19 June 2019

Dig with film crew

We haven't dug much for a while. But that didn't mean interest had faded. And to put it stronger: the dig had attracted external attention. Miles often had camera crews in his mine; Bear Grylls had scampered around in it, and Javier Botet had been scary in it, and God knows who else. And he had had the crew of the TV series 'Hidden Wales' in there too. That programme sounded cool! But not watching TV I had only heard of it.

It was that crew that wanted to see our dig. And he had agreed. And he had asked if I was willing to help. As there are two digs there, or three if you count our horizontal and vertical bit separately, and he didn't quite know what exactly they wanted, he had enlisted the ThursdayNighters altogether. So we gathered at the parking lot. I expected to meet Miles and the crew there, but nobody appeared. We just went up; they might be at the Manager's office. They weren't, so we went in. And found them in the adit. It turned out they had done a recce and were on the way to meet us on the parking lot after all, but were a bit late! Now we would just go ahead while they went out to get harnesses.

It took a while to get all these ThursdayNighters down the pitch. The easiest thing is just walk down the steps, secured to the handline, but several overly safety-conscious people abseiled the whole thing. Oh well. Then I showed Don and David how far we had progressed since the last time they had seen the dig. The others weren't keen! And when we were down again Don and David vanished into Dig 1, but I decided to see if the crew was imminent. And they were. But it took a while to get them down too! And without any further introduction the filming started. I mean, the filming started at the top, but the filming of us started. The presenter, Will Millard, came down and introduced himself to us on camera. And then the 'can you do that again?' 'can you stand here?' 'can you guys walk down when I say so?' started. But it wasn't too bad! Rarely more than two takes. I had seen much worse when I had been part of a crew looking after the presenter of a similar programme in Cornwall. And Will seemed to know how to keep non-professionals at ease.

The whole crew was quite small: James the producer, Nathan the cameraman, and Will the presenter. Nathan had one big camera that was only marginally bigger than the SLR David sometimes brings down, and then there were two GoPros. That was it! Oh and James had an additional big microphone in a bag. We went into Generator chamber and had a chat there, over the map, about where we were, what we had been doing, and where we were trying to go. That was a bit more talking on camera than I had anticipated. But I think it went OK! And then the men took their harnesses off as I warned their cowstails would snag, and we were off. We would first go through first squeeze of the the horizontal part of the dig; we would go into the first level, just talk about how many more squeezes there were, and then go back. The we would do the vertical dig all the way to the end. And so we did! I thought it was a pity we didn't do this part of the dig all the way to the end; I could easily see a double speed take of squeezing through all squeezes! But no.

When we were doing the vertical bit, which isn't overly spacious, it was decided Nathan would hide in a dead end we had dug and film Will scrambling past with me in tow; then I would take over the camera (one of the GoPros) and follow him all the way up. I was confident I could climb up one-handed. I've practiced! What I hadn't practiced was filming but they said anything I would get was bonus. And they would put me in the credits as a camerawoman!

We slithered back down. Nathan and Will did a few more takes at the bottom while James, Miles and I ate chocolate. I also scampered off to see how the ThursdayNighters were who I could hear in Generator Chamber. They were done in Dig 1 (which hadn't changed! Great! And maybe we'll even have a last stab at it) and were now pretty much waiting for us.

I went back; they were almost done! It turned out that Will had slipped while I had been in Generator Chamber. Oh dear! I felt guilty. He was our guest after all!

When we were done I asked for a group photo, but my camera wasn't collaborating so James took one on his phone for me, and then we put our harnesses/cowstails back on and headed out. It was a bit of a queue (Miles and I are up there in seconds but we've practiced a lot more than any of the others) but in the end we got up. And out. It was later than normal! I was getting yawny.

At the parking lot everyone said goodbye to everyone. The film crew hoped to be in Croesor the next day. I hope that will happen! And we will have to wait to see the results of our labours. It will be broadcast some time in 2020! Watch this space...

Crew pic! From right to left Nathan, Will, Miles and me. Pic by James.

No comments: