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Questions... with Off Trax
Off Trax partners from left to right: Crispin Kyle, Jonathan Dennis, Doug Urquhart
Tell me about Off Trax:
Off Trax was set up in 1995 to fill a
gap in the market as a specialist light
grip company offering a unique dry
and wet equipment hire service to the
television and film industries.
We are three partners, Crispin Kyle.
Doug Urquhart and myself, Jonathan
Dennis. Jimmy Jibs, the bigger heavier duty kit.
We also got into tracking vehicles. Our
first one we developed from our Jimmy
Jib relocation vehicle. Now we are into
our third generation vehicle.
enough to work on BBC Human
Planet and did the desert shoots in
plus 50 degrees C. For all these type
of jobs we shipped everything with us
and carried it too.
Were you specialising in
anything particular at that time?
We have seen shipping costs rising
and rising, so freighting a Jimmy Jib
around is getting very expensive. This
was another reason to look for lighter
kit. Cameras have become a little
lighter and smaller too.
We have a sister company, Electra,
a broadcast video facilities company
providing equipment and crew to the
No, right across the board. We were
doing quite a few car programmes –
‘Driven’ for Ch4, the early days of ‘Top
Gear’, a lot of car corporate work,
‘The Bill’, ‘London’s Burning’, all those
types of programmes.
What is your involvement
in the company?
Were you aware of Polecam
at that time?
We’re all equal partners in Off Trax.
I joined the company as a trainee
cameraman and Jimmy Jib operator
in 2000. I loved the job and expanded
my skills into remote systems,
operating cameras on tracking
vehicles and on remote heads, on
cranes, on rigging towers and even
Yes, in the sidelines. Chris and Doug
kept bumping into Steffan at shows,
and we would see rigs around, but like
I said, we were into heavier cranes.
All this led to our decision to buy the
first Polecam. The final push was when
Steffan brought out the new more
powerful, larger heads allowing bigger
and heavier cameras. The Polecam
Starter Pack meant we could offer a
sophisticated, extremely portable and
lightweight package at a very attractive
What led up to your first
What cameras are
going on to it?
We started looking into the bigger
and more advanced cranes then
decided that in today’s financial market
production budgets couldn’t afford
them. A mixture of rental cameras from
Electra and the client’s own cameras
– the Canon 5D Mk II, the 6D and
7D, the Nikon equivalents, the Canon
C300 and XF305, the Sony F3 and the
Panasonic AF101 and PMW200.
I’ve built myself up to what I hope is
a pretty good cameraman. I still love
the work I do – it’s brilliant. I specialise
in stabilised systems and hothead
systems. What has the company
equipment philosophy been?
Well in the early days we were trying
to concentrate on the traditional stuff,
We reversed our direction and
started buying lighter grip.
I have done a lot of extreme filming
– I’ve been to the Arctic in minus 40
degrees C and taken things like Jimmy
Jibs and ABC cranes. I’ve been lucky
So how was the experience with
the first Polecam rig?
What excites us about the Polecam
is that you can actually get a DOP or
a cameraman in who is pretty au fait
38 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE