In Broadcast - September 2013 - 46

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 23 - SEPTEMBER 2013

N E W S

InGEAR

Raw Talent Meets The Southern Seas
Miller invited Cinematographer Simon Vacher, who visited various exotic locations during his
journeys, to talk about the expedition, the challenges and how his Compass 15 Solo tripod
system performed while filming for a new documentary on the UK Territories…

46

Miller: What was your motivation
to shoot this project?
Simon Vacher: I’ve always been
totally absorbed with observing
the natural world, and specifically
the film communication language
on which the visual medium of
the natural world is told through
television. I’m very passionate
about my gadgets and cameras,
and love technology. These two
interests have created a fusion which
has led me to becoming a wildlife
and documentary cameraman.
I really felt I could get my teeth
into the UK Overseas Territories
project, as it served as a level
platform to build up experience
and work with a talented presenter
as well as wildlife and people in
natural surroundings. It also gives
me the priceless opportunity to
travel with my job and see the world.
With this project I also felt free
to apply my own creative direction
to how it’s shot, and keep the look
throughout the film. For example,
this includes the way in which the
presenter interacts with the scene,
and creative shots such as using a
crane-jib to give the viewer a sense
of space and 3D movement.

lens barrel has almost completely
corroded from within. We soon
learned to always keep the camera
within its Portabrace glove and never
remove it unless totally necessary.
Subsequently our inferior friction
tripod completely let us down, and
within a week the cheap composite
metal spreader bars had snapped,
leaving me to fix it in the field with my
Leatherman and lengths of metal wire
to hold it together. The tripod legs
also began to slip into themselves
after a few weeks, and constantly
required tightening with an Allen key.
We ditched the old tripod, and
brought a Miller Compass 15 custom
three-stage Solo tripod and invested
in a new Dedo LedZilla top-light. We
also bought the new Sony PMW-200
which has the inbuilt capability to
record 4:2:2 50mbps. This shooting
setup followed us around on the
Falklands, South Georgia and the
Antarctic Peninsula for nearly two
months, and never ever let us
down once.

Miller: What were the advantages
of using a Miller tripod for this
shoot?
SV: We’ve been thoroughly
impressed and pleased by our
outstanding Miller Compass 15
Miller: What was the biggest
3-Stage Carbon Fibre Solo Tripod.
challenge for this particular
project?
Not only did it get some impressed
SV: Some of the major challenges
looks from the BBC News and
of an ambitious shoot are the
Sky News crew at the Falklands
environmental concerns with
Referendum when I was able to
equipment. We shot many
get high and stable above the other
sequences on wind-swept sandy
TV crews, but most importantly
beaches, searing heat and saltit has lasted and survived every
water mangroves, to cold icy
situation in the field. During the
plateaus and pools of penguin
harshest moments of our trip
poo, to razor sharp skin-lacerating
when other tripods would have
lava cones. Each of these places
certainly broke; in ice, in mud, in
tested our equipment to the max.
saltwater and in high winds, in sandy
Our first setup wasn’t a Miller but
dusty beaches and in blistering
an inferior friction tripod head system
heat, it has not let us down once.
with a Sony EX1 and nanoFlash.
The three-stage leg-locking system
After our first six weeks filming, we
is an instant ten seconds breeze
found salt water had corroded the
to setup, from high-angle shots to
XLR inputs on the camera, and the
low-angle ground shots and is easily
configurable for
rocky and uneven
terrain, meaning
we’ve nearly never
missed a shot. I’ve
almost always
achieved smooth
and stable pans
with the simple
yet well-built
three-way drag
fluid head, even
while shooting at
the ‘end of the
Pitcairn Island in the Southern Pacific is known
lens’ in the dry
for the story of the mutiny of the Bounty

Simon Vacher using his Compass 15 Solo tripod

and windy katabatic conditions
found in the Antarctic. I would go
as far to say it’s really a pleasure
to use each and every time I use it.
Carrying it long distance over
rough terrain has not been any
problem either, due to its lightweight
chunky Carbon Fibre legs and leglocking system, which is unaffected
by saltwater. It’s reassuring
and masterfully uncomplicated!
My only complaint is the cheeky
and inquisitive Striated Caracara bird
of prey who pecked and pecked
at the upper leg foam coverings
during filming until they got shredded
beyond use, resulting in the Gaffer
tape making an appearance! Those
keen-eyed birds almost made off
with the producer’s camera, broke
his lens cap and stole his notes!
Miller: Would you recommend
Miller to a colleague/friend
and why?
SV: I would always recommend a
Miller tripod to a colleague or friend,
simply because of their reliability and
the fact that you truly get what you
pay for with a Miller.
Miller: Is there anything you would
change about your Miller tripod?
SV: There really isn’t much I would
change about the Miller, apart from
making it more bird-proof!
Miller: Tell us about your latest
project using Miller.
SV: I have just returned from a three
week round trip to Pitcairn Island
aboard the New Zealand crewed MV
Claymore II supply ship. The Island

is well-known for the story of the
mutiny of the Bounty. During our visit,
we filmed on a very remote Coraline
island called Henderson Island. It is
the epitome of a deserted tropical
island of paradise; palm tree’s fringe
white sandy beaches, crammed full
of vibrantly coloured shells, while the
soft coral cliffs are home to hermit
crabs and many species of tropical
birds such as the Flightless Rail,
Tropic Birds, Masked Boobies and
unfortunately, rats. While the species
of birds are very familiar to all the
territories we filmed, the rats are just
as common. Part of the documentary
looks into this unfortunate story
and the larger picture of how
we might all be able to change
the world for the better by being
more aware of our surroundings
and our effect on planet Earth.
Our Miller Compass 15 ThreeStage Carbon Fibre Solo Tripod
once again shone throughout our
trip. On Pitcairn, both myself and
my presenter/producer each had
a quad bike, which was immense
fun! Whilst navigating and sliding
around on the dirt roads to our
various shoot locations, I was
continually impressed by the agility
to pack the tripod down to such
a small manageable size, which
meant more fun on the quad bikes!
And if you ever get the chance,
make sure you give Pitcairn honey
a try... It’s supposed to be the finest
honey in the world, untainted by
vehicle fumes and environmental
factors. Not just that, but apparently
the Queen is reputed to enjoy it as
part of her breakfast!


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In Broadcast - September 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - September 2013

In Broadcast - September 2013
Contents
InNews: Prime Focus Selects Avid Workflow
InNews: Elysium Workflow Centres on Aces
InReply: IO Gates Platform ‘keeps It Simple’
InTech: When Does Clean Switching Matter?
InGear: IBC Debut for Gepco’s Hybrid Fibre Cables
InFile: BFI Adopts Filecatalyst Transfer Workflow
InAudio: TSL Products’ Madi Capable Solutions
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - September 2013 - In Broadcast - September 2013
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InNews: Prime Focus Selects Avid Workflow
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InNews: Elysium Workflow Centres on Aces
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 15
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In Broadcast - September 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InReply: IO Gates Platform ‘keeps It Simple’
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InTech: When Does Clean Switching Matter?
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InGear: IBC Debut for Gepco’s Hybrid Fibre Cables
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 46
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In Broadcast - September 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InFile: BFI Adopts Filecatalyst Transfer Workflow
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 64
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In Broadcast - September 2013 - 81
In Broadcast - September 2013 - InAudio: TSL Products’ Madi Capable Solutions
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 83
In Broadcast - September 2013 - 84
In Broadcast - September 2013 - Cover4
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S6
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S7
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S8
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S9
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S10
In Broadcast - September 2013 - S11
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