Guest Post – Our Camera Op in China

Filming for Cameron James in China.

I think one of the most interesting jobs I have had to do was for our client ‘Cameron James’ based in Shenzhen, China.

As a new company they required a video shoot of some of their factories that they source their products from, combined with some general footage of their offices and workplace – this was all to show the high standard of their workplace and quality of products.

China is the furthest place I have been sent on a video shoot and I arrived after a 12 hour flight on a Sunday when the border to China was bizarrely closed, so I had to stay in Hong Kong for one night (hardly a chore) and leave for Shenzhen by ferry the following morning.

Fortunately the kit I had with me was the Camera, Tripod and Glidetrack, all portable enough to be flown across the world and moved from place to place with relative ease.

The Glidetrack particularly proved to be an exceptional piece of equipment as the first video footage involved ‘beauty’ shots of the offices in Shenzhen. Due to its portability (the Glidetrack is three quarters of a metre long), I could get track and dolly style shots quickly and efficiently without the need to set up a track on the floor and disturb office workers. It also enabled me to bring my equipment with me, as hiring such items locally in China would bump up the productions costs and also need to be sourced.

The following days of the shoot I was driven to several factories and even flown to one in Shantou (along China’s east coast) but the tricky side was to somehow make the factories look cleaner and tidier, a concern echoed by our client ‘Cameron James.’

A factory is never going to be the cleanest of places due to the manufacturing of products that require all different kinds of machinery that never stop working. So I did my best and tried to obscure any darker areas of the factories and get plenty of ‘Glidetrack’ shots to give the video that slick look. Combined with some nifty editing and post Production work from Linda Rossiter, the factories themselves came out looking much cleaner and tidier, but most importantly the client was very happy with the finished product.

Another aspect was how to ‘back up’ all our footage safely as we are shooting abroad and have to bring the footage home safe and sound. I took with me three portable hard drives and placed the footage on each drive then put one in my hand luggage and two in the hold luggage, just as a safety precaution. They always say with ‘tape-less’ workflows that if you don’t have three copies of something it doesn’t exist and I live by that motto.

All the footage came back safely, so it was a job well done for one of our many international clients and overseas contractors.

Click here to samples of my camera work

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