Media students explore nature documentary film making with Piers Leigh

Media students have been treated to a visual and academic feast with a visit by widely acclaimed Director of Photography Piers Leigh as part of the Sixth Form academic enrichment programme. Piers has spent the last twenty years working on a wide range of documentary programme styles including travel, observational, reality and interview shows. He explained the techniques that he uses when working with prominent presenters such as David Attenborough and Stephen Hawking as well as how he survived filming on numerous challenging adventures and expeditions, including trekking, camping and putting both his mind and his body to a test. At one point in the lecture, he demonstrated to enthralled students how he managed to film a special on climate change whilst flying over glaciers in a helicopter that did not have any doors.

Students were also allowed a glimpse into exclusive footage that Piers has recently been filming looking at natural history revelations and discoveries in the pyramids and tombs of ancient Egypt.

Piers was able to elaborate to students the varying and diverse way that you can enter the media industry and the importance of feeling passionate and determined to enter the field that they would like to pursue.

Upper Sixth media student Charlotte said: “It was a great chance to listen to somebody who had such a breadth of experience in filming. I look forward to applying some of his own filming advice into my practical work.” Another Upper Sixth student Charlie said: “It is enthralling to think of the opportunities that our current study of Media may lead us onto if we are determined enough. I certainly hope to take some of his advice on board.”

Piers was able to explain the difference between the study of genres and how to film in incredibly demanding and extreme conditions deserts, mountains, jungles, open ocean and ice-waterfalls. During his career, he has visited over 63 countries so was able to explain to students how many different experiences that his career has enabled him to have.

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