I have just spent the last week on a road assignment. I had been in the northern part of our province covering a Coroners Inquest into the death of a young lad who had been in police custody. Houston is a small town on the Yellowhead Highway on the way, I suppose to Prince Rupert and Alaska. I had never been this far north before and as I always look forward to going to places I have never been, Houston would prove to be an adventure.
Covering Inquests are very similar to covering court trials. Lots of hurry up and wait for a witness, a family member or a lawyer to walk in or out of the building. In this case the building in question would be the Houston Community Center.
Covering one of these would be mighty lonesome if I had been the only camera laying in wait, but this Inquest has generated interest with most of the provincial media. We had our SNG Truck and our competitors from Global had theirs. There was also a TV Crew from the people's network, the CBC. So I would have lots of company during those long periods of waiting for my shots.
There was a good crew on hand for this one. Al from Global, Jim from CBC, both camera/ editors, good company to keep both have great stories, both have a sense of humour. Our SAT Truck op Gary, joined us as well as did Jamie, SAT Truck guy with Global. Rounding out the technical/ camera gathering was a stills photog from the Globe and Mail, John and a stringer for the provincial papers, a fellow I have never met before named Rolf.
Each morning at about 8 we would all begin to gather outside the hall, waiting for the key players to arrive. At about 9 everyone was inside, and so the banter would begin.
"Where did you eat last night?"
"What time did you guys arrive in town ?"
"Where are you staying?"
All the usual pleasantries.
As the morning wore on, out would come the first folding chair, it was usually mine, and the rest would follow. We would all sit across the street watching the front doors, cameras at the ready, by each of our chairs. Yes we were at a constant state of readiness.
Our reporters of course were inside, diligently taking notes and paying attention to the details of the testimony, formulating the stories that they would tell to the viewer later in the day.
Then all at once the three of us would leap out of our chairs, grabbing our cameras and powering them up almost instantaneously. We all would roll. slightly different angles of basically the same shot. People going in, people coming out. Only at the end of any given day would we collect clips from family, friends, a lawyer or a witness.
Each of our reporters would then head to the trucks and begin to write. Before long each of us would be editing and then feeding. Then live hits. After all of that it was finally time to pack up and head to the motel. Supper, then bed.
And we do it all over again, tomorrow.
The road trip.