Part 1

In the summer, autumn and winter of 2012 I was shooting a six part BBC series observing life in the remote community in north part of The Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. There was a lot of unplanned filming as we would turn up and follow various characters throughout their day. This sometimes resulted in quite lengthy walking and climbing up hills. I think it’s fair to say I was quite healthy by the end of the shoot but it’s also fair to say the camera kit and tripod were a bit of a burden that required a fair bit of endurance to carry around.

I was using a Sony PDW-F800 XDCAM HD camera with mainly a Canon HJ22 x 7.6 (x2) zoom lens as it was the most versatile for the range of shots, a Satchtler Video 20s fluid head with heavy duty carbon fibre legs (It is frequently windy in the Outer Hebrides so lightweight tripods just don’t cut it) and four IDX heavy V-lock batteries as I wanted long running times especially when we were way out on the moors or up on the hills.

The downside of all this weight was I would get tired and as I’m in my mid fifties it was not getting any easier. Sometimes the only way to capture moments was to shoot hand held and so a heavy camera combined with tiredness was not always ideal.

It is now Spring 2015 and a follow up series has been recommissioned only this time we will be shooting on the Islands of North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay. I’ve already been told some of our contributors will involve more walking and hill climbing as we follow them around so my thoughts returned to how could I make things more practical. I also wanted this series to look a bit different to the last one and had been thinking of an S35 sensor camera.

At IBC last year I saw the (considerable) crowds around the pre-production FS7 camera that Sony had announced. Having come from a background of Betacam camcorders, Beta SP and then Digibeta camcorders before going HD with the F800 I was a bit dismissive of this wee looking camera and soon moved onto to other cameras being shown at the exhibition.

I never really thought much more about the FS7 until I was listening to the Extra Shot podcast one day last December and they had held a camera test and had a direct comparison between the FS7 and the F5. The results being discussed resulted in me being rather taken aback!

When I heard the pictures were the same from both cameras I found my attitude to the FS7 switch from dismissive to intrigue. I also noticed cameraman Mark Moreve had posted a few times on-line about the FS7, him being one of the first owners in the UK. I had a very interesting and positive chat on the phone with him about his real world user experiences with the camera to date and found myself giving the FS7 serious consideration for future TV work.

In March 2015 I had a call from Glasgow based producer/director Christine Morrison about the new series to be shot in The Uists (Islands of the Outer Hebrides) and we got into a camera discussion. I mentioned the FS7 and to my surprise she had been looking at it quite thoroughly and liked the images from the camera. She had watched Sony’s demo film and ready several reviews and was enthused.

In the end it was decided to go for the FS7 as it had several advantage’s, the lighter physical weight and form factor, the large S35 sensor enabled greater control over depth of field, the XAVC-I codec would be a lot better than the XDCAM HD 50 422 we previously used, and it had 4K and high frame rate recording.

The series is to be shot in 1920 x 1080 HD 25fps progressive XAVC-I but we may use 4K occasionally more as a way of enabling some framing flexibility on things like long interviews as it can provide three shot sizes making cut points very flexible. We will be filming for six months, not every day but fairly regularly and rain, wind will be an unavoidable factor, I hope the FS7 can handle the climate.

The FS7 was purchased by Christine’s production company, Corcadal, and I have become it’s custodian for the next year so it is not my own personal camera though I am able to use it on other jobs that I’m booked for over the next few months.

So that’s the background to how I ended up shooting on an FS7. My intention is to add updates about how it is working out and the issues that cropped up. Already I faced two fairly big ones, these were which lenses to use and how to make the FS7 work better on hand held shooting. Once again Mark Moreve helped me out as his experiences of various lens choices for the FS7 helped ensure I chose the right ones to suit the production. I have also resolved the hand held shooting dilemma. I will talk more about these solutions in my next post.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Part 2

Lenses? Where does one start, in my case with a phone call to Mark Moreve! Mark was one of the first people in the UK to purchase an FS7 and has gone through several of the issues I was facing. The major one being lens choice. Mark generously shared his own experiences and solutions he had chosen. He also understood the needs of the production I am going to be embarking on. My big thing was versatility with minimal weight as well as physically keeping the size down.

The FS7 has a Sony E-mount and the camera came with the 28-135mm f/4 kit lens. I rather like this lens but it is simply not wide enough for use on hand held shooting and other regular shooting situations. This lens will be used for shots requiring a telephoto field of view with some zoom range and also on occasional interviews.

