizzled and adept at being in the right place at the right time has taken all of those 16 years to perfect.

There is a reason why i became a hard bitten, sanctimonious old cameraman with a penchant for greasy food, world class whingeing and a good eye for a visual story. You see someone, 16 years ago, gave an unknown bloke with a camera a chance to film the news. That man was a BBC News Editor called Craig Henderson... The very man i had just bumped into.

I have written before about how i started as a news cameraman, and articles about how and why i did what i did, to survive my first few years. But none of it would have happened if it were not for Craig. I like to think he saw in me a future world class documentary film maker that would go on to win Bafta's... or even an Oscar... Yeah right.

What he actually got was a newsman who wanted nothing more than to film the news and get on in his chosen profession and build a successful freelance career. I like to think of myself as a cameraman that can be relied upon to do his level best for those that hire me, and to tell good, visual news stories. I have been freelancing now for nearly 16 years, for the BBC, ITN, SKY, ITV, and many foreign broadcasters, so i must be doing something right.

My freelance career started as a self taught man. No qualifications or TV courses, No recognised camera training course or leg up from an inside friend. My only leg up into the TV News broadcasting industry came from a man who saw something in me that nobody else did. I had been ignored, forgotten and ignored again by every other broadcaster that i approached in my first few months of looking for TV work. After 6 months of rejection letters and indifference i very nearly gave up. But one man at the BBC, Craig Henderson, gave me one days work and a chance to show that i had what it takes to work in this industry that i love to work for, no matter the verbal machinations i deliver on this blog. That one day has turned into the past 16 years...

None of this... the blog, my company Media Attention Ltd, my ever burgeoning camera equipment and my families general well being would not be at the place we are now, if it were not for that one man... who gave a chap a break and started something that for me, shows no sign of ending any time soon.

I gave Craig a hearty handshake, and finally said a proper thank you for doing what he did all of those 16 years ago. One of his Daughters then turned to us and said...

" Dad... That's when i was born..."

Sheesh, She knew how to make two grown men feel very, very old...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


Another day on the torch camera, and another day getting drenched... The evr popular Olympic Torch Relay weather spot from yours truly... Day 5.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Whinging Cameraman Thinks Again.

You have probably got the impression that i can whinge and moan quite a lot about my job as a freelance cameraman in the TV News industry, and boy can i do that. There is after all, a lot to whinge and moan about. But... there is also a quality side to doing what i do. Take this week for example.

I am currently scooting around the Southern counties of this fair land covering the Olympic Torch as it makes it's way to London for the games. I forget how many times i have seen the torch, and the amount of towns and other places in which i have seen and filmed it. I have stood in wind and rain, been expected by my producers to find time warps and driven like a lunatic to make it work. It's been a tough week. The hours are long and there are more to come.

I sometimes forget however, just what it is i do. I travel and experience some of the best things happening in my region, and i get paid to do so. I get to play and film with all sorts of gadgetry and cameras. Things that people would dearly love to do and things most people don't get to witness. My route today lets me take my lunch break in the Bournemouth area... Look... ( Office and desk bound people should look away now. )

Where's the blonde, nubile lifeguard in red swimsuit when you want one... Eh...?

 How many people get their working lunch break in a place like this...? Or get to do their job of work at a location like this...?

Yours truly at work... Windswept and interesting. And it beats an office.

 OK, so i get rained on and a little tired. But it ain't all bad is it..? I don't work in the same office day after day, looking at the same ugly people, doing the same repetitive tasks. I get to see stuff, experience it, film it, get paid for it and then, watch my hard work on the tellybox when i get home... If i get home. I should really stop moaning.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.  


As it seems to be gaining a little popularity, here is another weather update from my Torchcam travels... No rain yet today, but boy was it windy in Dorset.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Crowds... You Gotta Love 'Em... Or Not.

'Scuse me... Ahem... Excuse me... Can i squeeze through there please...? Sorry, 'scuse me... Mind yer backs please... COMIN' THROUGH...!!

Crowds... Children... Fragile. Do not hit with hard cameras.

