RSPB celebrates 130 Years (1889 - 2019)

The RSPB was formed in 1889 to counter the trade of bird feathers for women's hats in the late Victorian era - 130 years on, the organisation is still working tirelessly through research, partnerships, landscape conservation and policy work to help species recovery.

Read more about RSPB’s history here

Read more about RSPB’s mission here

Formed in 1953, the RSPB Film Unit is the oldest professional wildlife filmmaking organisation in the UK. Since this time the unit has collaborated with many legendary camera operators Hugh Miles, Mike Richards, Ian McCarthy and John Aitchison to name just a few.

Mark got his first wildlife camera break with the Film Unit based at RSPB HQ in Sandy, Bedfordshire - he shares more details below:

Question: What is your connection to the RSPB Film Unit?

I worked for the RSPB on a couple of placements pre-2000 during my university holidays. The Film Unit were extremely welcoming and I was lucky enough to assist the in-house cameraman at the time on some projects on the Isle of Coll and the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides where we were filming white-tailed sea eagles.

RSPB are still tracking white-tailed sea eagles in Scotland - click here to read more

Question: How did RSPB’s emphasis on conservation help shape your attitude towards the environment and wildlife?

Whilst at university, Blue Planet (2001) was broadcast and it formed the backbone case study to my dissertation: Why do environmental issues tend to be avoided in BBC blue chip wildlife documentaries? I’m so pleased that 16 years later the Blue Planet II team focused on conservation of the oceans leading to the well documented Blue Planet effect. At last a positive response born out of the bravery to expose issues such as plastic pollution head on. The call to action has got peoples attention and I feel like we are more engaged than ever before - hopefully it is not too little too late, and there is still time to turn things around for our beautiful blue planet.

Question: Which RSPB reserves do you feel especially passionate about and why?

I now live in Selsey, West Sussex - a little fishing village right on the coast sandwiched between RSPB Pagham Harbour and RSPB Medmerry. Up until 2011 Medmerry was low-lying farmland and hundreds of nearby houses (mine included) were under constant threat of flooding. The Environment Agency’s solution was to create the largest flood risk management scheme of its kind ever undertaken in Britain - what they have achieved alongside RSPB is incredible

Read more about RSPB Medmerry here

Read more about RSPB Pagham Harbour here

 Mark filming with wildlife presenter and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff

Mark filming with wildlife presenter and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff

Mark and Emily on Working Together

Mark and Emily have now been working together for nine months so we thought it was about time we wrote a blog piece about our experiences so far…

Question:  When (and why) did you start working together?

Emily:
Up until February of this year I was working for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in their Marketing Team based at their Global HQ in Goodwood. I’d built my career over a decade and had worked agency side in London for five years before relocating to the coast in 2013. Mark would be away for five weeks at a time on shoots and I’d be working and travelling too - we were like ships in the night! It was over Christmas that we decided to activate our own ‘Plan A’ which would bring our lives closer together - it required some bold decision making on my part but once we’d talked over all the options it felt like the right time to strike!

Mark: Emily is now a co-director of my business and is working full-time (+ lots of flexibility) in a Marketing and Business Development capacity. This covers all the behind the scenes activity; shoot logistics, public speaking, press interviews, sponsorship, research / creative development and financial administration. It means that whilst I'm away on shoots these elements can pro-actively be moved forward which is great as it frees up both my capacity to think about my own cinematography and gives me time back to read up on all the latest camera, lens and kit technology.

Question:  For you, how does ‘team work’ manifest itself in your day to day?

Emily:
The two of us are now striving for the same common goal and our life has an renewed flexibility that allows us to spend quality time together when Mark is home between shoots - that change feels like a vital readjustment in order for the two of us to succeed in our married life together.

Mark: I've been striving solo with my career since 2000 and it's now a great feeling to have Emily on-board helping behind the scenes and supporting our shared aims for the future.

Question:  How do you separate work life and personal life?

Emily:
It's hard! Simple things like having a different whatsapp thread for 'work' and 'personal' chat is one way to create some separation. When we’re in the same place, going to the pool for a swim or for a walk by the sea can help mark the beginning and / or end of a working day and that's also a chance to mentally 'down tools' and have some quality time together.

