Crafting personal visual experiences since 2008

Posts tagged “tanoak

Sudden Lost Footage Disease

This is another science documentary that I made for Point Reyes National Seashore back in 2009.

Sudden Oak Death: Battling an Invasive Disease from Mahalo Video on Vimeo.

This documentary was the most difficult of the bunch.  Its focus is not a charismatic mega-fauna like the Tule Elk or the Elephant Seal.  It’s about a microscopic organism invisible to the naked eye.  Yes, this presented some challenges.  I recall thinking “how do I make dying trees interesting on video?”  Well, I think that you’ll see how I answered that question with the video’s opening shot.

There were some technical difficulties on this project as well.  One of our production days took place deep in the Park in a region decimated by the disease.  It took all morning and all afternoon to drive in and out of this location.  I brought along two SOD specialists to interview in and amongst the dead trees.  Because of their busy schedules I only had one shot at this dual interview.  To my relief, everything seemed to go splendidly on the shoot.  It was only on the next day when I looked at the footage that I realized that something had gone horribly wrong.  The footage was all digital garbage.  I had two hours of blinking pastel confetti on my video tape.  I was only able to salvage a single shot:  one of the specialists’ hands pointing to a severed tanoak tree trunk.  Was it the temperature differential under the forest canopy that caused condensation on my mini-DV tape?  Was it the receiver of the wireless lavalier microphones attached to the camera that caused radio interference?  Was it sun spots?  To this day I wonder why the footage was digitally garbled.  I guess some mysteries will always remain unsolved…