Filming Dangerman: The Incredible Mr Goodwin

Dangerman: The Incredible Mr Goodwin first hit our screens in March on Watch and saw daredevil escapologist Jonathan Goodwin perform a range of death-defying stunts that amazed and shocked the nation.  Just one of the several memorable stunts saw Goodwin hang upside-down by his feet from the London Eye on a burning rope locked in a straitjacket – certainly not your average day at the office.

Here’s an insight into just some of the stunts and pieces of kit used on the show.

dangerman: the incredible mr goodwin

The brief

Series director Jon Richards needed to work with crew and kit that would allow him to capture these amazing stunts first time. There would be no second chances.

His brief as series director looked challenging from day one - to film a series of impossible sounding stunts in one take, in a series of challenging locations: on lakes, in the desert, even on a speeding car. In addition to this, Richards wanted to create a series that looked as expensive and as filmic as possible, taking inspiration from the look of Made in Chelsea but the excitement of the Bond and Batman films.

Richards turned to Procam TV, the London-based broadcast hire facility, to help him create his vision. Together, they decided to use a smaller crew to film the project, but would film on the highest quality equipment.

The ultimate director’s toy

Throughout the series the team faced many technical hurdles, with Goodwin performing a variety of impressive stunts on a daily basis. Richards’ favourite stunt centred on a 360 degree car climb: “Jonathan went out of a window, over the roof and back in again, with his witnesses in the car freaking out. He then went out of the window again, and (in a world’s first), went under the car and back in. How do you cover this? There was only one way I knew of and that was with a Russian Arm (a remote-controlled, vehicle mounted crane) mounted to a 130mph AMG Mercedes… the ultimate director’s toy.”

To capture these challenging shots with the required look, Richards consulted with Procam TV (who he refers to as The A-Team because if their problem solving), “It was critical that the look of the show was not compromised despite the budget constraints.” 

dangerman: the incredible mr goodwin

Shooting handheld with Sony’s PMW-F3

The series was shot predominantly handheld on Sony PMW-F3 cameras with PL glass and Pix240s (an external recorder). Handheld was chosen to ensure that the cinematic look wouldn’t undermine the stunts’ reality and therefore risk them appearing unbelievable. Using handheld cameras also meant a high volume of behind-the-scenes-footage could be shot, including filming Jonathan and his family’s journey as he tackled these once in a lifetime events.

15 cameras at once

Although the project involved fewer cameras than originally expected, it was by no means small
scale. On some of the stunts there were up to 15 cameras rolling as Richards chose to record everything, even rehearsals, and kept a camera rolling during blocking. Filming such dangerous stunts, he wanted to make sure that nothing was missed, and was able to use these rehearsal shots to add exclusive behind the scenes footage to the series.

The Knowledge would like to thank Jon Richards and Procam TV for giving us an insight into the series. To follow Procam on Twitter, click here. For further details about Dangerman: The Incredible Mr Goodwin, please visit the UKTV website.

Richard’s most recent project was a covert filming show with Procam TV using their Sony PMW-F55 cameras, which is due to air later in the year. He is currently directing Top Gear.