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Very pleased to say that for the umpteenth (well, maybe tenth?) year in a row we have the Rural Fire Service's bushfire accreditation in place for the coming summer's video production around Sydney and the rest of the state.

Undergoing regular training from the media teams of the RFS is crucial for all journalists, camera operators, documentary makers and members of the media wielding video cameras come the summer months (and, unfortunately, the spring, autumn and possibly even winter months if the worst climate change predictions are correct.)

There are extremely strict drone regulations in place surrounding bushfires (if emergency services are in the area, drones are not permitted under CASA's regulations) so if a cowboy video producer / drone operator is offering drone footage from fire affected areas, treat with caution. Waterbombing aircraft and helicopters are not good bedmates for drone operators. We can provide further guidance on drone production in these conditions when required. Basically, the more time after the fire has passed through/the further from the fire front, the more likely a drone operation is an option. Again, treat with caution.

We're set up with the other required gear - approved fire suit, boots and goggles etc - to produce video

and broadcast television in the hostile conditions of a New South Wales fire season, so drop us a line to hello @ wedgetailpictures dot com for more info.

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This month we're working on a lockdown version of a short Indigenous history video series with Sydney-based NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge.

I've known of video production companies not keen on shouting from the rooftop when working with politicians. But the campaign David is running is aimed at preventing open-cut coal mining – of which there is plenty – in the NSW Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, from encroaching on sites of grave significance to local Aboriginal people, the Wonnarua clans. As a member of One Per Cent For The Planet with a clear environmentalist bent, Wedge-Tail is happy to be on board.

Broadly speaking, the series speaks to the 'frontier war' violence in the Hunter Valley in the comparatively early days of the colony of New South Wales. British troops, supported by the newly-formed NSW mounted police (still going strong in 2021) wrought horrific violence on the Indigenous peoples of the land; often in a spiralling tit for tat, which also saw many attacks on white settlers. This was war, however unevenly the odds were stacked.


Despite travel restrictions we've been able to produce the first video in a series of four in a Covid-safe way. We're were lucky enough to get a batch of video and drone footage provided which came from some of the archaeological work happening at the site. Sadly, we were unable to travel to the region to film or produce drone footage given the restrictions in Sydney at the moment – nor could we carry out interviews. It's not the highest quality footage we're working with – but sometimes patchy video which tells the story is better than quality video which does not, drone or otherwise. [Editorial] Content is King!

Matched with suitable archive and historical photography from places like the State Library of NSW and the ever-trusty zoom interview, we've been able to produce these videos entirely from the Wedge-Tail office. We've had David's researcher Aish record her audio from her own home while speaking, and send it back to the edit suite to achieve slightly higher-quality than a Zoom recording would have achieved.

This is the first of four videos, we hope it shines a light on a too-often under discussed aspect of our shared Australian history.

And if it floats your boat, please have a look at Wedge-Tail feature documentary The Lake of Scars – we'll be sharing some very exciting news there soon.

Above: A shot of the Ravensworth Homestead in the Hunter Valley

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  • Wedge-Tail Pictures

What a great drone video assignment for Wedge-Tail a few weeks back; hired to spend a few days in the wild with a team of cutting-edge government and university researchers using heat-seeking drone hardware to detect and monitor koalas.

Working with Germany's Smac Media, it was the kind of video production assignment there hasn't been enough of over the last year of Covid disruptions; the adventure kind.

The team were using a range of DJI hardware - Matrice and Mavic drones - to seek out koalas in the dead of night (they give off greater heat spots at night, in winter) before attempting to locate any positive sightings on foot afterwards.

We were on the NSW mid-north Coast; but temperatures were still dipping to around 3/4c each night. A camera operator's (or indeed a drone operator's) hands are definitely best-friends with fingerless gloves in these conditions. There are also questions around drones, cameras and their batteries, as well as foggy lenses in cold conditions like this.

Koalas - and many other species - were hit hard by the devastating fire season the summer before last. It's hoped that technological advancements with the capabilities of drones will keep monitoring efforts on track. Ultimately though, there is no doubt what the big issues are for koalas - habitat loss thanks to humans, along with illness such as chlamydia, attacks by dogs (feral and domestic), and death by motor vehicle.

Using drones to locate wildlife is something that has been used in different territories around the world - including in Australia - for a number of years. Working with the team of researchers on this environmental filmmaking project was also of real interest for us given that the use of drones for mapping and wildlife monitoring is also something Wedge-Tail Pictures has been developing to work alongside our video production capabilities in remote environments.

Editing will be carried out by Smac in Munich; dig out the final show ('Wildlife Diaries') to see what we found with the drone!

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