CLIENT: parkland secondary
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 4 WEEKS
BUDGET: $2,500 - $3,000
It's rare that we have the opportunity to work with Greater Victoria's public school system, but the staff at Parkland Secondary in North Saanich reached out to us to help showcase all the options they offer, including the new International Baccalaureate program, as part of a campaign to boost enrollment.
We quickly elected to use students and staff as the voice of the video, describing all of the elements that make Parkland unique. With such a wide variety of activities and clubs to choose from, the challenge was deciding what to include in our two minute window of opportunity. From a dynamic drama program to athletics such as hockey, judo and sailing academies - getting good visual elements was never going to be a problem at Parkland.
Over the course of two weeks we made a number of trips to the campus, shooting the bits and pieces that would eventually form the structure of our video. With the help of the NavCanada crew at Victoria Internationl Airport, we were also able to include some stunning drone aerials of the school and nearby Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club.
But the final shot of the video was the most challenging of all... at least, mentally. It meant scaling an enormous wooden ladder to rig our camera to the cable raceway above the school's lobby. Once our equipment was secured in place, we set the camera to take a timelapse image every 5 seconds over the course of an hour, capturing students as they filed out of class at the end of the day.
With the school logo front and centre for the closing image of the video, our project was complete - an upbeat look at all of the elements that make Parkland one of Victoria's hidden gems.
Raising the Grade
CLIENT: Boys & Girls Club
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 2 WEEKS
BUDGET: $1,500 - $2,000
We have a soft spot for programs that work hard to help kids, and so when our friend Tyler Olson of the Boys and Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria asked if we could produce a video promoting their Raising the Grade program, we didn't hesitate to get involved and we were happy that they would have us.
The Raising the Grade program is an after-school education program for Youth in Grades 6 to 12 that runs out of the Kaare Norgaard Boys and Girls Club located in Central Saanich. This interactive program allows youth to get homework help, meet new people, and explore options for their future. We also produced a message from BC NDP Leader (turned Premier) John Horgan, who used to work at BGCVIC, below.
Our aim was to showcase how beneficial this program is for youth so that they could receive the funds necessary to keep it going. The video, which features a variety of kids and staff impacted by this program, was unveiled at the 2017 Mad Hatter's Ball which was one of the best fundraisers we've ever attended and would strongly encourage everyone to come out next year.
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 3 WEEKS
BUDGET: $1,000 - $1,500
You will often hear in our studio, "it's hard to pull off 'funny'" in reference to scripting a video. It's even more difficult when you'd like the piece to be lighthearted, but the television broadcaster airing the commercial has a strict "no-humour" policy. Sounds strange, but it's true, as well as a myriad of other restrictions to boot.
Turns out, the humour didn't have to be scripted for our curling-themed promo with Used.ca - the laughs came naturally with our actor Shawn who was getting onto the ice sheet for the first time. And you can't argue that the man's ability was scripted that way - that's just how he curled, and luckily the broadcasters let it slide (pun intended). This project was also a good exercise in collaboration every step of the way.
We had a lot of fun on this quick and easy shoot and look forward to more projects with Used.ca in the future.
CLIENT: INN AT LAUREL POINT
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 6 WEEKS
BUDGET: $2,500 - $4,000
If you're looking to truly experience Victoria, the Inn at Laurel Point is hard to be. Located in the provincial capital's Inner Harbour, its views, service, and offerings are unbeatable. Which made it easy to do our job!
When filming such a lovely property, there are countless areas to capture and only so many hours to get them - so it was essential to make the process as fluid as possible by working with professionals. This was a rare shoot where we utilized paid actors, and it showed Katherine Slingsby and Lance Burrows were top notch.... not to say that our friends and clients have done a sub-par job in the past! ;)
Our concept was a day-in-the-life, which made for the perfect chance to shoot a sunrise time-lapse with our Kessler Second Shooter. It definitely took some early alarm clocks and perseverance to wait for that perfect morning light - but the sun glinting off the harbourfront windows made for the perfect opening sequence.
Thanks to some drone shots of the Inn from earlier in the year, and a few kitchen scenes with the hotel's renowned Chef Ito, we were able to give visitors an inside-out look at one of the city's top properties. The hotel's sales and marketing team are always coming up with creative concepts and we look forward to teaming up with them on many projects to come!
