Pro Moviemaker May/June 2023 - Web


“I had it fixed in my head to do crazy adventures, and every decision turned me in that direction”

a coherent programme. That’s the main focus of your attention. You can’t panic about how much air you’ve got left or whether your knots are done up properly, you’ve got to be good enough that you can do it almost without thinking – but to the point where it’s absolutely safe. And then you fully concentrate on the filming.” That also means you need camera equipment you can rely on and work with easily. It has to be second nature. “There is a saturation point, especially when things are going a bit awry. Your brain can only compute so many things at the same time, and some things might suffer. Chances are that’s going to be on the camera. You could be on Auto ISO or something. The key is having cameras that are so good, you can set them up in a way so that on Auto Iris you can make sure it doesn’t go over 3200 ISO, for example.” With each job so different, Etheridge has worked with many cameras over the years. But so often, he has stuck with Canon, including his current favourite, the XF series of all-in-one camcorders. “I’ve used XF205s for years – now the XF605. I never got rid of those. They have played a huge role in massive jobs during my career. The most recent one is a job for Discovery called Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail . I’m on screen, and the camera I have with me is the Canon XF605. I now own two. “It’s got an incredible range – it’s frightening how good it is! For a run-and- gun, in-the-hand camera, it’s incredible what you can do with it. And the XF205 was my main camera for the whole of Mutiny .” Etheridge has also recently tried the EOS R5 C full-frame mirrorless. You can tell one will soon be added to his collection. “I really like that as well. It was like having a great stills camera and Cinema EOS C300 all in one. It’s amazing.”

shoots, it meant everything to me, so I put a lot of effort into it.” Of course, that has involved Etheridge facing hardship and taking risks many times. Such as when he was filming The Plane Crash for Channel 4 and Discovery. “I was in a helicopter waiting for an airliner to come in and purposefully crash in the middle of the desert. No one had ever been close to a plane crashing like that, so you didn’t know if loads of little bits of debris were going to be flying around. “The helicopter pilot said to me: ‘If you see stuff coming up towards us then scream, and we’ll get out quick.’ So I’m sat there in the blistering sun. My eyes were killing me because the difference between the viewfinder and the desert was intense. And that was a moment where I wondered how I ever found myself in that situation.” Other memorably tough shoots include an expedition exploring what was thought to be the world’s biggest cave. “You could fly an airliner through it. And it’s got holes in the roof the size of the Millennium Dome. Survival was in the forefront of my mind when I was down there. For three days, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. And then you come out to a jungle that’s popped up in the middle of the floor in a quite bizarre landscape,” he explains. “There’s the time I spent 50 days on a small boat in the ocean filming Mutiny .” That caused him to drop an unbelievable amount of weight as he pushed himself to the limit of human endurance. The true purpose But just surviving in gruelling conditions like this is not enough, as Etheridge is paid to make incredible, TV-worthy films. “When filming from a helicopter, under the water, hanging off the side of a cliff, I need to film it in a way that can be cut into

ON THE HUNT Hunted is high-octane for most, but a slower pace for Etheridge if anything



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