My TV career behind the camera – Ellis Roberts (Class of 2007)

Ellis Roberts, Class of 2007, tells us about his not so typical day at work as a Shooting Researcher, his passion for the role, and his top tips for breaking into the career.

Job title: “I’m a Shooting Researcher and Drone Pilot for the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol.”

What’s your typical day like?

One of the most exciting parts of this job is that days are rarely the same. Each production can be so fantastically different in both the content covered and the environment in which filmed.

One series for example would be filming Macaque Monkeys in Sri Lanka where you have the heat, humidity and busy surroundings. The next, you must venture to a very remote part of the Arctic Circle to find and film Arctic Foxes; where you must camp, hike for hours across the mountain range daily and endure cliff top blizzards in aid to film the behaviour.

What do you love most about the job?

Being on location. While a big part of the job is the research, planning and logistics of the filming, which is all great, once set up it’s then it’s time to go! Travelling to some incredible regions to document even more incredible animal behaviour is why I do the job and is certainly the most rewarding part.

What is the most unusual thing you have done in the job?

The most unusual thing is coral spawn IVF. While working on Blue Planet Live we filmed an incredible new conservation process being conducted by scientists on the Great Barrier Reef. During the mass coral spawning which only occurs one night a year, they collect the fertilised spawn in mass from healthy reefs to then distribute across struggling reefs, to regenerate them. The scale was truly staggering and amazing to see!

What has been your proudest achievement?

Seeing the end product, the programme, come together. It can be very demanding job, both physically and mentally… seeing it all come together in the edit and on the final programme gives a real sense of accomplishment!

What advice would you give someone starting a career like this?

Pick up a camera and start filming. Getting out there and shooting for yourself gives you both great experience and demonstrable examples of your passion to pass on to potential employers! Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice and absolutely for coffees.

Read another Old Wac story here!

Ellis Roberts