BGAN HDR’s quality helps film scoop major prize

13 October 2014: A documentary recreating an historic record-breaking biplane flight from Cape Town to London which was made using Inmarsat’s BGAN HDR service has scooped an inaugural film award.

The Aviatrix, directed by Annette Porter of London’s Nylon Films, was chosen as Best Film by the judges of the Explorers Film Festival who praised its quality and high production values.

The documentary follows adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor as she recreates Lady Mary Heath’s flight 85 years after she became the first person to fly the 10,000 mile route (16,000 km) solo.

‘Holy Grail’

“It was a real surprise and honour to reach the shortlist as we were up against some really big names, including a big production about Shakleton for Discovery and I was absolutely shocked – and thrilled –  that we won!” said Annette.

“Winning an award like this is the Holy Grail for an indie as it’s very difficult to distribute a one–off documentary like this. In addition to giving us a real morale boost, it opens doors.

“It also gives a great new ending for the once forgotten Mary Heath as she was Irish and the Explorers Museum – the sponsors of the award – is based in Ireland.”

Open cockpit

Tracey flew in The Spirit of Artemis, a 1930s Boeing Stearman biplane, which has a top speed of 95mph (153km/h), an operating altitude of only10,000 feet (3,000 metres) and a range of just 450 miles (724 km) – and an open cockpit exposed to all the elements.

Annette followed Tracey by plane, sending live broadcasts back to TV studios and sponsors using Inmarsat’s latest and fastest streaming service, BGAN HDR, which delivers the highest quality video in the world of mobile satellite communications.

The team also used Inmarsat’s solutions partner Livewire’s NetCaster app on iPhones to send real-time photos, sequences of stills and stored and edited video footage directly via BGAN HDR.

Weather forecasts

In addition, Inmarsat connectivity was integral to planning flight paths, checking weather forecasts and political situations in some of the world’s most turbulent countries. Annette also took an IsatPhone Pro satellite phone so the team could touch base with family, friends and colleagues

The award is given to films dedicated to showcasing the work of adventure filmmakers around the world.

Other finalists included three-part documentary, Shackleton: Death or Glory  produced for Discovery Channel; Arctic Crucible, an expedition to retrace American explorer, Adolphus Greely’s 1881 epic Ellesmere Island journey and Into the Empty Quarter, a desert journey following in the footsteps of British explorer Wilfred Thesiger.

The Aviatrix:

Mary Heath case study: Lady Mary Heath BGAN HDR case study