It's enough to make a cameraman weep. Crowds. People... Thousands of 'em, getting in the way, obstructing the free flow of the broadcasting industry and teevee news. Yesterday, on Olympic Torch following duties in Winchester, my colleague and BBC reporter for the day Briony Leyland, literally dragged me through a solidly packed town centre in pursuit of an interview. As she remonstrated with the police officer escorting the torch bearer, i think she may have forgotten that we were tethered via a mic cable, as we careened through the crowds in hot pursuit of our quarry.

I could feel the bumps as contact was made with heads, backs and faces by my elbows and camera, and the combined mutterings of 'Ouch' 'Oi' and 'Ooyafuckah' as camera made contact with skulls, Circa 6 to 8 MPH. This being Winchester, i even got an 'I say... steady on old chap..' Great fun.

It's just that the general public have a nasty habit of wandering aimlessly about with their thumbs up their arses, mobile phones clamped to heads and toddlers clamped in hand. They don't look where they are going. They get in the way.

Bloody general public. Think they own the goddamn place with a right to wander, cow like amongst the streets without a care in the world, looking at things, talking, enjoying themselves. Don't they realise that a man has work to do...? Eh...? The news doesn't film itself y'know.

Anyway, i'm off to clean the blood and snot off of my camera before it sets.


Pissed off cameraman weather update, Day 3, Olympic Torch relay.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Squeeky Bum Time.

News Producers... Need i say more...? Well i'll show 'em. This week you may be aware that yours truly is covering the Olympic Torch relay around our green and soggy land, on the behest of the BBC. Long days screaming around the countryside with your hair on fire and smoke eminating from every car tire.

Squeeky bum time... Will your hero make it...?  'Course he will.

Not only that, our producers have given us cameramen the  herculean task of flitting between one overcrowded destination to another, with little time in between. ( Usually 3 locations per cameraman, per day. ) This can be a tiresome task on normal news gathering days, but when your next location is potentially filled with around 40.000 people... that's right... FORTY THOUSAND..! and their cars, it can fill a cameraman with the fear of God that he won't be making to his next filming location.

This almost happened to your intrepid torch bothering lensman today when i was required to drive between Winchester and Andover, with an hour to do it in. Piece of piss did i hear at the back...? Well, please bear in mind that me and my van were in competition with thousands of other people and cars who wanted to leave Winchester at the same time... So it took me 20 minutes just to get out of the car park.

Now, one thing you need to know about us lens slingers, we know short cuts. Routes that only us, tramps and policemen will know. So thanks to a little knowledge of backroads and a willingness to drive down a one way street the wrong way, can save a little time and the ire of your news producer who i know is doing this just to test me. I'm sure they look on a map, see that locations are only three inches apart and say "No problem... It's not that far..."

Driving to Andover... 'twas a piece of piss.

So as i arrive in Andover with 3 minutes to spare and abandon the van on double yellows. I run into the town centre leaving a trail of Grannies and small children in tears behind me. I turn on the camera and hit record... just as the Olympic Torch rounds the corner and hoves into view. Quite simply i had around a spare 5 seconds or so, or i would have missed it.

So there you go, news producers of this world... Give it your best shot. It's like water off a ducks back. Speaking of which, it's still raining from time to time here in good old Blighty. Looky here... I'll prove it.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Soggy Olympics... Day One.

Just a short post today as i am quite busy over the coming week, what with wringing my clothes out and trying to find dry socks... That sort of thing.

I know i go on and on about our good old British weather, but for Christs sake is there no let up...? Today is day one for me following the Olympic Torch around the South of England, and it hasn't stopped yet. If i get much more of this i think it's a possibility that i may be found dissolved at the roadside, a sort of puddle of cameraman porridge.

On another note, i had my first brush with Olympic security today at Dorney Lake, where the rowing will take place. For a large puddle in the ground it sure is well protected. Nothing serious, and not the security teams fault, but when your name is not on the list, or accreditation has not been issued, problems like this will occur. I did however, manage to get on a school bus who were on their way to see the torch... I think the beard and the grump gave me away though. I hate to see little children cry.

