Flooded Future

Flooded Future – Gainsborough Floods was it’s working title.

Idea Development

Before settling on the idea of creating a documentary based off the research by Climate Central I floated around a few other ideas about what sort of project I could do. The first idea I though of was to relearn and adapt my knowledge within the current situation to advance my career within film making, through research and creation of shorts, so I put together a project proposal that suited this idea.

We can all agree that this last year has been strange and very trying. For me I have not been able to do what I love which is to be creative, make films and talk with people. What I want to do within this independent and entrepreneurial media production module is to relearn, adapt my knowledge and be creative again through a series of short documentaries filmed within my local area. This is to allow me to be creative once again and give myself a place to make mistake and learn from them. Within my local area Gainsborough which is in Lincolnshire bordering Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire there are many great stories to be told. Examples being of the Bearded Fishermen a local mental health charity who set up patrols of known suicide hot spots, along with receiving a donation from James Bond actor Daniel Craig. There are many more stories to tell it’s just finding them and the people to talk about them, which is why I need to research these topics. The key thing I kept on when developing an idea was that I wanted to do something that I though was interesting to me and something that would help me relearn and adapt my knowledge in the world of film making.

Another thing I kept on from my first idea was the competitor analysis, something that was done to understand how the world of film making worked what I would have to do to make my documentary stand out. Given the short style of documentaries I want to create, the best examples I can think of are Vox and Ladbible. Vox does a mix of content, but they do have short documentaries most between 5 and 6 minutes. They are often filled with facts, history and interviews with people relevant to the subject. The documentaries are often filmed in an pleasing way where the viewer can be be invested in the subject. Ladbible also focuses on factual content. In recent years their content has started to become longer but they still do some short content within that 5-6-minute time frame. But their earlier content was short because it was text over video keep the content short so there wasn’t a lot of reading to do.

Looking at their content I can see that short content is better, keeping it simple while being very informative. When watching the content, you see that its broken down into everyday words so its not their to confuse the reader who has an interest or a developing interest. Along with making it easier for younger people to understand. They both looking at a range of different topics, for me this doesn’t seem like the best for me to do. They already have an established brand meaning they are able to test new content unlike me where I should stick with topics that are linked. I like the style that Vox and Ladbible took when creating their documentaries, they always seemed really well informed and interesting, along with engaging but also simple to understand.

Flooded Futures Project Proposal

We live in a time where our climate is at risk, every date we hear about how climate changing is influencing our planet. Every year parts of the UK ended up flooded from days of rain and the rising sea levels. Climate Central released a rWe live in a time where our climate is at risk, every date we hear about how climate changing is influencing our planet. The main aim of this project is to look into the effect that the projected flooding by Climate Central will have on a community, which is where the projects unique selling point will come into effect – thinking global but looking at it locally. The second aim will be to reintroduce myself back into the world of filmmaking as I haven’t done any proper film making since before March 2020 everything I did after then was online and in the COVID-19 restrictions.

Elevator Pitch

We live in a time where our climate is at risk, every date we hear about how climate changing is influencing our planet. Every year parts of the UK end up flooded for days because of rain and the rising sea levels. Climate Central released a report that shows by 2050 coastal flooding will rise higher. The projection shows that globally by 2100 area now home to 300 million people could fall permanently below the high tide line. Gainsborough in Lincolnshire is a market town along the river Trent that could be affected by these rising sea levels, flooding over half of the historical market town which was once the capital of England and Denmark for five weeks in 1013. Alongside a further signification percentage of Lincolnshire.

Project Aims

The main aim of this project is to look into the effect that the projected flooding by Climate Central will have on a community, which is where the projects unique selling point will come into effect – thinking global but looking at it locally. The second aim will be to reintroduce myself back into the world of filmmaking as I haven’t done any proper film making since before March 2020 everything I did after then was online and in the COVID-19 restrictions.

