Lundy Island Short Films- Editing

I’ve just completed the editing of the two Lundy Island short films: ‘ Lundy Island Marine Conservation’ and ‘Lundy Island Dolphins’. I wasn’t expecting to have to do two of them but I have really enjoyed creating them and I hope that I have shown Lundy Island for the spectacular place it is.

Although it would have been nice to have had all of the crew involved in the edit, I do think that with it being so short it would have been detrimental to the films

A screen cap from the ‘Lundy Island Marine Conservation’

and I feel that it would have taken even longer to complete them. Rachel did help me script the Marine Conservation film and narrated it so I do feel as though she had quite a lot of input into them and expressed quite a lot of interest. However I understand that due to work commitments other people were unable to, which  has really not hindered the films at all.

I would have like to have used other groups footage, as was the original plan, as I am aware that they had some good time lapses of the ferry leaving and arriving which would have been ideal for the dolphin video. However, I found it difficult to contact them about it and by the time I would have got hold of it, it would have been too late to complete the edit to a high standard.

A screen cap from ‘Lundy Island Dolphins’

Overall, I am proud of the videos I have created as I feel that they do get across the subjects they are supposed to portray clearly and effectively. Although I was not expecting to have had to record a voiceover myself, I really enjoyed doing it and it was perfect practice for the future. I just hope that The Landmark Trust enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them and that people see just how incredible the marine life around Lundy Island really is.

To see the finished films please visit the ‘Lundy Island’ section 

Advertisements

Lundy Island Filming- Day 3

Day 3 was sadly our last day filming on Lundy Island, the whole trip seemed to go so fast. This day began with a spot of underwater filming in the rock pools down in the Landing Bay with Rachel and Jordan and Chris later on. I had decided that it was fair that they got the chance to have a go at something like this as they

Life in the Lundy rockpools

didn’t get the chance to yesterday and as far as I know they enjoyed it. One thing we all didn’t enjoy so much was the walk down to the rockpools. Whilst we had initially thought that the walk up was difficult, walking down it was so much harder as you had to stop yourself running off the edge of the cliff! It was such a relief to get to the bottom and get stuck into the filming.

I have to admit, I was really looking forward to doing this as I have a huge interest in filming with marine life and I’m thinking of getting my own underwater camera housing for my Canon 550d so it was ideal to get some idea of what it was like. Although it was a little bit worrying to begin with putting the camera into the water, it was intriguing to see what the rockpools looked like under it, so colourful and bright. Unfortunately we were unable to film the prawn we saw or the dogfish but we did see a seal watching us in the distance which even gave us a wave by shaking it’s head! My health and safety concerns did return here as the

The seal bobbing about near the rockpools

rocks were incredibly slippy due to the sheer amount of seaweed but we all did well not to fall over and luckily nobody was injured.

After a quick break sitting on the jetty, we made our way back up the dreaded hill back to civilisation and lunch in the village. Chris was also filming for his documentary so we helped him with an interview with Nigel the shopkeeper and even appeared in it buying various snacks from the shop. I really like the idea for his documentary ‘Life on the Island’ because people on Lundy have such a different lifestyle to us and I think it’ll be very interesting to see the contrast in them.

We then headed back to the pub for lunch and to get some editing out of the way. Although electrical equipment is strictly banned here, they allowed us to sit in the restaurant with our laptops which meant that we were able to exchange footage before we got home which was really helpful to get out of the way. I also went to film some more of the properties on the island with Mirella and asked whether we could film inside them. In the past, I would have been too nervous about being rejected to even ask but after being the location manager on another project and finding interviews for my documentary, this fear has disappeared. I’m glad it has because I want to be a documentary maker and worrying about asking people for things would have really held me back.

Before long, it was time to head back down to the ferry to leave Lundy. Myself, Rebecca, Mirella, Rachel and Jordan all left first so that Rebecca could film her pieces to camera in the Landing Bay before we had to leave and after watching them, I really think her documentary is going to be really good.  It’s a shame that we didn’t have longer on the island as I feel that we didn’t get to see everything I

The dolphins came close to the boat, leaping and riding in the boat’s bow

wanted to, like the northern side of it and more of the wildlife around. Despite this, on the way back we did get to see some more common dolphins leaping around the boat which I really did enjoy and managed to get some more good shots of.

