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Chris Burton – Cameraman

Two decades in the industry, vortex cannons and a kit list that could put Sony out of business is surely an impressive overview for any freelance cameraman.

But when Aaron caught up with Chris Burton to talk about about everything he’s been up to in 2014, it was soon apparent that with Chris’ vast experience also came an admirable degree of versatility and range.

Based just north of Manchester, the endless list of locations Chris has worked in is in stark contrast to the UK with his work taking him all around the world as far as Zambia.

Taking a brief break from filming, Chris also managed to squeeze in 2 years building IPhone apps. This included an app inspired by Chris’ travels, which allows you to take a picture on your phone and send to UK printers to be mailed at the next available opportunity – . Chris then applied to TCC, determined to get firmly back behind the lens.
Throughout his career Chris has worked with some of the biggest companies in the UK, on multiple platforms, from Broadcast to Corporate. Clients include National Geographic, Discovery, Sky, ITV… in fact, it’s probably easier listing clients Chris hasn’t worked for. Along with this impressive credit list, Chris has also niched himself to some very specific and quite fascinating specialist experience. This includes a Motion Control Rig, Gigapan Robotic Head and Infra-Red lighting – the latter a bi-product of many years work for Sky Living’s Most Haunted.
The Motion Control rig is as impressive as it sounds. Chris explains – “I have shot both film and digital time-lapse sequences for many years and I now own a specialist 3 axis Motion Control Time-lapse rig. It allows me to put pre-programmed moves into time-lapse sequences and also shoot them at very high resolutions. It’s very useful for natural history documentaries and commercials. The rig can also be used as a compact motion control unit for VFX and CGI shoots”.
This is testament to the extra level of creativity that Chris is able to bring to a shoot. There is a real sense of control and thought behind his work, with a focus on the end product he desires and the client needs.

2014 has been a busy year for Chris both behind the camera and in other projects.

Ventures this year include TT Racing and various documentaries with ITV, commercials and a lot of work with Discovery Canada. He explains it was Discovery that brought him his favourite job of 2014, a 9 day contract which included no less than a Vortex Cannon (pictured below) which fires off a blast of air at 600mph to eliminate hail clouds from overhead.

“It’s usually used by farmers to protect their crops from weather damage. The client was really excited and wanted me to shoot it. It’s tricky as it just fires air so I put in some water based fluid which when the cannon fired produced a donut like ring. I shot it on a high speed camera to catch it, it really was amazing, when this goes off you can feel through your whole body!”

Chris also remembers fondly the work he did on the Manchester Great City Games, when the BBC transformed Deansgate’s shopping high street into a running track. Chris used 3 cameras on this shoot, including a rig built specifically for the project.

A stop motion rig set up for an entire week solar powered during the day and battery powered overnight (pictured). Here is a link to an example of Chris using this rig in Manchester – 

Even after all that Chris has also found the time to set up his very own Camera Accessory Company this October. Specialising in GoPro accessories, this has caught the interest of clients and fellow freelancers alike – 
As you can see, amongst all the stop motion rigs, vortex cannons and globetrotting Chris is a tricky man to pin down. He tells us he’s off again next week to Iceland and more specifically Eyjafjallajökull – the notorious volcano that brought Europe to a standstill a few years ago…Mind how you go Chris!