Climate Central Map

Climate central map
Climate Central Map of Gainsborough

Flooded Future – Climate Central Report

The Climate Central report covers in detail, the effect that rising sea levels could have on every coastal nation. The biggest impact of this could be within Asia where 75% of the 300 million are mostly affected. It’s important to remember that the maps published do not factor in coast defences. These figures come from the new CoastalDEM a digital elevation model based on NASA’s SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) which is known to have significant flaws caused by factors such as topology, vegetation, buildings, and random noise. Climate Central used machine learning to estimate SRTM elevation error pushing the project number of people to be affected up by 221 million.

Current population below the elevation of an average annual flood in 2050, top six countries.

CountrySRTMCoastalDEMChange
China (mainland)29 million people93 million people+67 million people
Bangladesh5 million people42 million people+37 million people
India5 million people36 million people+31 million people
Vietnam9 million people31 million people+22 million people
Indonesia5 million people23 million people+18 million people
Thailand1 million people12 million people+11 million people
Total, Global79 million people300 million people+221 million people
Climate Central (2019) Report: Flooded Future: Global vulnerability to sea level rise worse than previously understood [Internet]. Available from https://www.climatecentral.org/news/report-flooded-future-global-vulnerability-to-sea-level-rise-worse-than-previously-understood. [Accessed 27th April 2021]

Interviews

In order to understand the science behind the report and what affect it could have on our planet, I managed to secure an interview with Climate Central’s Director of Communications Peter Girard who I conducted an interview with looking at what the report tells us, and what effect this projected flooding could have on the world in regard to please migrating and the global economy.

When it comes to understanding the local affect that flooding could have on a community I spoke to Adam Rushbrooke from English Heritage. We spoke about the effect on a community if historic sites were lost to flooding.

When it comes to understanding the local affect that flooding could have on a community I spoke to Adam Rushbrooke fAfter completing the interviews, I realised that I wanted to transcribe each interview for ease of finding the right information that I was looking for. However I didn’t really want to do this myself so I found something called otter.ia an artificial intelligence that would listen to the footage and transcribe it for it. I was impressed with how well it worked even on their free tier. I still had to go through and make corrections but that went rather quickly.

Filming

Given that the project itself was based off the report and map by climate central, I though it was fitting that featuring a

When it came to filming B-Roll for the project, I had to get out filming pretty quickly due to the high-water levels and the fact that rain could cause flooding within minutes so being able to get out and film at a minutes notice was extremely important to this project. Along with filming possible flooding and high-water levels I also had to film outside the Gainsborough Old Hall which had to be done on a clear day so the building could be been clearly so again like waiting for the water-level to rise I had to also wait and be ready for this.

Given that the project itself was based off the report and map by climate central, I thought it was fitting that featuring a map within the project would be relevant. A day trip to York to use the studio was important to capturing the Ordnance Survey map in an environment with little to no shadows and ensuring that the maps detail was captured. To prevent these shadows, I used three dedo lights which I would move as I moved around the map to capture it. I used a lens which a macro setting to capture the detail of the map. Alongside filming the map using the Climate Central Flood Project was essential to ensure I capture the right area’s that would be flooded.

Editing

When it came to editing the documentary together, I had a clear method for how I was going to edit the project so I drafted up a rough timeline of how the documentary would play out. Once I completed that I moved on to actually get started with the editing. I first started with cutting down the interviews to ensure that I got all the important and relevant information within the final edit. This was essential to ensure that all the information was correct and followed the story trying to be told.

After cutting down the interviews, I went on to assembling the the full documentary – this consisted of watching through all the stock footage again and choosing the best moment within each part the footage itself consisted of flooding within both the country side and urban areas to show that flooding will and can hit anywhere. Within the stock footage I wanted to show the impact that flooding has on our lives which is why footage of people driving, walking through flood water and water running through the streets.

The key to using the stock footage was to support the facts that Peter Girard was talking about during his interview, flooding does cause danger to life, damage crops and puts our economy at risk. When it comes to how flooding can affect and community I spoke to Adam Rushbrooke from English Heritage who spoke about what impact flooding has on their historic sites and how loosing theming them would impact a local community. The map and Gainsborough Old Hall footage were shot by me to support what Adam was telling.

