Tech by VICE

My MacGyver Moment in the Amazon Rainforest

It's really handy to have a demo specialist around when you suddenly need a wire stripper in the jungle.

by Claire Ward
Apr 29 2016, 12:00am

This article appeared in the April issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

In November 2014, I was in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, filming an anti-drug trafficking police force as they prepared to blow up an illegal airstrip used by cocaine smugglers.

As the guys were laying the dynamite, my colleague Kaj Larsen and I stepped out onto the airstrip to shoot a quick segment explaining what was happening. As we started rolling, a snap downpour drenched us, and the sound mixer was fried in seconds. Suddenly, I was living the cameraperson's worst nightmare in a remote location: We had no decent backup sound equipment, and we weren't close enough to civilization to replace the damaged component.

It occurred to me that we could make a replacement XLR cable out of my spare wires. Lo and behold, one of the demo men whipped a multi-tool from his belt and crafted me a substitute. It was a total MacGyver moment. It's really handy to have a demo specialist around when you suddenly need a wire stripper in the jungle. It took him two seconds, which was about all the time we had left before we had to hit record and film the explosion. I've never used it again, but it occupies a special spot in my kit bag as a reminder of how epic fuck-ups can also be opportunities to get creative.

—Claire Ward, Shooter/Producer, VICE News

This article appeared in the April issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.