My main lens for general filming and hand held is to be the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L MkII USM. In order to get this working on the FS7 I mounted it to a Metabones Speedbooster ULTRA adaptor. This turned out to be both good and bad. I will explain more in a moment.

As I would have occasional requirements for a wider view with some ability to use a zoom for shot reframing I am also using an older Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM lens mounted onto the Speedbooster ULTRA.

There are going to be moments I need an even wider view such as when shooting on boats, in vehicles and small spaces so I also have a Samyang Cine 10mm T3.1 (e-mount) prime lens.

My final requirement was a longer telephoto, again not being used too frequently and thanks to Mark Moreve was pointed in the direction of Eddie Houston near Glasgow, aka The Lens Doctor http://www.thelensdoctor.co.uk , who refurbishes vintage lenses. I chose a vintage Canon FD lens converted to EF mount and with the iris de-clicked for smooth manual operation, it is a 85mm-300mm f/4.5 zoom lens.

To recap then my lens choice at the moment (late April 2015) is this:
Samyang Cine 10mm T3.1 prime (e-mount)
Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM zoom
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 MkII USM zoom
Sony FE 4/PZ 28-135mm G OSS (e-mount) zoom
Canon FD 85-300mm f/4.5 (converted to EF mount, manual iris) zoom

I envisage I will use the Canon EF 24-70mm and the Sony FE 28-135mm lenses 90% of the time for the series I will be working on based on what I know of the filming requirements. Of that 90% I imagine the 24-70mm will be used at least 70% of the time. The wide angles and longer telephoto will be for occasional use.

So having sorted out the lenses there are a few issues at the moment when using them. The Sony 28-135mm zoom lens is an e-mount so fits directly onto the FS7. However, it is a full frame lens so the field of view is cropped by a factor of x1.5 on the Sony S35 sensor used in the FS7. This gives an equivalent field of view of to a 42-202mm on a full frame sensor. You can see why it is not great at the wide end for hand held use. The servo zoom on this lens is slow…very slow…

The Canon EF 24-70mm has a reasonable, if limited, zoom range for hand held use and general shooting. The Metabones Speedbooster used to enable this lens to be mounted on the FS7 gives on one hand and takes away with the other. It is most definitely with its current firmware (V4.0) a compromise that impacts on real world filming.

The negatives are you need to be careful when mounting it to the FS7 as there is obvious resistance with the pins on the mount, be gentle or risk breaking some off is my advice! Also, the Speedbooster ULTRA has two modes, the green and advanced. Both are compromises.

The Canon EF 24-70mm has a servo iris so manual exposure adjustment is not possible; it can only be controlled by the camera. In green mode exposure adjustments are fast but when opening up exposure brace yourself…with each turn off the dial on the FS7 arm grip (I have it set to control the iris on the lens) the image flashes bright white. What is happening is the iris opens fully wide momentarily then drops down to the current adjustment. This ruins the shot if you wanted to do an exposure change while filming; it is unusable. When closing down the iris in green mode it works okay, no flashing, the issue is only when brightening an exposure. So the green mode is faster for exposure but I should mention it is not subtle, it changes in very obvious steps, no smooth adjustment just now.

In advanced mode, a bit of contortion is required to lock the Speedbooster into advanced mode, things are better but still a problem. This time opening and closing the iris is smooth, no flashing on brightening up exposure but you need to keep turning the wheel on the grip, it takes a lot of (noisy) turns to get the exposure set. The iris wheel on the FS7 grip is loud enough when being adjusted to be intrusive when recording audio. I’ve settled for the advanced mode as the shots are useable when adjusting exposure, just be careful of the wheel noise. It is the best compromise for the type of documentary filming I will be doing. I hope the flashing issue and response time to adjustments are fixed in a future firmware update. I have written several times to Metabones about these issues and they have ignored every e-mail so I’m not really impressed with their customer service, it is totally rubbish. Buy and be damned seems to be their attitude.

On the positive side regarding the Speedbooster it restores a lot of the field of view the EF full frame lenses as it has a crop of only x1.07, on the FS7 this for example on a 24mm lens gives an equivalent field of view of 26mm, pretty good! The other bonus is the Speedbooster UKTRA actually gives you a one-stop increase in exposure, again a bit of a bonus. I definitely like these aspects.

