A frequently asked question is whether we only shoot ‘adventure’. The simple answer is NO. We are backed by a full BBC Training and over 20 years experience in broadcasting including work on documentary, drama and features plus extensive studio and multi-camera experience—all at a broadcast level. The ability to draw on a depth of experience is invaluable not only within the context of an adventure shoot but within any shoot.
In terms of camera kits and shooting format it’s horses for courses. What might be ideal for one assignment might prove totally unsuitable for another given production requirements, the demands of locations, accessibility etc.
For series like 'The Climbers', 'The Edge', 'Great Railway Journeys' and the first series of 'Wilderness Walks' we worked in a very standard way. Film cameraman and sound-recordist were strung from cliffs covering rock-climbing, ice-climbing or covered hill-walking and dog-sledging in temperatures as low as minus 40.
When 'Inside Story' asked us to make an actuality documentary on mountain rescue we began the project on film. It soon became apparent that a change in the way we worked was needed. The speed at which we had to move on the hill and the necessity of shooting on more than one camera forced a decision to use industrial Hi8 cameras for the actuality (the best mix of performance versus weight at the time). This included covering a desperate rescue in winds of 119mph on a blizzard-struck Lochnagar at night.
When 'The Face' was commissioned we spent many hours deliberating over what we would shoot on. We eventually chose DVCAM with the final programme in South Africa being shot on DV. This proved a challenging series with multi-day routes in very remote locations.
Following the success of the series we went out to shoot the 2nd series of 'Wilderness Walks'. Once again we used DV because of portability, battery weight and charging considerations.
For 'Don't Try This At Home' DV has been cut with Digibeta sourced from easier-accessed camera positions on their 'challenges of a lifetime'.
The follow-up to 'The Face'. The multi-award winning series 'Wild-Climbs' was shown on BBC2 late in 1999. The system to cover such extreme climbing has been further refined. The kit, using DV with high-power radio mics fits in a modified, medium-sized rucksack plus a broadcast tripod at under 10 pounds weight. The producer was also provided with video and stereo audio monitoring feeds.
Summer 2000 saw the full complement of digital tape formats in use - with Digibeta out at K2 and for the non-climbing material on the Matterhorn and for reconstructing the fall sequences for K2 shot in the Alps. DVCAM was used in the high Andes and DV was shot extensively for the difficult access work. It all backs up the thought that it's 'horses for courses'.
2001 got off to a flying start with assignments in Kenya for BBC Wales shooting two half hour docos on Mt. Kenya together with a current affairs shoot for BBC2's Correspondent in Northern India.
And 2002 provided yet another challenging year with a move back to shooting on film for the 'Touching The Void' project. But the year began with a religious series for ITV titled 'Living On A Prayer' - all a far cry from the adventures of The Andes, Alps and the Himalayas. This demanding series focussed on the plight of the Church Of England and the Diocese of Truro as it faces turbulent and financially worrying times
Whether you’re working on film or video extremely versatile and extensive audio acquisition kits are also available. Much of the gear has been specially tailored, modified or custom-built to suit working in unforgiving adventure environments.
Extensive travel and foreign assignments have built up a network of contacts to assist in customs clearance and the smooth running of a trip.