Thursday, 24 May 2012

Land Final Edit and Critical Reflection

The topic of Fox Hunting for our land project was not the wisest choice when it came down to the technicalities/legalities of filming fox hunting groups in the area. We decided early on that we should mainly focus on the history of fox hunting in the area as opposed to showing a bias either for or against the practice. This made it much easier to film and edit as we simply amalgamated both the fox and the hound footage together, without showing a preference. We also thought it might make it easier to gain an interview with a local group if we were seen to be neutral on the matter.

Despite this, many of the hunts refused to get back to us the moment that they heard there was a camera involved. Thankfully, the Hursley Hambledon Hunt was kind enough to allow us to film their kennels. Although the Hursley Hambledon group has not hunted foxes since the ban, they refused to talk about even their drag hunting on camera since they were so afraid of the controversy surrounding the matter. The huntsman also refused to speak to us on film, although he was more than happy to appear on camera with the dogs which was a fortunate turn of events for us. The matter of filming the dogs themselves was also tricky. We were not allowed in the pen with the hounds due to the sheer number of them. There was much concern over the equipment being knocked from our hands, and we were even cautioned about getting too close to the fence in case one of the dogs jumped up. Thankfully we threw caution to the wind and got some great close up shots of the hounds as they bounded up to investigate. The three people seen at various points throughout the footage were all there on that day to assess the younger hounds that had recently come back to the kennels as adults. The woman seen on camera had been a master in the Hursley Hambledon hunt for 20 years and was incredibly interesting to talk too. We were restricted from filming anywhere on the location other than the kennels because they were afraid of us filming the buildings, therefore the area we were allowed to film in was extremely small. Unfortunately this meant that the interviewee was often drowned out by the noise of the dogs in the background. We managed to salvage the quotes we had but all together lost a majority of what she had said. All in all the people at the kennels were incredibly guarded; just around the corner were some stables, but we were also restricted to film the horses. They explained that the horses were actually owned by the huntsman's wife and were concerned that she would not grant permission for them to be used in the footage. Despite trying to placate the group, they would not waver on their word and as such we missed out on filming an animal that is a staple of the fox hunting image. The Hursley Hambledon hunt were incredibly kind to allow us to film their kennels regarding a matter that is highly controversial in current times, therefore we did understand their reservations and did what we could with what we had.

Filming the foxes was a surprisingly altogether easier ordeal. Despite hitting some dead ends with sanctuaries that did not care for foxes, we were eventually put in contact with a rescue centre that dealt with taking in abandoned fox cubs. Despite the fact that the animals were one day to be released back into the wild, due to their young age, they were allowed to interact and be petted by humans for the time being. Due to this stroke of luck, we were allowed into the pen and left alone for half an hour with them to film. The cubs, although skittish, were incredibly curious about us and we got some great footage of the two siblings. Our one concern was that the area in which the foxes had been filmed was not rural countryside in which fox hunting is usually imagined. Instead the cubs were seen on hard concrete; this we decided wasn't completely unrealistic as they would just come across as urban foxes. Our only other trouble was fairly humorous and easily overcome. The pen in which the cubs were housed was incredibly small, barely big enough for two of us, and the cubs quickly became curious about our camera bag. Since they continually ran over to chew on it, there were numerous occasions of accidentally getting the camera bag in shot, but we managed to kick it back enough so that it was behind us and they eventually left well enough alone.

During the editing process we became concerned that the way in which the footage was edited together, made it look like the Hursley Hambledon hunt was still in the practice of fox hunting. We felt it was important to put a disclaimer on our uploaded Youtube video to state that this was not the case. Despite several different editing techniques, we couldn't find a way to tie in the fox footage with the hounds without raising concern. Since we had decided to come across as unbiased on the matter, we decided that the footage should merely be seen as an homage to an old English tradition, as opposed to anything opinionated or slandering.

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