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12/05/2009

Rycote 'Flies The Falls' In South Africa

A South African entrepreneur, Mark Becker, who has always had a taste for adventure has now dealt with it by flying a two-seater microlight aircraft high above the waterfalls and coast of Southern Africa, and filming it on HD, while tackling a major sound interference problem at the same time.
Through his company Free To Adventure, Mark takes people in the microlight up the coast of Mozambique for diving trips to reefs or into the heartland of Africa to visit the waterfalls and a couple of years ago, he decided to start filming the trips - in HD video.
He explained: "HD video cameras were getting smaller and cheaper and I though - I could fix these to the microlight itself and get some amazing shots as we fly. And it works! But the video was the easy part, relatively speaking..."
Whilst filming for his documentary, 'Flying The Falls', about a flight to the waterfalls of Northern Namibia and Zambia, Mark was plagued by the sound of the wind.
He said: "It's completely impossible to record using a standard mic while flying alone - I use a headset mic in my helmet if I'm doing commentary as we fly. But when we land, I use a couple of Sony mics to capture the ambience and it was all being ruined by the wind.
"It's really frustrating, because sometimes it's so bad you have to dump the footage. If the point of the scene is to have a guy talking about the fantastic vista you can see in front of you, but you can't hear parts of what he's saying because of the wind, the whole thing's useless really.
"I thought it might be OK, but it was a nightmare during editing. I tried using all sorts of filters to get rid of the noise at that stage, but it just doesn't work - by then it's too late."
Before his next filming project, which became 'Flying The Blue', about a 3,000-mile trip up the coastal atolls and reefs of Mozambique, Mark contacted sound specialists Rycote HQ in the UK and talked through what he was planning to do. He agreed to try using a Softie camera mount and windshield.
As a result, the audio on 'Flying The Blue' was a lot less troublesome. He said: "It transformed what I was doing! The Softie also proved useful when recording sound from the prow of a moving dhow, or traditional fishing vessel, in between microlight flights.
Mark said: "Without the Softie, the wind generated by the movement of the boat was just too much. It's enabled me to try all sorts of things I couldn't have done before. Video of this sequence can be seen at: www.vimeo.com/2058541.
Mark Becker's documentaries are available for download in HD or to order on DVD from: www.freetoadventure.tv and www.shop.freetoadventure.com.
(KMcA/BMcC)
VMI.TV Ltd

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