Stream To Sea Feature
With our ThinkTank salmon all swimming free for another year, organizers of the Salmon In the Classroom program asked us to put together a video about the initiative and its impact on the local community. Needless to say, we were more than happy to document the work of the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association and the fantastic benefits for local students.
The first step was for our team to tag along on an autumn school visit to the Howard English Hatchery - with nearly two dozen children ready to see first hand how the volunteers collect salmon eggs and prepare them for incubation. It’s a guaranteed great shot anytime you have a bunch of wide-eyed kids watching science in action, even if sometimes an “ewwww” slips out!
Our camera crew caught up with students once again when program volunteers made the rounds to local elementary and middle schools in early January, delivering a clutch of 200 eggs to start a new season of Salmon in the Classroom. And the final piece of our puzzle (aside from interviewing a handful of teachers and students about their experience) was to take another field trip - this time to the river’s edge. With the help of our GoPro cameras, we captured all of the action both above and below the current as the students released hundreds of coho fry into their rightful home - the Goldstream River. It’s the final step in a cycle that informs these kids about every stage of the Pacific salmon life cycle, and leaves a lasting impression on everyone who is lucky enough to witness their remarkable journey from eggs in a riverbed to the open ocean and back.
We are incredibly proud to support the work of the GVSEA and encourage you to learn more about the Salmon in the Classroom program!
As the year comes to a close, we're finally ready to part ways with the last few salmon that have spent the past 11 months growing in the ThinkTank.
It's been quite an experience watching these little coho emerge from their eggs, spend their first few weeks hiding in the gravel, then start making the transition from alevin to fry (read more about each step below) - but now these fish are ready for life in the real world!
So after scooping up the final 15 coho and transporting them out to Goldstream, we once again let the fry swim free, where they will spend the rest of the winter months hunting down new food sources before making the transition out to the estuary in the spring, and eventually into the Salish Sea!
From there they will join other salmon of all species (namely chum and chinook) that will live their lives in local waters before returning to Todd Inlet to spawn. Each fall between 5,000-15,000 fish arrive at Goldstream to produce the next generation of this iconic west coast species - but those numbers are in steady decline.
Reduced spawning grounds, abundant fish farms, and poorly managed commercial fisheries all contribute to the worsening fate of these animals - but there are many organizations working tirelessly for salmon restoration. Whether it's supporting the Howard English Volunteer Hatchery or the Pacific Salmon Foundation, or simply taking the time to educate yourself about our local watershed and the wildlife that depends on it - every community advocate helps.
Thanks for following along our ThinkTank journey thus far, and spread the word by sharing this blog with your family and friends! We'll be back in the new year with another batch of coho salmon eggs to start the life cycle all over again...
Second Release (w/ West Coast Auctions)
With the return of summer, our nearly 100 salmon fry are rapidly growing in size - making them more than ready to for the next stage in their journey. With food available in the river, and thousands of their counterparts now on the search for food, it's time to give our little coho a shot at life in the wild.
On our second trip to Goldstream Park, we invited friends and colleagues Tyler Olson & Tara-Lee Novak of West Coast Auctions (along with their adorable daughter Betty Quinn) to join us on the release.
It was a stellar day in the Victoria area, and when we arrived we were thrilled to find dozens of wild salmon swimming in a small eddy near our release spot - so there's no doubt our salmon fry will mix right in on their first day at 'school'.
As a part of our journalling process, we're inviting clients to come to Roll.Focus. headquarters to pick out the 10-15 salmon they'd like to release before heading out to the provincial park! If you or your group have an interest in being a part of the last step of the Sea to Stream program and would like to join us for an upcoming release (until fall 2017), please let us know!
Steam To Sea Update
After an immediate backlash from teachers, parents and the general public, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has decided to completely reverse its May decision to terminate technical and education support contracts and to reassign staff working in the Pacific Region’s Resource Restoration Unit.
Below is an excerpt from Pacific Region Director Rebecca Reid:
On May 23, 2017, as part of the program integrity exercise, beginning in 2017-18, DFO and the Canadian Coast Guard will receive over $1.4 billion in new funding over the next five years. As you know, I met with Pacific Region staff to tell them that three elements of the Salmonid Enhancement Program were subject to program reductions (the education and community support programs, the resource restoration components, andSteelhead and Cutthroat trout production at our hatcheries). As well, that 16 Resource Restoration Unit staff were given letters stating that they were an affected employee whose services may no longer be required because of a work force adjustment situation (WFA).
