I have worked as a News Cameraman for my current TV Broadcaster for the last three years.
I have done lots of News and documentary filming across Europe, Russia, Africa and Middle East. I covered topics from Business News, Economy News, Political News, World Events, and Terror Attack News etc.
There are two types of filming in my job.
1) An event filming, which we know when and what will happen.
2) Breaking News that we cannot plan much in advance.
Let me share with you what happens when there is a Breaking News.
Breaking News happens whenever, wherever and unexpectedly. It could happen at night while you are sleeping. Over the last three years, terrorist attack have become a common topic to film. Let me give you an example of what I do in that scenario.
On my iPhone I have BBC News, Guardian and Reuter’s News application installed. They give me instant notifications when there is an “incidence”. At first, the situation and its seriousness is vague. Twitter is handy because there is so much information being uploaded every second. It only takes two or three minutes until I get a phone call from my company once the situation seems to be serious, many people are dying or guns are being fired.
They ask me to go to the location as soon as possible.
After three years of filming, I am used to the process of my work, I get changed and put my shoes on the moment I see the news. I don`t really wait for the phone call.
And so I go to the office to grab the camera equipment.
If we have to go abroad, our team has to find the earliest plane ticket to go there. Then we look for hotels. There were times I had to get up at 1 AM and sort everything out. Then comes the time to prepare luggage, leaving me 2 hours to sleep and go to office to pack up the equipment and check in at the airport.
As we approach the location, it is common that the roads are blocked by the police for security reason. We ask the taxi driver to park as close as possible to where the incident happened. We often open up our google maps on smartphone and guess an alternative route to get closer. Maybe the little streets around the corner might give us a better access.
Usually we end up getting a better view of the location. Of course, by the time we are there, the police and the ambulance has usually cleared up the location. I have yet to see any dead bodies lying around.
We film what we can from the best view we think there is. There was one time in London, when we managed to arrive very early and very close to where the terror attack happened. We were surrounded by the police. We had to hold our hands in the air because we are pointed by guns.
There is always a risk in this job. People often ask me whether I get scared when I am filming news on terrorist attack. Well, my first three times of filming an attacked location was scary. I thought I would die. Because I did not know what to expect. If the criminals are not shot or caught and they are on the run still, the risk on us is higher.
To summarize, you have to react fast in emergency news. You have to be willing to travel around the globe at a second`s notice. You have to be constantly on your toes, be alert for the vibration from your phone as they could be yelling the emergency news.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience please let me know! It adds more value to this blog!
I am a documentary/News cameraman based in London.