River Ribble Restoration Project Video – Environment Agency

We have just finished shooting and editing our second video production for the Environment Agency.

The River Ribble in North Yorkshire, England is a thing of beauty. Meandering from the market town of Settle to the village of Long Preston it is a lowland river in an upland setting. Its ever changing currents, however, had upset the eco systems at a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Attempts over centuries to extensively drain the surrounding 162 hectares for grazing livestock had also affected the landscape and wildlife habitat. Draining water quickly from the floodplain, affected the breeding success of wetland birds, at one of the best inland sites in England. The Ribble is largely confined to the channel by flood banks and by historic dredging and deepening. So natural flooding events are now very limited and the erosive power of the river scours sediment from the river bed and banks. Livestock access to the river has inhibited vegetation along stepped banks.

The consequences?

Disrupted spawning grounds had diminished fish stocks and some of the 60 species of visiting birds had disappeared. The aquatic environment was poor in water-crowfoot, water-starwort and pondweed species.
Bankside woodland was almost completely absent except for a few scattered sycamore, young alder and crack willow. Finding a solution was not going to be easy.

Some 18 landowners and tenants had an interest in the area with up to a dozen groups and agencies, from anglers to local authorities, would closely monitor any plans to alter the course of the river or its environs. Collaborative working was key. Through a mixture of diplomacy, painstaking scientific appraisal and meticulous consultation has evolved The Long Preston Deeps Wet Grassland Project. This is a partnership between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, The Ribble Rivers Trust, North Yorkshire County Council, local landowners and tenants and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Formed in 2004 and originally focused on restoring the wet grassland, the project has called upon cutting edge technology to optimise the river flow over seven kilometres. In 2010 a detailed plan of works for the river was drawn up. On-going restoration projects aim to allow natural flooding to occur by once again reconnecting the river to its floodplain. Hydro morphology specialists have mapped the river’s contours. Riverbanks have been moved. Channels, called chutes, have been created. The river has found its natural rhythm. As a result, salmon and brown trout numbers have increased, and stocks of grayling and chub will also grow.

The work has enhanced birdlife too, by encouraging farmers to alter their grazing regimes and to cut rushes for winter cattle bedding. This creates a varied grassland structure with lots of short areas for birds to feed their young. Raised water levels provide shallow pools of water full of aquatic invertebrate food and plenty of muddy edges for birds to probe. The partnership is working with farmers so they can graze the floodplain in a way which integrates with an economic farming system while also providing improved services to the environment. An RSPB expert believes the project is one of the most successful farm wetland restoration schemes in the United Kingdom. The site now supports at least 80 pairs of nationally important breeding wading birds. They come in Spring along with other species like Curlew, Redshank, Snipe and Lapwing, Sand martins thrive in the sandbanks with less risk of being washed out. The wetlands are also home to winter wildfowl species such as teal, pintail and Widgeon. Marsh harriers, Buzzards, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels and Sparrow hawks come to hunt, too.

A newly-planted woodland near the riverbank will provide shelter for anglers and wildlife alike. Banks and other areas have stabilised. A good example of the partnership working came in 2011 when a flood bank burst following a bleak winter. All the partners came together and took the opportunity to start work on restoration. Flood banks were moved back, revetment removed and the river and around six hectares of its flood plain reunited
The success led to more phases being planned and implemented in 2012 when more than 3.5km of river were restored and 15 hectares of flood plain reconnected. Now more land owners and tenants want to be involved.
Visitors, who come from all over the world to walk in the region and to enjoy the wildlife, flora and fauna, will benefit and the wetlands are set to become a popular research destination for schools and university students.

With improved resistance to climate change, the Ribble at Long Preston Deeps will be a treasure for future generations.

Environment Agency North West Video Production

We recently spent six days shooting for the Environment Agency in the North West region. The production was to document some of the great work that the agency is involved in from fisheries management, water pollution control, hygrometry & river flow management to nuclear power plant monitoring, culvert maintenance and flood control. We shot in several locations to include the Force Crag mine, Keswick, Chester, Warrington, Bolton and Carlisle and the weather was really not on our side! Blizzards and biting winds made life difficult for crew and interviewees alike. The production was shot to a very tight timescale with two locations covered per day, then edited down to interviews and a 3 minute edit to be shown at a EA management conference 3 weeks after shooting began.

Our Christmas Video 2013!

Ok it’s a bit late but I thought I would post up our christmas tree video. I wanted to make a video of my wife’s home made decorations, the felt gingerbread man, popcorn strings and decorated biscuits. Shot in about 10 minutes with no additional lighting except what is in our house already. Shot on Canon 60D 50mm on Vinten Pro5 sticks.
Hope you like it!

4K is Here!

Have you recently wandered around Currys dazzled by the bright lights of the shiny multi-coloured rectangles all eagerly displaying “Ice Age 17” or “Shrek and Woody, The Early Years” and thought, mmm I really must upgrade my old Sony 28 inch CRT to one of these new fandangled plasmays, or is it an LCD?…. or maybe it’s an LED? or better still says the “man”, I need one of those OLED’s…now they really are the business. But does it have 3D? do I really need 3D? I remember going to see Freddie Krueger in 1991 and it wasn’t that good. Now, Jaws 3D with that chopped off arm floating out… I could almost shake it, it was that real.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, did you buy one? did that “man in the shop” up-sell you from the original £500 you wanted to spend on the 100Hz, 2010 1080p Sony Bravia to the latest Panasonic smart TV at £1500? Or did you just plump for the “eye-catchers” at the front of the shop.. “FULL HD READY SAMSUNG – ONLY £299!!!” just to get it home and find out that you’d been suckered into a 720P? shame on them. Did you also find yourself making another trip back to the local “refuse anemity centre” frantically searching through the fridges, microwaves, 80’s hi-fi and ikea shelving units trying to find your old CRT TV? The thing is, you may have discovered that your lovely new flat screen TV doesn’t actually look that good in comparison does it? certainly not in standard definition. The high definition channels look great though don’t they? there’s just not that many of them for free! But, the broadcasters are catching up, soon everything will be in 1920 by 1080 wonderment and we’ll be ready! – or will we.

