Over the next period I plan to upload a variety of videos to this site. As a starter I’ll be addressing elements of the Stage 5 School Certificate Geography course here in NSW. The course focuses on Australia so the resources that will begin to appear here are for educational purposes only and not for sale. All will have creative commons copyright and are made available on the understanding that no derivative works will be made from them. Requests for the use of screen captures and still images, will be granted.
My interest in video production
I’ve always had an interest in video production and as anyone who reads the biographical background on this blog will already know. Some of my earliest experience was in educational television production, at the University of Sydney Television Service, back in the late 1960s.
At that time I operated a camera not unlike this one. It was an Image Orthicon Camera. Curiously finding images of these cameras was difficult. Eventually I came across this one on a US site. It’s from the website ‘Big 13 WTVT A Historical TV Website dedicated to WTVT, channel 13, Tampa, Florida.’ The site is definitely worth a serious look if you’re interested in television of the B&W era and beyond.
Back then we operated a studio and outside broadcast van. For the most part the studio cameras were older Vidicon cameras one had a fixed lens, the other had a turret with three fixed lenses.
This interest has continued. I haven’t always been directly engaged in video production but for many years I was very much engaged in still photography, particularly while living in Indonesia.
Beethoven, abandoning photography and the journey back
Eventually I put the camera aside for a good while, while I was living in Indonesia. It became obvious that effective engagement with other cultures was something that had to be done face to face. Cameras can be a mask behind which cashed up travellers from the developed world hide while snipping pre-formatted glimpses of their reality. Capturing the image can be so instantaneous. Often little remains of context, the foundation for reflection on deeper meanings. The photograph can become the photographers artefact the meaning of that situation in the photographer’s interpretation.
This isn’t to devalue the central importance of serious photographers who’ve used their art to explore contexts more thoroughly, who’ve spent time to coming to know their subject before snapping into their own observations.
One factor triggering my long break from photography was a chance meeting with technically well equipped German photographer. At the time he was photographing Georgetown, Malaysia. His method was to shoot with a large zoom lens while wearing high fidelity earphones and listening to Beethoven. This gave me cause for thought and later was an influence in my own decision to abandone the SLR.
My journey back to photography was motivated both by the emergence of digital technologies and by the increasing need to build quality digital learning materials for school education. In 2003 I started work with The Le@rning Federation as a Script Writer in the LOTE2 project and Subject Matter Expert in SOSE 2 and 3. I was immediately able to begin drawing on some of my old photos and putting them to good use in the construction of learning materials, either as elements of Learning Objects or merely as background briefing materials for graphic artists.
Starting with a simple Lumix digital camera and iPhone I’ve been systematically snapping over the last three years or so. One day I decided to try out the video features on my iPhone. My first work with this experiment capturing the tram journey from Lilyfield to Pyrmont Bay. This is sdriously one for the tram buffs and has little real technical merit. It’s merely an opportunistic experiment with iPhone technology. If it looks familiar, it is, it was published on this blog last September under the title A Ride on Sydney’s Only Tram
So to cut a long story short, both video and still photography will become a bigger feature of this Blog.
The coastal zone
One of several themes on this Blog is the coastal zone. With more than 85% of Australians living within 50 kilometres of the coastal zone and the clamour for coastal views such an Australian obsession, the way we manage this zone is a pressing issue. More often than not we’ve been quite neglectful in our approaxh to coastal management, in the past. The most recent case of the scuttling on exHMAS Adelaide, off Avoca is yet another example of such mismanagement.
The day of the scuttling, last month coincided with a trip up to the far north coast of NSW for me. It was an apt note to start on because much of what I witnessed along out beautiful coastline reflected varying degree of mismanagement. Perhaps the single greatest issue has been the mismanagement of the dune systems along the eastern seaboard, first through sand mining cheap attempts at revegetation and remediation, the second in building on foredunes.
What follows is a series of videos that I shot for my students. The videos address coastal processes and management issues.
As a first step I picked up an excellent small HD video camera, the Xacti, made by Sanyo in Indonesia and, I believe, now acquired by Panasonic. It’s small and without a monopod, it’s very hard to hold it steady, but the resolution is excellent and it produces a 1920 x 1080 pixel format.