European Bike Week 2009 – Austria

The third event that I’ve filmed for Harley Davidson this year is the European Bike Week which takes place in the small village of Faak in Austria.

Although this event is likely to be that last this year, it’s by no means the smallest, in fact it is by far the biggest event in the HD Europe calendar. The event is reported to have attracted over 100,000 visitors, most of whom are bikers.

The sheer scale of this event made it the biggest challenge I’ve had to face as a cameraman working alone. With activities happening all around the lake in the centre of Faak I had to be very careful in my location planning so that I didn’t miss any of the fun that makes the event so memorable. Working with the HD staff helped me to plan my days and locations to capture as much as possible. There are still things I would have liked to film that I couldn’t though, sometimes you just have to talk to your client to find out what their priorities are and make location decisions based on their needs.

One of the best parts for me was shooting from a helicopter. In order to achieve the clearest shots from the air, one of the rear doors was removed and I was positioned sitting on the corner of the rear seat with one leg on the aircrafts skid and the other inside. Although both me and the camera were securely attached to the helicopter with safety ropes, these were left slack so I often found myself using muscles I didn’t know I had in my thighs and bum cheeks to hang on to the seat :)

Equipment wise I learned a big lesson on this trip. I took my steadicam Pilot, my tripod and my DV multirig so that I had a lot of options for camera support. These all have a Miller quick release fitted to allow me to quickly and easily attach my camera. On setting up for the first days shoot I discovered that I’d left the camera part of the quick release system attached to my 35mm adapter rig which meant that I had no way of using any of the supports!

After the initial swearing at myself and disbelief in the mistake I’d made I managed to mount the camera on the multirig using an array of business cards and gaffa tape, this got me through the shoot but I still missed the tripod for long shots. I won’t be making that mistake again!

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