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  The Chatter Box : The Series
Messages 1 2 

how does the cameraman do it?!... by kidjuxta on 5 January 2004 10:17pm
I've been watching 'Pole to Pole' and wondering, how does the cameraman do it? Michael was white water rafting below Victoria Falls, and one minute the cameraman was actually in the raft with him filming, then the next shot was a 'long shot' from the river bank showing Michael nervously making quick-fast progress farther downstream. Does he just have the one cameraman accompanying him at all times and is some of the camerawork done by using set cameras stashed somewhere to enable them to get sequences they can cut together for added impact? (if you understood all that, lol)
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by The_E-street_Shuffle on 6 January 2004 1:13am
Just what I've been thinking! I was watching 80 Days and it all looks so slick; i think a lot of it must be as a result of some pretty painstaking cameraman-shoots-from-inside-vehicle, stop-he-gets-out, cameraman-films-truck-with-just-michael-in, michael-stops-and-cameraman-gets-back-in kinda stuff. Its how he gets back on the trains after filming them move away I wanna know! Must be a real team effort, i really have no idea how the programmes are produced though sorry! (New to the site by the way- Hi)
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by Godfather on 6 January 2004 1:21am
A related story for ya. I missed meeting Michael, by an "Ocelot's Spleen" this year in North Pakistan. He was literally in the next valley when i'd decided to go trekking when the weather was stable. So i did that instead of attending the Shandur Pass Polo Tournament. It was a month later in Afghanistan that i met another Brit who met Michael at the tournament and had chatted with him. Unfortunately, the guy i met was not a fan of Palin and was none too keen on him and his series. He was a bit of a travel snob to be honest,and did'nt think Michael was "really" travelling because he had quite a team of security,special jeeps etc around him. I defended Michael's series saying that Michael's series are a great way of introducing people to travel, and that he was not "going out of his way" to travel rough. The point was that he's going out there and bringing to the world to people's living rooms, when many cannot travel. Nonetheless, he did tell me an amusing part about how they would shoot the same scene again and again to get it right. He mentioned one scene where the jeep drives up, michael gets out, closes the door and goes into a long talk to the camera. The guy told me they did this same scene about 6 times to get it right. The Jeep driving up,getting out,closing door,going into talk. Nope, do it again. Reverese jeep, get out, close door,talk. Nope, reverese jeep :)
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by The_E-street_Shuffle on 6 January 2004 1:26am
It must get boring for the team- it all looks so effortless on TV! I think its easy to take how good each series actually looks for granted, i guess a lot of work goes into making the shows as watchable as possible.
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by Helen on 6 January 2004 5:41pm
they are incredible-- No wonder Nigel Meakin is known as the "mack daddy" :)
so much work and talent goes into these series. I am in total awe of them.
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by Sophie-Louise on 6 January 2004 8:37pm
yeah they are incredible, i am so fascinated by everything they film!

...also, similar to what you are all saying, i have always wondered how they film trains leaving stations and ships leaving ports etc... surely in a series like 80 days the cameramen need to be on that train or boat too! or maybe due to the fact that only michael himself isn't allowed to fly, some of the crew catch up by a different method of transport, just a guess though. does anyone actually know????
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by canaveralgumby on 7 January 2004 6:38pm
I hate to even think it, but some of the shots - NOT the travel itself, but individual shots - were *GULP* staged. JUST A LITTLE! Some shots to ponder:

PtP: There's a shot of the Sudanese desert train, out in the middle of nowhere, coming from off in the distance. The train looks like it'a moving about 3 mph! The crew probably jumped off the train and ran ahead to get the shot, until the train caught up with them.

FC: MP's driving in a jeep by himself through that "lunar landscape" in Chile. We know he's not traveling by himself, so the crew must have set up SOMEWHERE and told him where and how far to drive. Then he went back and picked them up.

80 Days: MP was running behind getting from Madras to Singapore to catch the Neptune Diamond. When he got to the port, the N.D. was already leaving. They got MP & crew on a little pilot boat that shuttled them out to the big ship. Then we see him climbing up onto the N.D., and THEN the LAST shot is of the N.D., off in the distance, leaving the port and going out into the ocean. Which means the cameraperson was STILL back in the port. So they must have arranged with the pilot boat's crew and the N.D. crew to let the cameraperson get that shot and then get transported out to the ship before it took off.

WHEW I'm out of breath!

In the PtP book, MP made fun of the sound tech, who meticulously recorded the sounds of the flies flying around a carcass, while everyone else tried to free the stranded cars from the mud.

- C
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by gamesector on 7 January 2004 7:28pm
I always think about this whenever i watch MP.
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by The_E-street_Shuffle on 8 January 2004 12:11am
It first struck me in '80 Days' when they were leaving the dhow in India- that little boat must have made a few trips back and forth- Michael leaves, we see him from the dhow, Michael comes back and picks up crew, they film the retreating dhow as they make for the shore... Painstaking work for a few seconds of TV!
Re: how does the cameraman do it?!... by gamesector on 8 January 2004 10:08pm
I especially want to know how to they do the rising shots when they are in the desert in the Sahara series, I mean the ones where its dusk or something and the camera rises up from behind a tree to shoot the sunset.
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