Overall, the trip to Lundy has been a really good experience as it has taught me a lot about what I want to do in the future. I have seen what it is like to live on the island powered by a generator and it has really opened my eyes and ears to the level of noise back in Cardiff. We were only there a few days yet I’m still struggling to get used to the sound of sirens! I am definitely considering re-visiting Lundy in the future to see the seals and all the other sea life once again.

Lundy Island Filming- Day 2

After the first day’s exciting events, when I woke up on the second day I have to admit I was a little bit worried about what would happen on this day. It had been mentioned that to film part of my film ‘Lundy Island Marine Conservation’, myself and my group would be taken out on a RIB boat so that we could get close to the seals and do some underwater filming with their equipment. I was really looking forward to that element as I definitely am ‘a boat person’ but what I

On the boat

wasn’t looking forward to was choosing who would come with me as not all of us would be able to go.

At half 10 we met with Derek Green and Derren Fox, the wildlife ranger for the island, to talk over our plans for the interviews and for the filming which is where I had to make my decision. I decided that Rebecca really needed to come on the boat as she was also filming for her documentary so this was an ideal opportunity for her to get some good footage as well and Catherine Williams had already been chosen by Chris Thomas, the production manager, as she was doing the behind-the-scenes video. So this meant I had to decide between Rachel, Mirella and Jordan. It was a very difficult decision as they are all more than capable of filming but in the end I chose Mirella partly because she had shown a lot of interest and partly because the other two said that they didn’t mind and were

The seals were intrigued by the boat as we went past

planning on filming some GVs for the other films.

After this short meeting, we packed up all our equipment and headed out to the landrover to be taken down to the Landing Bay where we got on the boat. I was very happy that we didn’t have to walk down this bumpy hill today as it was very misty around and I was a little paranoid that there would be another accident. Once we arrived at the jetty, we all clambered out and were taken to be fitted with life jackets whilst Derren went to get the boat before we all climbed in. To begin with, it was full of water so I was rather pleased I had worn my wellies or I would have been soaked straight away!

This boat trip was one of the best filming experiences I have ever been involved in. We managed to get quite close to some seals who were peering out of the water curiously watching us and even saw a puffin and many of the resident seabirds, including the razorbills. After doing a lot of research on the marine life prior to going I found it really interesting to see the creatures I had read about and I only wish that I could have seen those that lived under the waves as well. Talking of waves, it was quite a challenge clinging on to the boat whilst holding a

Some of the many seabirds we saw on the boat

camera as well not for my safety, but for my cameras! It wasn’t too bad as we went around the East coast of the island but once we turned the corner and hit the currents of the Atlantic Ocean on the West it started to get really bumpy and I don’t think I’ve had that much fun for a while. Looking back at the footage, it is a bit shakier than I would have liked but considering it was quite rough,  I am very pleased with the interview I managed to film with Derren with the sea bird nesting grounds in the background and I’m sure it will be ideal for the film.

After the boat trip, an interview with Derek and a bumpy ride back to the village, myself, Mirella and Rebecca all had a spot of lunch before heading back out to do some more filming. Although we needed more GVs for this film and Rebecca’s documentary, Chris had told us to do some filming of the other accommodation near by for another short film about that.  I liked having the opportunity to film something else as it also gave me the chance to be a little bit nosy! We headed out towards the castle to film that and to also film from the vantage point it has over the east side of the island. I managed to get some good shots of the ‘No Take Zone’, an area of water where nobody is allowed to remove any living species for the film which I know will be perfect to show it’s location. I would have liked it to

The Landing Bay- ‘No Take Zone’

have been as sunny as the day before but at least it wasn’t as misty as the morning and you can still see it.I also helped to film some more of the locations later on with the rest of the group which was really interesting as we got to see another part of Lundy I hadn’t seen before and it was incredibly beautiful.

On this day, we had a much earlier night than the night before as after tea in the tavern (I had the best cumberland sausage and mash ever!) and a quick game of The Logo Game and ghost stories, we all climbed into bed and, in my case, died. I’m glad we did have an earlier night as day 3 was an early-ish start at 7am so I needed my crew to be as awake as possible.

Lundy Island Filming- Day 1

Late last night I came back from our 3 day trip to Lundy Island and I have to say it was one of the best filming experiences I have ever had. Getting to film the wildlife was such a good opportunity and the experience of a lifestyle that is so different to my own was incredibly interesting and I have learnt such a lot. Now I’m thinking about going back to Lundy in the future once I have my underwater housing for my camera and diving with the seals and see the marine life closer as it seems to be a fantastically lively place.

