Supporting kids charity on the trip of a lifetime


Phil Huberty TV-Bay Magazine
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by Phil Huberty
Issue 84 - December 2013
As a warehouse technician at Procam with aspirations to become a camera operator, I was delighted to be given the chance to film a group of seriously ill and disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime hosted by the charity Dreamflight.

Dreamflight is a national charity that takes 192 seriously ill and disabled children, without their parents on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida. They are accompanied by a huge support team of around 90 volunteers on a chartered Boeing 747 that takes them to Florida to experience 10 magical days. Many children could not undertake such a trip without the support of the army of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and non-medical volunteers who care for the children 24 hours a day.

Typically my day involves receiving and storing stock, preparing orders for delivery and maintaining the warehouse. So I was excited to spend some time in Florida capturing footage in a variety of environments which I would then edit down into a bespoke video memory. I was one of 12 camera operators who accompanied the children on the trip, and on our journey to Florida I received a lot of advice from some of the more experienced crew. However, nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had over the next 10 days.

I was faced with challenges from the very start of the trip: from the flight over to Florida, to filming on rollercoasters and log flumes, to capturing personal and private moments on film: each challenge posed new questions and tested my ability.
I wanted to make sure I captured the childrens excitement from the moment they began their holiday, my first challenge was deciding which camera to use to film in the enclosed space on a plane. The XF105 was chosen by the Dreamflight video team as the best camera for this situation as it delivers great images for such a compact camera. It was also versatile enough for me to continue to use this camera throughout most of the trip.

Whilst in Florida we visited lots of different theme parks from Universal Studios to Disneyland, each with bigger and better rides. I knew it would be great to capture some shots of the kids having the time of their lives on rides like Summit Plummet a two second plunge down the fastest free fall slide in the world! Since a shot like this needed a camera that could handle filming in high velocity and often water soaked conditions, we chose to use the Go Pro 3: its small and compact, shoots in HD and is favoured by the extreme sports industry worldwide. At some of the theme parks I was accompanied by a park escort who told me when and where I could film, for others I had free reign to seize every moment on film. When youre being thrown in the air on some of the worlds biggest rollercoasters, its impossible to plan each and every shot so it was important to have a versatile camera for the job. The Go Pro was brilliant for shooting on the hoof as there is practically no set-up needed, you can just grab and shoot.

A challenge at the other end of the spectrum was figuring out the best way to capture personal and often sensitive moments on film. The children were each facing their own difficult battles and I wanted to make sure that I could create an amazing bespoke film that each of them could take away to share their memories with their families. My approach was to speak to all of the kids individually and get to know them and their story. It enabled them to be comfortable having me around and allowed them to just have fun without being distracted by my filming. By filming interviews with each of them at the end of their holiday, the children were able to reflect on the time theyd had and how much theyd enjoyed themselves, which was an extremely rewarding experience to be a part of.
Even the process of editing is a learning experience, vital to anyone looking to improve their filming skills. Overall I created 20 hours of footage which I now have to edit down into a one hour bespoke video memory. There is a real skill to deciding which shots to use and how to create the most effective and lasting memory. Looking through all of the footage Ive created has helped me to see how I could shoot it differently and reflect on how I can improve my filming in the future.

Its an experience I would repeat again in a heartbeat. For other budding camera operators I would definitely recommend giving up your time to get out and shooting as much as possible: you can learn so much from simply filming as much as you can whenever you can. Im proud to, along with Procam, have supported the great work undertaken by Dreamflight this year. The video Im creating will provide priceless memories of the trip for many of the 192 seriously ill and disabled children that went on this years trip. We were happy at Procam to donate some of the cameras which facilitated the 12 strong video team: two XF105s and two Go Pro 3s along with sponsoring the video team's Dreamflight t-shirts for the entire trip. Without the other camera operators giving up their time and energy to the trip andindustry sponsors such as Procam, the charity wouldnt be able to create these priceless memories of the life changing holiday. At Procam we hope to continue to support Dreamflight with kit and crew for many years to come and I would personally advise anybody else to seriously consider offering their time to this wonderful charity, and be part of the team that changes children's lives.

The volunteer video team is made up of professional cameramen, editors, directors, anyone willing to give their time and have fun! If youve been inspired and want to be part of the Dreamflight video team in the future or are interested in becoming a sponsor, email Freelance cameraman and Dreamflight Video Team Co-ordinator, Jon Boast at video_team@dreamflight.org


Tags: iss084 | dreamflight | procam | filming | childrens charity | disney | disneyland | flight | trip | Phil Huberty
Contributing Author Phil Huberty

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