Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Camp Pickton: Day 1

Camp Pickton came to life very early for my colleagues Dave, Pete, Kate and Carrie. The beast known as CTV Newsnet was hungry and needed to be fed. Kate would provide live hits for Newsnet as well as local. It would be a long day and we all knew that.

The planning for Camp Pickton began many months ago. We have had large trials before. Ones involving scores of reporters and cameras. A few years ago some of you might remember there was an assault trial in Vancouver that garnered North America wide attention. The trial involved NHL hockey player Marty McSorley.
At the time no one from the Court Services or the Sheriff's Department knew just what kinds of problems this trial would present. Large and I mean large, moving scrums of TV cameras, photographers, radio reporters, news paper reporters etc, etc. Following Mr. McSorley in and out of court. People clamoring , jockey-ing, pushing, shoving to get a clip, comment, a shot, a better shot. It was a zoo. Add to the mix that on one day during Marty's case, Wayne Gretzky showed up. Instant circus. There were safety issues, there were seating issues inside the courthouse, it was a logistical nightmare.
The next Circus that came to town was the Todd Bertuzzi trial ( I know, all the bad ass NHL stuff happens right here in Vancouver) This time court services had a plan. This time an attempt to coordinate all assembled media so that all would have access to a reasonable photo op of Bertuzzi entering and leaving court. A podium was set up by court services for statements and questions to Defence and Crown Council. It seemed orderly. Everyone got what they wanted at the end of the day.

Now we have this Pickton Trial. Court Services taking what they have learned from previous hi profile trials began an open dialogue with reps from each of the local media and representatives of national and international media. The result: Camp Pickton. Multiple court rooms for media, family and public. Uni mic positions and pool feeds to all who entered the pool agreement from two podiums. A tent city of "Live" locations in the courtyard with fibre optic drops and electrical service to each tent. Parking is very limited around the courthouse and it's geographic location doesn't provide a path for terrestrial microwave links or a very good look at the southern sky for satellite access. Yet the infrastructure was installed and we now have a media village right there outside of the New Westminister Court House.

Our operation managed to secure nearby office and knowing that this trial that is expected to last a year, transformed that office space to a functional news bureau with edit bays, work stations and engineering support for the CTV Team covering this trial.

Mobile Operations Supervisor and tech "Yoda" Dave Alexander smile for the camera during the early morning hours of Day 1.

My day began at 7am at Camp Pickton. I was tasked to relieve Pete mid morning at our Newsnet set. I would be doing Live hits with Kate, Todd, Lisa and a number of guests that would make up the content of the special coverage on Newsnet.

The activity around the front of the tent city, awaiting the arrival of the Accused, his council, Crown and the families of the victims. It wasn't long after this shot that it all began, fast and furious. By 9:30 everyone is in the court and the ENG guys go into hurry up and wait mode. Those of us on live cameras were suppling hits into respective networks.

A couple of our rivals gather for a light moment during a break in the activity in the tent position next door to mine.

Susie G of CTV seeking shelter from the rain. Susie was acting field producer. She has been working on this case longer than anyone I know. She is usually seen with a camera on her shoulder, but an injury and cast on her shooting hand has sidelined her. Susie knows all of the players in this drama and provides all of our ENG crew with intel on who's who as they walk into the courthouse.

Meanwhile back inside the bureau, editor Tim Latham (Hack) waits for the first tapes to come in and edit. Tim would edit a DNS piece and Janet's local piece before the day would be done. He's giving me the "why the hell aren't you shooting something" look during this photo.

Kate C just before her umteenth hit into Newsnet. She has been going since 3am and didn't stop until the end.

A shot of ENG camera op Steve H (without hat). He was our pool guy this week. He's shooting one of the family statements. His camera is fibred to all pool participants' operations centers.

Lisa R writing her story for the top of the 6. This is the Bureau

Shot of the crew getting set for CTV News @ 5 with Colleen Christie. Floor Director: Jim W (seated) Gary R: Camera Colleen (back to camera) and Engineer Rob K. We also did the 6PM show from this location.

CTV National crew Correspondent: Lisa L, ENG Tec/Camera: John J, Vancouver Bureau Chief: Todd B and local CTV Tech Gary T as we get set for Lisa's hit into the CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson.

Janet and Murman, just glad that day one was over.

When the day was over I had lost count as to how many live hits we did. Most of our reporters had crash edits but all made their slots. It wouldn't be day one with out crash edits. It rained constantly and if it hadn't been for our heaters at our live locations it would have been intolerable. The hi lite of the day for me was doing a hit with Todd B into the ATV 6 PM show ( Halifax) Todd and I both worked for ATV back in the day. It was great to speak with Greg Campbell Tech Supervisor at CTV Halifax, even though it was via an IFB and coord line.

We gotta pace ourselves, this is supposed to last a year.


Widescreen said...

Thanks for putting pictures in your posts. It adds to the interest if you don't know any of these people.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog. curious if U could drop a u.s. photog a line about work at ctv, if not too much bother? thanks chrishorner36@yahoo.com