Thursday, May 15, 2008

See For Yourself

It's one thing to tell you about life on the mini-farm, but it's another thing entirely to actually be able to show you it.

But first, a brief backstory of bad weather and broken promises. Dun-dun-duhhh.

Originally given a few days off from the hustle and bustle of Spotlight thanks to convenience of an Easter holiday (religious or not, a couple of days off is nothing to be sniffed at), you can imagine my horror at being told to instead forget that and come in early (on a Friday no less) with the intent to head up to the mini-farm to film a health and safety training video.

Of course, it rained furiously and completely washed out that idea, and I was left with such workaday thrills as reorganizing the book shelf, re-designing all the "You Must Not Eat/Drink/Carry Mobile Phones/Have MP3 Players/Wear Hats/Wear Hoodies/Talk/Sleep/Have Fun" signs that loom ominously in any part of the studio that the Learning Place kids visit and trying to decipher a series of cryptic handwritten hieroglyphics that masquerade as Ged's horticulture notebook (actually written on a long, hot, sunny holiday abroad and very much under the unfluence which probably explains the illegiability of it all and the drawing of what appeard to be a pelican riding a lawnmower).

So with a day off not only recinded but spent on office busywork rather than as was intended, the following Monday became Take Two of Operation Health And Safety.

So of course, it rained then as well. But we went anyway. And forgot to take the higher quality microphones. We now have a bunch of footage that plays back mostly the roaring countryside winds, and occassionally some sage words of advice creep through the cracks. Well, they do when Ged can remember anything he's supposed to be talking about (I mean it's one thing to talk about the dangers of bamboo sticks and more specifically the havoc they can wreak when they get stuck in your eye but forgetting what a pole is called? *hint - it's called a "pole"* Thats pretty bad. Keep your non-bamboo stick-skewered eyes peeled to Dennis Norden's It'll Be Alright On The Night where this footage will no doubt eventually surface!)

Two days later and we were back again, this time filming footage of the kids as proof of their participation in learning about manual handling and health and safety hazzards on the farm (and indeed, the workplace in general). So of course, we set up the cameras around mid-day after an early morning spent setting up the various hazzards and going through the legalities of it all with the kids and as soon as we begin to film - rain.

Maybe it's just me but I think I'm cursed. I've not been to the mini-farm once yet when it hasn't been blisteringly cold, hellaciously windy, staggeringly rainy or unseasonably snowy. Rambunctious sunshine, will you never reveal yourself?


So the point is, I spent a couple of days up at the mini-farm last week armed only with a DV camera and a pocketful of thoughts, and you, lucky blog-botherer, are the winner in all this as I opted to take just a couple of minutes to capture some of the animals on film and spent the arse-end of last week knocking together a short little video of it all to hopefully give you a more visual and audial (is that a word? It is now) idea of what it's really like up at Spotlight Mini-Farm. Enjoy.


P.S. - If you want the full experience just turn all your heating off, sit between two giant fans and get someone to throw spurts of water and (where possible) snow at you whilst watching it. And put your feet in a bucket full of mud and small stones. And crack open a woodland-scented magic tree car air freshener or something similarly pongy for that truly outdoorsy experience.

P.P.S. - Ignore the font at the start, it's not particularly flashy but it took me ages just to work out how to implement it on Serif MoviePlus so be thankfull it's at least in Spotlight club colours!

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