The name has changed. What was once known as "Hinckley Beach," the area where camera crews encamped to cover the trial of President Reagan's attacker, is now known as "Barry Beach."

Every day this week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., about 50 men and women sit and wait for a few minutes of time with "the Principals" -- that is, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who is accused of cocaine possession and perjury, his wife, his lawyer or the prosecutor, or the witnesses.

The waiting is excruciating and funny, hot and bothersome. "I know about waiting," said one cameraman. "I've got a PhD in waiting." The ratio of time sitting to time scrambling for decent pictures is 10 to 1, estimates cameraman Doug Wilkes of WTTG, Channel 5.

"We wait for hours. The crucial shot comes in seconds," said Wilkes. "If you miss it, you're dead."

At 5:10 p.m. yesterday, the scramble started. "Here he comes. Here he comes," a producer was whispering into her walkie-talkie.

"He's bringing Barry," said another. "Go live. Let's go live."

With that, the wait was worth it. Mayor Barry, his wife, Effi, and his lawyer, R. Kenneth Mundy, walked out of the courtroom and went to the cameras, where Mundy delivered a brief synopsis of how well his case was going.

Barry smiled but said nothing. Asked for a quote, he grinned and pointed to Mundy. It was over in less than four minutes.

On the hot days, the crews assigned to the front of the U.S. Courthouse have discovered a long, thin triangle of shade, provided by a tall monument to justice in front of the building. The problem is that as the sun moves, so does the shade.

In the morning, the crews sit to the left of the monument; in the afternoon, they sit to the right of it.

"Around noon it gets tough," explains Channel 9 cameraman Peady Shifflett. At midday, their fold-up chairs are shoved together under a tiny arc of relief against the unrelenting June sunshine.

Cameraman Harry Davis of Channel 4, WRC, sometimes joins the crews under the monument but often goes to "my office":

Waiting for him on one side of the courthouse steps are two chairs, an umbrella and a large box. In the box are juice, water, rain gear, reading matter, writing matter and a telephone -- "all for business calls," he says, smiling.

If it all looks like summertime -- and the living is easy -- it isn't, these guys say.

"Even though it appears to be a beach scene, there's a lot of tension," says WJLA cameraman Steven Affens, a Channel 7 veteran of 22 years. "We're like quick-draw artists. We have to be ready to draw {the cameras} all the time."

For all the slothfulness one could presume to see in front of the courthouse, it disappears the instant one of the Principals walks out the door. Cameramen all but levitate to their stations. Sometimes it's worth the adrenaline, sometimes not.

When WUSA correspondent Bob Strickland suddenly decided to interview Regardie's magazine owner Bill Regardie, who had been at the trial yesterday morning, other camera crews suddenly rushed to join the circle.

"What are we doing interviewing Regardie?" said Channel 9's other correspondent, Bruce Johnson. Just as he asked the question, other cameramen apparently had the same thought -- virtually in unison. Within moments, the circle around Regar-die was less media, more tourist.

"We've coined a new term for interviews with Mundy," said Jan Smith, a correspondent for Channel 5. "They're called 'walkie-talkies.' "

When Mundy talks to the media, he prefers to be walking away from them. The result is that whenever Barry's lawyer moves, he is surrounded by a knot of cameramen who are looking at nothing but the man in the hat.

"Three cameramen have fallen so far," said Smith. "I think it's that he doesn't want to appear to be talking to us, but you have to follow him because you never know what's going to pop out of his mouth.

"We want the story, but we keep hoping that we don't lose anybody along the way," she said.

Getting a seat at the Barry trial is not as hard as getting a ticket to "Dick Tracy," but it can be just as frustrating.

For the media, there were special press credentials, but the deadline was early -- May 15 -- and a lot of journalists missed it. That means that the press and the public wait together in the long lines on the second floor of the courthouse.

The line for the 10 a.m. trial starts about 9, although there was a report of one ardent spectator waiting by the courthouse doors at 4 a.m. to make certain he got a seat in the small, crowded courtroom.

First "the haves" move into the courtroom -- those credentialed journalists and officials who have the green and white passes. Then, if the "have" media don't fill up all of their allotted 59 seats, reporters without passes are allowed to sit in them. The public lines up for seats in only two rows, about 20 places in all.

If some nerve endings are frayed, what has surprised most of those covering the Barry trial is that the crowds are gone. Oh, a few tourists with cameras are gawking at the scene, of course. But there are few real Washingtonians, curious to see their mayor facing his accusers.

"I think that the majority of people in this city are a silent majority, and they really are saying that Barry is behind them," said Bruce Johnson.

Still, crews of U.S. marshals brought in for crowd control are busy controlling whatever crowds they have.

Their vigorous enforcement of court rules has caused problems for some of those accustomed to friendlier dealings between the press and the court's officers.

For example, NBC artist Betty Wells sprained her knee early in the trial and was told by her doctor not to stand for long periods. When she brought a chair for her wait in line, the marshals told her she couldn't use it in the hallway.

"They are all new and green," explained one veteran journalist. "They are following the regulations to the letter."

"Horrific," judged Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Daley of the way the marshals have treated those waiting in the corridors. "You get the feeling that they don't want you to be here."

In fact, while this reporter was interviewing Daley, a marshal came up and asked what was happening. "Haven't you been told?" he said. "There is no interviewing in the corridors here." If you have problems, he explained, they can be dealt with by the head marshal.

Head U.S. Marshal Herbert M. Rutherford III said that his marshals understood "that the media are aggressive and that just goes with their job and we understand that." But he said his crews were there to provide order for the court as well as access for the media.

"If some feathers were ruffled, certainly we regret that, but we are here to look after the overall process in the courtroom and we carry that out first."

Rutherford added that in watching television and reading reports about the Barry trial, "I don't think your stories are suffering as a result of anything we're doing."

In fact, since cameras aren't allowed in the courtroom, the lawyers have tried, at least somewhat, to bring some of the courtroom to the cameras.

Tuesday afternoon, shortly after 5 p.m., the prosecution staff brought out some of the items entered into evidence that day -- a matchbox, a crack pipe and photos. The cameras clustered around to get a shot.

Explaining how a woman with the prosecution team was holding up the items, WUSA cameraman Greg Guise said, "It was great. We had the Vanna White of evidence here."