LONDON—As a filmmaker and videographer, I have the privilege of telling stories through the eye of a camera lens, but you never know what to expect from project to project.
On “The Last Highland Tiger,” Director Katie Wardle and I came across the story of the Scottish Wildcat, which, through persecution and mismanagement, is on the brink of extinction. This film was aimed at informing and educating the public about this rare and beautiful animal.
To capture footage of the Wildcat in its natural environment, we made 14-15 hour-a-day treks into Scotland’s rugged mountains and dense woodlands. With up to three-hour mountain climbs a part of our daily routine, equipment selection was critical. This was a very strenuous film to make and we needed our equipment to be as light as possible and incredibly durable. Making this film would not have been possible without Miller’s arrowX7 fluid head and Solo 100 3 Stage Carbon Fiber Tripod.
Setting up our Miller Solo 100 3 Stage Carbon Fiber Tripod and arrowX7 fluid head was very easy. In addition to the three-stage telescoping design, Miller eliminated the need for a spreader with an innovative leg angle control that incorporates a safety lock to ensure quick and easy setting of the tripod. In less than ideal and very windy conditions, I was literally able to set my camera up and be ready for shooting within two minutes. With other tripods, you spend so much time trying to get it set up that by the time you are ready to shoot, the animal has run off. With the Solo 100, I was afforded the greatest degree of freedom without compromising the stability of the tripod.
In addition to filming the Wildcat, we used our Miller gear in conjunction with the ARRI Amira with an ALURA 45-250 and, at times, a 2x Doubler. This setup helped us reach up to 500mm for close ups of the Wildcat’s prey—such as rabbits and red squirrels—which are very hard to shoot. It’s always difficult to get long lenses close-up to animals, so the stability of a reliable fluid head was also essential. Miller’s ArrowX7, with its wide payload range, precision fluid drag and counterbalance, delivered the flexibility, speed of set up and accuracy of shot needed for this production environment.
The filming of “The Last Tiger” would not have been as successful were it not for the expert insight of Mike Lippmann from Miller, who is always a great resource to discuss upcoming projects with. When Mike found out about the film, he was more than happy to listen and help. When I told Mike about the heavy camera I planned to use, he immediately knew I didn’t have the right set-up for what I needed. He invited me to his office in London where we went through the majority of Miller’s fluid heads and tripods to find the right combination for the project. Mike was an incredible asset and really went the extra mile to help ensure this labor of love was shot as beautifully as possible.
The film looks amazing and we are very proud of it.
Jason Henwood is a London-based camera assistant and documentary filmmaker. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: TV Technology