Turn off the engine sir... Trousers down, bend over... This won't hurt much.

 Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Newsreel Cameraman's Letters Home. Burma, c1942.

For anyone interested in the way things used to be done in the TV News gathering industry, a new book has been published by a good friend of mine in the USA, Amanda Emily, who runs a fine website called The Dope Sheet. To see if i could find anything for her next book i took a trip to BBC Bush house, London, where they are preparing to leave. During my visit i came across a small bundle of letters in the archives marked:

'Newsreels: Personal, Mr Jack Furtling-Titmuss. (Cameraman) WW2'

Now, being of a nosey disposition, i read one of the letters and what it revealed was a wealth of information as to life as a newsreel cameraman back in the days of WW2 and film cameras. For historical reasons, i have decided to publish the first of these letters for you to read. I hope you like it as much as i did.

Burma, 1942 with my ever faithful Char-Wallah.

 Burma. 6 January 1942.

Clarissa Furtling-Titmuss,
14 Ffarte Gardens,

My dearest Clarissa,

As you know my dear, being of flat foot and unable to serve in His Majesties forces, I rue the very day i signed on for this BBC newsreel filming job. Following the fall of Rangoon to the Japs, I and the BBC Newsreel team retreated into the jungle. I miss the hotels, crisp clean sheets and profligate gambling. I now find myself in a shell-scrape with the 14th Yorkshire (East Riding ) Regiment of Foot and Mouth ( Territorials ). We seem to be fighting off the Japs on a daily basis, who swarm everywhere in the jungle like bees.

Our dispatches to London are on at the cinemas next week. Amazing just how quickly we can send our films back what with an RAF runway close by, 8 days from camera to cinema. An amazing feat of modern technology i'm sure you will agree. 

The jungle humidity is stifling, making my BBC issue camera easily susceptible to rust. Oil is reserved for weapons only, so i find myself making do with the Char Wallah's curious oil substitute to loosen the spigots and shutter. A white sticky concoction consisting of i know not what, but only comes in thimblefuls once a day. He's always got a sweat on that chap… but it does the trick. May have to get you to make some upon my return to Blighty when i get around to getting the recipe. Not speaking the local lingo, sign language prevails, but it seems to involve a lot of whisking….

My dear Clarissa i miss you so. Sleeping in the mud next to my BBC correspondent James, is a trifling disconcerting. Regular consumption of the local whiskey means the chap snores frightfully, bringing our location under Jap sniper fire on many an occasion. This earns us a severe berating from the Sergeant Major of our rifle company to whom we are attached.

My BBC Correspondent, James Gaultier Stickleback Jones, is an ex Coldstream Guardsman. 3rd generation. His father Crispin, was the Colonel in charge of a British forces expeditionary unit during the ill fated attack on Reims by the Germans during WW1, Terribly good show. Being the only survivor of that attack earned him a bar to his DCM, which he won by attacking a Boche machine gun position dressed only in his scanties and tin hat.

Made of good stock though is James, only last week he saved my life. When attacked by local Burmese tribesmen, he fired a warning shot straight between the eyes of their chieftain, with his fathers service revolver. All the while taking notes for dispatch to the BBC in London.

In other news, there was much rum goings on in the camp last night, Gunner Perkins fell asleep in his bunk with a lit cigarette. The resulting fire and screaming brought the entire front line on stand-to, until the fire was put out. Clean water being a scarce commodity in the jungle, the fire was extinguished by the combined bladder efforts of 6th and HQ Company. By morning Perkins and his bunk had disappeared and there was much mumblings amongst the troops.

The Regimental Sergeant Major boosted morale though, by announcing a suckling pig barbecue for that very evening. Lord only knows where he got the lumps of pork from, but morale has indeed lifted. When the Char Wallah produced an unexpected pot of his relish that seemed very similar to his camera oil substitute, smiles were returned all around in the enlisted ranks. Made a delightful change from the daily bully beef with rice.

