The Portland Olympian.


The Portland Olympian.

What happens when you combine an 18km run, 14 7a grade climbs and baking hot sunshine? 

Mirthmaid, White Hole

Mirthmaid, White Hole

The Portland Olympian was the brainchild of Jon Butters and Pete Scott, two University friends with a passion for climbing. A few years ago Pete (who is local to Portland) came up with the idea of climbing a 7a on every Crag on the world famous British climbing hub that is Portland in Dorset. Not only that but running (or boulder hopping) between them, with all of their gear in tow. After years of planning and many tweaks to the route, a scoring system was created to track their progress and enable other climbers to enjoy the challenge, no matter their ability (more on this later on)

Petes good friend and climbing partner Jon who we had worked with previously on our Unilite videos contacted us to film the challenge, needless to say we jumped at the chance to shoot the challenge for them. 

Last summer was a hot one (as I’m sure you remember) with the sun beating down we met Pete and Jon for the interview segments in Portland. Set against the historic jurassic coast and with minimal gear we shot the interviews at sunset after a quick recce of some of the harder to reach climbs. After the recce it was time for an early night (after a couple of pints over dinner of course) 

The start line by the Olympic Rings

The start line by the Olympic Rings

6AM we met Pete and Jon at the Olympic Rings at the very top of Portland Bill. And after a very quick recap of the route we set off capturing what we could before hastily getting in the van, shooting out of the window before driving ahead to the first location. 

The day was spent juggling equipment, running to the van to the next car park, unpacking and running back down to meet the climbers at the next crag.

Organising the gear was the biggest challenge of all for us, we had to meticulously plan which equipment would be best to take to each location, some of which were not safe to access with our ground equipment and some which we unfortunately had to miss in order to get ahead of the climbers, park and walk the gear down to the location. Thankfully our DJI Inspire 2 with x7 allowed us to shoot some of the more difficult climbs from above, combined with our full lens set (16,24,35 and 50mm) we were able to capture some incredible shots without having to cart the Movi, GH5, Atomos and B-cam down steep rocky paths.

Running during sunrise.

Running during sunrise.

The challenge was completed a full 13 hours after the start, fully knackered out we headed to the Cove for a quick pint before calling it quits for the day. 

The edit process was an absolute pleasure helped somewhat by the stunning scenery and the incredible bespoke score by our good friend Joel at Little Waves productions.

As I’m sure you’ll agree the challenge was quite gruelling for both Pete and Jon and us as the camera crew. 

The scores

Kindly Pete provided us with a graphic (below) to explain along with a graphic of the calculation in action with Pete and Jon score. Click on the image to see their score on the day.


4 Countries, 2 Weeks, 1 Video....


4 Countries, 2 Weeks, 1 Video....

Bristol was the first location, the epicentre of Research and Development where new developments in the safety and operation of powered access are designed and prototyped. The night before the shoot we stayed up late, carefully examining the storyboard approved by the client weeks before. Along with our new wireless follow focus the new 422 10 Bit update for the GH5 was a little more than a week old and excitement for the shoot began to build. This was our chance to shoot something all in house, using brand new equipment pushing ourselves as film makers rather than drone op

The wireless follow focus/cine prime combo enabled us to get one of our personal favourite shots the film. Whilst Harry tracked around the designer, Matt remotely pulled focus from him proudly looking up at his machine to the machine itself where the operator was stood, thumbs up in approval. Stunning. 

In Bristol we were also fortunate enough to get into the Concorde museum before the public had access. It just so happened that Nationwide Platforms were being used to give the speed bird a final polish after she was moved to the museum, an opportunity that we simply could not miss for this film. What a beast, just being in the presence of it was awe inspiring, knowing the journeys and the speeds that that machine had travelled was just incredible, in fact this very Concorde (G-BOAF) was the last to be built and sadly the last to fly. Bagged a few selfies both inside and outside obviously, couldn't possibly miss out on a potential new profile pic.

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The very next week we were off to Toulouse.

Toulouse, incredibly picturesque and about as quintessentially French as it gets. We managed to grab an insane deal on a stunning Air BnB, a beautifully small, but perfectly adequate, pent house apartment with a cast beer from our host on arrival. This was to be our base for a couple of days filming in this stunning City, and quite the base it was. Here we were focusing on the French side of the company, managed to get the drone out for this one, filming along some superb French countryside lanes. Without a cloud in the sky and the September sun blazing down on us it meant for some incredible lighting for this scene. 

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Without the chance to recce the sites we were allowed to film on, and with no idea as to exactly what kind of machine usage we’d be able to capture we had to plan shots as soon as we arrived on each site and think about exactly how they would fit in with our overall vision for the project. Little did we know that we’d get the opportunity to shoot the world renowned German artist Hendrik Beikirch. Hendrik was very happy to let us shoot him in action using a Loxam machine to meticulously paint a portrait on the side of a building using paint brushes rather than spray cans. This gave us a wonderful tie in with a later section of the film where a painter uses a Nationwide machine to paint a house, playing into the notion that this company helps people achieve anything where working at height is required, whether it be a huge painting on the side of a tower block or an old house in the Scottish Highlands.

First experience of flying to Scotland, an experience to say the least. The air hosts having to sprint up and down the aisle to flog as much produce as possible in the insanely short time we’re actually up in the air. It reminds me almost of a paper round scene from on old 80s film, whereby the papers (coffees and beers in this case) are almost flung onto you on the way past. Personally my favourite country in the world I was very excited about heading up here to film. The aim of this section was to show the MEWPS in a rugged landscape, the peaks of mountains with the hint of snow still clinging on to the summit before the next winter downfall in the background. We managed to get  lost, which in Scotland is never a bad thing. Driving round aimlessly for a few hours meandering our way through the mountains of the Cairngorms, snaking past various Lochs. It really is a beautiful country. 

