RocketTheme Joomla Templates
Home Tips The world series
The world series PDF Print E-mail

1996 we devoted to accumulating enough material to offer a view of the West European, including British, species, as seen from my bio-geographical standpoint. The resulting film, “Puzzles of the Past” won an Award at the 1998 International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. In 1997, we spent 2 months in Malaysia to get the footage for “Wonders of the East”, which came out in 1998, and shows about 120 species from the Oriental Region, filmed all over Peninsular Malaysia and parts of Borneo.

That was followed by 3 weeks in Ghana in the autumn of 1997, and the film from that led to “Ghana’s Other Gold” which came out in 1999. Research and editing take about 6 months for each film, once the footage has been collected. Pictures and “story” have to be combined and support each other.

Then in 2000 we made another technical leap forward as Digital Video arrived, immediately displacing Hi-8 as the best camera format; the Mini-DV Canon XL-1 was an enormous advance on Hi-8, and though it had a few teething problems (and still has a few focus-retention limitations) it is ideal for fieldwork – sturdy and reliable in a way that the Hi-8 one never was. Equally the Canon XM-1 has proved itself an excellent second best, in the hands of Pat, my wife, whose camera skills are now acknowledged in the credits.

In the editing studio, linear editing using AVID software arrived, making easier the final stages of the edit process, and thereby a jump n the quality of the finished film. At that stage I still did the first (“off-line”) edit at home on VHS machines, but it was marvellous to be able to do the final edits on AID, as used by commercial film-makers, including the Bond films. You can’t get much more unnatural than Bond, but now we can all use the same technology, at our various levels of sophistication (and budget).

Then in 2001, the arrival of Final Cut Pro, at last, made possible the final leap to full editing at home, using an AppleMac 400mhz G3, with extra drives to give about 140GB of disk space. No more visits to the studio. No more offline editing with VHS. It took a year to master the problems of new hardware and software, and the film I was editing included an exceptional number of maps and motion sequences, which I produced on the G3. The result was the 6th in the series, “Palawan…Butterfly Paradise”, based on a 4-week trip to the Philippines in early 2001. It was the most elaborate of the series so far, and gratifyingly won 2 Awards, for scientific content and educational value, at the International Wildlife Film festival at Missoula, Montana in spring of 2002.T

he techniques of Final Cut Pro being well and truly mastered, it took a mere 9 months to prepare the next film for copying. It was conceived at the end of a 4-week trip to the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas in October 2001, with Pat and I being members of one of Jeff Glassberg’s “Butterflies Through Binoculars” groups. The hope was to have it ready for the October of 2002, when the annual Butterfly Festival takes place in the Valley (timed to coincide with the flowering of the blue Eupatorium bushes, which attract butterflies very effectively all over the Valley). Unfortunately the Valley end of the plan came unstuck but the film came out in 2003. It’s called “Butterflies in Close-up; in the Valley of the Lower Rio Grande” and it won a Factual Commentary Award at the 2003 International Wildlife Film festival at Missoula, Montana.

Meanwhile, the Mac G3 has given way to a Dual processor G5, with 2 250GB internal drives, and an external back-up 180GB drive. Final Cut Pro 4 has arrived and a lot of new edit opportunities and extra speed. What a long way we have come from ‘off-line” VHS editing!

2002 saw us in Kenya gathering material for the forthcoming film “The Butterflies of Kenya” which should be ready at the end of 2004. And more pictures of the butterflies of Hungary have been added in the past 3 years so that we should editing the film of those, for which our good friend, Zsolt Balint, Curator of Butterflies in the National Museum of Natural History in Budapest ahs a written a typically fascinating Commentary.

He has promised that we should tackle a film (or perhaps several) on the 5 main Butterfly Families, and their histories. So we have been in the American South West this year, adding to the collection of material with images from Arizona.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2008 16:01