Over the last month or so, I’ve been involved with Deadly Days Out; a roadshow which is touring the country alongside CBBC’s Live ‘n’ Deadly.
Working back stage, my role is to prep animals for the performers (Steve Backshall, Mark Amey and James McKay) so that they can transition between species on stage as smoothly as possible. This has meant that I’ve had the chance to get up-close and personal with some impressive creatures! Among them have been two species of eagle owl, a variety of hawks, a slew of reptiles and a giant pouched rat called Norman.
Norman, the giant pouched rat
Having already visited Birmingham, Cwmbran, Northampton and Liverpool with the tour, I’m taking a weekend off for the Wildscreen Festival, where I’ll be assisting with dive gear during the Beginners and Advanced Underwater Workshops
, and attending much of the event during the week.
In addition to all of this, in the run-up to Wildscreen, I’ve been drafted to research footage for filmmaker Jeremy Bristow in the creation of a promo film for the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity. During this, I even had the chance to shoot some additional footage of my own for the promo. The film is currently in the edit, but I’ll grab a link when it’s finished!
Springwatch just featured a short piece with Ed on ringing peregrine chicks. I was lucky enough to be around at the time of filming; a few pictures below.
Ed with chick
It’s been a busy week!
First up; I was recently asked by the Bristol Zoo Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project (AGDWP) to produce a film exhibiting some work they’ve been doing with Christ Church Primary School. The children there created stories which were acted out on the Downs in front of classmates and parents.
Jeremy DeCoursey and Claire Thompson are also involved in the project, with the footage to be shown at the upcoming Festival of Nature. Our shoot took place last Thursday and we’ll also be putting together a DVD for parents to buy, with the proceeds going to a conservation project based in Africa.
Misumena vatia, a rarely seen spider at the Blaise BioBlitz
Next, the second ever Bristol BioBlitz took place over the weekend; take a look at the blog here to see what the media team got up to. The event was a huge success, with a final tally of 536 (set to go up as BRERC finishes trawling through the species data).
I helped to produce two videos, which are below. They were loads of fun to make, but neither is meant to be a masterpiece; the idea was to keep content streaming in fast.
Finally, it was off to Milton Keynes the next day to help out as a Runner on a shoot for an upcoming Aardman production. I assisted with filming and also interviewed contributors. A grand day out! (sorry)
For the next week or so I’ll be working on getting the AGDWP project ready for the Festival of Nature.
Ed’s presenter showreel is now finished!
Jeremy and I rounded everything off on Monday night, exporting at high resolution for DVD (using Compressor 3.5 as well as DVD Studio Pro 4 to make a menu), and at sufficient quality for the internet. We also took advantage of Motion 4 to make a couple of simple slates which correspond with Ed’s website logo.
Ed’s showreel on Vimeo.
Ed’s showreel on YouTube.
Hope you enjoy!
Made with thanks to Jeremy DeCoursey and Theo Webb
Special thanks to – Claire Thompson, Father Tom, Chew Valley Lake Bird Ringing Station and Wildscreen
Over the last few months I’ve been helping Bristol based naturalist Ed Drewitt put together a showreel for his broadcasting work. The project was briefly mentioned last time and I’m pleased to say its come along leaps and bounds since then.
In order to showcase Ed’s presenting abilities, we immediately decided to shoot brand new footage. This would also be a fantastic exercise in storytelling for myself, as Ed and I conjured up several scripts to film in and around Bristol from which we would then take excerpts for the showreel.
Along the way we brought on board Theo Webb and Claire Thompson. With Theo came a Sony Z7 and an extremely handy radio mic, not to mention a great deal of professional experience. Claire was on hand to assist and take a few stills.
Ed and Theo on the Severn Beach, filming with the z7
Timekeeping was a big issue. In what seemed at times a rather nonchalant manner, we’d set ourselves only one day in which to shoot everything. However, despite our ambitious time-limit, Ed and I had planned extremely carefully. Ready to film at location number one for first good light, we finished precisely when we meant to – maximising all we could of the diminishing daylight hours.
We filmed a sequence on urban peregrines in Bath (right click and view image for a larger version showing a male with pigeon prey)
With the break for Christmas and New Year now complete, I’ll be working on the project further as we record commentary and move onto editing.
At last, the film is finished. It’s only one minute long and there’s been quite a few delays, but the hard work that several people put into it has paid off (I think).
As much as anything, this was a technical exercise. It’s a little rough around the edges, and maybe slightly reminiscent of workmanship in Last Chance to See‘s drunken phytoplankton encounter (à la the mic popping in and out of frame), but still, it’s turned out better than I had hoped!
Wildlife Issues on Vimeo.
I’d really love to hear everybody’s thoughts, so please watch, enjoy and leave comments (preferably constructive)!
My brother, James Morgan, composed the music. You can learn a little bit more about his musical high jinks here.
Perhaps the title is a slight exaggeration, but it did rain today. For the first film on the blog, I took out the camera to shoot around Bristol, asking as many people as possible; ‘What wildlife issue most concerns you?’
By ‘as many people as possible’, I mean four (technically five, but one was a two-fer). Just after bumping into and talking with a couple of good friends, the camera battery died. I pin this on not turning the camera off whilst pacing around in a “predatory manner” trying to wrangle in unsuspecting people for interviews.
That description of my technique is courtesy of Tim Melling (pictured), who did an excellent job of keeping the camera dry and also acted as the sound guy.
Tim, the sound recordist, keeping the gear (and himself) dry
So, a semi-successful trip. The rain didn’t help but we overcame it. In the end, we were beaten by technology. Will have to go out another day to get a few more interviews, then onto editing.