I was intrigued to read about a conservation effort in Bahrain mounted by one man to rescue the dwindling population of indigenous Bahraini frogs and terrapins in Khaleej Times on June 21st. The intrigue was due to two factors: (1) it was reported in an Emirati paper rather than a Bahraini one, and (2) we actually had someone who cares about the environment here?
The article thankfully gave us the venue and the person so it took only a couple of phone calls to arrange to meet with the person responsible for this effort.
Armed with my video and stills cameras, I went to see Essa Jassim at Al-Areen early on the morning of the 22nd to talk to him about his frogs and terrapins, and do a short interview for the vlog, if I could find one of his frogs I would shoot that too.
Essa was extremely accommodating, he talked to me at length about this, and other conservation efforts that he is involved in, about his experiences with the frogs, why he chose to champion their cause and how he went about rescuing them. But like any good man, he made little of this, as if to say that anyone could have done the same. Sure anyone could have done the same, but no one other than Essa bothered.
I hope you enjoy visiting Essa’s frogs as much as I did. It was 2 or 3 hours that were well spent at Al-Areen. If you’re in the area, I would highly encourage you to visit, it is a lovely place.
On the technical side, this is the most challenging video I have done to date. I actually spent some time researching the subject, doing some planning, purposely going to another location to interview a person I’ve never met before and it all shows. The technical aspects of the movie suck! There is a lot of learning to be done, and this was a very good start.
This is my checklist for what I need to get and do as soon as practicable:
1. Get a proper video camera, the Sony HDR-FX1 is my first choice there.
2. Get a proper microphone with a windscreen. You will hear how atrocious the sound quality is on the movie, I apologize as this is the best I could do with what I have at the moment. Suggestions for a good quality, yet cheapish mic are welcome.
3. I need to get a couple of lapel mics with windscreens. Subjects tend to get very conscious of the camera and refuse to look into it. When they do that, their sound is directed elsewhere hence the sound quality suffers. A lapel mic might help in this situation.
4. I’ve used a very dinky pocket tripod for this interview shoot which was good enough, I have a couple of other tripods for my stills cameras but I doubt that they will be any good for video as their heads are not fluid enough. I need to get one of those.
5. You will notice how self conscious I was in the interview, even though I recorded myself AFTER I finished interviewing Essa and then edited myself in at the appropriate places. I should have kept silent for 10 seconds longer between questions so I could get better edits.
6. I should have looked into the camera rather than looking down on my notes and then into the camera. Quaint yet, but professional no.
7. Because the source material was less than good, I spent a lot longer on the edit than I should have. I should plan the shoot a bit better.
8. Compression game me big problems, this time not with the pictures at all, but with the sound. Once compressed using various settings and those I have used before, the speakers sounded like they’re speaking into tin-cups! That should be fixed with good quality off-camera mics. I hope.
9. Lights! I need lights, reflectors or at least position the camera properly to take advantage of natural light. I had to do shenanigans get this corrected in post with a lot of colour correction which is not very successful due to the backlight in the interview segment.
Technical and subjects suggestions welcome.