Saturday 16th Jan
I arrive at NAIA in the early afternoon feeling tired after being airborne virtually the whole day. Pilar picks me up and we go straight to the ABS-CBN studios where, no doubt, people are frantically awaiting her late arrival so taping can commence...
Hardly. I soon remembered that time runs strangely in Philippines, and much of the time seems to be spent watching appointed times slip until it's sufficiently late for things to begin. Thus it was as I entered a large studio in the main ABS-CBN complex, to see a few people unconcernedly hanging around waiting (literally) for the paint to dry on a large blue screen backdrop, constructed just a short while earlier from what seem like left-over bits of wood.
Once the camera crew turned up things started moving. The presenters wandered around reading their scripts and practising their lines as the camera crew got set up, and then finally things actually started getting taped. One thing that struck me was how much trouble they went to to position the camera during the take. For example, as the presenter spoke the cameraman would pan the camera and zoom out so allow for a graphic to be added later. I always assumed that such things would be done totally post-production (as quite a lot of effects are - see week 2!)
Filming seems a long business, and takes have to be redone for number of reasons. Sometimes one of the presenters will fluff a line, or maybe the cameraman doesn't quite tilt the camera correctly at the crucial point and cuts someone's head off the picture. There also seems to be discussion about some shots between the camera crew and director exactly how a shot should be done.
A monitor screen sits on a gantry across the studio and allows the floor crew to see the shot as it will appear, and they can also see the resulting footage played back to make sure the take is a good one.
Despite all the time that the process seems to take, the attitude from everyone involved is a very professional one. Shots are meticulously planned even when they seem simple shots, and second-best will never do.