Jamie Oakford: what is it like to broadcast the World Cup Final

Jamie Oakford, the World Cup FinalDirector, has been invited as a guest at the Harrow Conversation held on the 9thof October, at the University of Westminster.
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

The talk has left much space to the presentation of the work behind the scene for the broadcast of the Final Football match. Nevertheless, there has been also much time to hear from him about some useful advice for a similar career in this field.

Jamie Oakford has always demonstrated a great passion for the football.
Since his beginning in 1986 - when he worked at Independent Television (ITV) on the programme The Saint and Greavsie Show - till the Final Cup as Fifa TV director, he has combined professional camera skills and love for this play.

“I think that what it comes across very clearly is when you really care about something or when you do not care”, he said.

The most important concept not to forget is that the audience see everything, from the biggest mistakes to the nuances in the final product, and our passions are not a minor detail.
A question to always ask to ourselves is: “What the fan/the audience want to see?”.
A journalist must bear in his mind his reader, the person for who that product is targeted. The aim is the viewer’s reception.

The effort of the whole crew has been needed to cover such a big ground. What Jamie Oakford has specified is that the team effort is very crucial.
He has been working with a brilliant crew. Some directors may not like to socialize with the others operators, but it was in his interest to become familiar with them. He didn’t want to maintain a distant work relationship.

If you broadcast live events, “you are constantly making decisions”, he has continued, “asking whether it will be good or not”. Things may change very rapidly.

He has cited the advertisement as an example. There is a schedule, in which the spots are obviously included – and the firms have paid for that slot.
However, before broadcasting it, the director should have evaluated the right moment: moving the eyes quickly among the screens, he must have ensured that anything important could happen in those seconds.

After some question about his motivation and the feelings experienced in playing such a role in the Final Cup, Mr Oakford has rapidly drafted on the blackboard the scheme of camera positions all around the pitch.

Forty Cameras were active, including: steady cameras, high-speed cameras (for slow-motion), spider camera, tactical camera (in general, on the roof), cameras for action shots, cameras on the goal lines, camera in the nets, helicopter cameras.

Jamie Oakford explaining the cameras' scheme
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
The devices had continually sent their footages to his cabin, where, with some other managers, he decided which filming should have been broadcast.

The greatest attention has been required. But the satisfaction for such a good job, possible just because of a very good teamwork, has compensate the sacrifices and the efforts to make it.