Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Putting People on TV

With only a few days before sweeps, I'm off the fire coverage front line and back doing the training thing.  We still have a handful of photographers who haven't had more than a few hours with me out in the field.

I'm working a late shift during sweeps and I'm hoping the later shift will put me behind a news camera more often than it has for the better part of this year.

It's a lot of pressure, but I miss the challenge of shooting, cutting and getting the story on the air.  I still get some of that, but after a steady diet of breakers and big news for over a decade, it's not the same.

Take last Friday for example.  At about 3:00pm we were told to break down our liveshot location and travel from the Running Springs area over to the Rim of the World High School for a 4:00pm press conference.  The station wanted to take the presser live.


I broke down the gear, packed it away and drove to the new location.  It took me just over thirty minutes to get there.  I lucked into a good parking spot for the sat truck, popped the satellite dish and had us back on the bird in less than ten minutes after arriving.

There was nothing happening and no sign of a press conference.

The officials had decided to change the presser time (lets call it 4:30pm) and location to one of the Lake Arrowhead areas where homes had been damaged by the fire.  We'd have to move, but they didn't have an exact location.


I fed a standup close for the reporter's edited package from earlier, stowed the dish and drove to the area.  We eventually found some of the workers setting up the press conference.  They weren't sure what would work best for us, so they were waiting until we got there before they settled on anything.

Gee, how about right here where we're standing?  That works for us.

It was 4:55pm and the station had just called to see if we could get set for a liveshot for the top of the 5:00pm newscast.


I got the truck in position and had us on the bird just as the newscast was starting.  I could hear the booth calling for the reporter and a mic check over the IFB.  The camera was being connected and the reporter was standing in front of the lens as the anchors were tossing to the package that had been fed in earlier.  We would have been the second liveshot in the show. 

Nobody was mad.  We'd tried our best under difficult circumstances and missed the target by seconds.


It doesn't happen often that anything gets to me, but I was mad.   We'd missed slot by seconds?  Well, I could point fingers or blame myself.  Even if I know where we could have easily made up the time (of course I do), it doesn't really matter.  We'd been under the gun all week and made it on air every time we intended to be on.  We covered the press conference (it didn't start until almost 6:00pm) and did a live satellite shot for CBS affiliate KPIX.  People were fried.

Thankfully, the shot for KPIX was the last shot of the day.  We packed everything up and were cleared to head for home.

Most people don't understand.  I don't have nearly the same pressure when I'm coaching an edit system trainee.  What I'm doing is vital for our operation (and it has been appreciated), but for me, the work isn't nearly as physically or mentally demanding.  I'm just doing what I can, but there's no comparison.  If I had my preference, I'd just be shooting and editing and doing the things that I've always done.

That would be my part in putting people and the story on TV.

Have a good Tuesday.  I "get" to go to work now.

Blogged with Flock


Michael said...

Some intense photos here.

Take Care

beFrank said...

michael - Thanks. Sometimes I lose perspective since I've seen a lot of this before.