I like the Sony 28-135mm G lens but that has a few issues as well. The zoom can be controlled by the FS7 arm grip but is one (slow) speed only at present but to change exposure the wheel on the grip does not (at the moment) operate the iris! You have to manually do this on the actual lens. The default iris on the lens is in clicked steps but there is a switch under the lens that changes it to a smooth step-less manual operation. You can get auto iris control from the FS7 but that’s not going to work for me, I just want iris control on the arm grip.

Image quality from the 28-135mm lens is good, I’m pleased with it, it is definitely better than what I used to get from Canon 2/3 inch HJ22 B4 zoom lens. Also, it is a 4K lens, I like it a lot more than I expected, in fact I’ve rather warmed to it. It is great value for money so I can forgive the limitations and idiosyncrasies.

I will talk further about lenses in a future post as well as the solution I’m using for hand held on the FS7 as the default FS7 setup is far from ideal.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Part 3

In its default configuration the FS7 is not well balanced and this leads to some users purchasing the extension unit and using heavy v-lock batteries. For me the whole reason for looking at the FS7 was to lower weight and have a lighter camera that I can use for hand held shooting on the shoulder with excellent picture and sound quality. Adding weight was something I wanted to avoid.

I had no desire whatsoever to use bulky v-lock batteries as I would to have carry all the batteries in a rucksack when walking and hill climbing. The FS7 has a compact form factor and I wanted to retain that. I chose to go with Sony BP-U60 batteries that fit inside the camera body. Based on the type of filming I will be doing one of these will pretty much provide enough power for the entire day. Carrying a spare one is going to be no great hardship compared to the two heavy v-lock spare batteries I used to carry around for the Sony F800 camera I previously used.

The documentary I will be filming over the next few months is going to have a lot of hand held shooting and lengthy walks so after looking into how I could balance the FS7 and avoid the extra weight of counter balance I actually came across a solution that did just that.

FS7_Recoil Rig_2

I will be using is the Zacuto FS7 Recoil Rig. This achieves balance by moving the camera backwards on the shoulder. The balance spot on most camera and lens combinations is the actual point where the lens is attached to the camera body. On the default configuration this cannot be done as all the weight is forward of your body. With the FS7 attached to the Recoil Rig you can slide the camera backwards so it balances on your shoulder and you can actually physically take your hands off and it will remain there!

There is one unavoidable immediate issue with this, which thankfully the Recoil Rig fixes. When the camera has been slid backwards so is the viewfinder. This would mean the viewfinder is positioned in the same spot as one’s head, not a good place! The Recoil Rig has a component called the ‘Axis’. This enables relocating the viewfinder back to its normal operating position. It also comes with a very nice comfortable shoulder pad that attaches to a VCT plate for tripod work and has two supplied 15mm rods and a rosette fixing to attach the FS7 arm and handgrip onto. This will relocate it into a more comfortable position.

This short video perfectly demonstrates how the Recoil Rig balances on your shoulder: http://vimeo.com/119890752

You can read more on the Zacuto FS7 Recoil Rig here: http://www.zacuto.com/sony-fs7-next-gen

There is also a first look video about it here: http://vimeo.com/zacuto/firstlooksonyfs7

I am finding the FS7 arm and grip to be useful for hand held shooting and I’ve literally (after weeks of waiting) received the Zacuto Z-DRV follow focus with Tornado hand grip. I have not had an opportunity to use these items but now I’ve rigged them they have improved the stability for hand held shooting even further. It also allows your hand and wrist to be in a more natural and comfortable position leading to less fatigue and strain when filming.

You can read more about these items here: http://www.zacuto.com/z-drive-and-tornado

You can see a video about them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhK23j3ier8

I will talk more about how things work out when using the follow focus and Tornado handgrip in a future update as well as the adaptations required to some lenses to work with them.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Part 4

In mid June I finally started shooting the observational documentary the FS7 had been chosen for in the Islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist, part of the island chain known as the Outer Hebrides off the coast of northwest Scotland. The filming will be ongoing from now until around November.

