The Stones in Hyde Park 

2 March 2017

From the Channel Viewer published 26 August 1969

The Rolling Stones’ free concert in London’s Hyde Park was Granada Television’s most ambitious film operation. To shoot the 52-minute programme on the ITV network they used six camera crews, six international award-winning producers and a staff of more than 50.

Here is the story of Granada’s massive operation.

Granada technicians had just 10 days to plan the filming of the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park concert. It was an event likely to draw half a million fans and at which anything could have happened.

There had been nothing like it before. For the experienced camera crews — some from Granada’s World in Action — the only possible comparison was the all-day filming of the big political demonstrations in London.

Notice was short. Vital equipment was still being prepared on the day of the event.

Even so, work had to start early. Many fans arrived and slept overnight in the park.

And when the light was good enough for filming — at 4.30 a.m. on that unique Hyde Park Saturday — the first of the camera crews was in action, filming the early arrivals waking, rolling up their sleeping bags and waiting…

Meanwhile, a second crew was ready when the Rolling Stones themselves were starting the day.

When lead singer Mick Jagger had completed an interview, the cameras followed him, Marianne Faithfull and her baby from their home in Cheyne Walk to the Londonderry Hotel — the Stones’ base next to the park.

The unit stayed close, filming the other members of the group arriving and changing for the concert, due to start at one o’clock.

But long before that, technicians were setting up their camera positions around the vast, high stage.

One camera was mounted on a movable “dolly” in front of the stage. The unit that had filmed the Rolling Stones in the morning was sited at one side of the stage and another crew was on the other side after following a group of fans from the King’s Road to Hyde Park.

Yet another camera was mounted on a van 150 yards away from the stage—an operation that had to be carried out before the thousands of fans arrived.

By early afternoon the camera positions were mere islands in a sea of fans.

Even so, cameramen managed to move about the wiuge crowd to film the activities of the concert’s “police force” — members of the leather-clad motor cycling “Hell’s Angels” — who kept remarkable order during the show.

Work then on the month-long job of condensing almost 12 hours of film into the 52-minute programme.

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