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Adventure Filmmaking with Ian Burton W hat exactly is it that you do now, what do you specialise in, and how did you get started in filmmaking? I’m an independent adventure filmmaker, specialising in shooting in remote and ‘vertical’ locations. I shoot my own projects as well as commercial projects for a huge range of companies, and I love filming world class extreme athletes pushing themselves to the limit, as well as working with less well known adventurers. You don’t have to be the biggest or the best, a good story is what I’m interested in. I also freelance as a lighting cameraman from time to time, but mostly get called in by production companies for difficult jobs on ropes. I was 17 years old and in college. I wasn’t happy with the things I was being taught and I was impatient to get on location and behind a proper camera with a real crew. So I spent most of my time volunteering on set and in studios. Before I passed my driving test I travelled the country on the train to get experience with wildlife cameramen, as well as shooting time lapses in studios, working with independent production companies, sitting in on edits of programmes, sorting through kit rooms, sending kit out on location, and generally just gaining as much experience as possible. I bought a 16mm ARRI just to learn how to take it apart, a trick which proved useful on location with the RSPB film unit! My dream was to shoot wildlife films, and I was fortunate enough to work on feature documentary The Eagle Odyssey, as well as Spring Watch, The Natural World and a Christmas special, Cairngorms, Scotland’s Arctic. But then I got a hankering for something a little different. I’d always done a lot of climbing, so I started learning about the world of adventure filmmaking. A few years ago, at MountainFest in Kendal, the biggest mountain film festival in the world, I moved my focus more to filming climbers and adventurers. This then led to filming the BBC series Climbing Great Buildings, and Wild Snowdonia, which won an RTS award for its director Jeff Wilson. What are the greatest challenges you find in your work? Budgets, but they never stop me from shooting a film. Having a small budget obviously affects how I shoot, but it 66 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY075MAR13.indd 66 11/03/2013 16:52