CASE STUDY AFFORDABLE TV CAMERAS
CONSUMER GEAR BROADCAST ON A BUDGET The assumption if you’re filming for TV is that you need to be working with high-end cameras, but in reality more compact and affordable models can sometimes do a job that’s not achievable any other way
WORDS TERRY HOPE Y ou don’t have to go back too far to encounter a time when the door to filmmaking was locked tight by the eye-watering cost of equipment. Anyone wishing to break into the business had to not only have the necessary skills and contacts but a budget stretching into the tens of thousands, and it kept the barrier almost insurmountably high. Over the past ten years the financial element of that brick wall has come crashing down, and it’s now way more affordable to get involved. However, the broadcast sector in particular still has very high quality thresholds, and it’s not at all unusual for those operating here to still be working exclusively with the likes of ARRI and RED cameras and bespoke lenses that can each cost as much as a mid-range Mercedes. However, the influx of more affordable gear has made its presence felt here as well, and the fact is that there are actually certain things that are better off being filmed using products that are smaller, lighter and more expendable. We’re now seeing some very high-profile productions containing sizeable amounts of footage that has been shot with cameras that are well within the price range of most professionals, and the ingenuity of those at the sharp end is ensuring that more and more possibilities are opening up as technology continues to advance.
You don’t, for example, come across programmes much more high profile than Amazon’s The Grand Tour , featuring the former stars of the BBC’s Top Gear , namely Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Big budget and high profile it might be, but the central focus of each episode is inevitably high-octane dream mobiles tearing around country roads and test tracks at unspeakable speeds, and there’s a constant requirement for in-car commentary from the presenters alongside a host of quirky camera angles. Ultimately, these are the kinds of things that are nigh-on impossible to film using conventional broadcast cameras. Cameraman Jon Shepley, through the specialist company he worked for, was originally tasked with the job of fitting bespoke mini cams to the cars being used by Top Gear and, having set up his own business, Creo Kinetics, around the same time the three presenters moved on, he was approached to carry on in the same vein when The Grand Tour was in the planning stage. “The timing was all a bit of a coincidence really,” he says, “but it was a great opportunity and I was delighted to be involved. Mini cams are ideally suited to the concept of a car programme because they are small enough to fit inside what might be a very compact cockpit, and they can record the presenter talking
ABOVE AND RIGHT Anna Collins still can’t feel some of her fingers due to frost nip on her Arctic adventures. BELOW Jon Shepley’s trusty Panasonic GH5S.
“There are actually certain things that are better offbeing filmed using products that are smaller”
PRO MOVIEMAKER SUMMER 2018
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