Mark: We're still getting to grips with this element - it's really difficult to strike that perfect balance! You both want to move your business forward and you also want to give your relationship all the time it needs to thrive and ultimately succeed. Sometimes you wish you could be in two places at once but….that’s not possible so, you have to find new ways to make things work both in the present and also on road ahead.

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.
— Phil Jackson

Nauticam 5DIII Underwater Housing For Sale **NOW SOLD**

Items Included Within This Sale:
* Nauticam 5DIII Housing
* Nauticam 230mm Optical Glass Dome
* Nauticam Extension Ring 70 with Focus Knob
* Nauticam Macro Port (for Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L lens)
* Nauticam Zoom and Focus Gears (for the following lenses: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II; Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS; EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L lens)
* Atomos Ninja 2 Monitor / Recorder
* Nauticam Ninja 2 Housing (plus spare HDMI connectors) with upgraded with Nauticam seal check feature
* Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
* Peli Case 1610

The Canon 5D MKIII was the first camera I bought, mainly for video. I purchased the underwater housing to accompany the camera in 2014.  I purchased the Ninja and accompanying housing in 2015 - this is the tool of choice for many professionals around the world; designed to unlock many of your DSLR’s restrictions and add on the professional features you expect to see on high-end cameras. 

Nauticam 5DIII Housing Specification:
* Depth Rating: 100m  
* Dimensions (with handles mounted): 353mm x 187mm x 133mm (13.9in x 7.4in x 5.2in) 
* Weight: 2.8kg (6.2 lb.)

Nauticam 5DIII Housing Features:
* Patented Locking Port Release Lever
* Sensitive Two Stage Shutter Release Lever
* Optical Strobe Connectors
* Rubberized Ergonomic Grips
* 2 Customizable Accessory Ports (allowing use of optional Nikonos, S6, or Ikelite Strobe Connectors, Hydrophone, Video Out, or Remote Control Connectors) 
* Embossed Control Function Labels
* Quick Release Camera Mounting Shoe
* Lens Release Button
* Four Strobe & Accessory Base Mounting Locations
* Complete Access to All Key Camera Controls
* Stainless Steel Support Brackets for Handles
* 66x Optical Pickup Finder (Enhanced 180 deg Viewfinder with External Diopter Adjustment
* Audible and Visual Leak Alarm

Atomos Ninja 2 Specification:
* Dimensions: 4.3", 800 x 480
* LCD Touchscreen Display
* Shoot, Record and Dock straight into the editing application of your choice in pristine Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD
* HDMI I/O connections to HDMI cameras
* Start/Stop triggering is also supported on Sony and Canon cameras

Atomos Ninja 2 Housing Specification:
* Depth Rating: 60m
* Weight: 1.09kg
* Dimensions: 190mm (W) × 164mm (H) × 95mm (D)

The Atomos Ninja 2 (designed for use with the 5DMKIII) turns the camera into a good video recorder, with an external monitor/recorder, so you can record the uncompressed data externally with ProRes, rather than compressed internally in H264
— Mark Sharman, Underwater Cameraman

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I am looking to sell this bundle as follows (a VAT invoice will be provided with the sale):

* Nauticam 5DIII Housing: £1,500 plus VAT
* Nauticam 230mm optical glass dome: £800 plus VAT
* Nauticam extras including port extensions and lens gears: £200 plus VAT
* Atomos Ninja 2: £200 plus VAT
* Ninja 2 Housing: £750 plus VAT
* Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens: £300 plus VAT

The kit is all in overall is in good working condition and is located in West Sussex, so can either be picked up in person or sent in the post at cost. Please contact Emily directly if you would like to purchase this item or have any questions. 

Mark | E: mark@sharmancam.co.uk

Emily | T: +44 (0)7876 694477 | E: emily@sharmancam.co.uk

Poseidon Se7en rebreather For Sale **NOW SOLD**

This unit is now SOLD.

I am selling my Poseidon Se7en eCCR rebreather, which is in great condition and hardly used.  The unit was bought as a spare but it has only logged 20-30 dives prior to me buying it.  I have never used this unit in the 18 months it has been in my possession, so it is as good as new.

The unit and all accessories are for sale for £3000.00, please see below for full kit list and extensive pictures.  I will only be able to sell to people qualified on the Poseidon units, or to those who can show evidence that a course is due to take place.

