The last three months have been busy for Barbour All Terrain Tracking (BATT) with Duncan’s speciality vehicle and driving tracking services being used on Tommy’s Honour in Scotland, Game of Thrones in Ireland and The Bastard Executioner in Wales.
On Tommy’s Honour the Vampyre BATT went out in ‘re-positionable’ crane mode as a mobile platform moving Technocrane Europe’s Moviebird 45 around a links golf course in Fife. It’s a heavy load especially when loaded on its crane dolly and there were also concerns about damage to the grass and terrain, but the VampyreBATT coped easily. The tyres on the vehicle are very wide and the tyre pressure can be dropped very low with no worry of losing tyres of the rim because of the beadlock rims that are fitted to the vehicle, so there was no damage to grass.
There were three visits to Ireland for Game of Thrones including a test against another camera tracking vehicle and crane. Two of these were with the VampyreBATT being used as the camera tracking platform for the Russian Arm and one with the new tracking vehicle Robin based on a Can Am Commander side by side which was rigged with a Libra mount for tracking shots on an another area of the set.
On both of the shoots the ground conditions were very soft and muddy particularly for the Russian Arm shots. The weather had been very wet and the set pretty much turned to a quagmire that even the most capable of 4x4s had a job moving around on. The show must go on as they say and the VampyreBATT, rigged with the Russian Arm on the roof and the additional weight of a scaffold rig off the front of the vehicle for one shot, and off the rear for another shot with a Libra stabilised head hanging off, they got the material they needed from the horse charge battle sequence despite the horrendous mud and slippery conditions. At one point the VampyreBATT was travelling sideways in a straight line down and then up a hill keeping pace and distance with a galloping horse charge, leaving 4 separate wheel tracks behind…that should look good on the behind the scenes / making of film they were shooting at the time!
The VampyreBATT once again proved its flexibility as it wasn’t all fast moving tracking shots and several times it was used as a mobile dolly base for very slow moving shots. There are few Russian Arm vehicles out there that you can scaffold rig a Libra stabilised head on the front corner of the tracking vehicle and 20 mins later have that de rigged from the front and have it mounted on another scaffold rig on the back of the same vehicle and carry 6 plus crew on board as well! Phwoar.
Next it was a 530 mile trip down to Tenby in South Wales for more horse charges and battle sequences for a week on The Bastard Executioner. This time a lot of it focusing on specific horse and rider stunt falls along with an epic fire stunt as well. For this job Duncan took Robin, the new tracking vehicle, down and again it proved its flexibility in providing plenty of easy rigging options for the grips and camera crew.
Libra was the stabilised head of choice again and found itself in two different positions on Robin. Again it was a site that posed off-road challenges as it was on a beach with very very soft sand that nearly all of the utility support vehicles that were on the shoot were struggling to drive on.
Setting Libra stabilized head up on Robin for low side tracking shot. The bottom photo with the seat mounted on the side of the tracking vehicle was for a hand held shot that was wanted.
Needless to say Robin coped well. Tyre pressures dropped to 8 psi, the tracking vehicle floated over the sand with the suspension soaking up all the bumps and undulations present and still being able to accelerate, get grip and keep up with galloping horses. Ed Sheeran made an appearance and the show was broadcast recently. Check out the videos below:
“Looks like something off a Star wars set.”
Paris Barclay, Directors Guild of America president, speaking of Robin.
Various rigs on Robin including: Another rig with Libra on the roof and wirelessly operated from elsewhere on the beach; a tracking shot of Ed Sheeran on horseback; and the stunt double from the Hieneken Bond waterskiing advert that’s been running recently, Giuomar, a Spanish stunt girl who has doubled for Penlope Cruz. She can be seen above leading Ed Sheeran through the other horses. She was also the first stuntperson to do running camel to moving train transfer stunt on the movie Sahara.
Quieting down a bit now we’re nearing the end of 2015. But what adventures are in store for the VampyreBATT and Robin in 2016!