Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Expanding the Horizon of Filming; from Its Base on a North Northumberland Farm, Aerial Photography and Filming Company Horizon Is Spreading across the Globe. JOANNE BUTCHER Meets the Men Behind an Unusual North East Business

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Expanding the Horizon of Filming; from Its Base on a North Northumberland Farm, Aerial Photography and Filming Company Horizon Is Spreading across the Globe. JOANNE BUTCHER Meets the Men Behind an Unusual North East Business

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE BUTCHER

ZOOMING across the African plains, two cameramen capture incredible aerial shots of wildlife on the move. A few months later, the pair will be at Wimbledon, filming Centre Court flyovers which will be seen by 17 million viewers who tune in to watch Andy Murray claim his first victory in July.

And soon, they'll be heading to some of the UK's biggest stadiums to film for the Premier League.

But this fledgeling business started about as far away from the big-city technology hubs as you can get - on a decidedly low-tech farm in North Northumberland.

Horizon Aerial Photography, the brainchild of friends Paddy Davies and Jack Wrangham, is still based in the same Glendale workshop as it enters its fourth year in business. But their work has taken the pair across the globe.

The company specialises in aerial filming and photography, building and operating remote aerial camera systems which fly through the skies to capture the sweeping, panoramic shots others can't. Hovering high overhead, diving down low or panning in for close ups, their show reel is impressively acrobatic.

Paddy, who hails from Lowick, near Berwick, explained how they began the venture at the beginning of 2010.

"We both worked for a company which did remote control helicopters so we saw the potential for using the technology for more industrial or creative purposes," he said.

"Being in North Northumberland, the opportunities for that were fairly limited so we decided to have a go at starting our own business."

The pair started out taking aerial stills, mounting a single camera on what was, in essence, a very fancy remote-control helicopter.

The shots were a hit with local estate agents and others, the business quickly began to grow.

As they developed their technology Paddy and Jack, from Glendale, began to build a sophisticated airborne system.

"The system became smaller, lighter and more stable," said Paddy. "As is developed, the capacity for video increased."

Now, they have a fleet of four machines, of various designs, sizes and specialities, capable of capturing live or pre-recorded High Definition video footage up to 400ft in the air. They have filmed across the world, including work for BBC Natural History in Kenya, Africa, as well as closer-to-home footage for the broadcaster such as aerial shots of the Angel of the North.

Earlier this year, they worked with North East-born actor Robson Green as he explored the culture, heritage and landscape of Northumberland for an ITV series.

And they filmed last year's Connecting Light project, which saw Hadrian's Wall lit up by a string of flaming beacons as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and as well as fly-over shots for the Wimbledon 2012 app and TV coverage.

Horizon AP's biggest contract to date is a programme of filming for the Premier League, and they have been approached by producers from 'Nollywood', Nigeria's burgeoning film industry, as well as small indie directors in the UK.

"It is quite an interesting line of work," Paddy says, modestly. But it is not all glamour and glitz. The duo also have a steady income from the more practical use of their systems, which includes inspection of electricity pylons and other utilities infrastructure, and architectural surveys.

Horizon AP's success, Paddy says, comes from the fact that they can operate at a fraction of the cost of a cameraman in a helicopter, the traditional method for getting aerial footage. …

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