The very early start to the trip began at 5:15 am when we all met up and clambered into the minibus. After a stop or two and a bit of a tense moment getting onto the ferry MS Oldenburg, we made our way across the Bristol Channel where we encountered one of my favourite species of cetacean, the common dolphin. I’ve had quite a lot of experience with them before on the  way and in Spain a few years ago but having not seen them for a while, I was (I think) rather over excited to see them again!

I think I managed to get quite a lot of good footage of them leaping about around the ferry and prancing through it’s wake and I’m really pleased that I was able to practice filming them again, especially with it being what I want to do as part of my career. Now I’m really looking forward to going back up to the Moray Firth in Scotland to film the resident bottlenose dolphins there!

After the excitement of the dolphins, I took a few more photographs of the seals and the birds as we arrived in the Landing Bay of Lundy. Now, I’d heard that there was a little bit of a walk up to the village but this was something else- a quite steep uphill walk that seemed to go on forever. It might just be me being overdramatic about it but carrying the equipment up here was quite a difficult and painful experience but at least now I am a little bit more prepared for doing the same in the future- I definitely need to get used to this. Once at the top, we all made our way to where we would be staying for the next few days,  a lovely place called The Barn.

Following a short introduction to Derek Green, the Lundy Ranger, and the

When we set off to film, it was very sunny and warm

wildlife wardens we separated into our groups and went off to explore our surroundings and begin filming. I had originally planned for us to start off by filming the seals in the Landing Bay but after the long walk down none of us particularly wanted to head back down there for a while and so we walked in the opposite direction towards the north. It was an incredibly sunny day so straight away we were overheating and so we ended up sitting on some rocks overlooking the sea in order to feel the cool breeze and to get some good shots of the landscape and scenery. Although only a few of us were filming, with it being so warm and relaxing nobody seemed to mind and instead took in the views andpointed out various things for us to film. It would have been nice to have had everybody filming as at times I was a little bit worried that they were getting bored however I heard no complaints so as far as I knew it was going well.

That was until we hit the first and only injury of the trip- Rebecca Konig hit her head on a rock which subsequently began to bleed (her head, not the rock). At first, everybody was laughing as she was so careful at not damaging her camera but once we saw the blood and knew the extent of the injury, we all snapped into serious mode in order to make sure that she was alright. Unfortunately we were out of range for the walkie-talkies to work no matter how many times we tried and none of us had any mobile signal. It was a pain but we knew that this was the case and so Mirella Burgess and Rachel Davies ran off to get help whilst me and Jordan Declaire stayed behind to make sure that Rebecca was ok. For me this was really making sure that we kept her spirits up and distracting one man who came over to ask us whether we were cetacean watchers in order to prevent her getting any unwanted attention. In any other circumstances I would have been happy to

Rebecca not long before the rock incident

talk to this man as he had mentioned that they had seen some Minke whales just off the coast but at this time I had other things to think about.

Eventually, help came in the form of the wardens in a landrover along with Rachel and Mirella. After Rebecca’s wound was all cleaned up and the accident forms filled out, we decided that we’d perhaps had a little bit too much excitement for the day and headed back to The Barn to have a bit of food before heading out to the tavern for a few drinks. When we got there, to begin with we felt a bit like “the kids that nobody likes at school” (Rachel Davies, 2012) as we had managed to secure a rather large table in the middle of the room for when the rest of the group arrived. However, as there was only 5 of us on it at that stage it did look at bit like we were being avoided until slowly everybody else trickled through the doors.

I have to admit that I wasn’t really wanting a late night after only 2 hours sleep the night before but after the lights went out in the pub at 11 due to Lundy being powered by generators, it seemed to get a lot more exciting in a way and it gave me a surge of energy. In the end, we all went to bed at about half 2 and in hindsight this perhaps wasn’t the best with a full day of filming ahead but I do think that it gave everybody a chance to relax into the trip which could only have benefitted production.

Looking back, I do think that even from the first day on Lundy Island I learnt a lot about the importance of health and safety and I think perhaps we could have been a little bit more prepared. I am pleased with how we all dealt with the crisis though as nobody panicked and instead all stuck together to help each other.

