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-   -   What is the protocol when shooting with Press? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/open-dv-discussion/121763-what-protocol-when-shooting-press.html)

Les Wilson May 16th, 2008 07:50 AM

What is the protocol when shooting with Press?
I'm documenting a press conference for a non-profit. There'll be some big-wigs and such as well as a pool reporter for local press/TV. I've never been in this situation. What is the protocol regarding video-taping the pool reporter's interview of someone? When jockeying for shots, what's the protocol for staying out of each other's way? Any other things to worry about?


Bill Ward May 16th, 2008 11:53 AM


Do what you need for your purposes. The others will be doing the same. Just be respectful of the other shooter's work. It's pretty common sense stuff.

1. Dont walk between the other shooter and his subject. If you're shooting their interview, do it from the side...not behind the subject where you'll likely be in the picture, although that's not always a bad thing.

2. If you are using a camera light to shoot someone else doing an interview, don't pop it on during the interview. Start with it on before they begin, so that there's not a sudden wave of light to ruin their exposure.

3. If there are one on one interviews after the news conference, it's usually considered poor form to join in, or thrust your mike into the interview. It's still done, though.

4. Feel free to move around the n/c area and get all your wides...but circle the perimeter, and don't cross between the camera phalanx and the people speaking.

Peter Wiley May 16th, 2008 02:13 PM


You don't mention where the press conference will be held. For some locations, such as a state capitol, city hall or similar official location, you may be expected to produce credentials of some kind or other form or written permission. If the nonprofit you are working for controls the venue then there should be not problem . . .

One thing that I'm not clear about from your post. A "pool reporter" is generally a reporter selected to represent the press corps by an organization or government entity from a pre-arranged pool of reporters to cover an event where press access is restricted for some reason. For example, if there is only a couple of seats available of the Secretary of State's plane, so someone is assigned from the pool of reporters covering the state department with the understanding his/her coverage will be shared.

Because the use of a press pool may imply restrictions on the location or event, you'll want to esp. check on rules re access to the event.

Les Wilson May 16th, 2008 02:47 PM

This is all very helpful guidance. Thanks very much.

The non-profit controls the venue. It's in a public school. They used the word "pool reporter" implying to me that due to space, they want to control the quantity of reporter/photog/video people from the press. The NP wants me and my photog to have first dibs on setting up and are allowing us to setup first and go where we please while they plan to restrict the pool in terms of where they can go in the main PC session. 1-on-1 interviews will be offered to the press and I will respect that. I'm not sure how saavy the NP is on these matters so the blind (NP) may be leading the blind (me) off a cliff here.

So given that, what strategy would you use? Setup a tripod for press conference and go handheld for interviews (leaving tripod to stake claim to spot) or use a second camera for all handheld?
Thanks for the guidance.

Brian Drysdale May 16th, 2008 03:15 PM

The usual arrangement at press conferences is that the general announcements/speeches are done first, then the interviews are done afterwards. The organiser arranges the order that press take the interviews, often first to arrive at the venue goes first or the person with the tightest news deadline, by agreement with the other reporters.

The interviews are usually done with a tripod unless there's a media scrum, when anything goes, but often hand held in that situation. However, your event sounds very controlled, so I'd expect the interviews to be shot on the sticks.

Noah Hayes May 18th, 2008 08:10 AM

Side question
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I didn't want to open a new thread as this question is on a similar topic. Anyone have any good tips on getting press credentials to other events like this (or sports games) when you're there to freelance (meaning you're not sent there by any press/media organization)? So if the OP was not invited by the NPO, what would be the best protocol to get in for the shots/interview he needs to possibly sell those as a freelancer?

Kevin Li June 2nd, 2008 07:10 PM

As a News cameraman...

1. Don't stand infront of our shot!!! We go there early to stake out our positions and often don't like to move once set up.

2. If you find yourself opposite our lens, please don't stare directly into it!

3. It's ok to shoot us interviewing someone else, just don't shove a mic in there and hijack a one on one interview... unless it's a scrum. Reporters are bitchy that way..

4. bribe us with food if you need anything else!

Les Wilson June 2nd, 2008 09:48 PM

Just to followup...I was glad I went in with the advice given here. It went well except Obama was in town the same day and his PC was pushed to later in the day. So a bunch of uninvited photogs from the NY post and other big boys showed up at my PC. It was very crowded and the big wigs rushed the stage when the hollywood celebrity did some presentations. Everyone was supposed to stay behind the phlanx. I switched to handheld and back more times than I wanted. I wasn't prepared but had to. I would have used a second camera instead.

As far as interviews afterward, it was definately run an gun..

Shaun Roemich June 3rd, 2008 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by Ernest House (Post 887483)
It was very crowded and the big wigs rushed the stage when the hollywood celebrity did some presentations. Everyone was supposed to stay behind the phlanx.

