Edit for a Showreel

Last week, I spent two evenings busily editing for Ed’s showreel with Jeremy DeCoursey; an all-round creative genius who has kindly agreed to act as our editor.

Having commandeered the suit at work for after hours usage, our set-up included Final Cut Pro on dual LCDs, with a CRT video monitor at the ready.

Jeremy at work

Wednesday was a particularly long haul (not leaving until 11pm), but we’ve now put together a rough cut. We hope to record voice over with Ed this week, then neaten everything up and add some royalty free music to finish off.

I haven’t posted too many outdoor photos on the blog of recent, mainly because there hasn’t been much of a chance for me to get out. Luckily, I managed to snap a few decent shots on a recent trip to Exmoor. Will have those up soon!

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Filming for a Showreel

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.

o

Communicate and WildPhotos 2009

Communicate and WildPhotos both occurred at the end of last month; two greatly inspiring events.

WildPhotos showcases the work of the world’s best wildlife photographers. The event included a keynote speech by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols; discussing his life achievements as a photographer for National Geographic. His presentation featured a run down of  the stunning redwood panorama which appeared in October’s National Geographic , composed of 83 images.

The podium at WildPhotos following Nick Nichols' keynote

Another highlight for me was Danny Green’s look at black and white wildlife photography. Having won the B&W category in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Danny discussed how incredible detail and textures can be masked by colour and brought out with the use of greyscale.

Communicate reflects WildPhotos in many respects, with science communication being the main theme. The annual conference investigates how NGO’s and environment-themed organisations can more effectively reach out to the public. Reflected upon as the most successful instalment in the conference’s 6 year history by Jo Gipps,  the Bristol Natural History Consortium Chair, it would certainly seem the case that today’s society could do with more events of a similar tack.

Andrew Jackson, the new head of the BBC Natural History Unit, delivered a keynote talk. Some refreshing ideas were heard, providing a hugely insightful glimpse into what could be in store for the NHU. Other discussions examined whether the term biodiversity is too inaccessible to the general public and a dissection of the current state of science reporting in mainstream media.

On a side note, I’ve recently started working with naturalist and broadcaster Ed Drewitt in the creation of a showreel to display his work. We’re  in pre-production at the moment; more on this soon!

Wildlife Issues

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.

Editing

The short film I posted about recently (that’s a very relative use of the word) has entered the editing phase. I’ve had plenty of experience watching other people put together various films (and even one landmark BBC series) in programs like Final Cut Pro, but haven’t ever had a go myself.

Jumping in at the very deep end, I first experimented with Avid Express Pro but quickly moved on to Adobe Premier Pro. Having used Photoshop for many years now, I find Premier much more familiar.

The first challenge was simply to digitise the footage I’d shot with Tim. Working with a skeleton version of the original software and wires that came with my handycam (the DCR), digitisation became a massive obstacle. USB streaming is pretty much useless, so I invested in a firewire, instantly solving all problems.

Shiny new firewire

Shiny new firewire: makes digitising a breeze

In other news, the main photograph from the post below appeared on popular gaming blog Kotaku, of which I am a massive fan. To any new visitors, thank you for reading!

Ascent of Toubkal

It’s been six days since I returned from Morocco and just over a week since summiting Mount Toubkal, where the photograph below was taken.

A true gamer

A true gamer

The image was a lot of fun to make, which is probably the most important part of amateur photography. I’m not sure if it was the sense of achievement (from reaching the summit at 4167m after five days of trekking) which induced  this strange high, or if it was just the minuscule amount of oxygen reaching my severely altitude sickened cerebrum. It felt good though.

The set can be viewed on Flickr here.

What Makes Blogging Quite Challenging?

In my case, it’s acute deficiency of an internet connection.

Until September, I am residing in a temporary holding. As a result, the internet has become somewhat of a luxury. None of these connection issues are helped by my imminent holiday, which will take me far away from any sort of “world wide” web for roughly a fortnight (not that I’m complaining).

A small hoveryfly in Leigh Woods

A small hoverfly in Leigh Woods

I’ve not been completely bone idle though. Please enjoy these shots from Leigh Woods and the recent Bristol Balloon Fiesta. They were made with my new telephoto lens, which I’ll talk about in the future. Hit the Flickr widget link on your right for more.

Oh yes.

Oh yes.