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Natural Hazards

Archives / 2018 / December

The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

Dear readers, today our blog will host Ryan Stone from Lambda Films. He will tell us his story and perspective behind the camera while documenting people’s lives constantly exposed to volcanic risk. If you want to get a quick taste of today’s content, just take a long breath and watch this video: https://www.lambdafilms.co.uk/video-production/an-eclipse/.

Ryan Stone is the co-founder & Creative Director of Lambda Films, a video production company and animation studio based in the UK.
Lambda Films have developed a specialism in storytelling and natural hazards; producing a variety of video and animation content to help educate vulnerable communities living with volcanic risk. These films have always been in collaboration with researchers, organisations and academics from across the globe.

 

Hello Ryan,  Please tell us about the aim and perspectives of a director involved in natural hazard films

When starting with any film project, we have to be clear about what are the objectives and who are the audience, and ensure everything we shoot supports those two considerations. In the case of our natural hazard films, we have to achieve a balance between imparting useful information for a non-scientific audience and keeping the audience engaged. (so that they can they learn.) We have to ensure both the information and visuals are pitched just right, as the viewers are most likely to be those at risk of future events.

Our first ever brief was simply a series of interviews, which provided the useful information but was lacking in engaging and varied visuals, so since, we have ensured all of our subsequent collaborations afford us enough time to film the interviews and shoot relevant lifestyle footage. This b-roll footage, whether it’s of the interviewee at work, or visiting the ruins of their former home, adds an extra depth to the narrative, keeping the visuals interesting and adding further impact to their words.

We try to keep the ‘actors’ (i.e. local people) at the front and centre of the films – essentially the stars of the show – whilst also recognising the extent to which the various locations, and the hazards themselves also play a major role in the films. This footage can both demonstrate the beauty and pressures of the natural environment, as well as some of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the communities that live with the risk of natural hazards.

As a director, you always have to consider the visual impact on the audience, and ensure shots look interesting, relevant and are able to support the, often sensitive and/or scientific content. Personal stories or scientific explanations can often be quite lengthy, so a director has to consider the production as a finished film, not just the individual scenes in isolation.

 

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Combining geomorphology, geomorphometry and natural hazards research: the way forward

Combining geomorphology, geomorphometry and natural hazards research: the way forward

Today I have the honour to introduce a friend and a brilliant scientist that recently won the 2019 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists of the EGU, Dr Giulia Sofia. Dr Sofia is currently Assistant Research Professor at the University of Connecticut (USA) in the Hydrometeorology and Hydrologic Remote Sensing group. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry Science, and PhD (2012) in Water Resources, Soil Conservation & Watershed Management from the University of Padova (Italy). Her area of research is geomorphology and digital terrain analysis, with a special interest in feature extraction from high-resolution topography. Her recent research interest concerns anthropogenic landscapes, incorporating the related human-induced processes. Her interdisciplinary research background is the reason behind today interview, to shed some light on the interrelation that geomorphology has with natural hazard research.

1. Hello Giulia. Can you please tell us what geomorphology and geomorphometry are?

Think about looking at a landscape, and working out how each earth surface process, such as air, water, and ice, can mould it. Think about piecing together the history and life of such a landscape place by studying landforms and sediments, and how they interact(ed). Well, this is geomorphology: the science of landforms, their processes, forms and sediments at the surface of the Earth, and sometimes other planets. Geomorphometry, on the other hand, is the science of quantitative land-surface analysis. It draws upon mathematics, computer vision, machine learning, image-processing techniques and statistics to quantify the shape of earth’s topography at various spatial and temporal scales. [Read More]