Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Interview, tits and progress...

January has been fairly busy in terms of filming and editing. I am trying to finish off a short first episode to introduce the project and the series. Currently, I am waiting for the opportunity to film in a downpour of rain, which feels strange as I am sitting here looking out at a grey, drizzly day wishing for a sudden deluge that I can get out in. I do not think I will have to wait much longer.  

A rough storyboard for the Intro film

The edit for the Interview for the Shark Trust has finally been completed! I could not embed it into the blog for some reason, so for anyone that has not seen it, it is up on YouTube here: Shark Trust Interview.

A huge thank-you goes out to everyone that has helped get the project kick-started so far; from Sam and Tim who have been great companions, inspiration and camera operators; Cat and the from the Shark Trust; and to all the photographers that kindly gave me permission to use their photos to enhance the interview - notably Lauren Smith of Sharkiologist and Kat Murphy, an old friend from Plymouth Uni.

Inspired by the Big Garden Birdwatch , I got a short clip put together of my favourite small garden visitors, it is not much, but I could not resist, with their small round bodies, long pointed tail, and those lovely subtle pastel colours. 

And for those viewing on mobile devices, you can watch it on YouTube here: Long Tailed Tits

Quite a common theme for discussion by independent filmmakers seems to be budget, or the lack of one. I now see why, and do not want to make a big deal about it, but I am in the same boat - scraping by for the time being. Which means you will often find me looking a bit tatty, and finding obscure, home-made ways to cut costs. Which is where having a carpenter for a Dad and a mechanically-minded Uncle comes in really handy.

I made a shoulder support out of an old rifle I salvaged, and took my dodgy design to my uncle, who kindly sculpted it and fitted appropriate screws in the right places, and came up with this...

I have always preferred practicality over image...

Although, I may have to paint it yellow and tie pink ribbons to it as a few people have already thought I was walking with a rifle of some kind.

Filming from the garden shed, I came across this very sleepy peacock butterfly which has decided to use the shed as a safe place to overwinter.

One of few species to  overwinter - the peacock butterfly

The introduction film is coming along nicely, with filming at sunset taking place up at the top of the hill in Stotfold Cemetery. Which could not have gone better, as rain clouds drifted across the setting sun, creating shadows and back-lit shafts of rain.

Haz and Sky join me up top of hill for some filming

Filming the sun as it sets

Doing a bit on camera...

In my attempt to show people that you can connect with nature whilst doing pretty much any daily activity, I spent some time filming in the garden, having a cup of tea, watching as the robin, blackbird, dunnock and wood pigeons foraged from the food I had put out. I wanted to include a shot of myself drinking tea, with the feeder in the background. Three cups of tea and twelve takes later, I was finally happy with one of the shots! 

One of many cups of tea in the garden

Robin taking the cheesy remains in the bowl

Planning for a filming schedule for the months to come is extremely exciting. Writing the stories I want to tell, and researching the places and people I want to visit, keeps my mind constantly ticking until the moment I fall asleep. Soon I will be editing the footage from the seal trip to Norfolk from way back in December. Hopefully, by the end of February the Intro and Seal episode will be complete.

It was not until I tried to plan, film and edit the interview, and the forthcoming episodes, that I realised just how much effort, time and commitment is necessary to produce films to the standard people envision. It is a recipe of hundreds of minute details that make the whole, as the tiniest element can change the feel of the entire production. My respect for filmmakers, presenters, editors, writers, cameramen and soundies has gone through the roof. As I begin piecing them together, I am now getting in  touch with musicians about doing soundtracks - another vital ingredient to the process!


  1. A wonderful little snippet of LTT behaviour :) enough to make anyone become interested in birds and nature! Looks like you are getting along well with everything! Such a great concept that you are working on :) x

    1. Thank you Lou :) I really appreciate it! The editing is taking far longer than I had expected, but hopefully it will be worth it! Getting close now. x

  2. Well I hope you have enough money to keep your boots waterproof! Just terrible weather for capturing anything outside. Love the LLTs they are so cute to watch.

    1. haha! Was such horrendous weather!! But, yesterday was incredible! Butterflies galore! Thank you for commenting!