Filming from the edge


Christoph Steuer TV-Bay Magazine
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by Christoph Steuer
Issue 88 - April 2014

My role is providing the top shot for all these high dive events, which means that I must rig my Polecam and operate it from a small platform set up even above the divers at around 30m up from the water below.

Some locations are more difficult than others, and when I think of the most difficult, Oman in 2012 or Thailand in 2013, I cannot imagine any other crane system that could cope with such extreme situations.

Our final location in Thailand was on an island near Krabi. In the early morning I took my gear to the beach, a speedboat collected all of us camera guys and kit, then a 20 minute high speed ride across the sea to the rocks, rising high up out of the water, famous for one of the James Bond movies being shot there. There is no easy way up, you have to climb.

The first 3 or 4 metres there is a bamboo ladder, the boat is moving up and down with the waves; it goes in close to the ladder, you grab the slippery ladder and go up, then after that you have to climb rocks, then you come to trees and you are climbing around them. You dont look down.

Before that we had to find a way to get my Polecam boxes up to the top. There were two guys already up there. We used a very long rope and a pulley up the top and used the power of the boat to pull away from the island and pull the boxes up. When I climbed to the top my cases were waiting there for me.

The rigging was difficult and took longer than usual because of the circumstances. Consider that I had to build a 6 metre Polecam on a 2m x 2m platform 30 metres up near the top of that rock. The diving platform is about 2 metres below my platform. The Polecam is too long for me to reach the end from the diving platform or from my platform, so I have to climb to the top of the rock to reach the end of my rig.

I need ten minutes to get from the back of my rig to the camera end of my rig, which normally takes a few seconds. When you assemble a Polecam, you go from one end to the other as you build it, simple on level ground. When I did get to the end of the rig, I couldnt sit because the rocks were very sharp there. In fact we all had blood on our legs from being cut by the rocks.

Im very close to the divers and with Polecam the viewer gets to sense their emotions Im totally silent, the divers trust my work; sometimes I take the camera in quite close to them I can make some very nice Polecam moves around them so the viewers experience the extreme height the guys are diving from. You hear the breathing of the divers; you sense whether they are nervous or not, and down there so many people watching the diver in the beginning it was hard to deal with the height and difficulty of the locations but with time I have learnt to control my fear. I find myself thinking of all those who have to sit in an office all day and here I am in this amazing situation - another great day in my office. Polecam has given me an amazing life experience!


Tags: iss088 | Polecam | Red Bull cliff diving | Christoph Steuer
Contributing Author Christoph Steuer

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