During #WorkLifeWeek, we’re catching up with John Potter, a Film Production Executive on our team, as he’s on a location shoot in Wales for one of our clients who are building homes in the area. We followed John through his shoot to discover a day in the life of a cameraman.
9 a.m. – Having travelled the night before down to Tintern, Wales it was time to check out and start filming around the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside. I had already made sure my kit was clean, dust free and fully charged for the day ahead so I was ready to start shooting.
Luckily the office had booked a hotel at one of the location sites. 12th century Tintern Abbey was first on the list and looked stunning in the orange glow of the morning sunlight. Clients always want blue skies but bright sunlight does cause issues for cameramen as harsh light causes darker shadows which can spoil the balance and feel of a shot. However, armed with a selection of filters and lenses I was able to get the shot I needed.
12 p.m. – A morning full of driving and filming had gone well. It’s amazing how often luck comes into play while filming outside on location. Happy accidents and fortuitous events can really add that extra something to a shot and can make the difference between it making the edit or being destined for the archives. I remember filming in a tiny village in Yorkshire waiting for the right kind of vehicle to drive past to complete the scene. Right on cue an old Land Rover Defender rounds the corner and drives in the exact spot and finishes off the shot perfectly. These sorts of things can’t be planned and sometimes the luck isn’t with you but it’s amazing how often it turns out well in the end.
2 p.m. – Lunch done at one of the fantastic little local village pubs I had been requested to film. The locals gave me some suggestions on where else would be nice to capture. More times than I can count I’ve had insider know how from residents telling me how to get the best view or which restaurant is most likely to let me film inside. As someone who loves culture, I could spend all week in these locations learning the local history, visiting the unique hidden gems and capturing the unusual quirks in every town. However, with a busy schedule ahead of me, I can’t linger too long in one particular spot, and it’s time to hit the road again.
5 p.m. – Tripod over my shoulder, trekking through a field, and getting strange looks from the cows in the neighbouring one. The sun is low and I’m hoping the light grey clouds break up to allow me to film some final landscape shots in what filmmakers and photographers call ‘Golden Hour’ – as the sun starts to lower on the horizon its power lessens and gives off a soft, warm light. I’m heading for the coast to get some of the final shots of the day looking out over the River Severn.
11 p.m. – Filming complete, over 12 kilometres walked and 5 hours driven home, I’m back. Tired and sore after a long day of carrying kit and filming, but how many other people get paid to travel around the UK capturing some of the most beautiful landscapes and communities in this country? Tomorrow, I’ll be back at my desk, editing the footage into a film. But for now, it’s time to hit the hay. Good night.