“The 7D is so compact you can jump on the back of a truck and get out of somewhere much more quickly, but it’s not as easy to focus and has a shallower depth-of-field. You have to use the live view mode so it’s hard to distinguish things in the background with a wide-angle and you can’t zoom. However, I have shot a lot that I could never have done on a normal video camera. I have also used it in very high contrast situations where the correspondent talking to the camera was backlit with bright clouds and the sun. I tried shooting with the normal camera using multiple filters in a matte box, but then put the 7D on the tripod and it was instantly a hundred times better. It handled the contrast range and got all the detailing from light to dark.”
The Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka
Matt Allard’s visual senses were subliminally tweaked as a small child growing up in Canberra where his Dad had a black and white darkroom. He also remembers being amazed by his uncle’s photography which included a lot of hand-coloured pictures.
In 1988 the family moved to the Boston area in Massachusetts, USA, and the local high school there had its own cable TV channel and TV equipment. Matt worked on the sports coverage and a number of other stories. Back in Sydney, he enrolled in a television production course and then joined Channel 9 to become an assistant cameraman. Later he was lured to Channel 10 and during his time there he was a Walkley Award finalist for his camera work on the Cronulla riots. In 2007 he moved to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, and joined Al Jazeera English (AJE).
Later that year, Matt travelled to northern Sri Lanka to cover the on-going guerrilla campaign being waged by the Tamil Tigers.
“The Tamils were very isolated and cut off from the rest of Sri Lanka and the world. There was a lot of trouble getting in food and supplies. It’s quite primitive and the kids go to school in bombed-out buildings, but they are very passionate people.