Probably one of the most challenging events I’ve ever done with the Polecam – as pictures were being beamed live across Europe from a small boat over a mile out, on the very variable waters of Loch Lomond near Glasgow, UK.
After some extensive research I decided to use the FS7 camera body with the hand grip from the FS5 (as it works better remotely) on four metres of poles and the Ronin MX stabiliser due to its stronger motors. DJI make a counterweight kit for an extended wedge plate which enabled me to balance the camera with the Sony 18-105 lens. This meant that I had to counterbalance the whole rig with 38kgs which had no mean pendulum effect when the boat was moving at speed or the wind got up.
I’ve been filming Open Water Swimming for more than ten years and generally the races are only a mile, with the professionals taking 16 to 20 minutes to swim that distance. The event started well with 5km races on glittering calm water and glorious scenery. Over the week the distances built up to a massive 25km on the final day of competition, the weather conditions also deteriorated with winds up to 30mph at the top end of the course. 25kms would take over 5 and a half hours and was going to be a completely new and physically demanding challenge, not just for the swimmers! Working with production and utilising my extensive experience we continually assessed the conditions and agreed a schedule that would allow for battery changes and short breaks. It was a challenging day.
Using several hand held boat cameras, without the usual helicopter, the Polecam was going to be the only means of getting an overhead wide shot so it was used extensively. It was also able to get in front of the swimmers, almost at water level, providing production with pictures that allowed the viewer to really feel part of the action.
The Polecam/ Ronin MX rig proved to be what was needed and I never ceased to be amazed at the stability of the shots this combination provides.
Tom Paterson is now based in Manchester and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Video below..