Friday, 5 July 2013

TV Cameraman Vs Central Nervous System.

Now as any TV news cameraman and Journalist will tell you, placing an expensive lump of plastic and glass in front of your average member of the public can sometimes make them go wobbly of knee and loose of bowel. The big glass eye can also turn an otherwise normal person, eloquent of prose, into a gibbering fool the moment you press the record button.

So it was with trepidation that I found myself alone, as both cameraman and interviewer with an interviewee who, although educated and gifted of verbal dexterity in normal conversation, failed to string a coherent sentence together when confronted by a TV camera and a set of questions.

The problem was that my interviewee had prepared her lines and had written them down, and she was not going to divert from her script. Also, my questions didn't match her pre-prepared answers that she wanted to give. A stumbling halt to proceedings was inevitable.

"Tell you what," I say. "Why don't I just leave the camera, and we can talk this over... Then we can try again."

I kept the camera running.

"Listen, just relax and we can go over the questions. No pressure. You let me know what you think... Tell me what it is that you want to say."

I then talked over the questions, we conversed as if in a coffee shop lounge. I could see her forgetting about the camera and she gave good, sharp and unrehearsed answers. The conversation flowed and she relaxed, thinking that she was under no pressure to 'perform' for the camera. What followed was one of the easiest interviews I have ever done. I asked the questions that were required and she answered them truthfully... No script. She had totally forgotten about the camera.

"Ok, I think I'm ready...I feel a bit better now that we talked it through." She said.

"No need." I replied, "I've got everything we need and more..."

I offered her the chance to review the tape and her answers, as I knew I had played the 'old one two' trick. Cameraman skulduggery at its finest.

They say that the greatest trick ever pulled off by the Devil, was convincing people that he doesn't exist... It's sometimes the same for us cameramen. Job done.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.