With Christoph Steuer
So we all enjoy being taken right in to the thick of the action when our Film,TV or sporting heroes take on what appears to be the most extreme if not impossible challenge; we move to the edge of our seats, our heart rate increases and the thought of "will they, wont they" bubbles in our heads.
We are lead to believe that we are there and with current technology as 3D, HD and 5.1 that we are truly immersed first hand. Whether it is as our Hero jumps from a cliff for fun! Leaps from a burning building, tries to pull-up a de-pressurized plane or rolls a car during a chase - just some of the effects that happen when your hero is in fact safe and sound in hair and makeup being readied for their next scene.
But what about the guys that bring us these stunning images, those that are behind the camera's - they are truly there in among the action with all their kit, balanced in precarious positions, hanging over ledges, suspended in harnesses or flying alongside in a wing suit all in real time. So we thought it would be interesting for you to hear just one of many short stories from Extreme Cameraman and Polecam operator Christoph Steuer as he follows the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships around the globe - more recently in Ireland.
Christoph says, "I grew up in the north of Germany, it is a landscape that has no hills and certainly no mountains - perhaps the highest peak I had ever seen was that of a Baltic wave, typically I have a fear of heights - or so I thought".
But it does not look like he has any fear, when Christoph joined the camera team on the Red Bull International Cliff Diving tour. Having completed Corsica, Norway, and the Azores; Ireland was the fourth stop off and proved a very intense location, 28 meters above the ground, with the feeling of windsurfing with a crane in blustering winds and rapidly changing weather conditions would be both a physical and mental adventure for anyone.
"I was shaking in my shoes as I entered the platform for the first time in Norway... But at least you are fixed by safety ropes and the fear is only in your mind. I was happy that I had found the switch in my head and settled my nerves which meant that I was very well prepared for Ireland and all the bad weather it could throw at me". Ireland is well known for its stunning, and in this case, very surreal and dramatic backdrops. "The Red Bull scouts had done us all proud and the competition and filming went well".
"To take the topshot at Cliff Diving in Ireland it needed a lightweight system, you can`t put a heavy crane on the platform. At Red Bull I am working with a zoom lens in HD. Much work to handle for two hands next to the crane moves; iris, focus, zoom and the movement of the pan and tilt head unit and all that exposure! Polecam is an extremely lightweight crane system with a very low profile head which works with a miniature camera in 2D or 3D as well as D-SLR's and Camcorders. To work with such a small manufactured sized camera crane lets me produce never seen perspectives and amazing shots. The people from Red Bull are stunned at what we have been able to achieve."
Since 2005 Christoph has been a specialised Polecam Operator (in his own words almost an addict). It seems like Christoph likes to rise to all technical and personal challenges. For example in 2007 he showcased the worlds first wireless Polecam with full wireless telemetry at Tour de France, as well as operating for television, he started operating Polecam for medical surgery training films. Due to his medical success, he is now the owner of "Medical Polecam Service" and he offers a modified system specifically for Medical applications.
Polecam offers many capabilities, so it is interesting for many different kind of jobs. Every job has own requirements in the workflow. HD Recording or working on fibre cable in a studio environment, working outside under windy conditions, being on a track or working under water...That is the reason why Polecam is the only tool in his arsenal of production weapons.
Christoph Steuer is an owner of two entire Polecam systems but that means 4 different camera types, four different types of Pan and Tilt Units, fibre system for signal transfer, colour correction, high end video converting, and many own and official Polecam add on`s...
Steffan Hewitt, Polecam's founder commented, "It's people like Christoph that keep us manufacturers on our toes. His high standards mean we always have to be on top of our game and his feedback is always constructive. Just what a manufacturer needs. In short, he makes us look good."