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Whilst the actors were getting ready for an outdoor opera performance in the village of Dinggou, presenter Michael Wood (L), production assistant Wang Qian (center), and line producer Mandy Li (R), escape from the cold to warm up with a cup of tea
We visited She County deep in the countryside in Huizhou province in February and the crew had to wrap up warm.
While we were in Suzhou we climbed to the top of the Bao'en Temple Pagoda in an attempt to get some great top shots of the city. We also happened to get this great pic of our soundman Mick Duffield. Mick was the only person to go on every single shoot! He's seen every bit of China.
Michael Wood's favourite hot bread stall selling shaobing breads. (Left to Right) Cameraman Jeremy Jeffs, production assistant Wang Qian, Michael Wood, stall owner, camera assistant Shi Xu, soundman Mick Duffield and line producer Mandy Li.
Here's our brilliant soundman Mick Duffield carrying all his gear over a bridge in Suzhou.
Our cameraman Jeremy Jeffs smiles for our behind-the-scenes photo by a picturesque canal in Wuxi.
Camera assistant Shi Xu (L) was with us on almost every shoot. Going through the rushes we often see comical (sorry Shi Xu!) close-up shots of his face as he sets up the GoPro. Mandy Li (R) is our excellent line producer - without her expertise, contacts and experience most of this would not have been possible! Here are Shi Xu and Mandy together in Wuxi.
Carrying all the kit is not too bad when it's such a beautiful day in Wuxi. (Left to Right) camera assistant Shi Xu, line producer Mandy Li, cameraman Jeremy Jeffs, soundman Mick Duffield and presenter Michael Wood.
There was nowhere in the area to grab a cup of tea or coffee. So soundman Mick brought out his special coffee-making kit and set up shop. (Left to Right) camera assistant Shi Xu, associate producer Tina Sijiao Li, production assistant Mingming Zhou, cameraman Bosie Vincent, presenter Michael Wood, our lovely driver, soundman Mick Duffield and producer/director Rebecca Dobbs.
When out on a shoot, everyone has a vital role. Although it may seem trivial (and slightly boring), holding an umbrella over the kit is of extreme importance! Here is production assistant Wang Qian on a very hot day on the city walls in Xi'an.
Cameraman Peter Harvey had the difficult task of setting up and directing the crane shots on Xi'an city walls. There couldn't have been a better man for the job. As you'll see in the programmes, these shots are brilliantly framed to capture how the old city contrasts - but co-exists - with the modern.
Our Chinese crew filming in a spice factory run by the local collective in Nanjiecun. The smell of turmeric was so pervasive that all the trees in the street outside the factory smelled of the spice. The aroma was overpowering, and the cicadas were deafening! (Left to Right) Sound assistant Kong Jun, cameraman David Tong and production assistant Matias Wang.
So finally the crane is in position! On the left is our soundman Mick Duffield. On the right is cameraman Peter Harvey with camera assistant Shi Xu. And in the middle is our hard-working, enthusiastic crane team.
It may seem like all the action happens on location, but we do have lots of fun in the Maya Vision office too! Here are Cambria Bailey-Jones (L), Helen Lam (center) and Fotina Papatheodorou (R) sorting through some of the tapes on their way to the edit suite. Who can guess how many tapes we have? (And this doesn't even include everything we shot on card!)
Here is our wonderful associate producer Tina Sijiao Li (L) with series producer/director Rebecca Dobbs. Tina worked on the series from start to finish, setting shoots up from our offices in London and flying out to China. She also features in the programmes (and on the website) both on-screen and in voice-over, see if you can spot her! Rebecca is always keen to talk and engage with people from all walks of life. Here she is learning from local farmers about how to grow sweetcorn!
Tiananmen Square, in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace with the portrait of Chairman Mao. (Left to Right) production assistant Wang Qian, presenter Michael Wood, soundman Mick Duffield, cameraman Jon Wood, producer/director Rebecca Dobbs, camera assistant Shi Xu, and line producer Mandy Li.
This was probably one of our favourite shoots - at a temple fair in Zhoukou, Henan with about a million people celebrating the mythical mother goddess Nüwa and her brother Fuxi. (Left to Right) production assistant Wang Qian, producer/director Rebecca Dobbs, cameraman David Tong and presenter Michael Wood.
Here's the crew on a replica Ming ship off the south coast of Hong Kong island. Shi Xu is showing off some of his best phone pics to Ka Kee Pyne who helped us set this day up with a local children's charity. (Left to Right) series researcher Susanna Thornton, camera assistant Shi Xu, local fixer Ka Kee Pyne, presenter Michael Wood and producer/director Rebecca Dobbs.