Patricia recently toured Europe with Thirty Seconds to Mars, fronted by Oscar winner actor Jared Leto – no pressure then!
‘I can only describe Patricia as a exemplary, talented and artistic camera operator. Reel Angels? More like a team of Roman Gladiators with Eierlegende Wollmilchsau attributes, to say the least they are Bitchin!‘ Jason Varner, Video Director for Thirty Seconds to Mars, Monolith Tour 2018.
She is now on Paul Simon’s Farewell Tour as his on stage camera! Jealous? We are!
We catch up with her;
‘Role: Camera Operator & LED Technician… and whatever else video-related needs to be done. Everyone on tour has 2 or 3 roles combined. Recently completed TSTM tour and now with Paul Simon.
Touring Camera Operator vs Other Camera Jobs;
First of all, the key roles of a Touring Camera Operator. This is more of a typical roadie job. An important thing to remember is that on jobs like this there is barely a crew member who doesn’t do two, three or more “jobs”. Quite similar to certain single OB jobs it is generally an “all hands on deck” situation.
For those who’ve done a lot of OB (outside broadcast), particularly award shows and live music events with smaller OB companies, will already know how a typical day goes.
Hired By: Typically the events production company supplying the tour with kit (cameras, video screens, lights, audio, etc.)
Duties: assembly & operation of broadcast cameras & setup, assembly and setup of LED screens.
Typical Work Day:
spent almost exclusively with the rest of the crew, rather than artist, typical “roadie”-job, hard physical work, long hours (similar to a OB events job).
Early morning start with build and “load-in” about 7/8am, generally until mid to late afternoon. Depending on sound/video checks go, plus any trouble shooting with the led screens.
Camera operation during show – you could say this is the most enjoyable and straight fwd part of the job!
Then straight into a quick, intense de-rig and “load-out” usually until past midnight, often until the early morning hours. These load outs are dangerous, with riggers working above you on the grid, forklifts and cranes in use, flight cases and caddies weighing tones being pushed up ramps. So you have to be super alert and spatially aware.
You are always “all hands on deck”, you will not be able to walk into a built and ready venue, grab a camera and start rolling, everything the event needs is still on the trucks right behind your “bedroom” and YOU need to get it off, put it in and make it work!
After the de-rig, you can shower in gym-type showers at the venue and go to sleep in a relatively small bunk on a tour bus, usually after a bit of drinking and socializing with other crew members
After a short night (broken up by snoring roadies, a rough road shaking the bus, a ferry or border crossing making you get out of bed and be a normal human being for what often seems way too long a period) rinse and repeat!
For those mainly having worked in broadcast;
Yes it pays less, it is much harder physical work,involves longer hours and lots of travel on a bus. However it is infinitely more fun than filming a week of cricket, lets you travel some of the world’s coolest cities often 7 in a week, close crew-bonding and fun nights on the tour bus, and let’s be honest… who doesn’t want to get paid to live the “rock’n’roll” life for a while..at least!
Advice for those who want to try?….
In order to enjoy and ultimately succeed as a “roadie” you have to:
– Be very physically fit
– Be able to handle long hours and lack of sleep for weeks at a time.
– Enjoy traveling and being away from home for long periods of time.
– Be ok with living in a very confined space with up to 14 other smelly, loud, a bit rough around the edges but generally genuinely nice people (usually mostly men at the moment).
– Be ok with eating when there’s time, rather set “lunch” or “dinner” times (Tip: keep snacks in your pockets as sometimes there isn’t time…)
– Really love what you do!
Paul Simon, really like his music and my Mom is totally fan-girling out over it.
So yeah, I love this job and wouldn’t wanna do anything else… at least for the moment… then again it’s me and I generally just wanna do whatever seems fun, and there’s a lot of things that seem fun 😉
P.s Thank you to Reel Angels and the amazing Lulu Elliott !!!