Friday, 28 September 2012

Great To See You Again...

This happens quite a lot to us news cameramen. There we are, minding our own business when some complete and utter stranger hurries over to us and greets us like a long lost friend.

It happened to me yesterday. I was filming an innocuous shot of Southampton port when a jovial chap saunters over and says, "Great to see you again..!"


I raise my eyebrows and smile at him. Nope, still blank. My brain is shuffling through an internal rolladex filing system...

File: Released killers: Empty. (Phew)

File: Grieving widowers: Standby.

File: Crackpots: Various... Standby... Still searching.

"So, how's the camera going..?" He says, instantly trashing about fifteen and a half years. As I've only had my new camera about six months or so. That narrowed it down a bit, as my mind flipped through the pages of the last 16 years. "Oh good... Err... Thanks." I reply.

File: Celebrity Chefs: At the docks..?

File: Local Politicians: Possible. Standby.

File: Perverts / Ex Lovers / Dopeheads: (Same file) Searching...

Nope still nothing. "You remember me... A month back, at the union demo. You showed me your camera..."

File: Socialist Agitators: File found. Discarded 16/8/12... No interest.

"Oh yeah... Listen, must go as I've got a lot of stuff to get through... Nice to meet you again... See you soon... Yep... Yep... Bye..!"

Honestly, some people think that us news cameramen remember everyone we meet. Well let me tell you, I can't remember what I was doing two days ago let alone remember a half arsed conversation on a street corner a month or so ago. It's nothing personal. It's not that I don't like you. (Although I probably won't) it's just that unless we meet more than six times in two days you will get filed under...

File: Unknown.

Paul Martin is ukcameraman on Twitter.

Monday, 17 September 2012

What Lies Beneath...

This is a tale for both news cameramen and TV Journalists alike. For the cameraman, a lesson in looking before you kneel. For news journalists, a metaphor for not believing everything is as it looks. You see, i was filming at a country show with farmers and countryside folk who were gathering for their annual shindig of animal showing, machinery twiddling and cider drinking.

It's a place where the suburban elite come to eye their countryside cousins with suspicion and the country folk eye them back with derision. Farmers try to teach the suburbs where their food actually comes from, and the suburbs whisper that there is something nasty going on in yonder countryside tool shed, that sort of thing.

Anyway, there i was filming a rather large piece of live steak in the cattle tent. 'Bullocks..!' i here you say... No, it's true. Whilst doing so, i knelt down in the fresh looking straw that surrounded the uncommonly clean beast which was ready for show.

The beast turned and sniggered... Right in the sweet spot.
I realised something was amiss as the warmth oozed through my trouser leg and that funny squelch sensation connected with my brain. I knew what i had done without even looking down to inspect the damage. I filmed my shot and stood up. The face of my reporter, Ben Moore, lit up. A guffaw of unsympathetic laughter erupted as he started to take picture evidence that yet again, he had landed his cameraman in the shit.

That Icky feeling...
However, despite the laughing and the unsavoury comments hurled at me by my reporter and assorted countryside folk, i carried on filming and ignored the people avoiding the smelly bloke walking towards them and the innocence of children when pointing at me and saying 'Daddy, that man smells of poo..'

Oh, the humiliation.

But herein lies a lesson for anyone out there who are just starting their Journalistic career or are thinking of doing so. It is a metaphoric lesson learned by yours truly whilst kneeling in the brown stuff... Here it is.

The picture before you looks as it should. It is clean, tidy and is a true representation of what people are telling you. (Clean Straw) Nothing to see here. But look a little closer. Apply a little pressure (Kneel) and you will feel a strange sensation. (Squelch) Apply a little more pressure and something that was covered up (Shit) will rise to the surface. The lesson here is that no matter what the PR machine tells you, there will nearly always be something foul smelling and brown just beneath the surface... If you kneel hard enough.

Oh yeah... and shit sticks to trousers.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.