Emergency Supplies

I think there's a law that says 'if something can go wrong it will' - some crucial bits of metal got left behind in the packing room and are now heading with a personal courier to deliver them as fast as possible. The route to the island off Belize is long and once the two main plane journeys are completed there is a long bus ride and then a boat journey, it's a two-dayer.

Once there, there is no internet and very little electricity - paradise for those on holiday but when trying to arrange delivery of spare parts it gets problematic.

The good news is that this place is perfect for our filming, while waiting for the parts to arrive the crew have been filming in the ocean at night and our cameras and the sea life are behaving perfectly.

We are working in Belize with a scientist (more about him later) and the next phase of filming will involve a bit of work in a laboratory.

No more news from here for about a week, but hopefully there will soon be some pictures to show you.


Testing, Testing Squidcam

The Amazing Bioluminescence Film has been in pre-production for months. First we had to try and anticipate conditions that might occur at sea, then we constructed scaled-down models of the kit that we intended to make. The last phase is trying the models out in our testing tanks where we recreated an ocean in miniature.

One of the creatures that we are hoping to encounter on this odyssey is a giant squid and we have worked out a system for lowering a camera into the ocean from the deck of a boat. The camera will be connected to a computer back on deck and this gives us more problems to overcome along with issues of drag, turbulance and the possibility that the squid might appear but not exactly in the right spot.

Here is John Ruthven demonstrating a prototype model made of parts supplied by his children

The sound on this is not very clear so here’s a rough transcript:

John: We’ve got this attached to a computer - and once it’s attached to a computer, the bit that’s turning can’t be let in and out because it goes round and round and would turn the whole computer and it’s assembly would be going round and round as well.

So given that we can’t do that, we’ll have to put some slack on deck and carefully play it out.

And the thought is, that as we can see the image, say there was a squid here, that was slightly too high we could pull it up so we could see the squid (device spins) - hopefully it won’t rotate like that either, the fins should stabilise it.

What you can get in the water is jogging like that so we’ve got to stop that too.

The other issues is that most sea captains are not terribly happy when they’ve got 500 metres of cable dangling off the back of their ships and they’re near rocks and they need to manouvre


The Amazing Bioluminescence Film Begins

The Ammonite Testing Team has just returned from making the first mini-test-shoot for a brand new project and Ammonite’s 8th version of the starlight camera is producing some very extraordinary images.

Vieques, a small Island off the coast of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean has the perfect place - a lagoon that is so packed with tiny bioluminescent creatures that just touching the water makes it flash brightly. For fish trying to keep a low profile, it’s a nightmare - but it's magical for humans. The light is too dim for normal cameras, but Ammonite’s latest starlight camera can capture the spectacle in colour.

This unique place is surely one of the 7 wonders of the Earth - but not for much longer unless the Puerto Ricans tackle light pollution and excessive human traffic


Good News From The Camera Boy

Hey Guys!

2 cables are up and the tower is built like a brick shithouse - I can't make it wobble any more (which is good!). Caught an ocelot on trapcam last night, about 50 metres from dormitories :-) I've attached a pic of cables as requested



Notes From Our Very Own Superhero

For the last week a crack team has been working away in a very bitey-insect-infested part of Costa Rica to finish building the filming tower and rigging the dolly-sliding cables across the forest. The project has been fraught with problems, as you may already know from previous posts, the first attempt did not go well.

We have been getting regular progress reports about this latest activity from our Superhero-in-Chief Max Mackay:

To: Ammonite HQ
Subject: Re: Costa Rica Tower

Hi Everyone,

Re cables. We have to take them up to full tension over the tower now. Failure to do that will mean finding those problems during filming time. Also the noise would be disruptive to the critters and that was really the point of getting out here to do it early. On the good side we saw deer and peccary today.

So the pressure is on and it's big damn hero time for us all tomorrow. Basically if we have a great day we get to strut around in tight fitting costumes with our underwear outside our trousers. If we don't,......., well, with that incentive we just can't fail.

Buenos noches.

To: Ammonite HQ
Subject: Re: Costa Rica Tower

Hi Everyone,

The wobble factor of the tower is down from a massive sway scaring everone who goes on it to a significant small wobble but I have high hopes that it will improve still further with tomorrows bracing.

So there you go. Not so much leaping tall buildings in a single bound as stepping over small obstacles in a dainty yet manly fashion.

Kind regards
Duncan (Max) McKay

To: Ammonite HQ
Subject: Re: Costa Rica Tower

Greetings once again from the land of many stars. The story of the day goes like this :-

Tower wobble stopped. Stop.

First 9mm cable secured over valley and on tower. Stop.

Second cable anticipated installed tomorrow. Stop.

Much dancing in underwear. Must stop.

Yours very sincerely
Duncan (Max) McKay

To: Ammonite HQ
Subject: Lines and lines and lines

Dear all,

Having a positively spiffing time. Weather here top notch and the insects are delectably bitey.

Both lines are in, tensioned up and high as we can go. The tower is complete and not moving. Woohoo!

Cable 1 run sucks as it sits on trees over the entire bottom end but cable 2 is a real winner, sailing clear over the canopy.

We will be clearing out local branches tomorrow as best we can in advance of the dolly.

Hero pants firmly ensconced.

Sweet dreams
Duncan (Max) McKay