Emergency Helicopter Medics - Behind the scenes

We are nearly at the end of this seasons Emergency Helicopter Medics. We might be a tiny bit biased but we have been completely hooked! So for all you fellow fans, we sat down with Series Producer, Emma Fentiman, and Producer Director, Tim Penny, to ask them a few questions…

What are the challenges of filming the air ambulance and crew?

As TV producers, we’re used to being able to plan and control what we film, but with this, we have to accept that we don’t know what incidents the cameras will capture. This means being prepared to start filming with a moment’s notice and to make sure we capture everything – there’s no chance of a second take! Our team back in the office works hard to make sure we do justice to the incredible work of the medics.

How much footage do you need to film on average to get an hour’s content?

A lot! It takes around 40 weeks of filming to get enough for a 10-part series.

Is it tricky to film interesting footage without being intrusive?

It’s a fine balance. Someone’s day has taken a huge turn for the worse and it’s important we don’t make it even tougher by getting too close. Luckily, our cameras allow us to stand well back and still be able to cover each story. We also have extra cameras, like GoPros, to give us closer shots without being intrusive.

What other tricky filming challenges have you taken on?

We filmed at a coffee plantation in Brazil in the height of summer. We could only film for a few hours a day because from around midday the equipment was affected by the heat and things started to break!

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned shadowing the crew?

The crew are always so calm. No matter what’s happening, they’re always ready for the challenge and nothing is too much for them. Another unexpected thing is how effortless the pilots make it look, landing in the smallest of spaces. Their skill in getting the crew as close to the scene as possible is remarkable. I often found myself thinking they’d never make the landing, but they always did it with such ease.