Tuesday, 17 September 2013

TV News Cameraman Is The Bandwidth Bandit.

So there i was, sitting in the back of my van on the edit suite, picking apart the pictures i wanted to send back to the BBC in Southampton. Having butt-joined the pieces together, into three separate chunks of .MOVS, i hit the send button on my new bit of software called JFE, which the BBC had supplied to me for just such occasions in the new, digital, fast paced world of local news gathering.

Inside the Tardis... All was well.

To cut a long story short, the software squeezes and converts the HD pictures into an acceptable format and size to send over the public WiFi and 3G connections that i can find at my location, and sends them to the BBC for broadcast via various servers. Personally, i use a 3MiFi unit with high speed connection that works pretty well in most urban and most rural areas.

Today however, i found myself in Portsmouth, just outside the University on what appeared to be the first day of freshers week. That meant i was competing for public bandwidth with a few thousand new students who all seemed to be using a mobile phone as they walked past, using Twitter, Facebook, Emails, downloading music, uploading Instagrams... in fact, anything it seemed apart from useful study materials.

Denying bandwidth to students... Satisfying.

My pictures were making steady progress on my high speed connection. A little slower than usual, but progressing none the less. The first thing that made me giggle was a group of students sat on the steps to the induction hall...

"The 3G is crap around here innit..?" Said one baggy trousered youth to another in a beanie hat.

"Aaargh..! Why can't i log on here..?" said another pock marked, badly dressed individual.

I sat in my van and listened to the gripes, the moans and general bitching amongst the cream of our young, educated society. It appeared that my van was sucking up all the local bandwidth in my general area with it's high speed connection... and it wasn't about to give it up. My pictures made steady progress.

"I'm not gettin' nuffink..." Said another, well spoken student.

No you are not my friend, and with your badly mangled syntax, the dress sense of Johnny Rotten and street speak, you will more than likely be 'gettin' nuffink' in the high pressured job market in a few years time. I despair...

Anyway, following another 15 minutes or so, i had finished sending and released my Tardis like grip on the surrounding bandwidth, and Instagram breathed a sigh of relief as pictures of fresh faced students on their first day at University flowed again...

I may come back here on a regular basis and do it again, just for the laughs.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.