I had the FS7 prepped with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 MkII USM zoom mounted a Metabones Speedbooster ULTRA EF to E-mount adaptor. I am envisaging this will be my main lens for the shoot for most of the hand held work. I have heard some people complain this lens on the Metabones ULTRA adaptor is not wide enough but I have to say I think it’s spot on for hand held observational documentary and found it plenty wide enough for my purposes. It is frequently quite windy in the Hebrides so most of the sound is being recorded on a boom mounted mic in a Cinella Piano windshield (a brilliant piece of kit…Rycote eat your heart out!) and a wider lens would result in the boom getting in shot too often. I am not of big fan of radio mics as they don’t sound great compared to the audio from a decent shotgun mic in a windshield. Both the director and I want the audio on this documentary series to be of a high standard as the programmes are driven by the dialogue from the people we are following. Radio mics will be used on occasion but if we can avoid them we will.

Many cameramen are used to using B4 broadcast zoom lenses that have a big zoom range. Obviously the 24-70mm is limited by comparison yet for hand held observational I am finding the shorter zoom to be much better as it keeps me in closer contact with the subject and avoids laziness by relying on the big zoom for significant reframing (a look I’m not personally that keen on), I am much preferring to physically move the camera closer or further away. It’s added a nicer dynamic to the style of programme.

Having just said all that I must admit that I still had my habit of using big zooms catch me out, I need to break out of this as I was disappointed to realize I was still somewhat entrenched and I am keen to change shooting style. I had hoped I was not a creature of habit but I now realise I am! Fortunately by the end of the first day’s filming the habit was diminishing. I found it really enjoyable to make this change and was quite getting into it.

The first day involved a lot of hand held filming and keeping up with our subjects and it was only back at the hotel that night I had another realistation about using the FS7. I was suddenly aware that my back was fine, no ache, my wrists were not hurting and despite filming all day I was still on the same battery, a Sony BP-U60. Previously a similar day on the Sony F800 I would be very aware of the physical strain and tiredness and I would have changed the (heavy) camera batteries a couple of times. This was a very good sign as this shoot is going to be very physical.

FS7_Isle-of-Lewis-7448

I have mentioned this previously in earlier blog posts but my approach to rigging the FS7 was to keep the weight to a minimum and also to get it balanced on the shoulder. Things have proven to be a success in this area as the use of the Zacuto Recoil Rig and avoiding adding any extra counter balance (which would increase the weight) and fitting the Zacuto Z-DRV follow focus with Tornado handgrip has made hand held shooting much more responsive and less physical, it’s a nice combination for documentary shooting. The smaller physical size of the FS7 is also great when doing hand held, it is like using the de facto documentary of old, the Aaton 16mm film camera. I was having a great time!
There were a few things that one needs to be wary of that cropped up. I was a bit concerned before I started about the exposure control issue of the Metabones Speed booster ULTRA, I mentioned this issue in earlier blog posts. Literally the day before I set off for the shoot I had an e-mail from cameraman Mark Moreve letting me know that new firmware had been released and he felt it was a big improvement. I managed to update prior to heading off for the ferry to North Uist.

I can confirm the exposure was indeed much improved, the white flashing issue in green mode on the Speedbooster ULTRA has definitely gone away. For me the green mode while very responsive is far too obvious when recording creating very noticeable steps in exposure. Switching into advanced mode was a relief as it was now possible to do faster but much smoother exposure changes using the control wheel on the FS7 handgrip.

This method of exposure control on the FS7 with the control wheel is still not as smooth as doing manual iris exposure changes but as I was using a Canon EF lens it requires servo iris control. Despite this compromise I did like the look of the images when using this lens and it does provide a lot of control over depth of field.

I found with the Canon EF lenses I used (I also used a 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM) that exposure needed adjusting as I changed focal length. If I had set exposure when zoomed in it brightened up when I zoomed out to a wider focal length and the opposite occurred if I set the exposure at the wide end of the lens. I soon tuned into this and adapted to exposure tweaks on the fly. A bit irritating though.
The first weeks filming was challenging with exposure as the light constantly changed rapidly between very bright and dark overcast. All I can say is I was relieved that Metabones had released that firmware update!

FS7_South-Uist_1642

Another thing to be wary of when shooting on the go and your attention is on following the action; sometimes the side of your head can catch a button for a camera setting. It did not happen often but there were moments. Initially I was mystified as to why the shutter had changed from 1/50 to a totally different setting. Now I’m aware of this I have managed to avoid doing it again.
The weather remained dry for the first block of filming (unusual for the Western Isles of Scotland) so I’ve yet to try the FS7 in more challenging climatic conditions. Also, we are currently in the period of daylight being around 22 hours so I’ve not had any opportunities for filming at night. By mid August nighttime will have returned to the Islands. I am interested to see how the FS7 performs in lower light conditions. Temperatures have been low for the time of year between 6C and 11C and cold winds so I’ve not encountered any heat issues with the FS7 so far.

