Everest flight record poses ultimate test for DP Reay, Axis Films

Supplying hardware for shooting above Mount Everest may be the ultimate test of any production and broadcast company’s resources.

That’s exactly the challenge UK-based Axis Films faced when it was asked to provide equipment for the making of a new documentary to be broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK.

Simon Reay, director of photography for the project, has a reputation for shooting in extreme locations. He was invited to capture author, adventurer Bear Grylls’ latest expedition to set the world altitude record in a paramotor that was entirely designed and built by aviation engineering specialist Gilo Cardozo. The pair decided a flight at 30,000ft over the Himalayas, and notably Mount Everest, would provide the benchmark for the record.

According to Reay, the ultimate challenge personally and for the equipment from Axis Hire is to record the world record flights from a helicopter at 24,000ft.

Axis Hire supplied all of the equipment for the project. Reay’s camera package includes two Sony HDCAM 750s, Z1 HDV and A1 HDV, as well as two Sanyo Xacta HD720P solid-state mini cams fitted to the helmet of each pilot. Axis Hire also provided a lens package consisting of the Canon HJ22, HJ11 and HJ40, along with custom-built adaptors to fit Century fisheye lenses to the two headcams.

The headcam design is critical to the success of the project. Axis Hire helped to design and build a releasable headcam unit recording on solid-state SD cards. Having the ability to remove the cameras from the helmets during the flight provided not only POV shots but also handheld variations.

The production team has now left for its base camp in the foothills of the Himalayas, but not before undergoing a rigorous testing program for personnel and equipment alike.

The world-record attempt is currently taking place and has a three-week weather window built into the filming schedule.

For more information, visit www.gknmissioneverest.com.