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36 Hours in Dubai, that was it, to visualise, position and capture the shots required. Arriving in the hotel red eyed and exhausted at 2am we had 5 hours rest before getting stuck in to the day at 7am. People always mention the heat out there, you never quite realise just what its like until you first step out of the cool and crisp air conditioned hotel lobby into what feels like a dense wall of humid hot air. Off to the building site it was, trousers and shirts were required due to various health and safety legislation, this, quite obviously, did not help the overwhelming temperature changes we’d experienced in the last 24 hours. Somewhat moist and drained from the ‘sleep’ we’d had we managed to crack on and nail the shots we were after. The MEWPS looking great against the backdrop of the desert, really encapsulating the globalisation of this company and the message we were aiming to create ‘any destination, no challenge beyond our reach’ etc. etc. 

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Managing our equipment during this incredibly short visit, in the blistering heat was a challenge in itself. Batteries nearing their maximum operating temperature meant we had to nail shots first time and get back under the shade as quickly as possible to wipe the sweat off our foreheads before planning and executing the next shot or scene. We had storyboarded rough sections for the film however given that there was no time to recce plans had to be thought up and shot on site with little to no time in the schedule to retake. Thankfully everything went according to plan, no equipment was taken at customs and as you can see, the results slot straight in-between ‘properly’ storyboarded sections very well, matching the more traditional shoot style we were aiming for quite well.

Cutting from beautiful countryside to massive construction projects such as the MerseyLink in one single project to show the scope of work this company is involved in took a little fiddling. Using traditional straight cuts with no fancy transitions we linked sections of the film using common movement direction and subject. 

One thing that we feel this film represents well is the togetherness of the company and how everyone from the Bristol ‘Aladdins Cave’ R&D Department to the Rental Desk of Dubai work together like a well oiled machine to deliver to clients both big and small across the globe.


And the Oscar goes to...


And the Oscar goes to...

It’s taken us a while here at Papercut to get our teeth into blogging but we have a very blog worthy story to bring you, so we may as well start on a high.

This image kicked off this whole rollercoaster ride.


Back in January 2017 whilst scouting directories for potential clients, we came across a small advertisement for a drone operator to work on a short film in Stoke-on-Trent. The budget was low but we were free and as it had been a while since we worked on a short film or drama we went for it. After all, if we didn’t, another (potentially unlicensed) drone operator may have taken up the opportunity. 

We arrived to the set on a day so foggy that normally we’d have had to re-arrange the job and come back another day. However after a chat with the crew it was decided that we would move forward with the shoot as the schedule could not be rearranged even if the fog stuck around.


So we sat around, chatting to various crew members between scenes generally enjoying watching the film making process until the afternoon. Chris Overton (Director) made the decision that we should head out to our first location to capture the opening shot of the film where Joanne (A Social Worker Played by Rachel Shenton) rides a bicycle through the countryside on her way to meet Libby (A profoundly deaf girl played by the incredible Maisie Sly) The shot required us to follow her overhead for a few seconds before speeding up slightly, falling between the overhanging trees to ground level where we would continue tracking her from the front. Although the weather had delivered us fog, the wind was relatively low, meaning we got this in the bag after only 2-3 takes (we wanted it to be perfect!)

Returning to the school, the children weren’t quite ready for the final scene so we headed out once again into the fog to get the ‘bonus’ car driving shot. With Rachel driving the car we tried various follow shots, being careful to keep the drone in sight through the thick fog in order to avoid the trees (again). In the end the final cut features a tracking shot where we fly to the right in between the bush and the tree canopy into a field (also meaning that we were in clear airspace in case visual became difficult).

Returning for the second time with two incredible shots in the bag, we were confident that the final scene would go very smoothly. The idea was that Libby would be stood against the wall of the school gazing at Joanne who was looking through the school gates while the other children were playing together in between them. The shot itself was a ‘downward twisty’ shot, slowly revealing more of the playground and eventually the school gates before slowly moving towards Rachel who then walked off leaving Libby behind at the school. The final cut of the film left the move toward the gate out (as the walk off required a different shot, when you see the film, you’ll see why!) however the ‘downward twisty’ part remained.

We will make sure to post as soon as the film is available online, in the meantime keep your eye out for screenings on the Silent Child Facebook page 

Now for the unexpected part.

From talking to Rachel during the shoot, we learned of the significance of the film and it’s importance in raising awareness of the plight of profoundly deaf children when it comes to mainstream education. Seeing the film making process in action, we knew that this was no ordinary short film, but little did we know that a few months down the line this film would be nominated for ‘best live action short’ in the most prestigious film awards in the world. The Oscars. It gives us tingles to say that we provided the aerials for an OSCAR NOMINATED film. 

Catching up with Rachel and Chris at a screening in Cannock you could see how genuinely grateful and humbled they were that this film has touched so many people across the globe.


The Silent Child has been nominated for 20 awards, winning 15 of them on the road to the Oscars. All of us here at Peprcut Media send our positive energy to LA and we hope we see Rachel, Chris and Maisie, Oscar in hand tonight.

You can watch the Oscars live on the dedicated Sky Oscars Channel, NOW TV or ABC (USA)