Captain Mau Gris is team leader for the British Army’s Combat Camera Team (CCT) based in Afghanistan throughout the summer 2013 as part of 1 Mechanized Brigade. Op Herrick 18′s CCT also includes Sergeant Barry Lloyd – video cameraman – and Sergeant Barry Pope – photographer.
The meaning of CCT becomes clear
Hi guys – its been a little while since I posted something but a fair bit has happened.
One of the sad duties I have to do is cover vigils of fallen comrades. It’s probably one of our most important tasks; documenting the vigil to a fallen serviceman, but you cannot help but feel a little scummy, a bit like the paparazzi as you take the photos and video of such a solemn occasion. I do wonder how people could do it for a living.
The team got its first run out as a deployed newsgathering unit. We had go down to Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand to cover the official changing of the Brigade from 4th Mechanized Brigade to 1st Mechanized Brigade. This happens when a new tour begins and a new load of people take over. We found ourselves working alongside Caroline Wyatt, the BBC’s Defence Correspondent and the British Forces Broadcasting Service guys.
We arrived a day early to film the goodbye Shura – which is an Afghan meeting with Afghan musicians and traditional food. There was this exquisite potato flat bread call Burkahra. All the top Helmand residents descended to say thanks to out-going Brigadier Bob Bruce and welcome Brigadier Rupert Jones.
With a real-time deadline of 12.30pm for 1pm News to get the material back to the UK in time, we had a real rush. The satellite decided it didn’t want to work. Great! So we had to rush around like mad men trying to hop on a computer anywhere we could. We managed it by the skin of our teeth and got to see our images on the news for the first time!
It was at this point that I began to realise the pressures and difficulties that traditional news teams must have when chasing a story. It’s not just being aware of the environment and the constraints on the kit, it’s getting the interviews, that are ‘clean’ – ie free from distraction in the picture and the sound, as well as the GVs (or general views) of whatever it is you are covering. That is before you have to worry about transmission back to wherever will be showing it!
Following that faff, we were prepared for the next deployment to Forward Operating Base Shawquat in the Nad-e Ali to see the Mercian regiment leave Afghanistan for the last time. Shawquat has is based around an old British fort that was used the last time the British were in Afghanistan! So we got some good pictures of where our predecessors would have stayed.
As you can probably tell I’ve been doing a fair bit of travelling which is just as susceptible to delay as in the UK. The Afghan weather plays havoc with the Helicopters so the Baz(es) and I have been doing what all good soldiers do, when they get free time – sleeping.
Next time – I will talk to you about filming the elite Brigade Reconnaissance Force in 3D – the first British troops to ever be filmed in 3D! I also will talk about the difficulties and constrains of filming in the Hospital.
See you next time guys. Take it easy.
Follow Mau on Twitter: @mau_gris