Copyright Stuart McAlister. All rights reserved.
Corporate Video Production Services
I taught myself to edit on a VHS suite and soon the editing bug had me fair and square. I secured a staff position at an independent production facility in Teddington, Middlesex, where I spent a couple of years editing the pants off of anything that was put in front of me. From there I moved over to an independent facility in Westminster to work on broadcast television news. It was the beginning of a new era: the one-man-band. These were individuals who could shoot, light the scene, operate sound and then edit the piece. I spent a while working on a colourful range of political subjects for BBC South East, Scottish TV (STV), Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) and London Weekend Television (LWT).
Time for another move, and this time, to Sky News in Isleworth. I'd only been in the building long enough to find out where the canteen was, when I was packed off to Bosnia on war duty. After completing a couple of trips, I was rewarded with an assignment to the southern hemisphere and the landmark South African Elections. Shortly after witnessing Mandela storming home, I was offered a management position with a brand new television agency in London’s EC4: The Associated Press Television News (APTV as was). Here I cast a scrutineers eye over the agency’s output and taught producers and journalists the finer points of camera operation and editing techniques - skills they were going to rely on in the field.
In 1996, the AP offered me a freelance contract in Paris. I took it. Wouldn't you? I was sent off to Hong Kong to cover the official handover to the Chinese, returned to Paris for the fateful night at the Pont d’Alma, watched the French lift the 1998 Football World Cup, looked into the carnage of the Concorde tragedy and watched (now Dame) Ellen MacArthur conquer the Vendée Globe. Sadly, the agency ran out of money and I was released from my contract, but rather than run home with my tail between legs, I stuck it out and went on to work for CNN, the BBC and a multitude of corporate clients.
My interest in photography expanded and I was soon earning a living from both television and photo - I counted myself very fortunate.
I returned to the UK in 2015.
I then got a taste for bigger and better toys and moved to Link Electronics in Hampshire. Link were the last of the UKs TV camera manufacturers, but this one had a trick up its sleeve: a video display department hiring 'serious' video projectors for film and TV. These projectors were incorporated into the set of 'Morons From Outer Space' and TV shows such as the BBC's 'Wogan', 'The Late Late Breakfast Show' and Thames TV's 'This Is Your Life' - all of which I worked on at one time or another.
Starvision, a rival company appeared on the horizon and these guys owned giant 22 tonne mobile TV screens. Starvision slowly poached all of Links video operators and I was eventually drawn to the dark side. One memorable highlight at Starvision was 'Queen - Live Magic' at Wembley. Google it. It was fab.
Over the years, I have shot and edited for a whole host of broadcasters and corporate clients.
Some notable highlights include Central TV’s ‘Cook Report’, the war in Bosnia, Mandela’s triumph in the South African General Election for Sky News and multiple editions of ‘Hardtalk’ and ‘Panorama’ for the BBC.
Early days: after leaving school, I joined the Prince Edward Theatre's the lighting crew. After a couple of years in Theatreland, I returned to Surrey and joined the small Surbiton branch of Playlight, a film and TV lighting company. Here I rigged and operated lighting equipment used in the film industry. My favourite job at Playlight was 2 weeks on 'Monty Python’s Meaning of Life' at Elstree Studios (the penultimate scene - the restaurant in Heaven).