You see just when we were getting used to 1080, this thing called 2K came along, and now we’re bypassing that all together to bring you 4K! Yes, that’s 4096 x 2160 pixels in one of it’s forms. On October 30th 2012 Sony confirmed it’s support of the format with the introduction of “XAVC recording format that will be at the heart of its new industry-leading 4K products. Sony’s XAVC provides a dedicated 4K format that will encourage the adoption of 4K beyond feature films, in genres such as TV Dramas, Entertainment shows, Documentaries and Commercials. As well as the widespread applications for the professional HDTV market, Sony has developed the XAVC format to enable the expansion of 4K content into the consumer market. XAVC is designed to provide a future proof codec that can meet customers’ rapidly developing requirements for 4K content production and HD120P high frame rate shooting.” (from the Sony Broadcast site). The format is based upon h.264 video compression.

Currently, 4K monitors a little expensive, however cameras are within reach!. Sony’s NEX-FS700 comes in at around £5K + vat and will be able to shoot 4K in the near future. Canon have released the C500, building upon the success of the c300. But the most exciting release for us is the PMW-F5 from Sony which seems to have a really great form factor, and to have addressed many of the “niggles” that have been reported from the FS series users. We look forward to getting our hands on one soon!

As for the 4K TV.. it’s here! http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sony-xbr-84×900/4505-6482_7-35431618.html

GyneHealth Video Production

We’ve just completed a promotional video for Gynehealth, a women’s health clinic based in St Johns Street Manchester. GyneHealth, part of Reproductive Health Group, is a leading, innovative, comprehensive health service for women and couples, committed to providing the highest quality care in gynaecology, fertility, IVF, reproductive medicine and surgery. The Reproductive Health Group LLP has been formed by bringing together the private practices of three of the North West’s leading gynaecology and fertility experts, Nabil Haddad, Luciano Nardo and James Armatage, offering a comprehensive range of treatments at clinics in Chester, Manchester, Nantwich and London.

80% Discount on Avid Symphony

Avid is offering an 80% discount on its editing, grading and mastering suite Symphony to Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro users.
This offer is designed to provide a way for Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro, and Avid Xpress DV users to crossgrade or upgrade to Avid’s professional editing, color correction, and mastering solution at a significantly reduced cost.
“With Symphony 6 software, customers get all of the same features, tools, and workflows of Media Composer 6 for editing, plus the advanced and secondary color correction tools and Universal Mastering they need for finishing,” said Avid.
This limited-time offer expires June 15, 2012. For eligibility requirements and more information. http://www.avid.com/US/

Canon EOS-1D C 4K DSLR Launch

We’re still waiting for the EOS-1D X, but while we do Canon have announced the 1D C.
Yes, I know this is fairly old news but quite significant and I wanted to put a reference into our blog. This DSLR will be available in October 2012 and will retail for around $15000. Canon tell us that they have been in discussions with Hollywood and other filmmakers to ensure that they have added the features that they need. This machine will capture 4K video at 24p. It will also capture 1080p at 50/60 fps and output it uncompressed over it’s HDMI connection. The 1D-C will also share some features of the C300, such as it’s Canon Log Gamma to give a flat image that is easily cut with footage from other cameras.
Canon say that the 1D-C is quite significantly different to the 1D-X as the internal components had to be re-worked due to overheating issues caused by transfering the huge amounts of data required for 4K video.
4K video is not quite widespread yet (although Adobe CS6 and Final Cut Pro X support it), but there is no harm in archiving for the future.

Sony FS700 Camera Announced at NAB 2012

In the summer Sony are to relase the latest in Sony’s line-up of NXCAM interchangeable E-mount camcorders. The new Super 35mm model is designed for high-speed shooting and is capable of capturing footage at up to 960 frames per second. The camcorder also features a range of capabilities such as 3G HD-SDI output and built-in ND filters. Additionally, it also offers several creative options, shooting styles and enhanced ergonomics   The NEX-FS700, with its super slow motion mode, should be ideal for pop promos, commercials and documentaries as well as sports

The NEX-FS700 camcorder uses a new 4K “Exmor” Super 35 CMOS sensor (total 11.6 million pixels). This high-speed readout chip is optimised for motion picture shooting, giving high sensitivity, low noise and minimal aliasing.
The NXCAM’s E-Mount flexibility is designed to accept virtually all SLR and DSLR 35mm lenses, with the use of simple, inexpensive adapters without optical degradation. FS series owners can make use of their existing lenses and add more lenses without being forced on a brand or mount.It seems that internal recording is to AVCHD (oh well) and only 4:2:0 but 4K raw out of the 3G/HD-SDI port will be enabled later via a firmware update so you can use an external recorder.This camera should sit above the FS100 and below the F3. So should make a good B camera for the F3. It looks as though Sony have really listened to user comments and requirements from the FS100 and implimented some great features. We look forward to getting our hands on one!
Looks set to ship for under $10 000