February 28, 2014
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At the end of October 2013 myself and my colleague Charlotte Cross flew to Kenya to join 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment as they began one of the British Army’s toughest exercises. Over the next 6 weeks we would live amongst the Paras of A Company, filming every aspect of there lives.
Our mission was to produce a 4 part documentary for BFBS on what it takes to be a Para, hopefully revealing what its like to be a soldier in one of the Army’s most elite units.
Filming on Sony HDR-AX2000’s and CANON DSLR we filmed the soldiers as they trained and bonded as a unit. I’d arrived with a preconception that majority of the lads would be hardened veterans of Afghanistan, but that simply wasn’t the case. Over half of A Company were more or less straight out of basic training. This was a new generation of Paras, a generation who it likely will never travel to Helmand. We watched them develop from fresh faced, recently qualified recruits into established members of a Battalion.
During our time in Kenya, we would from time to time (when a break in the training allowed) send back news reports for Forces News on the progress. Focussing on the main events of the exercise, these reports can be seen below.
This was the first time that either of us had filmed a documentary, and the learning curve was immense (something we’re only truly starting to grasp now we’re in the edit). Returning in early December we set about logging almost forty hours of rushes in preparation for entering the edit suite at the start of 2014.
Progress at the moment is slow but steady, we’ve almost finished three episodes (rough cut) and we think it seems to make sense. As of yet we’re not sure when the series will go to air but it looks like it will tie in with the launch of BFBS’s new channel which is scheduled to be launched around Easter.