For more information on the Poseidon Se7en rebreather, please visit this link.

The kit consists of the following items:

  • Poseidon Se7en e-module, serial number 10848, due for next service Jan 2018.
  • 3L aluminium cylinders, due for next service June 2018
  • Green (40m no deco) and blue (48m deco) batteries and charger
  • Cylinder QMR set, for quick release of cylinders
  • 2 x O2 sensors (Molex), in date until March 2018.
  • Gauntlet display wrist strap
  • 11 inch adaptor, for securing a wing to the unit
  • Se7en counter lungs plus spare MKVI counter lungs
  • Se7en backplate with modified bottom support, plus spare backplate
  • MKVI mouthpiece
  • All breathing loops and T-valves in good condition
  • All systems firmware updated to the most recent version: v1.37
  • Comes complete with Hollis gear gulper box for storage and transport

NB The unit comes without a wing/harness, this will need to be provided prior to use.  The wing in the pictures is for demonstration only.  Sofnolime /scrubber canisters are not supplied and will need to be sourced separately.

Please see gallery below for comprehensive pictures detailing the gear.

The unit is based in West Sussex, please contact me for a viewing.  I am looking for a quick sale, hence the £3000.00 price tag.

Please contact Mark at either mark@sharmancam.co.uk or 07779 227307 if interested.

Many thanks

 

NB THIS UNIT IS NOW SOLD.

Mark becomes a qualified drone pilot

Following an intense theoretical course hosted by Heliguy near Farnborough Mark has recently been awarded Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permission for commercial operations of small unmanned aircraft (PfCO SUA). Since then he has completed his operations manual, invested in a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone and has clocked up hundreds of hours of practise and on-location experience. 

My Phantom 4 Pro drone is an incredible tool to add to my arsenal of camera kit. Stunning aerial views bring a new, previously unexplored perspective to my work and add variety and context to my artistic vision.
— Mark Sharman, Drone Cameraman

Since gaining his drone qualification Mark has operated in a number of exciting locations (to date) including:
* British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago)
* Colombian coast filming Humpback Whales
* Fjords of Norway filming Orcas
* Sri Lankan coast filming Sperm Whales and Dolphins
* Bahamas filming sharks
* Lake Garda filming Newfoundland rescue dogs
* London filming swimmers in a 1930’s indoor pool
* Wales filming grey seals and countryside

TV production drone credits include the following (to date):
* Blue Planet II (BBC One)
* One Strange Rock (National Geographic)
* Wild Britain (Channel 5)
* First Brit: The 10,000-Year-Old Man (Channel 4)

Drone.jpg

Arabian Adventure

Mark spent 11 weeks filming underwater and topside across Oman in 2016 for a ten part wildlife and nature series. A total of ten episodes make up 'Arabian Inferno' and 'Arabian Seas' all of which can now be viewed online via the Love Nature Channel.

Arabian Inferno Trailer

The Arabian landscape is a virtually waterless desert where rain scarcely falls and animals endure blistering temperatures. But for three months every year, a remote region on the south-west coast undergoes an astonishing transformation into a lush, verdant oasis. See how the desert’s most iconic creatures adapt to the scorching temperatures of Arabia and stark conditions around them.
— Blue Ant Media & Love Nature
Discover the remarkable underwater world of the United Arab Emirates and the largely unexplored coral reefs of Oman. Barely known to the rest of the world, this aquatic paradise is home to thousands of fascinating creatures who are pitched in a battle for survival. From endangered turtles, mysterious sharks and deadly rays to tiny inquisitive shrimps and feisty reef fish, we reveal their aquatic secrets and marvel at this majestic and rarely explored world.
— Blue Ant Media & Love Nature

Topside and underwater sequences that Mark shot for this series include:
* Blanfords Fox at night
* Chameleon hunting Orbweaver Spiders
* Nesting adult Green Turtles (and hatchlings)
* Additional topside sequences featuring camels, Kingfishers and lizards
* Crescent Wrasse hunting Damselfish en masse
* Hawksbill Turtles uncovering Cuttlefish eggs
* Juvenile Green Turtles feeding on coastal algae
* Territorial Squid and Cuttlefish mating
* Whale Sharks with their entourage of Remora fish
* Additional underwater sequences featuring Seahorses, Sting Ray, Leopard Sharks and Crown-of-thorns Starfish

Oman Seahorse.jpg

Tickets On Sale For Jago Screening In Bristol

The award-winning film Jago: A Life Underwater is to be screened at The Watershed in Bristol on Friday 14th October as part of Wildscreen Festival week.

