I’m pleased to now be able to offer broadcast quality UAV filming (That’s drone stuff to you and me!). A copy of my permission from the CAA is attached below.
Above is a very short set of clips froma recent shoot with my Mavic Pro UAV in Rjuken, Norway.
Package for CNN International on a group of children who are on a rehabilitation program, after they were used as child soldiers by Houthi rebels.
CNN’s Nic Robertson asked me to accompany him on a special trip to Marib, Yemen to get a grip on the war’s eastern front.
After leaving the country in 2014, it’s pained me to sit out most of the war in the country. Our team arrived in Marib in the back of two Saudi military Black Hawks, which flew us into Yemen accompanied by a detail of special forces and two apache helicopters to accompany us over the desert between the two countries.
As we landed, it felt a little bit like coming home. The small Emirati base that we touched down on was little more than a concrete helicopter pad surrounded by a narrow perimeter of Hesco barriers.
I’m just back from a very intense month shooting at the Pyeonchange Winter Olympics as part of the Ice Hockey broadcast team at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Huge props to the OBS team, and especially to Pedro Montes who was a pleasure to work with.
The moments before a live on a BGAN connection drag endlessly. The countdown to the reporter stretches to hours, as the data rate inevitably on my screen drops,climbs and wavers.
Running off batteries, i’m keeping a constant eye on how much power we have left – laptop, the camera, the lights, the bgan are all depleting at an alarming rate. The reporter is at this point focused and steely eyed down the lens. I check that we have enough bandwidth and that the reporters IFB (the line which allows the reporter to hear the studio) is still connencted. The second we go live, I know I’ve earnt your money for the day; against the odds, you’ve got the news on air.
Live reporting in the news industry is the biggest bugbear of news shooters. Cameramen want to be “doing their job” at key points in the story and capturing strong pictures, whilst editors want their reporters live around breaking news. Reporting in hostile environments tend to provide some relief from this treadmill, revealing a reporter’s location can often comprimise a crew’s security by exposing the team to the risk of getting snatched or targeted. Our time in Yemen was no different, with a week long hiatus from lives and all social media activity. But as we prepared to leave Aden we decided to break our radio silence, and go live from somewhere that few people get to see and even fewer can claim a live dateline from.
Our hotel’s roof seemed like a good option for our live. It would allow us to set up out kit in advance without the usual concerns about theft or security, and allowed us to test our connection in advance. We would be broadcasting around sunset, and hoped to catch the maghreb evening prayer as an atmospheric sound background and more importantly we would be able to shoot long into the cranes around the Aden port basin. This was significant firstly because the location would be difficult to pinpoint for anyone keen to kidnap or attack us in a hurry; it would be obvious we were reporting from somewhere in the Ma’ala district, but difficult to identify from where exactly we were shooting. The hotel’s roof also had a lift shaft to hide us behind, and we would not be visible to others in the neighbourhood enjoying the evening breeze or trying to spot a rare foreign news crew reporting live on the network’s main Middle East program! Sadly Aden suffers from an almost constant black out, so we wouldn’t have the luxury of mains power for our broadcast.
A few examples of the material i’ve shot in the last couple of weeks in Barcelona, during the constitutional crisis following the Catalan referendum.
I’m delighted with the results that my 85mm Canon 1.2L which has been converted from it’s native FD mount to EOS mount are yielding great results. The colours and sharpness are stunning and I don’t hesitate to recommend the lens doctor.
I was also honoured to be called upon at the last minute to shoot a world exclusive interview with Catalan President Carlos Puigdemont at the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya. The building is a stunning location which dates in places to 1400; but light conditions were made difficult by an early morning shoot in one of the palace’s courtyards.
An example of the kind of quality that shooters can now attain in minutes with limited kit. I was asked to set up this interview in less than 5 minutes during a lull in President Trumps visit with both a main camera and also reverse angle.
The main camera was Sony FS7 and the reverse is a Sony A7s mounted on a lightstand (I didn’t have a second tripod free). A single Aladdin flexi panel has been used to fill both the reporter and the guest. The location was a busy hotel reception, so I decided to dice with the lens at f2.2 in order to make the most of the natural light and try and put some depth between the subject and the background.