THIS IS THE SECOND year I've used a narrative from Tom Murphy to guide creative multimedia students down the pathway of learning how things appear to a cameraman when out on assignment. Tom shot the video using a SonyEricsson C902 cameraphone. It makes compelling viewing for anyone who fancies a tour in a high-risk combat environment.
Starting in the UK, this film, shot in documentary style, takes us the viewers, on a journey to Iraq in the company of a camera crew as they go about their work. The shaky, grainy and sometimes low quality footage that has been shot using the camera phone adds to the realism. It also helps convey the realities faced by the crew as they operate in what is not only a war-zone but also a very harsh and inhospitable environment.
While in the UK we are shown the huge amount of equipment needed and the behind the scenes preparation that goes into the trip. The crew must take with them a lot of very expensive camera, lighting and sound equipment. Camera assistant Jamie Kennerley gives us an insight into the technical aspects of this array of equipment. We are introduced to Joao Do Valle, the sound engineer who will be accompanying Tom to Iraq. we also get a hint of the possible dangers that the crew might face in Iraq as we see them packing medical kits with their personal luggage.
In Iraq we can see firsthand the realities of living and working in very testing conditions. The heat and dust affects both people and the equipment. Cameras overheat, dust gets everywhere and the wind makes quality sound recording very difficult. Ingenious methods are employed by the crew to protect themselves and their equipment. We get a sense of the tension involved in working in a war-zone whilst travelling in a vehicle in Baghdad. As Tom pans the camera phone to the side of the road we are shown a line of parked vehicles and also some large bins . The immediate thought of potential hidden dangers springs to mind. The grainy footage adds to the tension. We are also shown how the military and the media work for and with each other. Mutual cooperation and respect are given between them.
The video documentary gives a clear picture of the work of a camera crew in a war-zone, hidden dangers, threats of having footage taken off them by the authorities, unforgiving conditions. What really comes through in the film is the trust and cameraderie that the team have in each other. They also have a pride in their work, they adapt themselves to whatever situation arises and they really seem to enjoy their job.