Trouble With My Documentary…..

Throughout the 8 months I have been working on my documentary ‘The Price of Life’ I have been faced with quite a few problems from finding interviewees and stories to editing and I am pleased to say that I have learnt a lot from this experience. As Alan Rosenthal says,

“Everyone knows that things will go wrong-that the weather will be foul, that cameras will break down, that planes will be missed, that cables will be lost, that food will be lousy and that tape recorders will go out of sync. But if you can remain calm and humorous and calm under those situations, then things will be alright” (2007:201)

I have to say it has been really difficult to stay calm with these situations but I think overall my documentary has come out well considering and I am happy with the outcome. However, whilst I thought I was done and the editing was complete, I was sadly mistake as I noticed some of the sound was not quite right and the credits were inaccurate. As I really want this documentary to be the best that it can be I was going to sort out these minor issues and finish it. But this is where things started to go wrong once again.

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 19.36.35Yesterday my hard drive broke and whilst normally this wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, my laptop doesn’t have the space to hold all my HD video files and so they had to be stored on that which means I can’t re-edit anything anymore. I’m really annoyed about this because I feel that these mistakes are really letting the overall programme down. Luckily I constantly export the movie file every time I finish an editing session just in case something like this happens as it has taken a lot of effort and I don’t want to lose it all completely. This means I did have a version to hand in for my journalism deadline but it’s not one I am completely happy with and just wish I could have made those changes. Although with this version we managed to sort out the sound problems there was nothing I could do about the mistake in the credits. This is not too much of an issue but I would have like it to have been perfect.

Documentaries are incredibly hard to make. They require a lot of patience and a lot of time but are very fulfilling throughout. As an aspiring wildlife documentary maker this experience has been very enlightening and despite the many problems I have faced, I have never wanted to do this as a career more than I do now. I am going to re-edit my documentary once I can have my hard drive recovered as I am determined to make it as good as I possibly can.

Rosenthal, A (2007). Writing, Directing and Producing Documentary Films and Videos. 4th ed. USA: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. 201.

Dogs, Dogs Dogs- A Couple of Doggy Interviews

Over the past week whilst I have been at home in Preston I have filmed a couple more interviews for my documentary about the issue of dog abandonment in Preston. I think it’s important for me to look at other areas of Britain when I am talking about how the recession is having an impact on pets as it is a national issue and I feel that simply focusing upon South Wales would be a little bit restrictive.

Preston City CentreThe first interview I conducted was on Monday with Andy Howard who works in the Environmental Health Department at the Preston City Council headquarters. I originally contacted him about the possibility of filming alongside one of the dog wardens and he seemed very interested in being a part of my documentary. I am glad about this as he gave me the facts and figures I needed. For example, according to the Stray Dogs Survey commissioned by the UK’s largest dog welfare charity Dogs Trust has shown a distinct dip in the number of stray dogs collected in Preston compared to the rest of the UK. During the interview Andy talked a lot about this and about the microchipping events the council runs which he thinks is  a key contributor to this doggy decline. As far as I am aware this interview went incredibly well and I got a lot of information from a different  perspective and I know that this will help with giving my documentary more depth.

My only concern with it is that we were filming in an office which was not the most interesting of locations and the way he was positioned meant that the light was shining onto his glasses. Although this was the only quite place in the building we could film and him being seated in that position was the only way that  I could position the camera and frame him well, I am disappointed and would have liked it to have been better quality. Nevertheless, I do not think that it is so bad that it will have ruined my documentary and the quality of what he is saying is good anyway.

My second doggy interview was on Friday with a dog warden, Sonya Wheeler, and after having some difficulty managing to locate her due to various council building being closed down I feel that it went really well. Unfortunately, the office we had to film in was a little bit small which meant I couldn’t really position her differently but by physically bending down to interview her on the chair meant that she was well framed anyway. I would have thought that as a dog warden you would want to highlight the problems with stray dogs however after it taking months to find one to talk to I knew that this wasn’t the case and in this interview, although I tried my hardest, I did get some rather short answers. Despite this, I also got a couple of good answers about the specific breeds they see more commonly than others and why she thinks this is so, which I think will be a good direction to take in my documentary.

