The Northern AV Group Meeting March 20th 2021
This one was a first: the first time the meeting was held online:-and It went like a dream!
There was no stuttering of AVs, the transitions behaved themselves, no one had to make 30 teas or serve 30 lunches, no one had to put out or clear away a hall full of chairs.
The wretched pandemic had meant we could not meet in person and this time we had decided we would not cancel the event: oh no! We would grasp the nettle and get on with it.
Plans had been laid well and carefully: 15 AVs had been supplied by their authors in the requested form; 30 people made up our audience with members joining from Cumbria, Tyneside, Teesside, and North Yorkshire; the programme for the day and help notes for successful viewing had been circulated to all.
In true AV fashion we travelled the world; we explored our local area; we found ways of dealing with the “L” word (Lockdown); we found that there are ways to get out of chairs easily if you are brave enough! Our memories were stirred by seeing places we too had visited in the past.
Our future hopes include new ideas on our mental holiday lists.It had been a great day and absolutely worth the time and effort involved so THANK YOU: thank you to the authors of the AVs and thank you to all the audience who “gave it a go”.
The Northern AV Group Meeting October 2019
Guest Speaker: Derek Mathieson
The meeting was held at the usual venue of St John’s Church Hall, Snods Edge on Saturday 19th October 2019 and commenced with the groups 7th Annual general meeting with 30 members in attendance.
Ron Henry, who had supposedly retired as Chairman, at the previous AGM, has very kindly carried on in the role, as it has not been possible to find a replacement. However, Ron made it perfectly clear that this next year as Chairman is definitely his last.
Anne Harbron agreed to continue as secretary for one more year. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Anne was not able to attend the meeting and Howard Wilson, a previous secretary, took her place for the recording of the minutes.
Stuart Edgar and Kevin Allonby retired from the committee and were each presented with a gift from the Committee in recognition of the valuable work and contribution to the group that they have provided.
Three new members were elected to the committee; Mrs Kath Gilbert, Mr Harry Gilbert and Mr Tom Violet.
Paul Hogarth was re-elected as Treasurer and Ian Gregory agreed to continue as a Committee Member for another year.
After the completion of the AGM Howard Wilson gave a presentation about how he met the challenge to achieve PAGB Distinction in AV, followed by a showing of his award winning AV “The National Arboretum”.
Howard has been making AV’s since the late 1970’s using slides and tape recorders. In those days his sequences were presented with up to eight projectors!
The idea of the AV of the National Arboretum came to him after a visit to the site and took another three visits to complete the photographic record. The music was chosen after listening to the radio programme Friday Night is Music Night, which Howard says he obtains a lot of his musical ideas from. However, to apply for PAGB Qualification it is mandatory to be in possession of a music licence to comply with Royalty and Copyright Laws.
Once the AV was completed, to exacting standards, multiple application forms had to be filled in, to equally high standards, before the application was formally made.
After his presentation, Howard showed an AV, made by his 12 year old Grandson, about a Nature Reserve, near to his home. Obviously inspired by his Grandad the AV had great pictures of the reserve and insects to be seen there, and was accompanied by a clear and well written narration.
Following Howard’s presentation three members sequences which were shown to an appreciative audience before our Guest Speaker, Derek Mathieson FACI, was introduced.
The sequences had been sent to Judith Kimber LIPF, DPGAB/AV and her pre recorded comments were replayed to the audience following the viewing of each sequence.
Following an introduction by Judith Kimber the following sequences were shown:
Arran by Pat Johnston.
A well planned and informative documentary of the Isle of Arran with excellent photography of birds, flowers and the landscape.
Hadrian’s Wall by Val Johnston.
An informative, well presented AV with the inclusion of museum artefacts that gave the audience the desire to visit this World Heritage Site.
My Soul is… by Stuart Edgar.
Not for the feint hearted! This was an atmospheric and creative AV of High Gate Cemetery.
Our guest speaker, Derek Mathieson, was then introduced by the Chairman.
Derek is a member of Darlington Video Makers and has judged movie programmes many times, including BIAFF, and taken part in judging inter club competitions. He was awarded a fellowship by IAC in 2001.
