I Filmed the Foreign Secretary

I Filmed the Foreign Secretary

I filmed the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announce his candidacy for Prime Minister.

As the Publicity and Marketing Videographer for Haslemere Festival I was the only ‘member of the press’ and ‘media-type person’ allowed into the venue to watch and record his political speech.
It was a great opportunity to film a Member of Parliament and an experience I doubt many other media graduates or videographers in general will ever get, especially with what was announced during his speech, so politics aside I am incredibly grateful and proud of what I achieved.

On Friday 24th May 2019, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, gave a talk about the state of Brexit and the current political scene in Westminster. In the morning, just hours before Hunt would be in Haslemere, Theresa May announced she would be stepping down as Prime Minister. So this talk would suddenly be that more topical as the nation wanted to hear his thoughts on the matter as Foreign Secretary and whether he would take her place.

This was a localised event and had not been advertised outside of Haslemere however it generated a packed venue with tickets selling out the previous day. For security reasons though, the location of the event was not revealed until the night before, and kept secret during the event.

An hour ahead of Hunt’s arrival to the venue, two of his security team had come to assess the location and make sure everything was in order. I’ve never been in this type of situation before and didn’t quite know what to expect, so to make things easy for them I was super polite and open about what I was doing. I assumed they wanted to search my bags too so I took them to my set up and showed them everything I had brought with me, along with detailing how the talk was being filmed and why. They were cool with everything and let me get on which was great! Naturally I don’t want to cause any grief (especially when they’re armed guards) so if I build a rapport and be open and polite about what I do then everything can continue to run smoothly. I even got to ask them questions about being security guards and get a couple of jokes in. However, there was one issue which we had to deal with…

To get usable audio from Jeremy Hunt I needed to get a lapel mic on him, however these two security guards would not allow it. Their reason (which is fair) was that if a security threat were to happen and they needed to get the Foreign Secretary out of the building in a hurry, they don’t want to waste any time taking off a microphone pack and return it – they would just up and go.

I was in a bit of a dilemma, without a lapel mic how would I get clean and clear audio?! I did have my Zoom H4n and Rode NTG2 with me that I had been using as a reference mic through the whole festival, and I could easily fashion a mic stand from things around me, but as to how close I could get it to Hunt would be another question as I did not have a long enough cable to have the mic directly in-front of him while connected to my setup at the back of the venue to easily monitor sound levels.

I even thought of using this ‘reference mic’ as my main source of sound (keeping it on my setup so I could monitor the levels) but I knew no matter how high I could push the input level, the physical distance from microphone to Hunt would be too far to guarantee good, clear audio.

Thankfully, when Hunt and his entourage arrived, I introduced myself to them and explained my situation and they were happy for me to attach a lapel mic to him. And that’s when I actually got to meet Jeremy Hunt. We shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, and I attached a microphone to his tie. And I am so grateful I was given the okay to attach a lapel mic to him – The difference in audio quality is palpable!

ISO set to Auto due to constantly changing lighting

I was set up at the back of the venue out of the way of the audience and was using my Canon EOS 650D powered though mains adaptor, with my 80-200 f/4 zoomed in to make a mid-shot, Rode NTG2 phantom powered from my Zoom H4n as a reference mic, and a Tascam DR-08 with Lapel Mic on Jeremy Hunt.

Jeremy spoke for half an hour on Brexit and the current political situation and then went on to answer questions from the audience – and it was here that he announced that he would be throwing his hat into the ring and run for Prime Minister – and I got it on film! The audience in that venue were the first to hear of his bid to become Prime Minister and somehow I was the only person in that room to have it recorded – A tiny piece of political history as it would later be him and Boris Johnson as the two main candidates for Prime Minister.

This was big news and I knew my footage would be highly desirable by the media, so as soon as the event was over and Hunt returned my lapel mic I packed up and immediately began editing to have it uploaded by the afternoon. Obviously it was used by our town’s local newspapers, but also BBC, Channel 5, and ITV.

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