Production notes from Redwood Planet Media’s President and Cinematographer, Alan Peterson
The editing for Into the Wind: The White-tailed Kites of the Redwood Coast has been under way for a while now, and the numerous Premiere timelines I’ve been piecing together are starting to resemble an actual film. I’ve put one of the introductory scenes online as a preview of what’s in store:
I’m pleased with how it’s shaping up; Matthew Birk’s voiceover came out very nicely and it feels great to see the results of a year’s worth of disparate filming sessions finally cohering into a story. The process is taking a bit longer than it should, since my three-year-old laptop struggles with processing footage from the RED camera I’m using (especially when involving After Effects), but the myriad tasks of post-production are slowly falling victim to patience and persistence. I’m aiming to complete the film before the end of July, and we’ll be debuting a special extended version of it at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center on August 15th (more details to come).
The one thing I hoped to include in Into the Wind that I’ll unfortunately have to omit is nesting behavior. Last year’s breeding pair of kites nested on a branch that wasn’t visible from any accessible part of the marsh and, after consulting with experts, I found out that nest cams have to be set up before nesting season starts (making them practically impossible to use on birds that build nests from scratch each year). This year’s breeding pair has nested on a treetop and put their nesting behavior on display for marsh-goers, but I thought it would stretching the truth a bit too much to have them stand in for last year’s couple (especially considering that this year’s female is one of last year’s hatchlings), and we’re too far into post-production to restructure the film at this point. I am, however, continuing to film them and will be including this year’s breeding pair in the feature-length film about Arcata Marsh.
The mother-to-be kite flies in for a shift on the nest so her mate can hunt
After Into the Wind is completed, Katy Warner (our CFO) and I will be focusing on raising a payroll budget for Redwood Planet Media and expanding out workforce. Right now, I’m handling production and post-production single-handed (while freelancing to cover living expenses) and Katy and I have been juggling web and administrative tasks as they can fit into our schedules. Between grants (which should be easier to get with a completed film under our belt), another crowd funding campaign and either licensing or digital distribution revenue from Into the Wind, we’ll hopefully be able to bring in enough revenue to cut regular pay checks and have a workforce that can devote itself to Redwood Planet without having to run off every time a paid film gig pops up in the area. With the relatively low cost of living in Humboldt County and the almost nonexistent overhead costs of running a company out of an apartment, we’re optimistic about making that happen. If you want to help us along, you can make a tax-deductible donation at any time (and get rewards, including prints of our photos) using the “Donate” link on our website’s sidebar.
Future projects, which we’ll hopefully be tackling with at least one more camera operator/editor and a faster computer, include a film about the waders (herons, egrets, bitterns and rails) at Arcata Marsh and a short documentary about reintroducing the California Condor to Humboldt County. With a glut of heron and egret footage on hand, the footage of American Bitterns we recorded in March rounded out a solid foundation for a documentary about waders. Over the coming weeks, I should be able to get some footage of juvenile egrets fledging from their nesting site on Indian Island. After that, finding and filming the elusive Virginia Rail is in order. On the condor front, I’ve been in touch with the Ventana Wildlife Society about filming their captive breeding program and interviewing their condor experts (a filming date isn’t set, but it’s looking like some time in August works best for everyone involved), and I’ll be contacting the Yurok Tribe after the holiday weekend about their efforts to prepare for a condor release in Humboldt County and hopefully arranging to film their release.
In the mean time, I’ll be spending most of my time with Redwood Planet finishing the editing for Into the Wind and making occasional trips to Arcata Marsh to grab supplemental vole footage, monitor the kites’ nest and get some footage of the newly-fledged Belted Kingfishers that have started hanging out at the Eastern side of Klopp Lake.
Stay tuned for more updates on Into the Wind
– we’ll be submitting it to film festivals, and will be arranging more local screenings after its festival debut. Contributors to our first Indiegogo campaign will receive their digital copies of the film as soon as it’s finished.
Best wishes to all,
President, Redwood Planet Media