Steadicam Operator Robert Beck talks about his 90 minute single take as the Queen officially reopens New Street station on Birmingham tour
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have officially reopened Birmingham's New Street station after a £750m revamp.
The Royals unveiled a plaque at the redeveloped station and paid tribute to railway staff killed in action during World War One.
Quadrant Events managed the live screen content, and made extensive use of Steadicam for the visit.
During the Queen's 90 minute engagement, the Steadicam travelled with her, to give the live audience more intimate coverage than could be achieved with fixed long lens cameras.
Due to the crowded nature of the busy event, shots from any fixed cameras would have been almost impossible.
As this was a 90 minute single shot Steadicam take, I used The Sony HDC-P1 Camera with an integrated Cobham Mpeg4 Wireless Link. The camera is exceptional light and compact, while giving the same stunning image quality and functionality of the bigger HDC-1500 Studio Camera channels.
The camera was combined with the Fujinon HJ14 wide angle zoom and our G zoom Steadicam lens demands. This combination provided excellent ability to frame and compose shots in the crowded space.
Along with comfortable shoes, a great deal of stamina is needed for a 90 minute continuous Steadicam shot, with no time for rest or docking.
Crowds, doorways, turnstiles and anticipating the routes all add to the challenge, especially when there are no rehearsals and no second takes. Just to make it extra fun I was are pulling my own focus and zoom too; very different to much of the drama work I do where you have an entire crew to manage things like zoom, focus and exposure, along with plenty of rehearsals.
I guess her Majesty is one who likes to "shoot the rehearsal".
The client, Network Rail, was over the moon with the results, and ITV used my footage for their news coverage of the event, as their own fixed cameras mostly, unsurprisingly, struggled to get any coverage in the crowds.