Ken and AFA crew,

It was great to chat about your hope and vision for the new AFA campaign video timing with the energy of the 25th anniversary year of the Clayoquot Sound protests.  I hear your desire to take the opportunity "make the old growth campaign go big" - and to send a message to the BC NDP who seem to have eliminated their ideals outlined in their campaign for proper protection and management. 

As a Director of Photography I'm usually drawn and inspired by the most visually stunning concepts.  It's not hard to draw out both the awe inspiring beauty of a temperate old growth forest and also the horror of seeing giant lone tree standing in a clearcut.  With my newest Red camera technology I now have the ability to shoot an 8K image in a raw format.  What that means is that it's shooting about the same quality as a professional DSLR camera up to 30 frames per second.  So while I'm excited to get to bring it out and film again, at a high production value, I keep on thinking about our social media society, sharability, and finding innovative ways of spreading a message that sticks to a wide variety of audiences.  

This process of finding a vision for your campaign has led me to thinking about 360deg video and Virtual Reality video technology.  

In late 2015 I had the opportunity to film an interview with Scott Harrison of Charity Water in New York.  At the end of our filming session he showed us his VR headset short that he was about to present at a large event with high profile donors.  Since then, the VR tech and acceptability has increased immensely and of course doesn't require you to have a headset as well.  What stood out to me though was his desire to really impact the audience with the experience of this community receiving a well.  They documented the whole process from before and showcasing the need in the village, to the immensely joyful celebration as the village gathered together when water gushed out of the ground.  

I think this would be a great campaign hook for you - but overall I sense that what the AFA is searching for is a concept that goes beyond just a standard video presentation, even if it's piggybacking on the steam of the 25th anniversary of the Clayoquot sound protests.  

That said, I think the timing of the 25th anniversary is excellent, in that it provides an opportunity to still hear from these environmental leaders in VR content and another reason for the media to pay attention.  There's a story in the situation as a mix of old and new in the fight, and aligns with the technology tools that the Ancient Forest Alliance already brings in the fight for our old growth forests (like your use of google earth, drones, etc).  


I'll outline a few visual examples of well told VR stories with a social message, discuss current technology and then discuss some jump off points on how we can tweak the content capture and social media and traditional media campaign.   Finally I'll point out logistical considerations, cost estimates and possible funding ideas and how I believe this could be a feasible project for the AFA this summer.

BILL GATES FOUNDATION VIDEO : Swaziland aims to eliminate malaria entirely within its borders by 2020.

UNDER THE CANOPY: virtual reality film by Conservation International

current technology    

go pro omni & final cut pro

  • GoPro has released the Omni (a 6 array camera) that delivers a 4K experience in 360
  • Post production is simplified using their included software and Final Cut Pro's new ability to handle VR footage
  • Price point for camera package complete is around $2500 CDN

display & delivery to viewer

  • The best part about VR content is that you don't need the latest and best VR headset, you can experience it without a headset by moving your phone, swiping on a laptop or scrolling through a facebook feed
  • With cheaper VR headset cardboard cutouts the entry to the experience becomes accessible to anyone
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the afa "angle"    


  • Still create story from interviewing the same individuals (but also consider using their voice over with them on camera on location) 
  • Bring the individuals to significant places to remember and reflect upon and perhaps have photos in hand (i.e. black hole location and why the current growth will not be the same as the old growth)
  • Capture the journey with VR (driving the logging roads, walking through intact forests, seeing heli logging choppers, hearing the buzz of saws, at the port for exports, watching the logging trucks pass by on major roads, standing at big lonely doug, in avatar grove boardwalk)
  • what would be the 10-20 places you would take someone to show prove your point and share your message?
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    social media and wide campaign ideas

    • well used hashtag #keepoldgrowthreal or something better
    • deliver a VR headset to the BC NDP premier and several BC MLA offices and show it while filming the process
    • instagram stories along the filming journey in the same locations and places 
    • your canvasser booths at places like MEC could have a few google cardboard headsets or canvassers going door to door could use the VR experience if people are interested
    • local and national news story about AFA using innovative technology along the way (google earth, drone) now VR
    • normal facebook feed video that displays the 360 video for those without headsets
    • 4K video display on your youtube channel in people's home smart tv or desktop/laptop/ipad
    • accompanying or v2 campaign using SLOW TV - with 4K video streams for 20min walks through the old growth and clearcuts captured on my 8K camera and stabilized gimbal (international tourism appeal possibility) - see examples: sigur ros, media article,  norway
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    logistics, costs & fundraising

    • I've been consulting my good friend and producer/director Craig Harris from Furrow Creative and would like to involve him in the discussion moving forward if you are interested in the approach
    • Development and Pre-Production could take place in May and early June, with shooting and post mid to late June or early July 
    • The costs associated with this approach would exceed the existing discussed budget of $1500 but with the right approach to direct fundraising before shooting I feel the right campaign angle (like this) could help bolster your case for fulfilling the budget needs 
    • Can we leverage our collective contacts to approach outside donors or sponsors
    • Should we consider a kickstarter campaign or similar and assemble a good team that would add to the prominence of the pitch (for example: my friend who is an IMAX location sound recordist and post production mixer and was involved in Ian McAllister's latest film on the Great Bear Rainforest, or an new connection to creative writer who has a large portfolio of work with North America's largest ad agencies... )
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