Friday, September 5

What Are We Doing Here?

5th September
Thank the Lord, Sarah has given back the camera and it should be with us on Sunday – how apt.

Just in case this blog is giving the impression that I’m just here to poke fun at the local population, I had better make it clear that I am here on a very serious undertaking – I am helping to make a series of television programmes about small invertebrates (insects, bugs, worms and whatnot). Obviously they will be unique, never-seen-before sort of programmes but if I had to make a comparison Look away now Director! they will be more Microcosmos than Miniscule.

I’ve not really yawned on much about the filmmaking side of things. The novelty of this picturesque landscape, with it’s curious population and their funny habits has taken all my attention, like a child given new toys. Also, the main news from Camera Control often seems to be that something is malfunctioning, or broken, or missing and that’s just not fun to report. A two-hour drive on a hot day in a strange town trying to track down a semi-chafed pivot grommet - or Mr Potato Head’s nudie girls - which would you rather write about?

The main thing to know about making wildlife documentaries, and particularly those about very small things,is that it’s very very time consuming. Think of the longest time you can think of and double it by infinity – it takes that long.

Filming insects is not a spectator sport either, the creatures are mostly so tiny they can only be seen by the person peering down the viewfinder (OK there’s usually a monitor but that’s just in monochrome). Often the animals are so fast that you can’t see what's been filmed until it's played back, or they’re so slow that you leave the camera to taking an image every few minutes and come back the next day.

So today, The Director stood by by a fruit tree all day, waiting for the wind to drop and the moment to happen, catching one in-focus, correctly framed, minute of ants milking honeydew from aphids.


  1. I've actually enjoyed your run-ins with the locals, but am looking forward to your days on the set with the insects! The infinity part...okay, I can understand that, although I'm sure it's 10x more infinite than being a faceless extra in a war film. I swear, I actually walked off and went home for lunch and a nap and nobody missed me!

  2. Hi Rowena
    Ok - just for you, I'll post about my role as a spider 'fluffer' soon.


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