In terms of the cutaway shots I got, due to the building being relatively tiny and plain there wasn’t that much of a range and I tended just to get a variety of shots of the same things. I am pleased with my set-up shot of Sonya though as she is walking to the dog warden van and getting in it which I feel is a good introduction to what she does. I would have liked to have got some footage of her collecting a dog on the streets as gaining this actuality element would have really brought something to my documentary however with the numbers of stray dogs going down in Preston, Sonya informed me that it is quite rare to collect one nowadays and with the limited amount of time I had, it would have been too difficult to wait around. I do think that what I do have, however, is ideal for this section of the programme.

Overall these two interviews have been a success and I feel that by getting a different angle on dog abandonments and looking at one area where the figures are going against the national norm is going to really broaden and deepen my documentary.

Paws-ing For Thought: Filming At The Society For Abandoned Animals

This afternoon I took along my mother Susan McGarrie to help me film at the Society for Abandoned Animals in Manchester to show how smaller pets like rabbits and cats are also feeling the effects of the credit crunch.

We arrived there at about 12:00pm and upon arrival I met Aimee Ennis who I was to be interviewing. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the woman I was supposed to be talking to was unable to make it and although had mentioned to me that I would be interviewing Aimee instead, hadn’t actually mentioned it to Aimee herself. Luckily, she was fine with me filming her and so the interview went ahead.

It was decided that the best place to do this would be the cat part of the centre as it was flooded with light and I was also able to get the beautiful cat artwork in the background as well.  This worked really well and I am really pleased with the outcome as it looks clear and well framed and one of the best interviews I have yet. Aimee knew exactly what to say after I’d shown her the questions and talked a lot about her experiences with abandoned animals. I know that I will definitely be

Volunteer Aimee Ennis has felt the impact of the recession on pets herself

able to use this footage in my documentary and it is really beginning to take shape. She also attempted to hold a cat throughout the interview but cats being cats, it wouldn’t stay for the whole thing and leapt of half way through. This has concerned me a little bit in terms of the editing as I don’t particularly want it to jump from her holding it to not holding it but there was nothing I could do and I’m sure I can make it work.

One thing I was really pleased with was the interview I managed to get with somebody who was at the centre to put one of her cats on the waiting list to get into the centre because she was on benefits and couldn’t afford to keep it anymore. Finding somebody who was in this situation is something I have been struggling with for a while now so to get an interview by chance was perfect. This

Lisa Morris is having to part with one of her cats due to financial pressure

has taught me a lot about keeping my options open whilst filming as you never know when other opportunities come along.

After the interviews, me and my mum filmed quite a bit in the cat section in order for me to get the general shots I needed. Whilst I filmed the cats, my mum encouraged them to play at the window which was really helpful and I managed to get some really good and useful shots.I also managed to film a family coming in to collect a cat they had adopted and I am planning on using this to show that some animals do have happy endings. We then visited the rabbit centre where I feel I got some more good shots of the many rabbits there, which I am hoping to use to illustrate that it’s not just cats and dogs being abandoned like many people think. I think the bunnies knew they

The rabbits certainly played up to the camera!

were the stars of my documentary as many of them came to look at me and even yawned and drank their water as well (I’m going to use these shots for the ahhhhh-factor).

I was intending to filming another interview with Aimee where she talked about her dogs and their stories as they are all rescue dogs. However, this didn’t quite go to plan as my camera’s memory card proceeded to run out of space. After deleting some of my shots, which I really didn’t want to do, I managed to get back about 5 minutes worth of space and so I had to rush the filming as fast as I could. I really am disappointed with this as it would have been perfect but due to my rush it was badly framed and there were also people shouting across her even though they knew I was recording. Looking back I probably should have made it clear that I need them to be quiet but as we were all getting it done as fast as possible it was quite difficult to get a word in really.

Aimee and her rescue dog

I have learnt such a lot today not only about the animals and the financial pressure the society is under but also about filming. I know I need at least one other memory card now to reduce the risk of this situation happening again!

Horsing Around! Filming For My Documentary- Part 1

Today has been rather hectic today to say the least as myself and Codie filmed two more interviews for my documentary ‘The Price of Life’. As I am now going to be looking at the crisis of horse abandonment as well,  one of these interviews was at the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies Monmouth at 9:00 am which meant that we had to be up at 7:00 am to get there in time. Quite difficult to do but it is definitely something I am going to have to get used to!