The film has been nominated in five Wildscreen Award categories, with the ceremony due to take place on the evening of 13th October at Colston Hall.

The screening features a double header with another nominated short film In Between, and the session will conclude with a Question and Answer panel features the team behind Jago, including myself, to talk about how the film was made.  The screening starts at 18:45.

Tickets are available from the Watershed box office, please follow the link below.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/whatson/7629/in-between-jago-a-life-underwater-qa/

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Jago nominated in five Wildscreen award categories

Jago A Life Underwater has been nominated in five Wildscreen Panda Award categories.  The biennial wildlife film festival takes place in Bristol during the week of October 11th to 15th 2016.
The independently produced film, which features my underwater cinematography, has already won the prestigious Grand Teton Award (best film in show) at the 2015 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in the USA.
 
The five award categories Jago has been nominated for are:
 
Cinematography (small crew)
Editing
Music
Sound
People and Nature
 
The news has been covered by the Natural History Network in the article ‘Who’s Hot at NHN!’ and the official Wildscreen Festival 2016 nominations list is published here.
 
Congratulations to Bristol-based filmmaker James Reed for the nominations, a great achievement especially considering the film was a self-funded project.  Credit also to James Morgan for his co-directing and topside camerawork, Johnny Langenheim as producer and sound recordist, Benjamin Sadd for the aerial and additional camerawork, Sam Rogers for editing, William Goodchild for writing the score and Tim Owens and Ben Peace for the sound design.  Thanks to Blair Wallace whose colour grade enhanced our camerawork!
 
Fingers crossed for success at the awards ceremony on Thursday 13th October at Colston Hall!

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Jago: A Life Underwater wins Grand Teton award at Jackson Hole

The independently produced film Jago: A Life Underwater, which features my underwater camerawork, has won the top prize, the Grand Teton Award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2015.

The film was nominated in the Best Editing category, which it didn’t win, but ended up scooping the coveted Grand Teton Award for best film in show.

‘Jago’ tells the life story of Rohani; an old Bajau fisherman, who lives in a stilted village in the Togean Islands, Sulawesi, Indonesia.  The narrative is conveyed using a mix of his interview material with dramatic reconstructions of key moments in his life as a child, and as a young man learning his trade to becoming a master, as well as losing his son and coming to terms with his own mortality.

We filmed over a three week period in October/November 2014 with Red Epic Dragon cameras at 5.5K for a 4K master.  We also used aerial shots and an underwater time-slice rig to enhance the drama and visual story-telling.

“The most beautiful images of the Bajau ever captured.” Blue Ant Media.

“Mesmerizing in it’s simplicity, unhurried in it’s editing, beautifully crafted in sound, music, colour and picture. Each shot is a work of art, each scene a lesson in how to seduce the audience into caring for its’ characters’ and to stay with the story.” Natural History Network.

There is yet no scheduled release or broadcast of the film, but watch these posts for details when they emerge.

Film credits:
 
Produced and Directed by James Reed
Director/Cameraman James Morgan
Underwater Cameraman Mark Sharman
Assistant Director/Sound Recordist Johnny Langenheim
Aerial and Additional Photography Benjamin Sadd
Location DIT Stephen Hedley
Editor Sam Rogers
Graphics Robin Littlewood
Additional Editing Andy Netley
Written by James Reed
Script Consultants Matthew Houghton, Johnny Langenheim
Offline Post Production Films at 59
Post Producer George Panayiotou
Workflow Consultants Matt Garner, Jack Heywood
Final Post Production Evolutions Bristol
Post Producers Cat Rutzler, Gabriel Wetz
Colourist Blair Wallace
Online Editors Arun Hall, Joanne Curtis
Sound Design Tim Owens
Dubbing Mix Ben Peace at Wounded Buffalo Sound Studios
Music composed by William Goodchild
Musicians Kwesi Edman, David Oliver, Nick Pullin, Joanna Swan, Emily Willmott
 
Well done to the whole team involved, a great achievement.

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