Throughout 2011

Cameras mounted securely


The final damage


Fire at Christmas


Again in 2011 I've spent a lot of time working for BBC Studios and Post Production on EastEnders.
This year has been as busy as ever, not only shooting in the studio and on the outside Albert Square shooting lot, but also using the new high definition location unit to shoot away from EastEnder's home base.

The first location shoot of the year I worked on involved a car crash, shot on a quiet Sunday morning in a North London high street. Working around and on cars is always challenging, not only can it be difficult to mount our cameras onto and in cars, but we always have to take the greatest care to ensure crew, cast, public and kit safety. With stunts like this everything has to be perfect as there is no opportunity for a retake.

I ended the year working on the prestigious episodes to be transmitted over the Christmas period. These are always dramatic episodes and usually have the highest viewing figures of the year. This year an extra dimension was added by the story having a house explosion and fire as the climax to a long running story line.
The exteriors of the explosion and fire were shot over several nights on the normal set, but it's impossible to shoot interior fire scenes with our standard scenery or in the normal studios, so special fire proof sets were built and assembled in the huge George Lucas film stage at Elstree studios, just up the road from Eastender's usual home studios in Borehamwood.
I've worked on many big fire shoots for Eastenders over the years and it is always slow and methodical process. Safety is obviously crucially important, so meticulous planning, setting up and fireless rehearsals have to be done before we can move on to the first rehearsals with actual fire. The fire comes from carefully placed gas jets and fans, each of which needs to be carefully preset so that the flame's size and spread can be adjusted for the shots needed. The whole team of director, special effects crew, technical crew, stunt arranger and artists all have to work closely together and communicate effectively to ensure the final takes go smoothly, safely and spectacularly well.

Royal Wedding
April 2011

The couple returning from the abbey

As soon the announcement that Price William would marry Katherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey was made I knew a phone call would follow soon after asking me to work on the television coverage of the event.
I was assigned to the crew working on the route covering the section around Horseguards Parade, a location I knew well from working on many Trooping the Colour parades held there in past years.
I was allocated the camera on a 30metre elevated platform in the corner of the parade ground that covered all of the route from the Mall and across the parade ground. A grand view of the whole procession.

Festival of Remembrance
November 2011


For the third consecutive year I spent remembrance weekend working at The Royal Albert Hall on the Festival of Remembrance. This year was the 90th anniversary of The Royal British Legion, hence the 90 projected in the photo on the left.
Working on this event is always a test of one's skills. I'm crewed onto the main presentation camera that has to work across the length of the hall offering a close shot of Huw Edwards the presenter. With very little room to put a full sized backing behind him, the shot has to be very carefully framed to avoid shooting off the backing. Just to make things even harder it has to be lined up in very low light levels and there's no time to refine the framing when the lights come up as it's immediately cut to air. No one said this job was easy!

Other recent work
Throughout 2011

3D rig at Sony

Whilst it's nice to be able to display some pictures of the programmes I've worked on, it's not always possible. So here a few other programmes I worked on this year.

  • Horse racing, Highflyer Productions for Channel 4
  • Premiership, SIS for BBC.

3D training

In July I was fortunate to be able to finish my training in 3D production by completing the final part of Sony's 3D TV course at Basingstoke. Hopefully I'll put this training to good use in future years.

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©Paul Holman 2011