When we arrived at the centre we were introduced to Rebecca Telfer who took us down to the bottom fields to meet some of the recently rescued horses who had been abandoned in Bridgend. This included three young colts called Jigsaw,

We were introduced to Jigsaw and Puzzle, just two of the many rescued horses at the centre

Puzzle and Wellie who seemed very keen to be involved with the filming and even came up to the camera for a sniff. After we had filmed for a while in this field with Rebecca she then went to get Wellie’s halter so she could hold on to him whilst I interviewed her. I really wasn’t expecting to be left in a field with the horses so I was a bit worried that something could happen however they were very calm and simply wanted to see what we were doing.

When it came to the interview, I first asked about Wellie as I am hoping to focus upon this little colt’s story for my documentary. In doing so I found out that he had been bullied by the group he had been found with and had no mother which meant that he couldn’t reach the food and was starving. Looking at him, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly sorry for him as he also suffered from a number of skin

I first interviewed Rebecca Telfer about little colt Wellie

diseases as well. This part of the interview alone has really made me think a lot more about what can and should be done to help as no animal deserves to suffer like this at all.

After this, I then spoke to her about how the issue of the horses being abandoned in Bridgend and South Wales in general affects the centre and the strain it is putting on them. Rebecca told me that it was really putting pressure on their resources and that they are being forced to turn away some horses because they simply cannot afford to cope with them all anymore. This was ideal for my documentary as whilst I am aiming to get across the affect that the recession is having on the animals of the UK, I also want to show the impact it is having on the people involved as well.

Following the interview, I spent quite a bit of time getting some general shots of

These horses seemed very curious about me and the camera!

the sanctuary including the some of the other horses at the centre well. This included some which had been rescued from Rhoose not so longer ago and they seemed very keen to investigate me and the camera! Rebecca then took us to meet Arthur, a little 2 week old foal who had recently been brought in after being rescued in Bridgend (again). It amazes me how people can be so cruel to these creatures and I want to do them justice to encourage people to help make a difference. The owner of the SWHP Jenny MacGregor also came out to feed Arthur which meant I got some perfect shots of the care they give to the horses there. However, whilst we were recording this she began talking to Rebecca about the fact that somebody had just rung up to report another abandoned horse in Bridgend. I really wanted to investigate this further and find out exactly what happens when one is found but I felt it would be slightly intrusive and didn’t. Looking back I think it would have really benefitted my documentary but I’ve learnt a lesson here and will definitely think about taking these opportunities further in the future.

Visiting the SWHP today has been such an eye opening experience and the

Little foal Arthur had been rescued not so long ago

footage I got is definitely going to benefit my documentary. I am going to make sure that I get across the work that they do here and the pressure they are under in the hope I can get more people to help them and the horses. I can really see how I want to structure the documentary now after visiting and I am looking forward to getting stuck into the editing!  Now for interview 2……

Horsing Around! Filming For My Documentary: Part 2

After leaving the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies, we made our way from Monmouth to Bridgend in order for me to get some general shots of Laleston where there have been reports of wandering horses on roads and in gardens  and also film my second interview with Bridgend Councillor Cheryl Green.

Driving around we found that it was pretty difficult to find these abandoned

Filming the horses we came across in Bridgend

horses  although we did manage to find some other horses and a sign warning people to close the gate to stop wandering horses getting into the cemetery. Not exactly what I was aiming to get but I know it will all be useful when it comes to the editing.

Eventually we came across a field with quite a few horses in it which looked as though they had been abandoned with scruffy coats and the patterning of gypsy horses, the most commonly abandoned breed. As we approached the barbed wire to get some shots of them, we noticed that it had been cut and mended rather hastily. This really makes me think that they were either put in here in an act of ‘fly-grazing’ where owners who can’t afford to feed them let them feed for free on private land or they had been put in here by authorities to get them out of the road and out of gardens. I’m really pleased with the footage I have of them as I know that it is ideal for this section of my documentary. Managing to find the abandoned horses has been a real achievement and will demonstrate the problem exceedingly well in the programme. I would have like to have got some closer shots of them as they were far away so are rather small but at least I have them and it’s better than nothing.

