Flying action presenter g33k

This weeks Cool Stuff Collective future tech was a bit of a departure from the usual studio explanations to Sy. A few weeks ago I went off with the crew to Milton Keynes to Airkix to film a piece about indoor skydiving.
Arriving at 7:00 am ready to do my first ever solo pieces to camera of this type was a little nerve wracking but having watched the guys at the Toy Fair it was a little easier to understand and feel how this would pan out.
I was expecting to do a few little intros, hover a bit and then say goodbye. It got a little more complicated than that of course 🙂
The pro sky divers and coaches at Airkix had come in specially to perform for us and were brilliantly helpful for the whole shoot. They have amongst their ranks world sky diving champions indoors and out. It was quite a shock to see just how high up they went (about 30 feet almost instantly).
World Sky Diving Champ
and then the precision with which they came hurtling down towards the camera again.
World Sky Diving Champ
I got to do some links to the chamber full of the guys performing as my first piece, but before I knew it we were up some very tall ladders at the top of the very large building and through a few hatches into where the fans where.
So if I look a little scared on this I was. They have 250 bhp turbines at the top of the structure that push air down and then round and up into the chamber where it gets up to about 150mph.
How it works
We shot a piece in the control room too as it is a precision operation to keep the wind stable.
Control Panel
Of course eventually I was thrown into a flight suit and doing what I expected to be doing, just hanging around close to the floor.
It was not hard to look like I was enjoying it because I was it was amazingly exhilarating.
Flapping face
It is a strange experience that requires you to be relaxed and not fight the wind, but at the same time control it. The closest thing is Tai Chi, force and grace together. (Though not so much grace nor force in my case).
I am not sure if it was the look of surprise I saw vanishing into the distance, on the shows Creative Director’s face (John Marley) or the feeling of an utter adrenalin rush that hit me that I will remember the most, when the instructor decided to grab me by the arm and run in circles up the wall Matrix style until with were 30ft up in the air. Of course we ended up having to then do that a few times just so they could shoot the right angle. I think presenter torturing is all part of the gig 🙂
That's me though
The stills of course do not do it justice. The edited up piece looks really good, along with Frankie’s Two Tribes as the soundtrack 🙂
It should be on the official site next week (UK only though still).
*update The full piece is now on the site here (UK only)
I think I got to feel another way of delivering information. It is strange the various mental models you have to engage when sharing things with people.
Talking to customers and giving small presentations about facts tend to be one flow of self expression. The bigger the conference the bigger the movements and stage pacing etc. Talking to Sy on the TV has tended to be like that but with the confusion of occasionally stopping and starting, hence maintaining and ad lib train of thought. This presenting required a different approach. Mainly that involved doing as I was told, as the director has the vision of the shots he needs and takes multiples of everything. Trying to focus the passion for the subject down the camera feels very different to a human reaction. Holding the for a period of time after you have finished talking to allow space for edits too is a more un-natural approach. I found I had to clear my brain more, not to think of the flow of the next few sentences but just to keep focussed on the one I had to deliver.
Before the studio record I also had to do a piece to camera pretending to be stuck in the screen of the SMART table, and the link back out of the VT was me sneaking up behind Sy and him asking me to help me get me out of where I was locked in 🙂
It was really enjoyable though, the experience and the filming slot we did straight after lunch too (more on that later) was great. The pulses of adrenalin needed to enthuse about the subject in tiny bite size pieces between lots of planning and walking/climbing/flying was probably more tiring than doing a single hours presentation on stage on a subject.
Not only did I get a levelling up in presenter skills, but I also got a certificate for flying 🙂
So thank you to the crew for being so patient and helpful whilst I get to grips with this sort of thing. There is still much to learn but now I have recorded four of them I feel I have some idea of what to do and how to do it 🙂
They make the magic happen
You can follow The Cool Stuff Collective on twitter @cstuffc and get an insight into whats going on at the office and what monkey is doing with all those gadgets.

One thought on “Flying action presenter g33k

  1. Pingback: Relive my fire « Life at the Feeding Edge

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