Editing, Editing, Editing…

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So I’ve just finished a (very) rough cut of my film, and I’m looking forward to finishing the next stage, which will be finessing what I’ve got and cutting it down from 15 minutes to 10. The editing process has been both fun and extremely tedious at the same time, but hopefully I’m past most of the tedious part as I’ve gone through the 300gb (around 30 hours I think) of footage and collateed all the best bits. The weird thing for me at the moment is the experience of watching my own film. If I watch it after a day of editing I hate it and see loads of mistakes, and I can’t see it linking together at all; if I watch it after a couple of days of not seeing it I don’t think it’s too bad and it seems to flow better… Maybe I’ll leave it a couple of weeks and I’ll think it’s really good!

Anyway, it’s an interesting learning experience and I’m enjoying the creative process. And, on top of that, hopefully it won’t be too long until I have a finished film that I can show people. In the meantime, here’s a photo of a strange insect that hopped into our camp one day on location. It’s a species of plant hopper, but I have no idea which particular species so if anyone knows, comment below!

Planthopper nymph

Afi Film in the Can!

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Well, I’m back in Lagos after a 15 day shoot at Pandrillus Drill Ranch up at Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Cross River state, Nigeria, and I’m proud to say I think I’ve got the rushes to potentially make a pretty good film! After changing my story a bit from being more about the importance of engaging local communities in conservation (it turns out that’s quite a difficult subject to really do justice in 10 minutes) to being more about the attempted release of 200 endangered drill monkeys back into the wild, we managed to get some great footage that I hope shows what an incredible experience it was being at Drill Ranch for such an important event. We also had the pleasure of sharing our location with the guys from Red Rock Films – watch out for what I’m sure will be an awesome film on Animal Planet around September/October time – so even if my film doesn’t turn out that well we’ve made some great contacts and friends in the industry and had a great time. If you haven’t been doing so already, follow my Twitter feed for tweets and photos showing what an amazing time we had (on the right hand side) or equally on Instagram at tomrichardswildlife. Thanks very much Jason Mulvaney and Aditi Rajagopal for helping me film – I’m very grateful!

I’ll be posting more as I start to edit the film and go through all the stills I have, but in the mean time here’s a photo of a handsome young drill…

Camera Trap Timelapse!

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We had a great lecture from Amy Fitzmaurice at ZSL yesterday who’s helping them to develop a tool which allows easy analysis of data collected from camera traps – great work and a really important tool in conservation. For her Masters degree she conducted research in Borneo on the effects of logging on the biodiversity and abundance of species in the forest there, and I think for all of us MA Wildlife Filmmaking students from a science background it made a nice change to talk about scientific research in conservation rather than filmmaking. On top of that it made me want to go back through some of the camera trap photos I’ve taken, so here’s a timelapse of photos I collected over a few days last summer of birds that came to the bird feeder in my garden…

Time-lapse of Priddy Pool

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Went out for a recce of Priddy pools in the Mendips last week for a new project, and took this time-lapse while I was there. I’ve not done a huge amount of time-lapses in my time and I’m still learning a lot about what works and what doesn’t so criticism is very welcome! In the mean time, enjoy!

Final Film Excitement

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It’s been a couple of weeks since we all had to present our ideas for our final films, and things are getting exciting (and stressful)! I’ll be filming my final film at Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Cross River State, Nigeria, and it will be about the great work that the guys there do and why it’s necessary for the future of Nigeria to protect it’s natural resources. The rest of the story is a secret, but below is a trailer I showed at the BBC for my pitch. The archive at the beginning is for context, but the second half is all footage from Afi and reflects the observational documentary style I hope to have – enjoy!

Happy New Year!

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It’s the New Year, and a while since I’ve had the time to write a blog post. But I’ve had good reason – 20,000 words to hand in and 2 film projects to edit over the Christmas period didn’t leave me much time for anything else. I’m in the process of writing something a bit more substantial, but in the mean time I thought I’d post the videos I’ve edited from last term. The first one was an action sequence project testing how well we could put together a sequence of something happening (rather than just a montage), and the second was an interview project, testing how well we could film an interview.

Enjoy, and thanks very much to my flatmates Olly and Maks, and my mother Pauline for agreeing to let me film them.



Vision Conference Bristol

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Vision Creative Conference is an annual event that brings together pioneers from the creative industries and showcases their innovative thinking. With a range of speakers from Google employees to founders of Iced Coffee brands, a few Wildlife Filmmaking students excitedly headed down to the Arnolfini to see what it was all about.

Joining some of the Documentaries and Features students, we went to make a promotional video that demonstrated the “creative freedom” theme of the conference, and we intended to absorb as much creativity as we could from the speakers. Kicking off the conference was Alex Hunter, formerly of the Virgin Group, who told his audience how companies should use social media to create personal relationships with customers: wise words for a digital age.

But it wasn’t all about marketing. Jon Fidler is the founder of 3D printing design company Modla, and he explained his vision for using 3D printing to connect children with nature – it costs around £3 for the materials to 3D print the casing for a camera trap, a tiny investment for a young person to learn a valuable lesson about how technology can be used as a conservation tool.

Perhaps the most interesting talk for a Wildlife Filmmaking student however, was a talk from Jonathon Wise, co-founder of Comms Lab, an organisation that works with communications agencies to articulate their positive role in society. His talk raised the point that anyone who produces content for broadcast has a responsibility for the effect their content has on society, and that advertising agencies should be held accountable for promoting mass consumerism in an age when the planet’s resources are dwindling. He envisaged a society where content producers were motivated first and foremost by the positive changes they could make to the way people think, and that – for me at least – was the real vision of the conference.