Camera Confidential: an insider's guide to video journalism

Camera Confidential: an insider's guide to video journalism
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 Written by Christian Parkinson, BBC cameraman

New e-book Camera Confidential is full of advice, tips and information from some of the world's top news cameramen and camerawomen - with all proceeds going to RPT.


Making news and documentary films is the best job in the world. But journalism is a tough industry to break into and make a living from. Few organizations now employ a large pool of staff and so freelancers, often alone on assignment, are forced to learn the hard way.

My own background is as a cameraman, editor and video journalist for the BBC. I started out as a trainee at ITN news and then joined the Beeb twelve years ago. I’ve covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Libya, DRC and Gaza. I spent four years with the BBC Africa bureau and have been lucky enough to work with some of the best correspondents and producers in the world.

I’ve written Camera Confidential to help people who shoot. It’s the book I wish somebody had handed me as a fresh faced twenty-five year old jumping on a plane for my first foreign assignment. Sections include: breaking into the industry, how to pack your kit, how to fill out customs paperwork, what to carry in a warzone, how to operate in extreme weather, how to shoot interviews and pieces to camera and advice on writing scripts and story-telling. It’s the accumulated knowledge of my years on the road as well as the product of numerous interviews with the likes of four-time Royal Television Society cameraman of the year Darren “DC” Conway, well known filmmaker Phillip Bloom, numerous freelance cameramen and camerawomen from around the world, experienced reporters and security advisors.

I wanted this book to do some good. I never set out to make any money from it and so I jumped at the chance to publish it in partnership with the Rory Peck Trust. I am full time staff with the BBC and often see freelancers producing amazing work, but also taking massive risks. Therefore, I think it is more important than ever for the Rory Peck Trust to be able to help with training bursaries and to offer grants and support to freelancers in crisis or who have been injured. All proceeds of this book - priced at just £4.99 - will be going to RPT.

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