For the last two weeks 2day fms Kyle and Jackie O have had a giant red button sitting out the front of Parramattas’ Town Hall, Sydney. People have been encouraged to Push The Button to see what will happen next.
62214 button presses later and the button was finally activated!
I was part of a team of videographers who were brought in to capture the moment live. Prior to the button going off , our co-ordinator Blake Phillips, showed us where we needed to stand and what to focus on. We were given an exact time to start recording so we were all in sync and ready for the moment when the button was pushed and a winner revealed.
People were running around Town Hall trying to get it all set up in time. When I first walked in there were about 60 men and women dancing in the hall. I was initially impressed at the scale of dancers they were using. Until I learned that they weren’t involved at all and were just the local ballroom dancing class.
We had to blend into the crowd so no one noticed our cameras and caught on to the fact that the button might go off soon. I headed out first and wandered amongst the markets, my Canon 5D mII with a 70-200 lens wrapped up in a jacket under my arm. I knew I had ten minutes before I had to even start rolling, let alone, who knows how long, until the button was pushed.
I was worried some one would notice my camera, but mostly I was worried that I had to get the first shot but couldn’t whip out my camera to check the frame until the button had already gone off. I decided to plonk myself on a bench to appear relaxed. I caught sight of two of the other videographers, Lucy Vecchio and Tim May, who were looking equally ‘casual’.
At 12:18 the cameras were rolling. People had caught on that something was happening. I noticed the hummer, which was what my first shot was, start to pull up beside Town Hall. I wasn’t the only one. A man caught sight of it and yelled out to everyone “There’s a hearse, a hearse! Somethings gonna happen!”. Obviously he hadn’t seen a hummer.. or a hearse before. Regardless, the line doubled in length.
I watched each person walk up, wondering who would be the lucky winner. It was mesmerising. One by one people pushed the button only to see the screen say ‘NOT YET’. Until finally, the screen launched into a countdown. Dramatic music was was belted out throughout the square. Everyone froze.
I leapt up, threw the jacket around my shoulders, pushed through the crowd and got my frame as quickly as possible. The hummer looked like an enormous beast as it wheeled itself into the main square in front of the winner.
For the next 2 minutes I was swept up in a crazy flash mob of dancers, pogo stick jumpers, impersonators, X Factors Rhys Mastin, Luke Jacobz and a man on fire. Before I knew it the performance was over and the giant banner rolled out over Town Hall revealing that the winners prize was $25,000.
It felt so quick that it seemed like it had ended as abruptly as it had begun.
Afterwards, we did the performance again for the crowd, but also to get more camera angles. This time, the nerves were gone, because I knew that I had gotten my shots and could relax a bit now. My main focus was the hummer, the man on fire, the Lady Gaga and Katy Perry impersonators and finally the sign being rolled out at the end revealing the prize.
Here is the final video.
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