Some of the horses abandoned in Laleston, Bridgend

After a quick spot of lunch, we then went the Cheryl Green’s house at 15:00 to interview her about what she thinks should be done about the problem and how, as a councillor, she thinks it is affecting the area. I was a little bit worried about her two dogs as they were banging and barking at the door which could have affected the sound quite a bit but other than that the interview went really well and I got some really good answers I can use. I think after these interviews, I am really improving on my interview technique. In the past I tended to write the questions and just stick with them rather than listen to what people were saying and ask them about their answers. However now I know that I take what they say into consideration and talk to them about it which has resulted in better responses and subsequently better material for my documentary. As I am aiming to make documentaries in the future, being able to interview people well is a vital part of this so I am glad that I am improving on this.

Cheryl Green, Bridgend County Councillor, knows what impact horse abandonment is having on the community

Once we had been introduced to her two dogs and watched how they go and ‘speak’ to the horses in the field next door, we then left Cheryl’s house to film some more general shots of Laleston from a different direction. Unfortunately at this stage it had begun to rain hard which meant I couldn’t really get very many shots and I am rather annoyed by this but I think I managed to get enough to create a sequence so it’s not the end of the world. In hindsight, it would have been good to have got a shot of the Laleston sign to introduce it in the documentary but since it was quite a way down the hill and we had the equipment to carry (and it was raining), it would have been really hard. I think I should maybe have tried harder though I know I can do well without it.

Overall, today’s filming at the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies and in Laleston has supplied me with a lot of good material for my documentary and I will make sure that I make the best of it. I now want to find out more about the plight of the people and the ponies involved in this abandonment crisis and I am determined to encourage people to want to as well.

Dogs Trust Filming: Take 2

After deciding that the footage we got last time wasn’t high enough quality for my documentary, myself and Codie revisited the Bridgend Dogs Trust centre today to reshoot the interview with Rhia Stankovic-Jones and get a couple more general shots of the kennels and the dogs. This time I had my Canon camera which meant that I was able to film in much higher quality which I think is going to really benefit my documentary.

When we arrived at the centre at 2pm this afternoon we waited for Rhia and then made our way across to the room where we interviewed her last time. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great at all unlike last time so whilst I would have preferred to shoot in the yard, it was a bit to cold and rainy too. It wasn’t much of an issue as the room was flooded with light so she was still well lit, I just would have liked to have a more open location.

After reviewing the last interview, I chose to have Rhia standing up as last time I was standing over her causing her to look up and she also looked a bit uncomfortable.  I found that this interview went a lot better than last time and I am really pleased with the answers she gave. Although I am in a bit of jeopardy with the doc at the moment, she spoke a lot about the recession having a direct affect on the Bridgend centre which is going to be extremely useful to back up my statistical points. I do think that the background is a bit bland as she was just standing against the wall but as last time I wasn’t able to get the entire Dogs Trust poster in shot making it look a bit badly framed, its an improvement.

We were then allowed to wander around and get some more footage of the dogs in the kennels, again with two cameras. I used my Canon 550D whilst Codie used the Z1 which meant that in a short space of time we were able to get a considerable about of footage and some really good shots. Just like last time there were more adorable little puppies, Jack Russells just like my dogs, and I was incredibly tempted to take them home. They really played up to the camera, staring intently into the lens with their big puppy dog eyes and so did the rest of the dogs. I don’t know how anybody has the strength to resist them!

The few hours I spent at the Bridgend Dogs Trust today were really productive and I got some shots that hadn’t even occurred to me to get last time, including the ‘Welcome to Bridgend Dogs Trust’ sign which will be ideal to introduce them. It would have been easy to just accept the footage I had before and use that but I want to make sure my documentary is the best I can make it and by putting in a little bit more effort, I hope it shows in my work.

Click Click- New Camera

I’ve got a new camera! It’s a Canon 550D and I’m already really really pleased with it. I’ve been looking at getting another camera for a while now but after filming on my handycam at Christmas for my documentary and it coming out grainy, the decision to buy one was a lot easier. I was thinking about buying it secondhand from a friend however in the end that didn’t work out and after doing a bit of research on the prices I decided to just go for it anyway. After all, when I leave university in a few months I’m not going to be able to borrow any equipment from them anymore so it’s really going to benefit me in the long run. It might have cost a bit now but I’d rather spend my money on something I need and that will help me in the long run. It’s not a 5D (that was far too expensive for my budget!) but it will definitely do me for now and I am really happy that I took the plunge and bought it. Now I’m just looking forward to using it and buying lots of little filters and lenses for it.

