“Commonwealth Social” Video Shoot Birmingham

GB Commonwealth Team 2020

On Wednesday the 27th July 2022 the Commonwealth Games comes home to the UK, in Birmingham to be exact. It seems a long way off but like most of these events, it’s here before you know it. 

Working with the most excellent DMA Media in London, I helped to document the “Commonwealth Social” event. A two day shoot making a time-lapse of the outdoor commonwealth logo, interviewing the England team, various important stakeholders and also Nicky Morgan, The Secretary of State for Culture Media & Sport.

Day One

Adrian from DMA was the producer/director on this shoot and we left the hotel pretty early on the first morning of the shoot to climb the stairs to the roof of the fantastic Birmingham Library. Down below in centenary square, the support team for the event were building the new logo. First job was to shoot a time-lapse of build. 

Once we got up there the weather was pretty changeable, sun was in and out and the wind and rain was intermittent. My umbrellas for the camera stood no chance in the wind, so we were lucky it stayed pretty dry. For the time-lapse I used my Canon 60D paired with a Satchler S2, Canon 18-55 with ND filters and intervalometer. Interval was about 10 seconds with a 5 second exposure.

DMA Media had also commissioned the services of some excellent drone pilots to capture the ariel footage. Unfortunately we had a problem… seagulls.
Now I’ve plenty of experience with these lovely things stealing my pasty/scotch egg/ice cream but no experience of them attacking drones. the drones could not take off.

Someone made a call to the cleaning company and about 40 minutes later a woman appeared with a huge bird of prey. Now that’s what I call a cleaning service, none of this new-fangled naked/lingerie options.

Now I thought that the Falcon was going to be let loose, fly up and pick a few seagulls off, but that wasn’t to be the case. It just sat on the arm of it’s owner while more and more seagulls came to join the seagull party. Then they started dive-bombing the Falcon. Not the reaction I had expected.

The Falcon stayed on the arm and about 20 minutes later, there wasn’t a seagull in sight. – Success!!

With the super-bird having done his job, the drones could fly so after a couple hours everyone had what they needed.

Later on that day we set about capturing the first set of interviews. We shot some of the Team England Athletes and Ian Reid, CEO Birmingham 2022. Luckily I spotted a really colourful dance group practicing, so that made a nice background. We had to cut it a bit short though as The BBC were going live on Central News as we shot(and they’d nicked my angle after setting up elsewhere – but we won’t go into that ;))

My rig for the interviews consisted of a Canon C200 coupled with the L series 24/105/Sachtler support. Adrian from DMA Media took care of the questions with a Sennheiser hand held radio mic, a SKM100 G4

Day Two

The second day of the shoot was the day of the event. We needed to shoot serveral interviews with the Team England Athletes, coaches and also Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State. We also need to get some B-roll. The footage needed to be up and ready for DMA’s news-feed immediately. So as soon as we had shot an interview, the lovely Isabelle Laperouse from DMA whisked the card from my camera and up to the low temperature dude, and editor extraordinaire Paul Mills who had set up an edit station in the library.

Great to shoot with DMA again, links to press release, images and footage here:


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