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TV-BAY Questions... with Off Trax Off Trax partners from left to right: Crispin Kyle, Jonathan Dennis, Doug Urquhart Tell me about Off Trax: Off Trax was set up in 1995 to fill a gap in the market as a specialist light grip company offering a unique dry and wet equipment hire service to the television and film industries. We are three partners, Crispin Kyle. Doug Urquhart and myself, Jonathan Dennis. Jimmy Jibs, the bigger heavier duty kit. We also got into tracking vehicles. Our first one we developed from our Jimmy Jib relocation vehicle. Now we are into our third generation vehicle. enough to work on BBC Human Planet and did the desert shoots in plus 50 degrees C. For all these type of jobs we shipped everything with us and carried it too. Were you specialising in anything particular at that time? We have seen shipping costs rising and rising, so freighting a Jimmy Jib around is getting very expensive. This was another reason to look for lighter kit. Cameras have become a little lighter and smaller too. We have a sister company, Electra, a broadcast video facilities company providing equipment and crew to the television industry. No, right across the board. We were doing quite a few car programmes – ‘Driven’ for Ch4, the early days of ‘Top Gear’, a lot of car corporate work, ‘The Bill’, ‘London’s Burning’, all those types of programmes. What is your involvement in the company? Were you aware of Polecam at that time? We’re all equal partners in Off Trax. I joined the company as a trainee cameraman and Jimmy Jib operator in 2000. I loved the job and expanded my skills into remote systems, operating cameras on tracking vehicles and on remote heads, on cranes, on rigging towers and even from helicopters. Yes, in the sidelines. Chris and Doug kept bumping into Steffan at shows, and we would see rigs around, but like I said, we were into heavier cranes. All this led to our decision to buy the first Polecam. The final push was when Steffan brought out the new more powerful, larger heads allowing bigger and heavier cameras. The Polecam Starter Pack meant we could offer a sophisticated, extremely portable and lightweight package at a very attractive rental price. What led up to your first Polecam purchase? What cameras are going on to it? We started looking into the bigger and more advanced cranes then decided that in today’s financial market production budgets couldn’t afford them. A mixture of rental cameras from Electra and the client’s own cameras – the Canon 5D Mk II, the 6D and 7D, the Nikon equivalents, the Canon C300 and XF305, the Sony F3 and the Panasonic AF101 and PMW200. I’ve built myself up to what I hope is a pretty good cameraman. I still love the work I do – it’s brilliant. I specialise in stabilised systems and hothead systems. What has the company equipment philosophy been? Well in the early days we were trying to concentrate on the traditional stuff, We reversed our direction and started buying lighter grip. I have done a lot of extreme filming – I’ve been to the Arctic in minus 40 degrees C and taken things like Jimmy Jibs and ABC cranes. I’ve been lucky So how was the experience with the first Polecam rig? What excites us about the Polecam is that you can actually get a DOP or a cameraman in who is pretty au fait 38 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BA073JAN13.indd 38 11/01/2013 14:17