I was doing a bit to camera.

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Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
As we drove in the sunshine past the golden sands of Ipanema beach I was doing a bit to camera about how much I thought I was going to enjoy my time in Rio.
(An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington - Karl Pilkington)

Does the boldcaced part sound right to you? Why didn't he say I was doing a bit to the camera? It doesn't make sense to me to treat "camera" as an uncountable noun. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English tells me that "camera" is a countable noun.

What do you think?

Thank you in advance.
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's a variation on the set phrase 'doing a piece to camera' which means standing (in this case sitting, I presume) in front of a camera, usually on location (ie. not inside a studio), whilst being filmed talking about something. Often that something is vaguely related to the what can be seen behind the person who's talking. As we have learnt, Karl Pilkington is fond of taking slight liberties with language for comic effect.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Both are possible. 'To camera' is an idiom, perhaps influenced by 'on film' or 'on air', perhaps by directions like 'to stage right'. I wouldn't say the lack of an article makes it non-count, any more than it does in other idioms such as 'in school' or 'by hand'.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Sorry! I found that unremarkable, so did not remark. - perhaps it is BE; it's very natural.
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