Sunday, July 30, 2006


Saturday July 29 2006
Northern Israel / Lebanon Border

What started out as a standard day in a war zone ended as a day in a war zone.

Plans are made to be broken and naturally today commenced with the usual mayhem, of Breakfast, fixers ringing up wanting to be picked up and not telling you where to pick them up from, stopping to buy food for lunch (and laughing as one member of the crew grabbed a bottle of Absolute Vodka, which at the end of the day was a wise decision) to driving along the border looking for "droppings" . A classic word used to define somewhere where we can see bombs falling.

Naturally we drive around for an hour and half, being turned back at army checkpoints and finally deciding to go back to the ridge next to our hotel we had left two hours before.

Then grabbing the camera out as we scouted a location for the day live shots and filming F16's "dropping" a Hezbollah Observation Point with bad accuracy, three passes six bombs all missing the actual structure. The trick is to try and frame up so that you see the impact flash , wide shot , medium shot, or close up ... This is a building 2 miles away and directly below it is my hotel room from where I am writing this.

You wait for the noise of the planes as they come in on a pass and drop chaff in case they are being targeted. and then you wait for the impact.

As i write this piece at nearly midnight the artillery shells are pounding out into Lebanon with suppressive firing ...

Then the tank rolls over the ridge directly above us, behind the "Beware Mines area" sign, trust me this is the best anti robbery warning I have ever seen.

Across the valley in Lebanon on the road was a small water tank, the type towed by tractors. The IDF decided that this was not a good place to leave it, as it could be a roadside bomb.

The tank firing 50 meters above your head rocked even the camera locked off on the tripod, the first shell missed. This was one of those targets that I knew was going to take a while to hit. So i raced back to the car and grabbed one of my small handicams, thinking i could film the tank firing on the small camera and have the impact on my main camera.

Grabbing the small camera, it naturally does all the things domestic cameras do, and by the time it had decided to work the Tank fired the second round and I looked into the viewfinder of my main camera trained on the target. The shell hit and it was a great shot. The funny thing is how you talk to other cameramen at scenes like this and talk about how you saw details the human eye cannot. So the NBC cameraman and I talked about the up flash and everyone else just looked at us.

Needless to say this video has all been used a lot today on the Channel, good "droppings" are great TV.

The rest of the afternoon was another rotation of top of the hours, with David Lee Miller and Maryan, who got more frustrated as with every hit they got the video wrong, or took the wrong audio for the microphone. Quick technical aside the camera mic is panned for split audio so the sound of explosions is clearer, and during most lives there is shelling.

But at the end of the day, the shot that everyone liked the most was the sunset.Which anchors like to wax lyrical about, the cliche book is wide open.

However the "droppings" were used extensively on air.

As we drove out back to the operation base, back in Qiryat Shemona after wrapping for the night. The catering we have for dinner is excellent and dinner beckoned, yes catering it is easier to feed the troops we have have. Fox News has around forty people here covering the story and it also a great relaxing social at the end of the day or as the case is a switch to the night crew doing Prime time.

We have a great team here and the spirit of dinner together bonds as closer.


The IDF has decided to go in with Ground forces, and as we left ,,,,,,, There they were. Stopped grabbed the camera was immediately stopped from filming and told to leave the area .... hang on my hotel room is here

We had not even left the kibbutz we live in, now at this point the scent of a good story in all of us, I decided that if we are already in a closed military area I am not leaving and we jammed the road as I turned back to the hotel, An IDF Officer screamed at us to turn off our phones.

I had already called the boss with the info that it was going down the ground forces were going in. Now back to the hotel in the kibbutz, surrounded by events that we could not cover due to censorship restrictions. We had a glass of vodka, it had been a wise choice now with reflection and the purchaser was complemented with his wise decision.

Then the phone rings and we are back in the mix, sort of but not sort of. On and off as events moved on and my temper frayed as my camera with the new video of troops marching into Lebanon, great mood video ... in the orange street lights . The images were very powerful and showed a new phase of the war.

Diplomatic talks might even succeed and it means that the clock for Israel to achieve greater results is winding down. A ceasefire is in the wind and the effort is now to achieve goals before they are forced to stop.

At the end of the day you end up back in your room, having done my laundry in the bathroom sink, writing and listening to the shelling on my balcony.

Tomorrow is another day

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