It's called "shooting the reverse" and is completely standard news protocol. We sometimes need that shot for audio edits when we use clips from the podium. If there is nothing more to shoot in the way of B-Roll (ie. participants in a program, tabletop miniatures, supplied b-roll) we need SOMETHING to cut away to. All news camera persons are "trained" to get that shot, regardless of "crowd control measures" in place.

The best thing to do in a situation like this is watch and learn. Next time you'll be better equipped to predict what us big scary news guys are likely to do next.

Hope you had fun.

Les Wilson June 3rd, 2008 09:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Is the frame below what you mean? I'm the only one who took that angle. I did it by arriving on time and setting up a second camera out of sight.

It's a frame from the scene I was described. All presentations were supposed to be done on stage left but the big boys who crashed the event at the last minute and missed the briefing rushed the stage from the rear phlanx and directed the action to stage right. Those of us that had a clean shot of stage left had no choice but to unmount and join up (last). The big boys were selfish, disruptive, rude and the rush was completely unnecessary. It also blocked the view for pretty much all the audience. Sadly, it was the audience that was being honored at the event; they were the ones the celebrity came to see; they were the ones most disrespected by the big boys.

Grayson L. Wideman June 4th, 2008 12:22 AM

A Story and a Suggettion
I used to work at NBCTV New York. One of our local camera operators was setup at a news conference with all the other video guys. A still shooter arrived after the video guys were setup so he kneeled down in front of our WNBC guy. During the presentation he kept jumping up in front of the video camera lens. So Jeff, our guy, would firmly but gently push him back down.

The still shooter to offence at this and jumped up and punched Jeff in the jaw! The punch was so strong that it drove Jeff’s opposite jaw into his camera and broke the jaw.

It just so happened that some other video camera men had decided that they should focus on the altercation just in time to catch the punch. So the still shooter was charged with assault.

A suggestion to make you more versatile in your setup:

Get one of these or one that mates with you tripod:

A Long Quick Release Plate


Add one of these:
A Quick Release Adapter Assembly:


Add one of these:

A Tripod Adapter:

You might need one of these to cut down and drill screw holes to mate your camera to the camera plate for the Tripod Adapter:


You mount the base part of the Quick Release Adapter Assembly to the wedge plate for your tripod. Then you mount the Long Quick Release Plate to the Tripod Adapter. Then you mount the little plate from the Tripod Adapter to the Camera. As I say above you might need to cut down, drill and tap holes in the Bracket1 Wireless Mount to match the Tripod Adapter to your camera.

Now setup your tripod and camera using the adapter you have just concocted. Balance the camera by adjusting the position of the two Quick Release Plates.

When everything is in balance, scribe matching marks on the Quick Release Plates and the device that is holding them. Fill the marks with a bright paint or chalk and cover these marks with two coats of lacquer.

Keep the Quick Release Adapter attached to the plate from your tripod and the Tripod Adapter attached to the Long Quick Release Plate. The little plate from the Tripod Adapter stays attached to the camera.

Now when you setup at a shoot, just slide the Tripod Adapter and its Quick Plate into the Quick Release Adapter, line up the marks, click in the camera and you are good to go!

If you have a second tripod, use a second Quick Release Adapter on it.
You could even go so far as to setup a second Tripod Adapter and Quick Release Plate to make changes go faster.

If you are using two tripods, setup one for each location and have an
assistant stand guard over them so that no one moves therm.

With warmest Aloha from Hawaii:


Shaun Roemich June 4th, 2008 04:39 PM

Sorry, no they weren't getting the reverse, they were just "getting the shot". It sucks, I know, but keep in mind the reason it's called a press conference is it's designed to give the "press" (or electronic media) the opportunity to shoot your event.

I'm in a medium market (~750k) in Canada. Most of us know each other (at least I did when I shot news) and we give each other some courtesy in getting the shots we all need. There are some unwritten "laws" of press conferences that seem to change from locale to locale. Like I said: watch and learn. ANd be flexible. The quick release comments above are bang on. Use wireless for audio instead of hardwiring. Batteries instead of AC mains. Anything you can do to make yourself more maneuverable.

Speaking of stories of people that get on your nerves in a scrum: a couple of years ago I was shooting a scrum outside a politician's office and the new KID on the block (FRESH out of media college) decides he's going to jockey for position on me and get in MY shot (I should point out I'm 6'3" and a solid 250 lbs +). He didn't seem to like my verbal response to that and turned on his on-camera light, directly at my lens. With my left hand I reached down to my belt, opened my leatherman case and pulled out the multitool and cut his DC cable to his battery belt, thus ending his shooting and received much applause from my colleagues.

We need to play nice with each other but those of us who do this every day and for a living have certain obligations to our stations to get what we need for a news story. The best way to figure out how to do it better next time is to pull one of us aside and ask how it went and what could you do better for us next time. Trust me, we'll tell you.

