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Reaching for Two Toshiba minicams side-by- side on a Polecam head for 3D 3D by Nancy Cavill, Everymedia Solutions on behalf of Polecam F rom the opening shot of the Ryder Cup to the Champions League final when Manchester United played Barcelona this year, a stately homes documentary to a Derren Brown magic show, cameraman Chris Taber has been there, filmed it and got the T-shirt. Chatsworth, Peak District (3D documentary) And the reason the camera crane operator has been in demand for so many high-profile jobs? In a word: 3D. In fact, so great is the demand for 3D, it has generated 90 per cent of the Mid Wales-based cameraman’s work since Sky launched its 3D channel 18 months ago. “One of the things I like about 3D is that, although it’s not new, working in it feels like you’re right at the cutting edge of something – almost pioneering,” says Chris, 42, originally from Bristol, who has 22 years experience as a cameraman. Chatsworth, Peak District (3D documentary) “On every job you learn something – what’s really nice about 3D is that we’re all still learning how to acquire the best footage. The advances in post-production are in advance of acquisition, so we’ve got a way to go before we catch up!” he adds. Both 3D and Chris’ kit have come a long way from the early days of his first 3D job, a Keane 3D webcast at Abbey Road in April 2009. “Back then we were using gaffer tape, matchsticks and pennies to level things up!” he laughs. Nowadays Chris uses his two Toshiba IK-HD1 Minicams mounted side by side on a specially-designed Polecam plate. “The simplicity of the system means I can mount the cameras in side by side configuration and shoot 3D without needing a mirror rig. So my unit is smaller and more portable – I can be shoe-horned into some tight spots!” says Chris. Filming with the Polecam in the Masai Mara, Kenya One recent such tight spot involved taking his kit 3,000 feet up a Swiss mountain for an extreme sports snowboarding shoot at Saas-Fee in the Swiss Alps in January 2011. “The only way to get to the action was by chair lift then hopping on to the slope tractor – something that would have been extremely difficult and expensive with a traditional crane. And I was still able to rig in 10 minutes! “Also, because I was using the Polecam I could easily move to a number of different locations and positions on the shoot. So, for example, I could relocate from the half-pipe to several different jumps,” says Chris. On the same shoot he also filmed the Ice Climbing World Cup – which took place in a spiral, multi-storey car park with a climbing wall at its centre. “I started at the bottom and was able to wheel the crane up level by level to get fantastic 3D shots of the climbers at every stage,” he says. Of course Chris still works in 2D – and, again, his Polecam set-up gets him, “jobs and experiences I just wouldn’t get otherwise,” says the cameraman. 52 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE Wembley Champions League Final May 2011 (Man U v Barcelona) Ryder Cup