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Staring down the barrel

26 Jan 2016 3:19 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
Michael Engelbrecht recounts a new experience while shooting

Along with Dan, the DoP,  I was in the front passenger seat as we drove across Mount Wellington in the early hours of Sunday morning recently to shoot a music video. As 1st AC, I held a Ronin on my lap fully rigged and ready to go. Our director Tim was in the van ahead of us as we followed in convoy to our location, an empty office building. 



Along with Dan, the DoP,  I was in the front passenger seat as we drove across Mount Wellington in the early hours of Sunday morning recently to shoot a music video. As 1st AC, I held a Ronin on my lap fully rigged and ready to go. Our director Tim was in the van ahead of us as we followed in convoy to our location, an empty office building. 

There were no other cars on the road at that time so it was easy to see the unmarked police car quite blatantly tailing us. Thinking it just must be a quiet night for them, we didn't read too much into it and pretty soon we arrived at our location and the cop car disappeared.

About 15 minutes later, the sun was just starting to come up and a light rain had started falling on us. Tim and I were outside unloading the van and Dan was inside setting up when we amazed to hear, ‘Turn around and put your hands in the air!'    
I turned around to see, just like on an episode of cops, a bunch of police officers popping into view with their guns drawn and pointed directly at us. My first reaction was, obviously, terror (the first time anyone has pointed a gun at me before, let alone multiple guns).

Pretty soon, after seeing the uniforms and connecting that to the cop tailing us earlier, the thought ran through my head: 'It’s OK, it's just the cops and they've just made a massive stuff up, I'm probably not going to get shot'.

Very quickly, Tim and I found ourselves on the ground in puddles with officers standing over us, while the rest of them looked inside for Dan and this mysterious 'firearm' that I had been spotted holding in the front seat. Judging from the all of the camera/lighting gear and the lack of any weapons, they realized pretty quickly that we were as we said we were and, as if not wanting to admit they were in the wrong, sheepishly said we could stand up and relax. 

The one officer that did admit to the mistake was the one in the unmarked car who had called it in, and he was clearly apologetic and very embarrassed by the whole thing. 

Before they had even left, his colleagues had already begun teasing him about it, and no doubt they will for a long time yet. 

As ridiculous as it was, it could have turned out much worse than it did. I got a great story out of it, and that is one cop who won’t make the same mistake again. It’s just a shame we weren’t rolling. 

 






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