Today, Mr. Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, confirmed that the services that were previously identified as being part of the program reductions will be maintained.
As a result, the Department is rescinding all the WFA notices that were previously issued and formal letters to that effect will be given to staff in the coming days. As well, we will be contacting the contractors affected by the program reductions to advise them that the funding will continue. We are also preparing a letter to be distributed broadly to indigenous groups and stakeholders.
I greatly regret the stress and worry caused to both staff and stakeholders, but I trust that you will welcome this favorable outcome.
That means the public voice does indeed work when it comes to swaying policy decisions, and we're thrilled to inform you that this wonderful salmon education program will continue into the fall and beyond July 2018!
No More Salmon in the Classroom (or Office!): Fisheries and Oceans Canada Terminates Stream to Sea Education Program
We couldn't believe the news when Don Lowen got in touch - Fisheries & Oceans Canada announced they were cancelling the Sea to Stream program as of July 31, 2017, preceding the next school year.
Sea to Stream is a program that Mike participated in as a child in grade school and still sees the tremendous value it provides today.
There's no better way to educate children, and frankly adults, on the value of salmon in our ecosystem than to raise them, care for them and release them personally.
While we acknowledge this federal program focuses solely on the Pacific region, given the impact of Sea to Stream, the negligible expense of maintaining it (0.2% of FOC's budget) far outweighs the alternative.
From the release, which we assisted in distributing to local media:
Victoria, BC – Educators, superintendents and community leaders are expressing their disbelief to the news that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has terminated education support contracts across British Columbia and the Yukon as of July 31, 2017. The decision will severely downsize, if not end, the Department’s Stream to Sea Education Program that involves 35,000 students in the Pacific Region.
The 30-year long program, which provides firsthand education about Pacific Salmon, will likely end for 3,000 students in Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands alone. Locally, 105 classrooms annually raise wild Pacific salmon in classroom incubators, for release into 15 local streams and rivers. In urban areas, students mark storm drains to raise public awareness about non-point source pollution, and educators can attend free workshops to learn how to raise salmon in a classroom, dissect a salmon, or access and teach relevant curriculum.
The decision will allow the Department will reallocate about $400,000, or 0.2% of its annual budget, to other national priorities.
Please join us in expressing your concerns to the following:
1. Your Member of Parliament
2. Dominic Leblanc, Minister of Fisheries
Online at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister/honourable-dominic-leblanc
(Look for the email icon at the foot of the bio).
3. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
Regardless, we will continue the ThinkTank within Roll.Focus. headquarters while working with members of the Goldstream Howard English Hatchery to find a way to fund the Stream to Sea program.
Now that we've been feeding our salmon for about a month, it's time to start moving the little coho to the next step in their adventure!
Since the start of April we have been feeding the fish a fine protein powder which has helped them develop from alevins into fry - and they're finally starting to take on some of the familiar adult salmon characteristics.
After netting a few of the most successful fish in the ThinkTank, we once again caught up with Don Lowen from Fisheries & Oceans Canada to go through the release process on the shores of Goldstream river. We begin by finding a calm eddy behind some rocks, and then cool the water in the bag down to the same temperature as the flowing stream.
Then we simply open up the bag and let the fry swim free, where they will begin the search for their natural food sources - invertebrates and various larvae that live in the river. In all, they will spend another 12 months in Goldstream, growing into juvenile fish before venturing out into Todd Inlet and the Pacific Ocean!
This release is just the first of many we'll be holding throughout the year - stay tuned for details on how your group or business can join along on one of our upcoming trips!
Fry Feeding Time
It's fitting that the ThinkTank has really sprung to life on the first day of spring. Over the past few days, dozens of salmon fry have been emerging from the gravel and starting to explore their new home.
The variety between the individual fish is pretty remarkable, with some of the coho appearing ghostly white, and others ranging from silver to tan, brown and even black!
Now that the fry are using the last of their yolk salk reserves from their time in the egg, we will begin feeding the young fish a high protein power to help them thrive while they learn to navigate the currents in our miniature stream.
It won't be long before these little fish are big enough to venture out into Goldstream River - we expect our first batches of salmon to return to the river sometime in late April. Watch for details on how your group or company can get involved and join us on release day!
Eggs To Alevin
We're onto exciting times in the ThinkTank - over the course of the last week our batch of coho eggs have all hatched and moved to the alevin stage of their life cycle! The transition didn't come without some concern, though...
