In the spirit of the founding principles of the CBC and public access to information, i am sharing the back up videos i shot this week of the RCI shortwave towers falling. I retain the copyright to these images, but i do want to share them with anyone who would like to watch them sooner rather than later (given that my film will still be a few month in post production before release). i would also like to thank the CBC for giving me permission to film, and all of the workers on site for being so cooperative and supportive.
These images are a quick and dirty upload of DSLR back up footage...
This was shot just in case there is a problem with my 35mm footage. I didn't get DSLR footage for every tower, because sometimes I only had enough time to get the film camera rolling. For the film, I am shooting Fuji 35mm on an Arri BL4, and I shot this DSLR back up footage just in case something goes wrong with the film.
audio note: in this compilation video, the audio is from the onboard dslr camera mic, which is always shit.
actual audio that was recorded for the film was recorded using neumann and senheiser shotgun mics and a sound devices mixerrecorder and a zoom recorder.
The finished film, Spectres of Shortwave, will be a 90 minute documentary about the RCI shortwave transmission site in Sackville and will be finished for theatrical release in 2014. I began preproduction for this film in 2010 and began actual filming in 2012. The film will include stories and interviews (audio only) in English, French, and Mi’kmaq.
Erected in 1938, the site was transmitting by 1942. RCI broadcast to Europe, Africa, South America, and the Arctic. In addition to Canadian broadcasts, this site also served as a relay for Radio China, Radio Japan, Radio Korea, Voice of Vietnam, and Vatican Radio. It was the only high power shortwave relay station in Canada.
In 2012, they announced that the site would be shut down. The last Canadian international shortwave broadcast was sent in June of 2012, the final international relays were sent in October 2012, the last arctic broadcast (and the final broadcast to ever transmit from this site) was sent in November 2012. The curtains (wire antennae between the towers) came down in February 2014 and the towers were dropped in March 2014.
The documentary is being filmed on 35mm film, another disappearing medium as film labs around the world are closing down, film manufacturing companies are declaring bankruptcy, and theatres are selling their 35mm projectors for scrap metal. Since the first two film shoots, the lab I was using stopped processing 35mm film, and I am now processing at one of the last film labs in North America. Even more recently, Fuji film stopped producing filmstock (which was my stock of choice for this film) and I am now trying to stock up on filmstocks before they disappear as well. Ironically, I find myself documenting a dying medium with a dying medium.
The film is currently over budget, because when I started there was no hint that the site might be dismantled, so I hadn't budgetted for the film stock, rentals, and processing to cover documenting this stage. II felt it was very important to document and include the dismantling, and so I went ahead and captured images and sound anyway, and am now over budget. As such, a second fundraising campaign will be launched soon, and I would gladly accept any and all financial contributions to help me cover the cost of the sound mix.
This has been (and continues to be) a very long journey. thank you for watching and sharing it with me.