CNN anchor Miles O'Brien describes his secret life on the other side of the
Getting used to being on the other side of the camera?
Well, when it came time for my first on-camera job, in St. Joseph , Missouri, I had to shoot the stories also. And I was comfortable with cameras. None of the rest of the reporters had ever operated a camera. In 1982, one-man operations are more common. There was an eight-person news staff, and we'd go out on teams and shoot for each other, or we'd shoot our interviews ourselves. I'd set up a lightstand at my height, hit the record button on the tripod. Record myself. I was comfortable with it because of photography, I knew how to tell a story visually.
But they don't make you do that at CNN, do they?
Now, when I go out [on assignments], I have a still and a little DV camera-a Sony PD170, but soon I'll have Sony HVR-A1U , which is really high-def. I'm always augmenting the stuff I do for CNN with my own stuff.
I recently did a documentary on the Discovery space-shuttle, very intensive [Terminal Count: What It Takes to Make the Space Shuttle Fly, 2001]. It would have been a budget-buster if we'd had a crew, but there I was, crawling around inside, and I ended up shooting about 75% of that documentary. Just by virtue of the logistics of going down to the Cape, there were some occasions where we would hire a crew, but if I could handle it on my own, it would save a lot of time and money.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Well, for the documentary, I went to CNN and got equipment from them. You go into this warehouse in Atlanta and it's like Indiana Jones-gear everywhere…I used a Sony camcorder DSR-300, and Canon YH18x6HSD lens.
What about on your own time?
A Nikon D100 and 16-35mm zoom and the 80-200mm. I've always been a Nikon guy, and when I was buying the Nikon gear I have now, all the guys at CNN were Nikon guys so I thought, great, I'll be able to use some of their equipment with my setup. But no sooner than I bought the D100, they switched over to Canon. I've thought about making the switch too…but it's sort of like changing religions, I feel kind of weird about it.