Our salmon were well ahead of their expected hatching time, according to the ATU charts we explained when the eggs first arrived at our studio - but it appears that all of the coho delivered this winter are advancing ahead of schedule, and so far our little school is looking healthy and happy.
Now the young fish will spend a couple of weeks hiding out in the gravel bed, consuming their yolk sacks and developing some the crucial organs and scales that will help them survive in the stream environment over the next 12-18 months.
As the temperature outside begins to climb we'll also be slowly increasing the degrees inside our aquarium - and already our natural grasses are showing signs of new growth with spring just around the corner.
By early March our coho should begin to swim up from the rocks and go in search of food, which is when our tank will really come to life!
The eggs in our tank, and all of the Stream To Sea programs across Greater Victoria, came directly from the Goldstream River where each year hundreds of coho, chum and chinook salmon return to spawn.
A few years ago we went behind the scenes with the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association at the Howard English Hatchery to create a video for their website. Armed with hip waders, the staff wade into the river each fall to collect salmon of all species to harvest their eggs and milk. While the program raises thousands of fish in their own on-site tanks (as a means to improve the Goldstream stock), they also contribute more than 20,000 eggs to classroom programs across the Island each year.
It's a truly remarkable effort that has helped to maintain and increase the annual salmon run at Goldstream Park and across the Capital Region. The program runs a variety of programs across the city, and is always looking for more volunteers! Check them out online at www.gvsea.com
Soon enough our eggs will be hatching and make their move into the gravel bed to grow and develop as alevin... stay tuned!
Our adventure officially began this week when the salmon eggs arrived at our studio door. Fisheries & Oceans Canada Education Coordinator Don Lowen, who has been guiding us through the entire process, spent the last few days delivering batches to dozens of schools across Greater Victoria - and took a few minutes to explain the process for us (see the video above).
Our little bundle contained 200 coho salmon eggs, most of which were already showing signs of development - including little eyes shining through the translucent shells. There has been some concern about the eggs hatching early due to an unknown stress factor this year, and sure enough one of our little fish broke free within minutes of dipping into our tank. But it appears the rest of the bunch are now settled in for another 2-3 weeks of development before hatching and settling into the gravel bed below.
Now we'll be keeping close track of their progress using an ATU (accumulated temperature unit) chart - in which every degree of water temperature in a 24 hour cycle relates to the approximate hatching time of the eggs. The batch was delivered at 341 ATU, and are expected to hatch about 20-23 days later when they hit 450-475 ATU.
Watch for more updates as the salmon move from eggs to alevin in February!
The process of building the ThinkTank began with A LOT of research - ensuring that we created an environment that would be perfect for the needs of the young salmon, but also for the Roll.Focus. studio space.
With the help of our friends at UsedVictoria.com, we began by locating a 90 gallon tank that would fit nicely into the location we selected for the project. Because the fish spend the first two years of their life cycle in a cold freshwater environment, we also acquired a chiller to keep the tank at a crisp 5 degrees Celsius over the first few months.
From there we made a number of visits to Goldstream Park, Mount Douglas Park and the Colquitz River to observe the gravel, rocks and plants that exist in the salmon's natural environment, and develop a plan to integrate those features into our tank. We also found the root from a fallen tree that would fit perfectly in our tank, adding a fantastic decorative element to the display.
With all of the pieces in place, our next step was to assemble the tank step-by-step. After laying a sand bed for the native plant species to grow in, we placed a layer of gravel and a selection of local river rocks to provide the shelter and substrate the fish require.
Then came the faux-rock background, LED lighting and circulation pumps to simulate the stream environment the young salmon would emerge into. The next step was to fill the tank with treated water, free from any of the toxins, chlorides or heavy metals that may harm the fish in their most vulnerable stage.
With everything in place, the final stage was to leave the tank running for several days, allowing the water to cool and beneficial bacteria to begin to grow, all while keeping a close eye on the chemical conditions of the tank.
One week later we are ready for our batch of coho salmon to arrive, and can't wait to take you along for the ride!
This idea was spawned (get it?) from a video we produced for the Goldstream Hatchery in 2013, where we had the chance to witness first-hand the work volunteers are doing to revitalize the chum, coho and chinook salmon populations in our local waterways. Ever since working with their team, and other wildlife partners like Eagle Wing Tours and Swan Lake Nature House, we knew it would be important to play our part in supporting ecological initiatives in our own backyard.