Once I was happy with the final assembly of the Interviews and B-Roll I moved on to colour correcting and grading. Given that I was using stock footage and my own shot footage I had to match the colour correcting as best as I could before grading. I found this a lot more difficult than I expected and is certainly something I need to practice at doing more. For the colour grading to match B-Roll I when for a sort of Noir feeling however, I didn’t entirely go black and white I get some colour for two reasons. One was so that the water could be seen in every clit, the second reason being is that I didn’t want black and white Noir style B-Roll with fill colour interviews – I thought that wouldn’t look right. The last part of the editing process before reviewing was the audio. For the background music I used three different tracks to support the story within the documentary – which were meant to be atmospheric and cinematic at the same time.

Finally, after doing a review on the project with a few friends I made some minor changed. Adding in a few more J/L cuts, corrected the audio so it was smoother and added some more footage from the most recent floods currently hitting China.

Unused Assets

During the projects production I wanted to ensure that I had as much material to work with as possible that corresponds with the interviews however how all of them made it into the final edit of the documentary but it’s worth talking about these as they might still have value. Especially given that they are completely free to use.

Google Earth Studio

During one of the interview questions that Adam answer he mentioned that I could overlay historic sites with a map of the flood project. This however was not something that I could do without many days doing it which was time that I didn’t have. So, I chose an alternate approach instead and chose to use Google Earth Studio which is basically using Google Earth to animate a camera around out planet. I used it to focus on historic sites on the south coast that could be affected by the project flood. This for sure was something that was super interesting and fun to do and only took a few hours to figure out and animate with the help of YouTube. I used tracking points which were placed on the English Heritage site’s location to animate text in Adobe After Effects. The process of doing that was super simple I exported the tracking point data from Google Earth Studio and imported it into After Effects with the animated footage. Using compositions with the site’s name and English Heritage information I liked it to a null object that was created by the tracking data script to place the text above the location. All I had to do then was animate the text to follow the camera.

Footage and Images

Everything else that was unused was just images shot in raw format and some footage of the surrounding area of the river Trent when it goes through Gainsborough. I didn’t use these as they didn’t seem to fit in the much short documentary, I ended up created compared to the once that I had envisioned.

Flooded Futures – Documentary

Evaluation

Flooded Futures as a project was designed with two mains aims the first being looking at the effect of this projected flood within a local community that is projected to be affected. The second aim to get me back into filmmaking and reintroduce me into the things that I enjoy. Before starting this project, I hadn’t filmed anything in over a year due to the pandemic which is why I’m happy that I’ve been able to create something and enjoy the process at the same time.

However, the final edit of the project is not what entirely I envisioned I wanted to speak to more members of my community about the Climate Central report to hopefully see the impact that their projected flood would have. This would have enabled me to use the footage of Gainsborough that I shot which would have shown what would be lost. Alongside using some of the assets that I wasn’t able to use the Google Earth Studio would have fitted perfectly in an interesting and interactive way to show what historic sites would be effects, which towns would be at risk of being wiped out completely if left unchecked.

If I was allowed more time on the project or able to start it again, I would focus more on interview using Vox-Pops then collect more imaged and footage related to flooding within a community. I would also choose to film the interviews differently instead of using zoom which can be affected by internet issues and is only recorded at low quality – I’m sure there would have been a better way of doing or changing some setting. I would have liked to film the interviews in person which would look better in the final project. The aim of the project would remain at looking at a local impact of flooding on a community while being fully aware as to the global impact it will have.

When it comes to looking at what went well with the project, I’m incredibly happy that I was able to secure an interview with Climate Central (author of the Flooded Futures report) and English Heritage. Being able to learn about the science behind the flood project then putting it forwards in a real-world context was interesting to me along with the effect that an charity organise would have to deal with as well.

Ultimately, I’m extremely happy with being able to make a film again on a topic that I’m passionate about. This will be something that I continue to develop and work on to the standard that I want it to when I first envisioned this project.

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