I’m about to start on the second block of filming so I’ll update on how I’m getting on with the FS7 on my return.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, 30 June 2015.
e-mail: ged@gedtv.com

Part 5

It is now September 2015 and as I write this update about using the FS7 I find negativity towards the camera amongst professional cameraman, even encountering on occasion emphatic statements it is not a serious camera to use in television production. The FS7 is a new breed of camera and not like current and previous cameras and requires a change in working technique. For me this change is liberating compared to the tyranny and limitations of using 2/3 inch B4 zooms and traditional heavy bulky broadcast cameras. I like it has broken me out of that shooting style one tends to end up doing with those kind of lenses and cameras. Also, I dread the prospect of going back to using a B4 style zoom lens as I now find the image quality inferior.

For me I want a camera that delivers nice pictures, has a decent codec and I can use different lenses. I also want a physically smaller and lighter weight camera with small light batteries that can power the camera for long periods and one I can use shoulder mounted for hand held shooting. Other considerations are I want to reduce physical fatigue and generally feel healthier at the end of each working day.

The FS7 fits the bill for me and delivers what I want especially in regard to image quality on the recordings. Rather than allegedly being a camera that is ‘not serious for television production’ it is indeed a camera that is very good indeed for television production.

In many ways I feel the FS7 has become like those misinformed pronouncements from a few years ago that Final Cut Pro was rubbish compared to Avid. The reality was Avid was simply well established and incredibly expensive whereas Final Cut Pro opened things up to a wider group by providing an opportunity and being affordable. Both did a good job, neither were rubbish. The FS7 has provided an opportunity to users in many areas especially the purchase price and the ability to shoot quality 4K and HD video. In fact, Sony have gone one step further this week in opening things up to users and announced the FS5, a new less expensive camera that is an alternative to the FS7. Of the course the FS7 has some extra features over the FS5, the big one for me is it has XAVC-I recording.

Prior to using an FS7 I have always used full size broadcast cameras with B4 zoom lenses. I started in 1989 on a 3-tube Sony Betacam camcorder, switched in 1992 to a Sony 3-CCD Beta SP camcorder then in 1999 switched to a Sony Digital Betacam camcorder and in 2012 moved to a Sony F800 XDCAM HD camcorder. I mainly work on broadcast programmes for the BBC and spent 15 years filming all over Europe for them from Svalbard in the Arctic to Kurdistan in the East and lots of Central and Eastern Europe in between. I used to review new broadcast cameras for trade magazines (work took preference). What I’m trying to say is I was very comfortable and at home with using this style of camera and lens combination. However, I was also feeling stifled and felt too familiar and not challenged. Add to this the reality that broadcast programmes are increasingly on smaller budgets and cameramen’s rates are being squeezed. Evolution is the way of nature and the World and the reality of one has to earn a living. Not everyone who works as a cameraman is working at the high end of the business, most of us inhabit the mainstream and that is where a lot of the work comes from. I do believe in ambition but I also believe in reality. I also believe one should enjoy their work and feel they want to do their best on a job.

Late in 2014 I had seriously considered switching the Sony F5 but felt the switch from the F800 just didn’t make sense financially, I was still going to get the type of work I was doing and I had jobs booked into 2015 and they were happy with F800. I would merely be making an (expensive) change for me personally and not because clients were requesting it. Fortunately, driving home from Stornoway to the home on the Atlantic coast of The Isle of Lewis on a stormy dark December night I was listening to the Extra Shot podcast and it was a camera test between the Sony F5, Canon C300 and FS7. When I heard the FS7 and the FS5 pictures looked the same it definitely caught my attention. After speaking with Mark Moreve, one of the first cameramen to buy an FS7 in the UK, I had the FS7 as serious contender.

This is my fifth blog post on the FS7 and that rather confirms that I ended up switching to the FS7. I have to say it has been in use for several months now on quite a demanding shoot. I’m currently shooting a six-part series which started back in June and we finish in December. The working days have been long, the weather has been far from ideal and at times I’ve had some walks and hill climbs of several miles. The FS7 has proven to be a lot more robust than I expected, I was convinced the plastic viewfinder would have broken by now but it is proving to be solid.

