Adventuresome Filmmaking Meets Theory, Technique, and Environmental Education at UC Santa Barbara

This write-up was originally released in UCSB’s ‘The Current’.

Every single summertime, the Coastal Media Project filmmaking bootcamp at UC Santa Barbara culminates with lengthy days and evenings of enhancing and ultimate touches in advance of a general public demonstrating of pupil-crafted documentaries, each and every an environmental short that’s conceptualized, shot, edited and screened in just 9 months.

This year’s movies reflect a variety of storytelling as assorted as the aspiring filmmakers by themselves — from maritime mammal die offs and a celebrity sea otter to sand sculptures and what could be intriguingly explained as Latinx surf club meets Chumash tomol paddle satisfies Black scientist scuba diver. The movies will be screened from 7–9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25, at the Pollock Theater. The party is no cost and open up to the public reserved tickets are advisable.

Sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Centre, the Coastal Media Project is an intensive 12-credit system presented by means of UCSB’s Section of Film and Media Research. “The class is an unbelievable chance for students to find out environmental filmmaking,” said Chris Jenkins, the department’s head of output.

Friday’s event will showcase 4 films: “841” follows the present activities encompassing an unruly sea otter mingling with surfers in Northern California subsequent a connoisseur and a sculptor, “Sand Symphony” explores the coast via an inventive guise “The Salt on Our Skin” connects communities as they personal and reclaim their ocean narratives and “Stranded” addresses the deadly impression of domoic acid on thousands of marine mammals in Southern California.

This summer months, the course opened with an exploration of movie concept in the context of documentary filmmaking taught by Summer season Gray, an assistant professor of environmental experiments.

“I educate at the nexus of documentary scientific tests and crucial environmental justice, emphasizing the politics of representation,” Grey claimed. “Students use this significant lens in their personal movies in the course of the ideation and manufacturing procedure. In the to start with 7 days, we utilised what’s known as inquiry-centered learning to make an asset library of thoughts and assets, from which learners produced notion maps for film thoughts in advance of they teamed up in the third week” to variety creation groups based mostly on their pursuits.

Gray’s coursework overlapped with that of Jenkins and lecturer Ian Kellett, the two of whom taught the specialized nuts and bolts of shooting and enhancing.

“Basically, at 1st there is a good deal of emphasis on brainstorming, essential considering and research,” Kellett stated. “From there, it’s about collecting footage which is uncomplicated, measurable, attainable, real looking and well timed. From thought to shipping in 9 months is somewhat quick, so college students need to understand to shoot and edit at the same time.” The public screening event, he additional, “really puts the fireplace beneath their trousers to end their do the job and place it out there.”

The course also invested five times on Santa Cruz Island, sleeping and cooking at the UC discipline station, and scouting the shorelines and coastal canyons on “video scavenger hunts” although finding out to collaborate, Kellett said. “Working together on the island established quite impressive workforce dynamics.” 

Canon not long ago arrived aboard as a Coastal Media Challenge sponsor, outfitting the course with the most up-to-date digicam bodies and lenses. The cameras’ experience-detection autofocus feature executed exceptionally although photographing birds and other wild animals, according to Kellett. The newest in impression-stabilization technologies also arrived in handy although pupils shot from relocating automobiles and watercraft.

Other noteworthy engineering updates included software that instantly transcribes soundbites from movie but can also edit the video with changes to the transcription. An AI application also arrived into participate in, as effectively, as learners in one particular occasion have been able to use podcast software to recreate a soundbite that was at first unusable mainly because of also a great deal track record sounds.

“Students get to do the job with prime-notch products and passionate instructors,” Jenkins mentioned, “and they have a excellent time whilst getting a complete knowledge of the problems in documentary storytelling.”

Coastal Media Project group shot on Santa Cruz Island | Credit score: Ian Kellett