In today’s post, we chatted with one of our regular camera operators Ricardo Sanchez. He has worked in the broadcast television industry for over 10 years. From observational documentaries to online branded content campaigns both in the UK and abroad.

He is one of our regulars and when not with us he’s flying around the world. He has filmed with the likes of Bill Gates, played bridge with Warren Buffet, escaped flash floods after an hour trek to the Dolomites, survived rioting on the border between the West Bank and Palestine and even accommodated numerous stars from the music and film industry when being told at the last minute what side was their good side!

His main clients are in the Sports sector working for Red Bull, FIFA and UEFA and of course with us at Stoke & Dagger. What makes all his experiences unique is the fact he traveled for work all over the world.

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric checking out an 8k camera in Osaka for Redbull

We thought we would get some pointers on what to watch out when filming abroad and what are the common problems he faces.

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric being interviewed with his producer Guy Pakeman, on radio in El Salvador in Spanish whilst on a shoot for FIFA


Ric’s 
tips to make filming abroad as smooth as possible:

  • Less is more; Scale your equipment back (4 is ideal)
    Both from a cost and practical point of view
Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric in Oman, carrying kit for over a mile in 45-degree heat is not easy!
  • Think in advance about how you’ll get around when arriving at the destination
    Not all countries have taxis, this could be tricky with all the equipment

“When traveling you really realize how often common sense is not common” Click To Tweet

 

  • Make sure to have enough time between connecting flights
    Again, because of all the equipment and of the diverse sizes of airports, a one-hour landing frame is definitely not enough.

 

  • Get informed about permits or make sure the video production company are informed
    Every country has different laws about what camera equipment you can bring in if you make a mistake fees can be very high. In Russia, for instance, you need a permit (RTN) which serves as declaration. In Peru, you need a permit from the Peruvian Film Commission but we hadn’t obtained it in time, we were lucky because we had the arrangement to film with the Peruvian Football Association and they used their influence to placate customs to allow us to enter, given that we were there to promote the country’s hopes of entering the FIFA World Cup. 

 

Which are the best & worst countries you’ve filmed in? Do you have any examples of limitations with filming in certain places/cities?

It’s a very difficult question because all the projects are different and they kind of shape the overall experience. I would say Russia is a challenge, maybe because I’ve been there often but the cultural difference is very felt and this makes it quite tough to work. I really liked working in the Japan. After all my travels it felt like it was my first time abroad. The culture is totally different, extremely welcoming as a nation and the technology and infrastructure is so advanced it almost feels like you’ve traveled into the future! Amazing country. 

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric filming with the Moscow Basilica in the background

A project that I really enjoyed was in Zambia, for a charity. We went shooting in a very small village and the whole town came to watch us like if it was an extraordinary event. The way people looked at us was just so amazing and unbelievable. We were even taken to meet the chief of a small village and introduced to the town as if we were important foreign representatives of local government, it felt so official for a simple film crew!

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric filming in the fishing village in Zambia for the charity Camfed

Another challenging shoot was in Kingston, Jamaica. We were filming a landmark and suddenly people started throwing bricks at me. An experience that definitely opened my eyes on the fact that besides having a permit, the reaction of people is always an aspect to be considered.

It’s funny to say, but one of the most challenging places to shoot in public areas is the UK! Security levels are high enough in the capital that it’s quite common to be stopped in the street if ever filming with a tripod outside. Without a proper permit you’d be told to move on pretty quickly.

Another memorable episode was when I had to work on a project about sports stories in Jerusalem and Palestine, the airport security was extremely stringent with our stories.Filming documentaries isn’t as easy to prove as being a journalist as most of them have press passes. Since we didn’t have one at UK customs, Isreali security thought it was justifiable to check the emails on my phone to prove I frequently traveled as a cameraman before allowing me to board a plane to Tel Aviv. Even when we left the country they wanted to see what we’d filmed on the tapes to check our stories were true!

Combining filming and travelling_thedaggerblog.com

 

Which is the best thing you have filmed abroad?

If I had to choose a favorite aspect of my job it would probably be the access to famous venues. I get the possibility to access places that normal tourists don’t see or experience. For instance, I had to shoot a series for the military aircraft and for this we flew over the North Sea on a simulated Submarine hunt, an amazing memory. Another stunning moment was seeing the horizon full of pagoda temples in-between all the tropical treetops in Mandalay, Burma.

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
There is a large German community in Curitiba, Brazil. Ric filmed a story about a group that regularly practice German folk dancing.

Last but not least, of all the airports you’ve been to, which one is the best?

I might be biased but I really think Heathrow Airport is the best, it’s big but well organized. Madrid airport is huge but way too big. While I’d say that the worse one and scary was Hong Kong airport, the runway is a short one in the middle of the sea that requires a sharp turn into it before landing. So from the plane, you can see it’s far from being directly in front of you, in the middle of the sea with mountains around. In turbulent weather, it can certainly test the nerves!

Interview Ricardo Sanchez
Ric flying for the BBC One Show with Chris Evans

Ric is a Stoke & Dagger regular camera op filming branded content for our Virgin Media, TalkTalk & Red Bull clients

 

You can follow him on:

Instagram: @ricsblake
Twitter: @ricsblake