Veteran Saskatchewan cameraman shoots Sochi Games

For CBC's Neil Cochrane, Sochi marks his 10th Olympic assignment. From shooting the opening ceremonies, to meeting the Canadian men's hockey team, the veteran Regina cameraman has this peek behind the scenes.

Regina-based CBC cameraman Neil Cochrane is on duty at the Olympics

CBC cameraman Neil Cochrane's assignments so far have all been at Sochi's coastal venues. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)
It may be the Winter Olympics, but Neil Cochrane did not need a jacket Wednesday. 

The veteran CBC Regina cameraman is covering his 10th Olympics in Sochi this month. Stationed at venues lined by palm trees, he said this is "by far" the warmest winter games he's attended.

"The weather here has been quite phenomenal actually," said Cochrane. "When I was walking back from the oval here to the broadcast centre, most people have their coats in their arms and are walking in their T-shirts. It's about 17C."

Cochrane is one of dozens of CBC videographers who work behind the cameras, beaming Olympic events around the world. As a roving cameraman, his assignments are different every day.
CBC Regina cameraman Neil Cochrane takes a moment to turn the camera on himself at the Olympic Games in Sochi. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

"It's whatever happens to be going on," said Cochrane. "When the men's hockey team arrived, I was waiting for them at the bus stop as they were getting off, getting shots of them arriving."

He also shot the opening ceremonies, and regularly gathers footage of Canadians training at the speed skating venues.

Cochrane described his welcome in Sochi as a warm one, noting he has not run into any problems with his hotel room. He catches sleep where he can, always ready to work on a moment's notice.

There are no days off until he and other crew members return home to Canada at the end of the month.
Assigned to cover the opening ceremonies at the Sochi Games, CBC's Neil Cochrane snapped this photo on his way home from Fisht Olympic Stadium. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

"Each Olympics is unique. I think it's the athletes that make it that way," said Cochrane. 

He noted it's less glamourous behind the scenes, as cameramen and editors use laptops to finish their work, grabbing temporary desks with duct work visible overhead. 

"The best is when you happen to be through the CBC Broadcast Centre and somebody's on," said Cochrane. "I happened to be here when [Charles] Hamelin won his gold medal. And everybody just starts cheering. And that makes it a special moment and you won't forget it."

Cochrane is used to unpredictability, after covering breaking news for CBC Regina for decades. Even in Sochi, the cameraman never knows what his next assignment will be, but said covering a gold medal round is unforgettable.

"I like all the sports," he said. "I suppose if one could be at the hockey final, that'd be great. If we're so lucky to be in the final and we could win it, that'd be great."