Friday, 25 January 2013

Little Known Facts about TV News Cameramen.

We film the days news don't we..? That's it. Not much to it. You would be wrong my friend, oh so very very wrong. TV News camera operators all over the world have contributed to the growth of nations, the appliance of science, the exposure of wrong doings, and are largely responsible for the meteoric rise of the cheese puff industry.

NBC Cameraman Dwight Finklestein, just before ejection from the lunar module of Apollo 13.

 There are a great many previously unknown facts about news camera operators that the average TV News watching citizen doesn't know. For example...

1. The inexorable rise in fast food and coffee outlets is directly linked to the advent of the TV news cameraman. In 1945, just as Army newsreel cameramen came home from the war, a certain Colonel Sanders overheard a passing NBC cameraman say... "I would kill for a piece of fried chicken and a luke warm latte right now." He told his wartime friend, Hercule Starbuck, and the rest as they say, is history.

2. Cameramen are basically lazy creatures. While sitting in a traffic queue one day,  newsreel cameraman, Augustus T. Thruppence, got fed up with shifting from first to second to first gear, whilst dabbing the brakes every five seconds. Two months later, the first automatic gearbox was invented in his shed.

3. Early newsreel cameramen are directly responsible for the Bow Tie becoming fashionable again in the early Thirties. This was due to BBC cameraman Bert Cumberbatch who, whilst operating a wind up film camera, got his tie caught up in the mechanism resulting in his slow strangulation on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice, London.

4. Sciatica is a painful inflammation of the nerves in the lower back. Most TV News cameramen will suffer from back problems. The medical term 'Sciatica' was actually named after an Italian American cameraman, Pauly Sciaticalli, who was always on the sick with his bad back. He is also responsible for coining the terms 'Bastardo' and 'Yo Mamma,' during visits to his chiropractor.

5. Sleeping sickness was until recently, thought to be caused by the Tsetse Fly. Further investigation by the World Health Organisation has revealed however, that the cause originated from a small ball of fungus, found in a TV live truck in East Anglia, UK. This is why, whenever you open a live truck door, everyone is asleep inside.

6. TV News Cameramen also have a hand in the world of fashion and Haute Couture. The size of the leg pockets on a pair of cargo pants were directly linked to the size of tapes and batteries carried by a TV news cameraman. Modern, small SD cards have now rendered this obsolete, resulting in the sacking of 250 sweat shop children who made them.

7. TV News Cameramen used to be paid huge sums of money until recently. The International News Cameraman's Club of Grand Bahama has now moved location to a bedsit in South East Peckham, London.

8. A little known fact about Moon mission Apollo 13, was the inclusion of NBC TV News Cameraman Dwight Finklestein on the flight. Unknown to his superiors at NASA, Finklestein smuggled aboard 6 packets of cheesy puffs to eat whilst on the long flight. The moon landing never happened due to a cheesy puff escaping its packet and getting lodged in the air tank pipes. Finklestein was airbrushed from history following his ejection from the lunar module on re-entry to earths orbit, just after Commander James Lovell punched him in the face.

9. The term 'Press Scrum' originates from the original Latin saying, 'Informitus Scrummagius.' It was first used when scribes and sketch artists from the Rome Herald rushed to the scene of the assassination of Julius Caesar.

10. The word 'Cameraman' is now somewhat of a misnomer. Women camera operators have always formed a large percentage within the TV news industry. Modern terminology of the word also now includes producers, runners, interns and the cleaner. Also it appears, anyone with a smart phone.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.