The quality of the photographs and footage the 550D records is incredible and can be in 1080 HD, which now means that I can film my journalism documentary with it along with other Creative Industries projects as well. I do already have a DSLR camera, a 20D, that I was given for Christmas last year, which is really good for photography but it doesn’t film so this is really going to help with that. Some of the photographs I take I will put in the ‘Photography’ section under ‘My Work’ so you can take a look for yourselves. Hope you like them!

Dog-umentary filming- Dogs Trust Bridgend

Another morning of filming today as I filmed another part of my documentary about the effect the recession has had on the abandonment of animals. This time I went to the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Bridgend along with Mirella Burgess, Rebecca Konig and Codie Stephens as my crew.

Rhia Stankovic met us when we arrived and was incredibly helpful throughout out time there, as she has been throughout the organising. She introduced us to Bruce, a 5 year old collie who has been at the centre for 3 years. I can’t believe nobody wants him because he is such an adorable and loving dog. I want him myself! We filmed him being walked around the grassy area which I am hoping to use as an establishing shot and then him playing in a room upstairs. All of this footage seems to be useful so as I have a lot of good shots of him playing which I think will contribute to the empathetic side of the viewers.

Investigative Documentaries

For the past few weeks I have been doing some research for my essay ‘How can wildlife filmmaking impact on nature and how can nature impact on wildlife filmmaking?’. It is actually a lot more interesting than I expected it to be and I am learning so much about the field I want to go into. What I wasn’t really counting on however, was how this research has helped me realise the type of wildlife documentaries that I want to make and be involved in; investigative documentaries.

I haven’t really considered this before, although I’ve always thought it would be an exciting thing to do but seeing the positive impact it can have on the environment with such important issues has made me think about it a lot more. One particular film that has really stood out for me is The Cove, a documentary film about an undercover filmmaking team seeking to expose the truth about the brutal dolphin slaughtering in Japan every year. To see the threats and the danger they faced and how they fought to get the message known to people to help put an end to the merciless killings just made me think that that’s what I want to do. I want to make films that will make a difference.

A lot of other nature films and television programmes that I have been and am watching for my essay don’t necessarily make it obvious that they are helping to raise awareness of issues yet still do in a subtle and beautiful way with their cinematography. I have always loved watching them and always will do but at the same time, I want to be a part of something hard hitting, something that will shock people and make them realise that something has to be done about these issues. I know that it will be dangerous at times and a lot of hard work but isn’t everything like that? I know it will be worth it in the end I am definitely prepared to fight for what I believe in.

Diving Down and Out: WhaleFest Promotional Film Is Finally Finished

It’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of time but I have finally finished my film for the promotion of ‘WhaleFest 2011’ and I have to say I am very proud of it. I have never actually edited a promotional video before so to take on something that big for the first time was a challenge but it was definitely worth it as I feel as though I have accomplished a lot.

Once I’d had it checked over by Codie, I burnt it to disk and packaged it all up ready to send to Stephanie St. James a few days ago. I am ecstatic that it’s finished now as it has taken a considerable amount of time to make sure it really shows off the festival but at the same time, in an odd way I’m also going to miss it because it has been a big part of my life for the last couple of months. Having said that, I feel as though I have done the best I can and I think that Dylan and Ian will be pleased with. I have had a little bit of feedback from Dylan and Stephanie who said that they do really like it so overall I think that it has been quite a success.

All the videos have now been sent off apart from Sam’s who has yet to make sure that the music is copyright free. It is a bit annoying as I did ask for them ages ago and did remind them about the importance of the music being royalty free but that hasn’t come across yet. Still, I really am pleased with what I have seen so far as they have really shown off ‘WhaleFest’ within a short space of time. Hopefully, Sam won’ t take too long to get these sorted and I can send the final few off to the organisers because visually they are perfect for it. At the moment, they do have Holly’s which are already on their website ‘WhaleFest 2012’ so take a look at them now as they really are very good.

So ‘WhaleFest 2011’ editing is pretty much done now and I hope the videos really show the festival for how it was when we were there. It’s taken a while and been really quite tough at times but its always been an interesting challenge and I have enjoyed it. I’m sure ‘WhaleFest 2012’ will make just as big a splash as ‘WhaleFest 2011’ and I hope it is as successful as it deserves to be.