Now, do not be alarmed my dear Clarissa, but crotch rot has returned with a vengeance. Please send more of mothers goose fat and bandages, as much as you can manage. Filming becomes hard with a camera on your shoulder and the other hand down your trollies to relieve the itch, i'm finding it hard to focus. James's pustulating bum boil was finally lanced last week at the first aid post, using a rifleman's sharpened pull through spike and wire wool pilfered from the Officers mess tent. I must say he took it like a man. Much mirth for the Dhobi Wallah's though, they find it all highly amusing and highly profitable.

Well my dear Clarissa, it is time to sign off this letter. A big push along the Jap lines is expected for the morning and i am tasked to film it for next weeks newsreel films. I do hope you get to see them.


your loving husband,


Well, there you have it. They were certainly different times back then, a world away from the modern technology we have now. There are more letters which i am taking the time to read, and i may post more of them here on this very blog. If i can be arsed.

You can buy Amanda's sparkly new book HERE.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


Friday, 6 July 2012

DSLR Cameraman with Chamois Leather Trumps Robot.

Here we go again. Now this time i'm not talking about the merits of this or that DSLR, smartphone or TV Camera. I've talked about that before and will probably do so again. No, this time i want to draw your attention to the use of robotic cameras, you know, cameras without a cameraman. NO CAMERAMAN..! Christ on a bike, we are all up shit creek without a paddle.

Earlier today, my attention was drawn to this article in, about Reuters and the innovative use of robotic cameras for this years Olympic Games in London. That's London, England... You know, the land of eternal sunshine. Now being a cameraman, i like technology, gadgets, and things that go ping... but have Reuters really thought this through...? I was reminded by my good friend and colleague Les Colyer of Razor Television of the TV debacle that was this years Jubilee, where robotic TV cameras were used... In the rain. I don't think they produced one single usable picture from the whole day, although the pictures had to be broadcast because they had no other choice. They were bad... really bad.

Go on... leave your camera out in the rain and then film or take a picture without cleaning the lens. Then take it to your boss and see what he thinks. It would look something like this...

And the winner of the men's 100 metre final is.... Oh fuck.

 Just imagine, the 100 metres men's final, London... in the rain. Or any other event outside... in the rain. I'm not saying it is going to rain, it may, it may not. But this is the UK, so it probably will, even in the summer. Those flesh and blood photographers and cameramen have a good chance to get good clear usable shots with the help of a chamois leather and other assorted lens wiping aides... sleeves, snot rags or a handy Olympic logo'd McDonalds serviette with ketchup on it. The robots though, well they will just have to sit there and hope it doesn't piss down like it has for the past 3 or 4 months in record quantities. Or a spider doesn't spin its web overnight revealing a spiders arsehole to the world when you switch it on in the morning.

I will wait with bated breath for the Olympics to start, and hope that the weather is on our side. The cameramen's side that is... Not the robots, the job stealing shitbags.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Filming The Higgs Boson.

Today is a momentous day for TV news cameramen the world over. News has broken from the large hadron collider in Auric Goldfinger's underground lair that the Higgs Boson, or the 'God particle' has been observed. I watched the TV News earlier this morning with some amusement as reporters, science correspondents, and various egg heads tried to convey the physics behind what had been discovered. Lots of "uum's" "aah's" and "Well, this is really difficult to explain in layman's terms..."

There were lots of in depth graphics from the pixel dept, deep within TV Centre, even ones from Goldfinger himself using Comic Sans. ( The font of champions ) But i was surprised to see that the producers had not tasked a news cameraman with filming one... Now i don't know about you, but even with my best zoom lens, with the doubler on, i struggled to find one of these particles on my bathroom floor this morning. I searched, honest i did. I even lifted the bath mat to see if any Higgs Boson's fell out or were hiding in the nooks and crannies, but alas... I could not find one. If a news cameraman does manage to film one it will be like hitting the payday jackpot.

Higgs Boson's... not easily visible on garden weeds.

