Throughout 2010

Rehearsing the live show


A seriously big crane for TV

2010 was a big year for BBC's EastEnders.
Events kicked off in February with EastEnders first live episode to mark it's 25th anniversary. Making a live drama is never a simple production and it had to match the normal fast paced action of the regular recorded and edited episodes. It took 42 cameras and massive technical resources to deliver the award winning show (see above). You can read more about how the show was made from a cameraman's perspective by downloading a copy of an article I wrote for the Guild of Television Cameramen here.
In one of the following episodes the director wanted to end the episode with an overhead shot that just carried on upwards to the normal credit sequence of the whole of London. No normal camera cranes are capable of such an extreme development so a 265ft construction crane was brought in to haul a specially rigged camera vertically up as fast as possible. Even at that height the width of the shot was disappointingly smaller than hoped for. After some experimentation we ended up adding an HD video capable stills camera with a fisheye lens to get extra material to supplement the HD TV camera's coverage. All the material was then passed on to our video effects editor to build an even wider view that could be matted onto the CGI sequence. A spectacular shot to end an important episode with.
Another major development was the transition to shooting in high definition for BBC1 HD channel's launch in 2010. This has involved a massive refurbishment of all the technical facilities and learning how to get the best out of the new equipment; all of which has had to be carried out without disturbing the normal busy recording schedule.

2010 the year of 3D TV
Throughout 2010

A 3D mirror rig at Twickenham


A rare sunny moment at the Ryder Cup


6 Nations Rugby in 3D
My annual trip to Rome to cover the Italian six nations rugby matches wasn't possible this year, instead I had the chance to work on the first live 3D television coverage of Rugby in the UK. It would have been the first ever live 3D sport broadcast, but Sky pipped O2 to the honour by showing some premiership football coverage a couple of weeks earlier.
Two England matches from Twickenham were covered and shown live in cinemas around the UK.
As you can probably see from the photo of one of the camera set ups we used, this is very new technology that hasn't reached a high degree of maturity yet, rather too many wires and too much held together with gaffa tape.

The Ryder Cup
My third 3D job of the year was working on the coverage of the Ryder Cup tournament for Sky. Appalling weather on the first morning of play took it's toll of the camera rigs, leaving a mammoth job of trying to dry out rigs, cameras, lenses.....and the camera crew.
The final day was played in glorious sunshine and allowed people to see just how good 3D TV could look. This coverage is now one of the star demonstration pieces of Sony and Sky's 3D output.

Training at Sony
My final dealing with 3D in 2010 was attending a day course in 3D technology at Sony Broadcast UK's headquarters run for the Guild of Television Cameramen. The day was comprehensive and fast paced taking us from the absolute basics through to an appreciation of the more complex technicalities such as depth budgets, edge violations and convergence issues. I think I just about understand it now.

State Opening of Parliament
May 2010

The State Opening of Parliament has been one of the few big televised state occasions I hadn't previously worked on, so in May I was happy to fill in the huge forms for security clearance and accreditation to work in the Palace of Westminster. Although I'd worked previously in other parts of the Palace it was fascinating to work in the main chambers of the Palace, a place we seem to see daily on TV news programmes, but few have the opportunity to visit in person. It's not often that one actually looks forward to having to rig a large outside broadcast, but on this occasion we had plenty of time to appreciate the amazing surroundings whilst very carefully carrying in and assembling the huge quantities of kit needed.

Pope Benedictus XVI's visit
September 2010

The congregation taking communion


In September 2010 Pope Benedictus XVI visited the UK to beatifiy Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham's Crofton Park at a huge open air mass.
Working on big one off events like this is always special. Getting all the cameras into their designated positions, checking they're working correctly and can get the shots the director requires all has to be done efficiently and around the other people working on site.
I was operating one of the two main close up cameras mounted on individual scaffolding towers, some 100m from the main stage (altar). To get the required shots needed the full range of the lens, the equivalent of a 3400mm telephoto lens on a normal 35mm stills camera.
Rehearsals for this event for us were somewhat haphazard, drawn out and incomplete. We were left with a basic idea of what was likely to happen on the day of the service, but still a lot of detail was uncertain. At times like this it's reassuring to be a part of a really experienced professional crew with a good director and vision mixer.


I was a member of the teams that won two different awards in 2010. The Royal Television Society's award for the best multi-camera production for the live episode of EastEnders in February 2010 and the Guild of Television Cameramen's award for the best multi-camera production in 2009 for The Proms season.

Other recent work
Throughout 2010

Whilst it's nice to be able to display some pictures of the programmes I've worked on, it's not always possible. So here a few other programmes I worked on this year.

  • Horse racing, Highflyer Productions for Channel 4
  • Festival of remembrance, Arena for BBC.
  • London Marathon, SIS for BBC.
  • Premiership and FA cup football, SIS for BBC.
  • Corporate productions, with Zest4TV and Eyetidy.
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