It's a great life, just remember not to take it TOO seriously. I don't.

Shaun Roemich June 4th, 2008 04:45 PM

In re-reading your original posts, I noticed you said that there was a "pool reporter" to control the number of people asking questions. Any station will ignore that completely as the pool reporter is then controlling the flow of information. A station reporter will ask their own questions, PERIOD.

As well, if the NP told you they were giving you preferential treatment, they should not have called it a press conference. As someone who's been A/V and media support at events as well as media, I have to say media is ALWAYS first priority. Media gets your story on TV, Radio, in the newspaper. To run an event otherwise would be absurd.

Les Wilson June 4th, 2008 05:40 PM

I've used quick releases since forever and can go mobile as fast as anyone. Maybe faster. Lighting and audio are all on camera or me. In this case, I only had a Lens controller and house audio to disconnect. However, it wasn't supposed to be needed.

The NP had scheduled a photo OP and one on one interviews for the press. It was announced at the start for those who missed the briefing. We all had our assignments. there was room for all the press (even the extras) to get the shots and the big boys were toting the lenses to do the job. The rush was selfish and was no different than the stories you tell of others horning in and ruining your position. Just as much press coverage would have resulted without the rush. In fact, more if you consider the many who lost shots because of the few.

Shaun Roemich June 4th, 2008 05:54 PM

Please understand I'm not advocating the behaviour, just trying to explain it from the point of view of a news videographer.

And like Chris H. has mentioned in the past, a lot of the conversations we have on here are not just for the participants today but for the greater good of all that follow us so any discussion of quick releases, wireless and other technology that help us to do our jobs effectively and efficiently is worthwhile regardless of whether we are already using the tools at our disposal or not.

I meant no disrespect. As well, I feel it's important not to "demonize" those of us in the news field either. We too have a job to do and people to answer to. Perhaps the NP in this case could have better anticipated the media reaction?

John Sirb June 4th, 2008 06:04 PM

Ernest, I know this was your first scrum, but a couple of things come to mind. I think your earlier comment about the NP's 'Media Person' not being savvy was spot on IMO. If they were having you record the PC for just a record of the event, then you just get what you can get.

You mentioned some 'uninvited' media people showed up. not sure what 'uninvited' means as I willing to bet their assignment editors received a notice about it from the organization. most don't usually RSVP if their sending a crew.

if their intent was to use some of the event for later use, they should have worked with you to accomplish some extra shooting before hand.
the other posters have offered up some excellent advice and you have learn to react.

To me, it appears that your contact at the NP didn't handle it very well. a good PR person will be able to keep thngs from getting out of hand.

but hey, now you know for the next time :>)

Les Wilson June 4th, 2008 07:02 PM

It's a good thread and now more informative with the post event discussion on "the scrum protocol".

The discussion before the event didn't cover "the scrum" so it seemed like the very folks I was trying to respect by din of this discussion were the ones who broke protocol. Understand it was not just me that got screwed. There were others from local media with jobs etc that stayed with the protocol and briefing. So is it that if you are the top dog in the room you can be a snot? Is there always a scrum?

John Sirb June 4th, 2008 07:46 PM


Originally Posted by Ernest House (Post 888467)
It's a good thread and now more informative with the post event discussion on "the scrum protocol".

The discussion before the event didn't cover "the scrum" so it seemed like the very folks I was trying to respect by din of this discussion were the ones who broke protocol. Understand it was not just me that got screwed. There were others from local media with jobs etc that stayed with the protocol and briefing. So is it that if you are the top dog in the room you can be a snot? Is there always a scrum?

Local shooters got blocked?
Were these 'others' shooters network?
I understand then...as they say been there, felt that

Heiko Saele June 5th, 2008 06:46 AM

I'm working for a smaller regional tv station, so we rarely cover big events with lots of teams - but sometimes we do.

My experience is that starting with a certain number of eng teams and photogs, the whole thing is becoming a freaking kindergarten. You can't prevent it, it just always happens...
Most eng teams are ok, but there's always a few who are extra intolerant. I once made the mistake to step back from a rail just a little and suddenly my lens was covered in hair because some idiot cameraman shoved himself in the small space between me and the rail. It was totally ridiculous and I can understand people becoming aggressive...

A freelancer who is working for national stations told me that he has been at events were he would essentially just set his lens to wide angle and focus 1m and after that use his left arm and elbow as a weapon to shove away people.

Heiko Saele June 5th, 2008 06:47 AM

double - delete please

Brian Drysdale June 5th, 2008 07:56 AM

Media scrums tend to single mindedly latch onto the subject for has long as possible and move in a group, with each member jostling for the best shot and trying not to miss anything. It's worst when the full international press pack arrives and everything gets competitive.

The worst ones I've seen are those around graves at burials. Fortunately, I've only heard of one story of a photographer falling into the grave, although, I expect there are other examples of this worldwide.

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