In 1982 he won a Scottish 8 Trophy for his movie “The Mill” about the restoration of a corn mill in Yorkshire. He received four stars at BIAFF for his movie “Wartime Weekend” about the 1940’s weekend on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Most, if not all, modern cameras can now record video and Derek explained the different types of video format and settings that are available in the camera.
Record ambient sounds as they are of use not only for video but also AV’s using still photos.
Write your commentary before shooting and take images to suit the commentary.
When recording your commentary, place the microphone to one side and before you start to speak, smile.
Use a tripod. Even slight camera movement is obvious when playing back video.
Record at least 10 seconds of video at any one time.
Derek Mathieson's presentation
Create sub folders, in the computer, for different sections of the video.
For editing video on the computer Derek suggested Open Shot Video Editor which is available free.
It was then time for our lunch break and as usual we were not disappointed. We were served an excellent cold buffet and a choice of desserts to finish.
The afternoon session started with the second part of Derek’s presentation when he showed professionally prepared videos of different parts of the world.
We started off in Wenslydale, then to Pickering for a 1940 War Re-enactment and a tour of Paris. From there we were taken to the USA and shown the sights and sounds of Las Vegas and learnt how it became to be there in the middle of a desert.
Next was Ellis Island in New York where the majority of immigrants first entered the USA.
Then it was back to Europe to the city of Amsterdam, The Green City, so named because of the number of trees growing there. and then to Istanbul, The City Spanning Two Continents and finally Melbourne, Australia.
The programme then allowed for a short tea break before continuing with the remaining seven members sequences:-
The Heart of Asia by Harry and Kath Gilbert.
A well structured AV with excellent pictures and narration accompanied by appropriate music.
Les Rochers Sculptures by John Harbron.
An articulate and well written script with excellent pictures gave a good understanding of the rock sculptures.
Lake Konigsee by Jim McCormick.
An informative AV with great photos with calm and elegant music left the viewer with the feeling that they had been there.
Up The Creek by Ron Henry.
A humorous, lively and energetic AV about Old Dubai with the inclusion of video. There was good back ground recordings and the music was appropriate.
Address by Paul Hogarth.
A humorous AV about the Address to the Haggis accompanied by an excellent rendering of Robbie Burns’ Poem.
Becks and Ghylls by Andrew Nichol.
The simple concept to this AV, with atmospheric piano music, well matched with the photos and transitions, made it enjoyable to watch.
Clevedon Pier by Howard Wilson.
This well edited AV had dramatic and unusual views of the pier.
To complete the days events the winner of the 2018 Great Northern New Horizons, “Mrs Heelis”, by Brenda Stone was shown.
The meeting was closed by the Chairman, Ron Henry, who thanked everyone for attending and those members who had presented AV’s. The number attending the meeting was down on previous years, due to people being ill or on holiday. Ron expressed his, and the members, best wishes to those who are unwell and that they have a speedy recovery.
The next meeting is to be held at Snods Edge, on 21st March 2020 when the guest speaker will be Sheila Graber, an animator who has worked on several high profile broadcast shows for the BBC. Sheila’s talk will be about how we may produce and include digital animation into our AVs.
The Northern AV Group Meeting March 2019
Guest Speaker:Malcolm Imhoff
The Northern Audio Visual Group, https://thenorthernavgroup.co.uk, has just two events a year, one in March and one in October. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for AV workers from the whole of the North to meet for a day to see Attendees Sequences, to hear well respected speakers and to have an excellent lunch in good company.
As a further and very useful addition to our day, we invite well known AV workers from other regions to provide recorded constructive comments on our Attendees Sequences. On this occasion we had been fortunate enough to persuade Malcolm Imhoff, FRPS FAIC(M) to make the journey north to be our guest speaker. whilst Jill Bunting and John Smith had found time to examine all twelve Attendees Sequences very carefully and to record their comments and thought provoking suggestions in their own clearly recognisable style.
Last year our day was challenged by “The Beast from the East” but this year the weather was beautiful and every one of our audience of more than 40 people made it for the show.
