This is where our DSLR journey began. Simples…. buy a stills camera that shoots HD video, take it to Kenya and shoot a film. What an opportunity, and how naive were we to even try it!
Please watch this film and if you like it then please donate here – http://www.justgiving.com/mombasachildren and let the charity know what you think of the film.
So we had a 7D, no rig, only a kit lens, and the charity said would you like to come out to Africa with us and make a film. We were like yes, and we even have a camera to shoot it on.. So a month before we went, we were like how do you actually shoot on a 7D, how do you do handheld work, how do you record sound, which lenses are right, and aaaaaaaaah why is everything so expensive. We started an extensive period of research on the web, which culminated with us making a mad dash to Simon Beer at Production Gear to buy the last redrock rig left in the UK. Sitting in their show room off the north circular, we had everything we needed in our hands – and were keeping our fingers crossed that Simon wouldn’t sell it to any other customers in the showroom.
So next stop Tottenham Court Road, and another £1000 or so later we had a Sigma 30mm lens and a Donke bag to put it all in.
After an overnight delay at Heathrow when our flight failed to leave, we were on the plane with our kit split between me, Dave and a very reliable (we hoped) 16 year old called Matt who was travelling as part of our group. Unwieldy, awkward and so valuable we and our kit arrived in Nairobi. Chris Azzaro, blagged the customs officials by being wonderfully boring about the educational nature of our trip, and we were again seeing our kit disappearing through an X-ray machine and hoping, hoping, hoping it would appear at the other end. We’d already managed to break the jack on our brand new and shiny Sennheiser headphones, and had to replace them with a very nasty consumer pair of Sonys (yeuck!).
Matt was still carrying our £1000 worth of redrock gear, and I was in two minds whether we should tell him how much it was worth, but we arrived in Mombasa with kit, ready to shoot and were met by a Matatu and the wonderful Joash Obento.
So the 7D overheats!
The 7D overheats the whole time, the slum we are in outside Mombasa is in excess of 40 degrees in the middle of the day, and the camera will run for about 8 minutes at a time. Then you have to take the compact flash card out of its slot and fan it, to the raucous hilarity of all the locals, who are already laughing a lot as you have been trying (mainly unsuccessfully) to shade the camera with a multicoloured umbrella we brought with us. We spend much of our time with the headteachers of the schools, and they are brilliant, we see everything in the slum, including an unscheduled trip into a pub, where I think I’m the only woman, who doesn’t work in the sex trade, who has ever entered! We soon exit. We film in the children’s one room homes, meet their mothers, witness the absence of fathers, meet a beautiful little cat and play a lot of football. Filming is slow going, with the camera stopping, but it means we are taken into a 7th day adventist church, and are serenaded by a stunning performance on a casio keyboard mainly performed through the pre-recorded settings. We can’t get any GVs, ever! As the whole neighbourhood comes running everytime we put the camera down but we are happy.
Each night, we get back to the villa the charity have booked and have to start backing up and syncing up our rushes on our trusty little macbook – takes about 2 hours a night, and then we eat, and then we sleep.
It was trial by fire for the little 7D, but save its overheating problem, which may well not have been any better on a larger camera, it worked a treat.
One of the strange little issues we had was that the Redrock gear didn’t work very well with our Manfrotto tripod. Very difficult to get it on and off, the head would get stuck everytime. To be honest this is still an issue we haven’t addressed!
Anyway enjoy the film, thanks for reading – Nell
Canon 7D, Sigma 30mm, Canon 18-135mm, Redrock Eyespy Deluxe