I got the reminder on my phone. My video interview with an Olympic Boblsed Silver Medalist was due to begin in 15 minutes, in Denver, Colorado. Normally I’d be having a nice little pre-interview chat with my subject, as the crew made those last minute tweaks to the lighting that have no discernible effect on the human eye, but seem to make all the difference to the Director of Photography.
Only this time I wasn’t in Colorado, USA. I was in the leafy suburb of Weybridge, GB.
The only tinkering I was doing, was launching the group Skype chat, and waiting for the connection to happen. Yet still I was nervous, this was the first of many important interviews with top-level athletes around the world. They would be recording themselves on their smartphone, in full HD, in the comfort of their own home, with hopefully a loved one stepping in to help. And I would be directing the shoot and asking the questions via Skype.
The connection worked. I saw the slightly pixelated image of our athlete in her living room, smiling as she fixed her smartphone onto its stand. Because selfie mode wouldn’t cut it in picture quality, I would be her eyes, using the Skype video call to make sure the framing was right, and that no warning signs came on to tell us that Houston we had a problem. Thanks to the supreme professionalism of our athlete, and her brilliant Mom, whose former career as a news reporter was the gift that kept on giving, we got a great interview.
This is our life right now. Using technology to make the best of a real-world situation. Negotiating challenges that pale into insignificance compared to the cruel ravages of this unprecedented pandemic, but still throw the odd curve-ball.
While the world waits and holds its breath, we carry on with our jobs. Overcoming the daily obstacles, relishing the extra time with our loved ones, gaining even more respect and gratitude for our key workers, and looking forward to the time when we can tell our director of photography in person that moving the light one millimetre to the right makes naff all difference.