ERII sticker

ERII Queen's Funeral Windsor 19.9.2022

AKA Operation Lion – London Bridge

By recommendation, we received a call from Lammo who supplied several Jimmy Jibs covering many of the State Funeral locations. He was requested to source a telescopic crane for a specific shot along the Long Walk at Windsor.

Travelling back from a family wedding on the previous Sunday evening, a team was put together. By Monday lunchtime all crew details were submitted to the Met Police for security clearance.

Contracted to Sky TV Outside Broadcast, our images would be pooled to a global feed supplying all the TV networks. NEP Group supplied the cameras and OB mobile facilities which, at the Long Walk location, came from Switzerland due to the enormous demand and size of the occasion.

ERII Windsor
Tony Sankey & Johnny Donne
ERII Funeral 3
ERII Funeral 1

We were under strict instructions not to fly over the hearse and that permission from the Palace organisers to telescope out over the Long Walk itself was doubtful. The original requested shot was to pass over the crowd, getting as tight a shot of the crown resting on the coffin as we dare whilst tracking along with it for as long as possible.

Black suits and ties procured, we arrived on Sunday for the set up and rehearsals. The Louma was camera 9 of 12 with a mixed sound feed over the comms so that the crew could hear the director from the OB truck.

We spent considerable time practicing the move using a location buggy. We didn’t know what speed the coffin would be traveling and indeed, there were rumours that there would be a transfer back to a carriage at the Royal farm located at the beginning on the Long Walk. We also didn’t know who would be in the procession and how big it would be.

We showed the Sky commissioning exec what shot we could achieve if we were able to get in the middle of the road. It was decided not to rehearse it too much just in case the Palace officials became nervous. At the final camera meeting on Monday, the director left it up to us. If we felt we could do it and it we felt that it was safe he wouldn’t cut away, but stay on us for as long as possible. Apart from cut aways to crowd shots or a master wide, there was no other close coverage of the hearse available to him for the 400 metres that our shot covered.

As the procession approached our position, we had heard over the comms that there was one horseman carrying a tall flag. The first three minutes of the shot were controlled manually as the hearse got closest to us. We then decided to go for it! Once the tall flag had passed, we telescoped out to the centre of the road with marks for the length of arm and also its position. A vertical plane was then activated.

ERII Funeral 7
ERII Funeral 6

The vertical planning software then kept the lens perfectly symmetrical in the centre of the Long Walk with Windsor castle in the background as the Louma jibbed down as close as we dare to the procession which followed. As soon as the director cut away from us, the plane we deactivated back to normal telescope so that the arm could be retracted and out of the next camera shot.

In total, it was a six minute continuous shot going out live to more than four billion people. Someone remarked that that was more than half the population of planet Earth!