Lights, camera, action!
Barbara Young meets TV cameraman David Caine, whose career has taken him all over the world covering major news stories and sporting events.
Ask David Caine about his favourite moment from his illustrious 30-year career and he’ll name more memorable highlights than most of us will experience in a lifetime.
During his time as a highly respected professional TV lighting cameraman, David has travelled the world, being much in demand by television networks to cover breaking news stories and sporting events. This has brought him face-to-face with a host of A-list celebrities and sporting icons.
Among the cream of legendary footballers and household name boxers to have found themselves in front of his lens are David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Ricky Hatton – and the list goes on.
However, this affable former staff photographer at the Gainsborough News isn’t overcome by his routine brush with fame or good fortune in working with so many greats; David simply says he is just lucky to do a job which he loves.
Now, together with a team of behind-the-scenes television professionals, David’s latest venture, DJC Film Productions, looks set to expand his services to those looking for first-class multi-camera production coverage – ideal for businesses, corporate and family events.
“We offer coverage of any event that might require more than one camera, streamed live into a boardroom, large screen or people’s front room, as well as edited packages,” explains David. “We’ve joined together a pool of highly experienced skilled technicians, including camera operators, sound recordists, editors, presenters, voiceover experts, drone owners, stills photographers and scriptwriters, both at home in the UK and USA.
“Considering current travel restrictions with Covid, we can provide live pictures using a system known as Teradek, which allows full HD/4K picture quality to be piped into your own social media account to be viewed.”
The idea for the new venture has been in development for some time, but David and his team recognised that now would be the most logical time to get it off the ground.
“Rather than cancel events, we can offer up to four live cameras allowing plans to go ahead. It’s the next best thing to not being there in person, so people can watch and join in from the safety of their own home.”
Early days behind the lens
David is proud to have followed in the footsteps of his late father Harold, who was a cameraman all of his life and whose work was recognised with an RTS (Royal Television Society) Award for his coverage of the 1974 Nypro disaster at Flixborough.
Originally from Manchester, Harold moved to Dunstable where he met and married David’s mother, Sheila, a nurse, before moving to Scunthorpe, where he started his own photography business, later turning his hand to film cameras and television news.
It’s little wonder that all three of Harold and Sheila’s sons, including David’s two older brothers, Peter and Gary, chose to make cameras their careers; with both of David’s sons (Daniel, who is based with his wife in Florida, and Richard) continuing this legacy years later.
David, who lives with his wife of 32 years, Maxine, near Epworth, has fond memories of his childhood in which photography played a huge part.
“I started taking still photographs in my early teens before gaining my first full-time job as staff photographer on the bi-weekly Gainsborough News, where we covered local events, such as golden weddings, sport, presentation nights and those typical ‘my cat got stuck in the washing machine’ stories,” says David, who went on to work at the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, before joining his brothers who were both cameramen for Yorkshire Television’s Calendar news programme.
“These were fantastic days and some of my best memories are from this period,” recalls David. “We covered all of Humberside into Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire during which time I filmed everything from royal visits, to flying in the City of Lincoln Lancaster Bomber, and spending six months on call with the Search and Rescue Sea King helicopter based at RAF Leconfield – as well as covering our local football matches.”
In 1993, David was contacted by ITN to cover the infamous James Bulger murder in Liverpool, which he says he found “very distressing”, but this led to the network offering him a full-time position based in their north of England bureau.
“It was a dream job and I jumped at the chance,” he says. “It was a whole new challenge, working with some of the best reporters and presenters in the country filming for News At One and News At Ten.
“Many of the events I was covering were the top stories in the country on the day, but after the 1996 school massacre in Dunblane, which remained a global story for many days, I decided to leave front line news.”
As an avid sports fan, David began taking stills at an early age covering his school sports days, as well as local football and cricket matches.
“When a colleague of mine at ITN moved to Sky Sports, where my eldest brother Peter was also working, and offered me the chance to go with him, it was an easy decision, so I jumped at the chance and found myself very much ‘at home’,” he explains.
“I was travelling the country filming features with some of the best footballers in the land with England reporter Nick Collins, who became a great friend. Together we covered all the England internationals, including France ’98, Euro 2000, Japan 2002 and many more.”
At the same time, David was asked to cover some of the biggest world championship boxing fights around the world and in so doing found a new love in life.
“I enjoyed countless trips to Las Vegas, the boxing capital of the world, and all over the USA, as well as Europe and Asia, meeting fantastic sportsmen and sportswomen dedicated to their sport.
“There’s something unique about boxers. These are some of the hardest, meanest people in the world, yet they are well-disciplined and respectful. Bernard Hopkins, the American multi-world champion has become a friend and we enjoy spending time together.
“Once we arranged to meet at 5am on Miami’s South Beach – Bernard was just five minutes late, but spent the rest of the day apologising, which is something you don’t get with modern day athletes!”
Looking back on his career, David says his job as a cameraman has changed since he first started out and he worries about the loss of standards.
“Nobody shoots on film any more, everybody wants their footage delivering immediately, sometimes to the sacrifice of quality and everyone’s a cameraman now,” he says sadly.
“It seems anyone can film using low quality small cameras or even mobile phones, but the need to supply footage to social media outlets seems to have a non-quenching thirst.
It upsets me to see the skills of the job become a thing of the past, but I’m very lucky that the broadcasters I work for still expect a level of quality.”
Another concern is the growing use of drones in filming by those who aren’t qualified or registered to do so.
“Many people are using drones in a very risky, illegal way. I fly drones but I’m fully insured, have my CAA permissions and carry out all legally required pre-flight checks.”
A passion for food
When David’s not filming, he can often be found cooking in his kitchen. His interest in food was passed down from his mother who is an accomplished home cook and he likes to share his passion with those he works with professionally too.
“My job has allowed me to eat in some of the finest restaurants in the world and also some of the worst dives along the way,” he explains.
“I remember filming a preview piece for Showtime in Liverpool on the set of the movie The 51st State and my reporter doing several interviews with the cast.
“Our last guest got talking to me about meals he’d enjoyed during his visit. He was curious about the crispy things we ate with our beef and wondered what they were? He’d fallen in love with Yorkshire puddings, so I gave him my recipe and we had a good chat before he had to leave.
“Afterwards, the reporter said, ‘You obviously know him well’, but I had no idea, I’d just given my recipe to international film star Samuel L Jackson!”
David’s son Richard films an Instagram programme called ‘From Gantry to Pantry’ which gives his father a chance to replicate some meals he’s had along the way with the stories that go with them.
These include being with the England football team in Turin on the day that David Beckham received the captain’s armband for the first time and the fabulous pasta dish Nick Collins and David shared, as well as a memorable Southern fried chicken meal in Louisville after covering Muhammad Ali’s funeral, and desperately trying to find food up a mountain in the Philippines before eventually finding a bar that served steak!
In spite of his many years spent in the film business, David says it remains “one of the best jobs a person could ever hope to do”.
“After countless soakings in torrential rain, hours of being hungry with no time to eat, being away from home for weeks at a time, there are many times when you seriously have to pinch yourself and think, am I really getting paid to visit the most wonderful parts of the world and meet some of the most famous people on the planet?
“Even to this day when I’m at ringside filming the big fights, or sitting pitch-side at the big football matches, I remind myself how lucky I am.
“Looking ahead, I’m hopeful that our new business venture appeals to people and until I lose the bug for filming, travelling and eating, my plan is to carry on for many years to come!”