Breaking The Fast

Last week I spent an intense 24 hours in Leicester shooting a documentary for Dr. Halla Diyab of Liberty Media. Dr.Diyab is a writer, academic and broadcaster and she is outspoken particularly on the subject of women in Islam. We were following the MP for Leicester South as he fasted for a day to gain insight into Ramadan. The piece, “Breaking The Fast” should be aired soon. An ungraded trailer can be seen here.

I’m a First Aider (again)

In a previous life I did a military version of a first aid course during which we had fun answering to every question about what the appropriate course of action to take on discovering a particular injury: “cauterise the wound, sir!”. This was less butch and more appropriate to the sort of situations you might actually come across. It was good to find I remembered the basics. And interesting to learn that those de-fibrillating machines that you see used to dramatic effect in countless movie scenes are idiot proof these days – you can apply them to anyone whether they’re having a heart attack or not, anywhere on their bodies, even if anyone else is touching them, and the machine will not activate unless it senses a fibrillating (irregularly spasming, non-pumping) heart and it is safe to do so. In countries where they are positioned in public places deaths from cardiac arrest are significantly lower. There should probably be one on most sets!

Canon C300

I’ve been seeing more of these around over the past few months including on quite big jobs. It’s only an 8-bit camera but as Geoff Boyle said at a recent 3D seminar, “they’re the right bits”…. It’s also, for a stills-derived camera, very useable. I wouldn’t say RED is dead but it seems increasingly hard to justify the extra work in post when you get such good immediate images from machines like this! Still prefer the german engineering of the Alexa, not that the two are really comparable.

Hay-On-Film

This is happening this weekend – a film festival with an emphasis on the technical side it seems… I managed to miss the publicity but looks it good, especially if the weather’s good in lovely Powys (Not Herefordshire!) Check out the site here.

Life In The Firing Line – Warzone Camera Work

This presentation for the GTC was an insight into a hairy but necessary and obviously rewarding line of work. There were talks by the guys who were embedded with Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and boy did they get close to the action! One photographer, Giles Duley who got too close to a landmine (not with Ross Kemp, he was shooting doco stills), is an incredible guy who talked with great humour and optimism about his situation – coming round to see your boxer shorts in a tree above your head is apparently an indication that something has not gone according to plan.

One telling statistic I discovered, confirmed by my colleagues at Sky News, is that it’s the experienced guys who don’t make it when something goes wrong. This is because in the field you rely on your colleagues to look after you if the worst does happen. The experienced war-zone cameramen, reporters etc. tend to have been well trained and are experienced enough not to panic or be revolted at the sight of an injury, and resourceful enough to arrange rapid evacuation. So they are the ones you want by your side if you do get hit, step on something you shouldn’t etc. When they go down however, the younger hands with them tend not to do so good a job so their risk of not making it is that much greater.