The Attendees Sequences took us around the world with each one showing the individuality and style of their author.
One of the hidden special secrets of the North East was unveiled in “Regeneration”. If you come to Tyneside, make sure to visit the Ouseburn Valley. This is a photographers’ paradise but a place, too, to take the grandchildren to visit “Seven Stories”, an old Victorian grain store, now converted to become The National Centre for Children’s Books.
“Allendale Chimneys” featured the relics of lead mining, partially reclaimed by nature now, but still displaying the amazing skills of the men who constructed the flues, chimneys and tunnels necessary to win the lead.
“Deepdale” showed us, where, in spring, you can wander paths once trodden by Sir Walter Scott, through bluebell-carpeted ancient woodland.
We enjoyed seeing the streets and views of Hexham past and present in “Then and Now” and touring the delights of “Whitby” with its twisting, narrow streets in the old town and the intriguingly named “Arguments Yard”.
More tributes to skilled engineers and shipbuilders appeared in “SS Great Britain”; first, the painstaking designers and the builders of the vessel and then those who transformed what was clearly little more than a rotting hulk into the restoration we see today.
A few minutes later and we were off to “Salzburg”, introduced to the city with a lovely slow opening pan to set the scene before delving, by virtue of clear commentary and expert photography, into the detail of its squares, streets and cultural associations.
From Europe we were whisked a world away, to experience “Puerto Rico Wildlife”, a sequence of the creatures to be found there and where the author had resisted the temptation to include any accompanying music, a decision that many found perfectly acceptable.
On then, to Chile, flying over the “Atacama” desert and learning that here it has not rained for 150 years. This sequence came from much travelled authors, well known for the strength of their voice-overs; always well scripted and enviably pleasing in their delivery.
Back home and another sequence was photographed and filmed entirely on the author’s smart phone. He’d decided, out of courtesy to his companions for the day, to leave the camera behind but then…drat! He found himself in the rising and revolving bar of the British Airways i360 tower in Brighton. Out with the phone, which smartly proved itself equal to the task and the sequence “Raising the Bar” could be produced. This sequence, along with two others, included some video, something to learn about perhaps, because, where movement is involved it can certainly add an extra dimension.
We were fortunate to have in our audience several members from a long established group, the Darlington Video Makers, who can give experienced wise counsel about selectivity within video clips and sharp cutting to avoid long boring stretches of film where the audience are kept waiting for the main action.
Malcolm Imhoff made a welcome return visit to talk to us and to show some more of his work. This time he chose to centre his presentation around “Sound in AV.” It is always difficult, with a relatively unknown audience of mixed experiences and abilities, to know quite where to pitch the talk but Malcolm included something for everyone along with examples of his own AVs.
He had brought some of his own microphones and recording devices with an invitation, accepted by many, to handle and examine these closely. He gave examples, most particularly from the East Midlands AV group site, of where to find helpful, dedicated instruction ( https://www.emavg.org.uk and then go to AV Guides and Tutorials.).
He raised awareness of a site called Fiverr, where those not happy with their own voice for “Voice Over” can purchase a recording made by specialists in that field.
We learned of more complicated techniques whereby “Audition” can be used to shorten or lengthen music so unobtrusively that the most listeners will have no idea that any changes have been made. A very useful tip was always to use WAV files to process music for the same reason that RAW files are used to process photographs. Yet another was to download tracks in stereo and then use “Audition” to remove the seemingly empty track because therein lies unwanted noise that can come with the download. To illustrate these points, Malcolm showed several of his sequences that many of the audience had not seen before. “Sunrise on Helvellyn” showed that, used in the right place, a well- known piece of music can be the perfect accompaniment.
By contrast, “Faces of Nepal”, showed the value of acquiring music from the actual area. Ambient sound and some video were included in “Friends across the Bay” a visual account of the famous guided walk across Morecambe Bay, from Arnside to Kents Bank.
The final AV of his presentation was “Love will Remain”, his very moving tribute to Maggie which resonated in a very personal way with more than one member of the audience.