Jul 31, 2011

Why I carry the tripod

Hello, folks! The blog has fallen silent for a while, as I've been working on a variety of things. Mostly items at CBC News NS, but I've also been (slowly, slowly, slowly) pushing along a few projects of my own, including some things for Halifax Magazine and a couple of ideas for longer radio pieces. I enjoy working on my own projects, but today I decided to talk about how much I like working with other people. Specifically, camera people.

Sometimes people tell me how much they liked (or didn't like, in some cases) a particular story. That's always good to hear, but it's not all me.

Half the story, and sometimes more than half, depends on my camera person. Honestly, I figure most television viewers naturally pay more attention to what they see than what they hear me say.

The camera people with us are mostly men, and one woman. They always do the driving. The vans are their territory, because they spend so much time on the road. Every van is different, according to which camera person uses it: they carry CDs, satellite radio, GPS, snacks, rain gear, fleeces, rubber boots, all kinds of things. They carry a lot of gear in case they have to stand out in the rain and the cold, clutching a metal camera that sucks the heat right out of the hands. It's heavy - like two 20 pound sacks of potatoes, with a camera on one shoulder and a tripod on the other.

A good camera person makes my job a lot easier. If all is going well, we see the same things and interpret them the same way. There is discussion. We shape the story together.

I remember someone in j-school telling me, "You should always carry the tripod for your camera person," which I took as a reasonable suggestion for how to get the equipment from point A to point B.

Now I think it's funny that I offer to carry the tripod, and often they say, "No, it's fine," because they've got it covered. So I just think of it as a reminder to be nice to my camera person, because he or she is carrying the team right now.

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