Monday, 27 January 2014

New Blog !

Right have started a new blog as part of my new website, so this one is shutting down...
head here for all the fun !!!

Monday, 6 January 2014

I know, I know...


Blog wayyyyyyyyy out of date.

I will sort, I promise.
This year's shaping up to be  doozy with series on Alaska, Patagonia, Japan and the Atlantic....

Coming soon !

Friday, 20 April 2012

Merlin- Fallow deer and Wolves

I've done a couple of shoots for the giant that is 'Merlin' in the last six months.
the first was for the last series with a recalcitrant fallow deer, a smoke machine and a lovely patch of beech forest.
With the help of Sophie and my brother Dom we managed to somehow get what the editors just.
the second i cant sat much about, as the scripts more closely guarded than the crown jewels.
stunning stunning creature

Tweed and Alexa up a ladder

I can say I drove a car full of shiny camera toys up to North Wales with help from Ryan - thanks for the piccies,  to a wonderful man called Tony who cares for a number of wolves in a stunning isolated valley.

We turned up in the dark and Tony took me outside where he preceded to start howling, the call was taken up and soon the darkness was full of that spine tingling primal extroidinary noise that has haunted man's dreams for millennia.
fake snow
Real snow

The next two days consisted of gentle wolf, angry wolf, chicken legs, fake snow, real snow...lots and lots of real snow, good food, tall ladders and high winds....

Was it successful ? 

We will have to see what magic Merlin can weave !

Survival - Meerkats

This was a big shoot.
My first shoot for the BBC's new landmark bluechip series - Survival.
Did a lot of planning for this with my friend Sophie Lanfear.We were to film meerkats which have been filmed a lot before. We wanted to be more intimate, more involved in their life's and to film it in such a way nobody had done before.
We came up with inverting a steadicam and putting the new red epic on the bottom, so that we would be operating an inch from the floor in their world.

We were using prime lenses with a wee depth of field so with wireless gearing , Sophie was in charge of aperture and focus. It was a real team effort and we practised on stuffed toys being dragged around on strings and pulling focus between Colman's mustard tins and marmalade jars placed around the room.

All good practise but nothing to carting that lot around in 40 degree heat for 6 hrs.

the buggy
Sophie's ingenious solution was 'the beach buggy' , yes we looked like very lost golfers, but it worked !
It was a five week shoot and just the two of us, so fairly full on. Luckily  I'm very funny and charming which helped a lot !
We were based in the southern Kalahari near the Botswana border. The meerkats have been studied for over twenty years so Completely habituated.
We would be up at 4.30 and finished downloading and cleaning at 8 ish every night.
It was a lot of graft but huge fun as well.

Our meerkat project guide became a good friend called joff. Soph and him were both meerkat experts so as per usual I felt like the dunce in the corner.
the experts

We had some amazing moments. Filming an adult teaching a pup to disable a scorpion with the steadicam at 240 frames a second and being in the middle of it  as thirty five meerkats mobbed a cape cobra was such a buzz.

The meerkats are such social interesting, entertaining creatures, you never tire of them and just hanging out with them in the middle of the day gave such pleasure.
And if you sit still long enough you'll get a look out on your head.

Really looking forward to working more on this impressive series.Definitely my favourite shoot for a long time.
Can't wait to get back out there for planet earth live 

Ice Age - Romania

Great fun to be working with my old friends Mark Flowers and Andy Horley
Hard as nails director

again and also really excited to be working with Dr Dr professor  Alice Roberts. 
Someone I've long admired as a presenter and turns out is as Nice and professional as you imagine and not adverse to dancing till 3am in the snow.  
Dr Dr Professor

Marvellous Mag's completed the team.
This is a three parter on the Ice age for the BBC.

We headed off across Bulgaria and Romania in the grip of ' an ice age' with temperatures down to -20.
Before the blizzard

First stop was a ski resort where our idea's of Alice in beautiful sunshine with cranes on top of mountain tops had to be slightly changed due to blizzards and instead we filmed Alice in blizzards.
Actually worked really well. 

on set at the frozen river

crew puppy

Also squeezed in some lovely crane shots on frozen rivers, stunning part of the world.
Our Romanian mountain guides were complete gentleman and plied us with the ubiquitous ghastly local fire water at breakfast to steady the nerves.
We then headed west to these amazing caves that had been hermetically sealed for tens of thousands of years right up to the seventies.
Inside the evidence of cave bears and lions was truly amazing, the bones looked like they had died months ago and due to soft clay you could  clearly see foot prints and even where the hair had brushed against the walls.
being posted

We did some fairly extreme ( for me ! ) caving. Squeezing ourselves through holes that seemed smaller than the ones at the post office you check your letters with.
In contrast near the entrance the caves where vast cathedrals that we were able to play with cranes and lights. Looked fab.
And once again I found myself in an extraordinary place listening to leading experts opening up unknown worlds. I was spell bound.Wonderful team, great experience.

Falklands revisited

A real quickie,
Lovely to team back up with Robin Barnwell. We had crossed part of the Sahara together for Human Planet.
This was rather closer to home.
Myself and Nick met up with Robin and Mr Max Hastings - charming and three of the top brass from the Royal Marines who had run the Marines operations in the Falklands.
it had seemed a good idea to stick everyone on a tiny boat in Plymouth sound to do a chat....
Brilliant idea right up to the point the force 'god knows what' storm blows in.
The bloke hiring us the boat isn't going to say 'don't go out'
The three hard as nails marines aren't going to say 'don't go out'
The director who needs his sequence isn't going to say 'don't go out'
nick and I said 'don't go out'....nobody listened.

we went out.
Blimey, somehow we got a sequence, somehow.
we needed our Vin rouge that night.
lovely blokes, honour to meet them.
they thought my ex German gorilla poo smeared poncho made me look like an 'argentine prisoner', I laughed nervously.

WIld Arabia - Dubai

Never been to Dubai.  Never wanted to.

But the offer of filming one hundred traditional dhows racing in front of that crazy skyline had to be done.
it was a short shoot and I headed out with Rob.
Dubai was everything I had feared and more.  won't explain here, go and see for yourself!
Sadly a lot that had been promised wasn't delivered, so a lot of gnashing of teeth and running around ensued.

Somehow, thanks to Rob's hard work I found myself aboard this beautiful yacht ( supposedly the favourite). Although i started to smell a rat when the crew were eating lunch when the whistle went.
The race was great fun, a vast billowing sail, stunning hardwood decks and the crew all in white djellabas. screaming along in front of the barj al arab and burj khalifa

Sadly we came about 90th....

All good fun though.