Week 6 - Back to normallity - 22-26th Oct / by Darren Williams

We returned back to normality for week 6, I think it was quite a relief to come back to a week of structure and normality after the Wildscreen week of fun games and drinking. So the networking was put aside, and it was back to our course syllabus and our monday session of 'Mastering the Business'. Todays lesson was all about short form story telling. These stories are basically short, concise and wrapped up within a couple of minutes. Good examples of short story would be the natural history inserts for the BBC's One Show, Autumn Watch segments and the small series of stories that make up the Deadly 60 program. Reema (our tutor) produced many of these inserts during her time at the BBC so brought in some examples of past scripts. Short form story telling sits at around 3-5 minutes long, so needs to be concise enough to wrap up your message and story in this duration, but in enough depth to hold substance to make it interesting. Its also worth noting that these segments are usually pretty low budget, ranging from £1500-£12000, and generally need to be turned around ASAP. So with this in mind you need to create a concise yet adaptable script to allow you to achieve your shoot with your limited time scale, which is often just a single day. 

Our edit suite, the more screens the merrier!

Our edit suite, the more screens the merrier!

In our tech session we were introduced to the editing suite. In the world of professional editing there are 3 main edit software choices. These are Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier and Avid. Annoyingly for us, not one of these programs are specifically the industry standard, so when it comes to editing you really need to be familiar with all three edit packages. They have they're differences, and im yet to decide which edit software to use personally. They also cost a small fortune to own on your personal Mac at home.

Our thursday session for 'creating the story' involved a visit from Dr Erik Stengler who is based as the UWE Frenchay campus. He is part of the new Science Communication unit formed to study the way that portray science and pass the knowledge on through various media including documentaries. Its a developing topic but an important one for us as natural history filmmakers as much of our content is based on science. With our main aim of subtly educating whilst entertaining.


On the friday we were heading off on our first field trip to study animal behaviour and how to observe them in the wild. We set off for Westhay Moor on the Somerset levels which is a beautiful nature reserve to explore with its shimmering lakes and reed beds. We were met at the site by Dr Mark Steer who is a lecturer at UWE with particular interest in habitat conservation. Although not the ideal time of year to vist the reserve in terms of wildlife. It did give us an opportunity to take tips on how to watch wildlife in the field. In all honesty i just enjoyed the walk around a unique habitat, one of which i had never visited before. I was particularly keen to quiz Matt on every single bird i spotted because i hadn't a clue what i was looking for and when i did see a bird, 90% off the time i had no idea what i was. I must alos admit that i've never really been that interested in birdlife unless it had large talons or came from the south pole, so its amazing how much more interest you take when someone is there to point it all out to you!