On websites and on the TV news this morning, it was explained thus:

"ATLAS will today announce a 5-sigma signal and CMS will announce a 4.9-sigma signal of a new particle with a mass of 126.5 GigaelectronVolts (GeV) and 125.2 GeV respectively"

I opened up my cameras menu and searched for the settings but i couldn't find anything resembling a 4.9-Sigma signal. Not even on my filter 2 on a white balance setting of 3200K. I even tried filming through a magnifying glass but only found a matted clump of long lost facial hair in the sink hole.

This is going to be a tough assignment. Even in the garden, excitement turned to disappointment as i whooped and hollered to the missus that i had found a Higgs Boson, only to be told that it was blackfly on the roses... Buggeration.

I rang a friend of mine who specialises in macro filming. He told me that he saw a tiny black dot in his childs ear hole early this morning, his heart raced as he thought he was the first news cameraman to film a Higgs Boson, but it turned out to be a speck of dust.  It would seem the race is on amongst us news cameramen as to who will be the first to film one...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

How To Annoy A TV News Cameraman.

It doesn't take much to send a TV News Cameraman into a seething mass of bubbling hatred. Do you want to see a mans head go red and expand to the point that it looks like a taught boil of pestilence, ready to pop a gooey mess all over the pavement...? There are ways and means my friend... Ways and means.

Do you want to see my war face... Huh...?

The following is a handy print out and keep aide memoir for anyone who may come across a news camera person. You may be a reporter, an interviewee, a PR type person or just a member of the general public.

Now before you go on, in case you are thinking what harm can you possibly do, please ensure that on no account do any of the things, or say any of the words that i am about to impart. I take my readers safety seriously. So unless you want to be shouted at and sprayed in biscuit crumbs, cheesy puff pieces or hot coffee, please do not do any of the following...

1. Ask "Is that thing heavy..?"

I will go for a soft one to start... This usually only gets a raised eyebrow from the cameraman involved, so is not too serious. However, it is a raised eyebrow that says, 'I've been stood outside this court for 6 hours... what do you think...?' No harm done, but this will make you feel like a dipshit.

2. Unauthorised picking up of a camera. ( Reporters )

Holy shit, you just couldn't resist it could you. Normally done by reporters trying to be helpful, all the while knocking switches and absent mindedly altering settings as they swing the camera about. Watch closely as the veins in the cameraman's neck pulse and his eyes bulge. Put the camera down and walk away... preferably holding your hands up and saying 'Sorry.. Sorry.. Sorry.. won't do it again.. Cup of tea...?' This may just save your note writing ass.

3. Unauthorised picking up of camera. ( PR Types and general public )

So you want to die in a horrible fashion at the hands of a raving lunatic, like you have just kidnapped his kids, slept with his wife and shat on his lawn... Do you..? Didn't think so. We carry lots of kit all of the time, we are used to it. We also know the value of our camera, you do not. You are an underpaid snot jockey of a PR who knows not, what sensitivity means. Touch my camera again and i will kill you... To death... OK?

4. Don't offer to help carry the sound bag. ( Reporters )

Notwithstanding the above, ( 1 and 2 ) there is scope for you non cameraman types to help a man out. Walking away saying 'let's film over there' and leaving the kit behind for me to carry along with the tripod, will earn you a grumbling, snarky cameraman for the rest of the day. It could possibly take weeks for this to subside. Tea and a cream cake might... just might, calm us down.

5. Don't offer to help carry the sound bag. ( PR Types and general public )

I will alter the skin tone settings on the camera for the interview to make you look like you are just recovering from a bout of scurvey. I will cut out the important posters you have put up on the wall in the hope you will get a little extra advertising in the background, and will leave something foul smelling in a wall cavity of your corporate building.

