THE EYE BEHIND THE LENS
Michael is a senior cameraman who discovered his passion for television at an early age and has worked in the television industry since the early 70s. Over four decades, he met thousands of people and worked on hundreds of assignments. His job would take him around the world. This book was a gesture of appreciation to everyone who played, and continues to play, a part in CBC sports:
When I was just ten-years-old my father took me to a TV station in our hometown of London, Ontario. In those days, television was mostly live and very exciting to watch; even commercials were shot live.
As we walked back to the car I said, “Dad, I want to work in this business.” Without breaking his stride, he said, “Yeah, sure kid.” Very few people understood the mechanics of producing a television show. As far as most people were concerned, a television picture simply appeared out of thin air. My dad was one of them.
Yet from the very beginning I was fascinated by the environment in a studio: the equipment, the busy activity, even the smell of the place. Even today when I walk into a television studio, all my senses get a real rush.
When I reached my teens I enrolled in Beal High School in downtown London that offered a very good television course at the time. H.B. Beal High School was named for its first principal who recognized the need to prepare high school students for the work world. I attended Beal for grades 10 and 11. It was a fine technical school that offered excellent training and would graduate generations of London’s carpenters, plumbers, electricians and nurses. It was there I first learned how to produce a television show. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1970 my family moved to Vancouver, which was the best thing for everyone, especially me. I got a job at the CBC in 1973 and I witnessed the Golden Years for Canadian television. I was working with the best people in the business and I was learning the craft of camera work from the ground up. It was fantastic!
By the mid 1980’s cameras were getting smaller and more portable and I was able to travel here, there and everywhere. I was very lucky and because of CBC Sports I travelled the world with 11 Olympics and World Cup Skiing for many years.
Being a cameraman for CBC Television for 36 years has been a real joy and a privilege. I met amazing people, from politicians to the Queen, presidents, prime ministers, elite athletes and rock stars. I recorded history in this beautiful country from coast to coast to coast.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Very few people understand the commitment that goes along with this kind of television work. Being a camera technician sounds appealing. It’s 7 a.m. and its 42 below zero and you’re following 100 skiers race down a mountain in the snow and rain, and you get to thinking, ‘what on earth am I doing out here!’
I am now retired from the CBC but still working part-time when I am needed. I’m pleased to say that after four decades as a cameraman, I still love it. Writing my book is my gesture of appreciation to everyone who played and continues to play a role in the world of televised sports.
If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve taken thousands of moving pictures that have told hundreds of stories. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a television cameraman, witnessing and recording live events, sports games, and competitions for CBC, then my book is for you!