Getty Images Photographers Star on CCTV, China’s Largest National Television Station

August 11, 2008 | By Alison Crombie | Olympics, Sport


The IBC (International Broadcast Center)

With so many stories being told at the Beijing Olympics, it’s often hard to find an original news angle. The weather, or should I say smog, is dominating the news, along with human rights protesters and the cultural aspects that are visible at these Games. Media is constantly asking “What do you think of Bejing? What do you think of these Games?” I find myself wondering if they are looking for a new perspective or validation that these Games really will be the best ones ever held.

I am at the Games working in PR for Getty Images and have been spending quite some time searching for new angles from The Main Press Center (MPC) and Broadcast Center (IBC) , which are truly impressive buildings.



Media workspace

We are being looked after impeccably and the facilities are world class. These Games have been highly anticipated and there is a strong sense of curiosity around how it will be staged in a country that has historically been very wary of opening its doors to the world’s press. Today Beijing finds itself in the midst of a u-turn on this very position and is having to allow an open door approach to communication on the event and their culture. So here in the MPC (Main Press Center) the international media is working hard to ensure they capture all of the action from the Games and highlight their country’s successes and failures.

The show took three hours, yes THREE hours to pre-record, which is the longest interview session I have ever done in a studio! In the end it will be edited down to 20 minutes highlighting the hard work and dedication that goes into our photographer’s images. It was fully worthwhile, an amazing experience for all of us and a unique opportunity to work so closely with Chinese media.


Working hard in the media center

In sporting terms, covering this event is a marathon and not a sprint. Surviving the next two weeks is a true test to your endurance!


Exhaustion is starting to show for some in the media center.

A few days ago I was excited to take Al Bello and Adam Pretty, both senior sports photographers at Getty Images to CCTV, China’s largest national television station, to take part in their Olympics show “On the Spot” discussing how they capture the incredible images at the Games.

The show airs three times a day and CCTV’s studios are located in Beijing’s first seven-star hotel. Naturally, I expected opulence and luxury, state-of-the-art studios and the speed and efficiency that Beijing is becoming renowned for. This was not quite the case. CCTV occupies one floor of the building and upon exiting the elevator, we found ourselves face-to-face with a building that more closely resembled something from a war zone!

The studio was small with lots of people milling around. The show’s presenter was Tom Perkins, an American who has adapted incredibly well to this flourishing media environment. He talked through his idea for the program and we discussed the image selection that Adam and Al would be showing.


Talking through the program…

After surviving the trauma of having their make-up done (I promised that nobody would notice when they got back to the office)…


Adam Pretty getting pretty!

I attempted to convince them both that this was a serious media opportunity. They don’t always listen to me.

On the set with the stunning backdrop of the bird’s nest stadium, I worked with Al and Adam on choosing the images and topics they wanted to share with China.

It was decided that Adam would highlight some of his amazing underwater imagery and Al would show underwater images and iconic images from the past Olympics with the interesting stories behind them. We got them wired up and they were ready for prime time!


Al Bello (left) and Adam Pretty (right) get wired for their interview.

Adam also brought some of his underwater gear with him so he could really speak to how he is able to capture his unique shots. It was an engaging and fascinating show listening to their stories of how they work while their breath-taking images were displayed on the screen.


Adam showing his underwater gear.

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