6. Hold a press conference in front of a large window.

This will piss us camera types off no end. No, trust me, it will. I'm going to have to get all of my lighting equipment out just to compete with the ambient daylight that is perfectly lighting the back of the speakers head. And then the sun will come out. And when the sun comes out, a cameraman will seek you out, and tell you in no uncertain terms, what is required to film the TV News... Light, on the speakers face, not on the back of his head. ( See also, holding a press conference in a basement. )

7. Offering crap refreshments at a press conference.

Tea, coffee, sandwiches and cake... Need i say more? I do not eat alfalfa sprout salads, duck morsels in a raspberry jus, or anything nestling on a bed of steamed greens with a chick pea dip. Meat... preferably bacon or sausages between two bits of bread... brown sauce. If you want to be remembered by the press as that place that halted global warming then serve proper food, or we will remember you as the place to avoid.

8. Tell me my job can be done by someone with an iPhone.

We toil behind hot glass to give the viewer the best possible viewing experience when being informed of death, destruction, job losses and bad politics. We do not like out of focus, wobble shots that make the viewer feel sick. Did i say that iPhones, when waved around in front of a news cameraman and blocking his shot, can reach a speed of around 60 miles per hour at a vector of 25 degrees up from horizon level, thus travelling a total of 125.7 yards...? That pigeon will never fly the same way again i can tell you.

9. Act like a twat behind my reporter during a live shot.

This is quite possibly the most irritating thing that a member of the public can do. Shouting 'Hello Mum..!' at the camera with a slack jawed, unwashed face with missing teeth and skanky hair, can result in you to being led around the back of the satellite truck, and filled in with a large heavy implement of the cameraman's choice.

10. Ignore me when i try to vox-pop you.

Well i didn't want to talk to you anyway you ignorant piece of blubber. 10 to 20 seconds of your precious time is all we ask of you, maybe a little more. So unless you are a heart surgeon having been called into work for a transplant operation then at the very least, politely decline first, then walk away. Ignoring me will result in me tacking the piss out of your wobbly arse, your bad taste in clothing, and may result in something hitting the back of your head as you leave... A coke can for example.

The above list is by no means a comprehensive list of actions that can turn a mild mannered cameraman into a frothing at the mouth, gabbling loon with a thirst for blood. Oh no. It's not just the obvious PR misdemeanours, reporter fuck ups and the normal actions of the general public that gets up our collective noses. The slightest mis-spoken word, inappropriate action or just the lack of a decent nights sleep can tip a cameraman over the edge into a sweary rage, and a grump that can last a whole year. So please approach us with caution... For a punch in the face can often offend.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


Monday, 2 July 2012

Back In The Saddle.

After the worst few weeks you can imagine, i am now officially back in the news van, ready willing and able to point my lens at a variety of stories worthy of my news producers eye. My last post will explain the absence of your author, and why it was that i appeared to have vanished from the news gathering scene here in the south of England for the last few weeks... I'm guessing you will forgive me.

So once again i saddle up by putting the camera in the van, provide myself with bodily sustainance and stretch my legs into the wide blue yonder. By that i mean getting my shoulder ache back, eating crap roadside food and driving up and down the south coast looking for news. Hey, it's a living. Did i just say that..?

Man drowns in underwater rat throttling accident you say..? Im on my way boss... 

If standing in the rain on roadsides, interviewing grey men in grey suits, or filming the inside of another corporate block is a living then yeah... i guess it is. But i mustn't grumble, the groove on my right shoulder didn't even have a chance to heal, my stomach has now given up on tasting anything remotely healthy, and my cameraman mindset has returned. Well, it didn't return as such, it had other things to think of that didn't involve criminals, local councillors, and whether the overall capital spending plans of local government was the correct fiscal way forward in the current austerity climate.

Flick the switch and hey presto... default setting to grumpy.

I prefer grumpy. i like the way it lets me spit porridge at the radio in the morning. i don't have to smile at passers by, or be impressed by gobble-de-gook by people in cheap, ill fitting suits. I can shout "70p for a cuppa you swindling bastard..?" at roadside tavernas and roll my eyes at the general fuckwittery that passes for todays youth.

My grumpiness you see, never really left me. It gives me comfort and strength. In times of foolhardiness   it gives you the excuse that whatever you say or do, people will tut, roll their eyes, and say

"Never mind him... It's just the cameraman... Grumpy old twat." Yep, it's good to be back.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.