Paragliding cameraman for G-Force Media Dave Vickers recalls the thrills of capturing the perfect shots.
There’s no mistaking the anticipation on a Friday night before shooting an extreme sport. Especially an extreme sport that neither myself or Rich, our aerial photographer, had ever tried before.
After climbing vertically 1,500 meters, dragging a wheeled camera suitcase up a goat track, I was relieved to finally see the explosion of colour a dozen paragliders had splashed across the mountain ridge. Giant canopies (or wings) spread out twitching in the strong morning breeze waiting for it to subside. As it did, there was an explosion of action to match the spectrum of colour, we grabbed the cameras.
As shoots go, this was a treat of shot-after-amazing-shot of awesome take-offs, skilled landings, and blue skies filled with beautiful canopies. The backdrop of Sai Kung just enhanced the vision, it features heavily in the video, slightly dropped out of focus (0.58 sec) to help gain even more sensation of height. Paragliders, like many sports groups, are a truly affable bunch, so taking the all-important close-ups and detail shots for this film (0.23 sec) was very easy and welcomed by everyone. We met some great (and very talented) people. The slow motion effect enhances the general serene feel of the action.
Rich took to the air on the first tandem jump (0.27 sec) and concentrated on filming other canopies from above (1,20 sec), the grin on his face when he landed said it all. My job was to go up and shoot our subject tandem pilot ‘Johnny’ in action, but he announced the wind had dropped too much. My flight could only consist of a long comfortable drop into Sai Kung. Complete result! The next half-hour (for me) was the experience of a lifetime, serene, silent flying through invisible currents, mountain tops you could almost touch, and shooting opportunities any camera op would dream about (0.45 sec). After 15 minutes I stopped recording and began enjoying this experience of a life-time, which is the only way to describe such a gentle, exhilarating sport.
Please, please try it just once, I swear if not addicted, you won’t be disappointed. Far from it. Thank you for watching our film.