I’m using Sony BP-U60 batteries and these are proving to be great. One pretty much powers the camera for an entire day and often the camera is powered up for ling periods. Carrying a spare is no hardship as they are small and lightweight. Charging in the evening is a much more pleasant experience, no noisy fan in a big heavy charger with several big bulky V-lock batteries attached droning away for hours in my hotel room. The four batteries I have would pretty well keep me going for a weeks shooting.

What has really surprised me is I have genuinely enjoyed using the FS7, I feel I can always get nicer shots than I ever could on the previous types of cameras and the physicality of the FS7 has also given me much better health as my bad back, aching wrists of old have gone away. Even after a long day of hand held I have no back or wrist pain. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs I do have the FS7 mounted on the Zacuto Recoil Rig and I also use the Zacuto Z-DRV follow focus and Tornado hand grip which in combination with the FS7 arm and grip really is a game changer in hand held shooting compared to traditional broadcast cameras.

I didn’t want more of the same when it came to shooting this new series and I rather feel in a way the FS7 has given my career back, I’m having fun shooting with it and feel renewed enthusiasm that the traditional cameras were squeezing out of me. I keep using the word liberation but that is what the FS7 has provided.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, 14 September 2015.
e-mail: ged@gedtv.com

Surgeons standing above of the patient before surgery.

Part 6

‘You must give up doing camerawork immediately’

How do you react to such words? As a cameraman for the last twenty-six years those very words were said to me at around 1:20pm on Wednesday 4 November 2015. I was surprised but knew I had to do exactly what had been said. Effectively I was no longer a cameraman.

This blog is about using a Sony PXW-FS7 camera so why am I mentioning having to stop working as a cameraman?

It all started during a shoot a few weeks earlier. In earlier postings to this blog I outlined why the FS7 had been chosen for filming I was doing on a BBC documentary series in the Western Isles of Scotland. The job was always going to involve a lot of long walks and hill climbing so I was obsessed with keeping weight down and having a high quality camera I could also operate shoulder mounted. I come from a background of using full size broadcast kit which is heavy and physically wearing. The FS7 was liberating, I felt renewed enthusiasm for my work and enjoyed using it. It was great on the long walks and climbs yet one morning as we climbed a hill I felt a tightening in my chest. I assumed it was muscular as I was carrying the tripod a bit awkwardly with one hand and the FS7 in the other along with a heavy rucksack on my back.

The tight chest would ease off as the exertion lessened but by afternoon I noticed a dull ache and dead feeling in my arms when the chest tightening was occurring. It did not really interfere with the days filming but cropped up now again during filming over the next few days when things involved physical exertion. I just put it down to my age, I’m 56 and put it down to me not being as robust as I used to be.

I thought I would visit the local doctor on my return home which resulted in a flight to Glasgow and a hospital appointment for an angiogram. The outcome of that hospital scan was I was told I needed a triple heart bypass operation and those words I began with, ‘You must give up doing camerawork immediately’.

To be honest I had no idea this would be the outcome and it made me realise we should all be a bit more aware of our health. The whole thing was a complete surprise and has put my career on hold.

What this means for the FS7 blog though is I can only post a few more updates as I’ve had to withdraw from filming the series I was working on and prepare for the surgery I will be undergoing. It has however highlighted how I was not prepared at all for such a scenario. Being freelance I only get paid by the day and I have no insurance policies that cover not working due to ill health. It is not something I ever imagined happening and until that day climbing the hills in North Uist I had no idea I had a heart condition. I now wonder just how many freelance cameramen are prepared for a health situation that may prevent them for working? Worth working on a contingency if you don’t have one I’ve realised too late.

I’ll have more time to write now I’m not able to work for a few months so I will add to the FS7 blog with the experiences I had up until the point I had to stop using it.

Ironically this blog is called ‘Living with the FS7’ I wryly think it was almost ‘Not living with the FS7’! A big storm is currently hitting the Isle of Lewis as I write this, the winds are over 70mph and the rain is torrential. I’ve got a cosy fire going, a book I’m enjoying (Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin) and a nice coffee steaming away. Despite the shock news and the storm, I’m actually feeling rather contented this afternoon and by the Spring I can once more resume my career as a cameraman. I will be reunited with the FS7 and I’m looking forward to another enjoyable year of filming with it.

Ged Yeates, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, 12 November 2015.
e-mail: ged@gedtv.com

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