Friday 31 January 2014

AirHeads: a mooch down memory lane

In the latest episode of AirHeads, I'm out in the woods with an old springer, a BSA Meteor, just like the one I had from the age of 11. My bit's at 18:35, but watch it all!

Driven pheasants and partridges

It was a challenge to film the item on Paul Childerley's Bedfordshire driven shoot for this episode of The Shooting Show. It's never easy filming any type of shotgun shooting, and live birds are much less predictable than clays. I've developed a technique of holding the camera to my right eye and zooming until it matches the picture from my left eye, then keeping both eyes open while locking head/camera/neck so they move together. Well, it helps me!

I cheated a bit, if you want to call it that, by setting up a Sony AS15 behind the gun and leaving it running throughout the drive. In the edit, I always had the fallback of a wide shot to cover what I'd missed with the hand-held camera - and I needed it quite a bit!

It's hard to convey the reality of a driven day on video. The birds either look too close or miles away, depending on the lens, angle, etc. If you stop and think about it too hard, the action is all over and it's too late.

Some of the birds on the video look lower - and easier - than they were in real life, a fact that's clearly lost on the couple of sneering commenters who seem determined to give shooting a bad name. All in all, though, I think it turned out quite well for a demanding day's filming followed by a quick turnaround on the edit.

Schools Challenge TV goes to the opticians

For the latest episode of Schools Challenge TV I went with David Florent to see Keith Holland, one of TSC Academy's sponsors. He's an expert in vision for shooting, and had some fascinating stuff to say about shooting glasses - plus I learned that contact lenses have come a long way and now more than 90% of people can wear them without problems.

From a technical point of view, I was specially pleased with the footage inside the opticians - tricky white balance, low light and lots of other problems, but it turned out rather well.

Plus we visited Bredon School to see what changes the new headmaster is making, and see how the school's shooting team is getting ready for the Schools Challenge.

More goose shooting on Orkney

This episode of The Shooting Show includes the second video in my series on wildfowling on Orkney. Magnus takes Gary for a chilly morning flight on a frozen pond - and Gary can't resist filling his boots! It's the first item after Pete Carr's intro, starting around 00:55.

Friday 10 January 2014

I'm an Air Head: official

I spend most of my time behind the camera, so it's odd to see myself on video - but here I am in the latest offering from Fieldsports Channel, Air Heads, in a self-filmed piece (does that make it a selfie?) about shooting a squirrel in the garden. My piece starts at 17:50, but the whole programme is worth a watch.

I expected some leg-pulling - and I got it! Some say I look/sound like Michael Caine, which I can live with. Less kindly souls have compared me to Bricktop in Snatch - not a nice chap at all, a villain known for feeding his victims to the pigs. I blame the glasses, although the grey hair and eye bags might have something to do with it.

Orkney goose shoot

This episode includes the first of three stories from my recent visit to Orkney, goose shooting with local guide Magnus Norquay. Thanks to Hamish Cromarty of Black Islander for fixing it up for us.

And if you watch through to 25:15, you'll find a short piece by me about the problems - and rewards - of being a cameraman on The Shooting Show.

Muntjac from a high seat

In this episode of The Shooting Show, I'm out with Gary Green who is up a high seat after a fox, but ends up shooting a nice brace of muntjac bucks.