Fast forward to a conversation in the fall of 2016 with Don Lowen - who serves as the Education Coordinator for Fisheries & Oceans Canada, running salmon incubation programs in schools across the South Island. We raised the idea of building a tank in our James Bay studio space, that would serve as both an educational tool for our clients and followers, but also a fantastic centrepiece for our work environment.
Within weeks, plans were hatched (heh) to get involved in the Stream to Sea Salmonid Enhancement program, and we can't wait to show you every step of the journey. Hopefully you'll enjoy watching our fish grow from eggs to alevin and eventually fry, and learn something along the way to releasing them back into local waterways!
2017 Victoria JazzFest
CLIENT: VICTORIA JAZZ SOCIETY
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 6 WEEKS
With the arrival of summer in Victoria, our team was recruited to once again soak in '10 hot days and nights of the coolest music in town' at JazzFest - and once again, had an absolutely wonderful time capturing some of the world's finest musicians at work.
The challenge this year was to create a wrap up video that had a different look and feel from the 2016 edition, but still captured all of the energy that the event has to offer. Furthermore, this year's festival also collided with a host of Spirit150 events across the city, which meant our team was spread thin across all of the venues - but those long days behind the lens paid off with some great footage.
A bonus this time around was the chance to sponsor one of the shows, and what a treat it was to see YouTube star Jacob Collier and his incredible mind at work. We even had the chance to meet the man himself after the show!
From downtown's Centennial Square, to the classical Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse, to the lively vibe of Distrikt Nightclub, this festival always represents a diverse sampling of music and jazz experiences. We can't wait to see what the Victoria Jazz Society has in store for the 35th annual JazzFest in 2018!
CLIENT: VICTORIA JAZZ SOCIETY
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 2 WEEKS
BUDGET: $500 - $1,000 EACH
We’re always looking for creative ways to help our clients, and heading into another summer of JazzFest, organizers offered us the chance to sponsor a show in exchange for a series of promotional clips to help boost advance ticket sales – and naturally we jumped at the opportunity!
While we produce custom-animated content in house for some projects, we also utilize a variety of pre-built templates from online sources to jumpstart the process – especially when timelines are tight. In this case, we used an After Effects template for the bones of the project, and completely redesigned it to match the Victoria Jazz Society’s other marketing materials. Then we pulled video clips from a variety of artists to showcase each of the different shows, from the Marquee Series at the Royal Theatre to the outdoor performances in Centennial Square.
Don’t forget to grab your tickets to see electronic jazz sensation Jacob Collier (presented by Roll.Focus., of course) - and we'll see you at the show!
2016 Victoria JazzFest
CLIENT: VICTORIA JAZZ SOCIETY
SERVICE: VIDEO PRODUCTION
SCHEDULE: 5 WEEKS
Where can you hear some of the best tunes in Victoria for ten days straight? Victoria’s JazzFest, of course! Stretching from the last week of June into July, everyone can catch the Victoria Jazz Society’s lineup of jazz, blues and world music from local, Canadian, and internationally acclaimed musicians.
Every year, jazz societies from across the country get together to showcase their festivals to one another, and Victoria Jazz Society approached Roll.Focus. in search of new content featuring their annual performances.
As big lovers of jazz ourselves, we were enthusiastic about taking this project on and getting the opportunities to see so many talented musicians at work. It was vital to capture the energy of these events as well as the wide variety of genres when it comes to jazz, so that is why a wrap-up feature of the event was the video style chosen. We’ve also never had a video that involved so many locations - eight shoot days across six different venues! But it was well worth the effort, and we’re very happy with the end result that celebrates all the talent our city has to offer.
Tyler Bennett is a producer at Roll.Focus.
Juggling tasks at Roll.Focus. and CHEK News, Tyler doesn't have a lot of free time, but when he does, he loves playing hockey and video games. Born and raised in Victoria, Tyler enjoys experiencing all the trails and natural beauty the Island has to offer.
With a passion for sports, both locally and internationally, Tyler loves to be around the rink, hardcourt, ballpark or whatever playing field is thrown his way!
The newest member of the Roll.Focus. team, our English import is a jack of all trades, helping with everything from planning to production and editing.
Hailing from York in the UK, Joe is a passionate photographer who has expanded into the world of video. His persistent emails paid off earning himself an internship before becoming a fully fledged member of the team.
Photo Credit: One Lion Photography