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Inspring Scotland Film team

Outdoor Nursery Video Team

Well this was the best and biggest project I have ever worked on in my entire career to date! I was commissioned by Inspiring Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government to create a series of films that showcased the benefits outdoor nurseries have on early years development. The plan was to create three films based on three different perspectives; the practitioner, the parent and the child. Below is a document of my insights as to how I went about tackling this project from start to finish.

(Please note all filming took place before COVID)

Films available to watch at the bottom of this post

Michael Westcott Films Thrive Outdoor Film project with Kids Edinburgh

thrive Outdoors

"Together, we are social problem-solvers."

"Playing and learning outdoors is fundamental for all our children to achieve their full potential, boosting health, wellbeing and development, and is a universal right. We are working to embed outdoor play and learning into the fabric of Scottish life so that all of Scotland’s children can thrive."

Pre-shoot

December 2019

Outdoor Nursery Films - Preshoot

Outdoor Nursery videos were one of the main key aspects for marketing the current outdoor nurseries (and allowing new ones to be announced) and hopefully making people more aware of them.

Right before Christmas, Inspiring Scotland wanted to organise a trial shoot at one of the outdoor nurseries to get an idea of what content we could capture from the practitioners who worked there.

I was able to set up interviews and follow a man who is incredibly passionate about building toys out of wood and other supplies for the kids to discover and play with.

By the end we felt very motivated about how much passion they had and what they spoke to us about. The prospects for the main upcoming project that was scheduled for beginning of 2020 were ever so exciting.

Production

January 2020

Once everything was planned I was all set to travel up from Southampton to Scotland and I was pleasantly surprised to get a free upgrade from my hired car. Thanks to Arnold Clark for the luxury Volvo V90!

Volvo V90 Arnold Clark
inside the volvo v90 - thrive outdoors videos
Scottish Outdoor ELC interview 1
Scottish Outdoor ELC interview 1 sony g master lens
Scottish Outdoor ELC interview 2

What cameras did you use?

Outdoor Nursery Videos - Michael Westcott Films About Me Sony rain filmmaker

I was reasonably comfortable with choosing the camera gear to create these films. Back in 2015 I worked for a charity called Stramash who tasked me to create Outdoor Nursery Videos and to showcase their ethos and impact of their work on young individuals lives. Check out the showreel below this paragraph. Throughout the whole shoot I chose the Sony A7 III (two of them) and an A7s ii with G Master lenses to capture the kids in action. The cameras and lenses provided me with high quality imagery whilst still being versatile in the run and gun scenario. I am used to this type of shooting due to being a full time wedding videographer. Even though it was a planned shoot and we had a schedule, most of the time it was down to reacting to the situation / moment and these cameras gave me the confidence to achieve the desired results.

My amazing assistant, Sean Campbell utilising the Freefly MōVI M5

What about the weather?

The scottish weather - outdoor nursery film

There were no issues, weather wise... well nothing we couldn't handle. Check out our solution (on the left here) when it rained during interviewing the practitioners. We simply used my reflector cases and a hiking hat to keep the water off the cameras. Special thanks to Deborah from Inspiring Scotland in providing us with heavy duty trousers and jacket which proved to be invaluable! Not forgetting the wellies!!

Michael Westcott Films Sony in rain
Outdoor Nursery Videos - Filming an outdoor nursery child about ot jump off a log with parent helping
Outdoor Nursery Filming
Scottish Outdoor ELC interview 3 sony g master lens

For audio I used a few Tascam DR10 L's with Sennheiser ME2 Lapel Microphones and I also used a backup on each speaker - the Sony TX650 clip on pen mics. A perfect minimal solution.

Michael Westcott and Hamish Outdoor Learning ELC

Meeting nice people is always a nice part of projects like these!

Outdoor Nursery Videos - Michael Westcott Films Movi and nursery kid

Sean showing his awesome footage to an outdoor nursery child on the SmallHD Focus monitor whilst mounted on the Ring of the Freefly Movi M5 Gimbal.

Hamish was very accomodating on the day and made my job so much easier. Lovely to meet you mate.

Outdoor Nursery Videos - A boy who is full of passion for nature Vogrie

Outdoor Nursery Videos -  filming a little girl as she tells us how to build a robins nest BONALY OUTDOOR NURSERY, EDINBURGH

Bonaly Outdoor nursery, edinburgh

At peace listening to this young girl teaching us about Robins.

This was such a special moment to experience. A budding ornithologist from Edinburgh Forest Kindergarten shows us how to build a house for a Robin. The video below speaks for itself. She successfully identifies the type of bird, thinking creatively to make a bed for it. Showing imagination by making a cover for the bed. Acknowledging the difference between light and dark. Showing the ability to compare sizes of sticks (mathematics). Assessing risk in the area making sure it's safe to continue what she is doing. Showing knowledge about nature and how things grow. Identifying and the ability to express likes and dislikes.

Vogrie outdoor nursery

A boy who is full of passion for nature

This little man was very keen to show me about his outdoor nursery. I could clearly see his success in learning in this environment, the emotions, the level of thinking and just how confident he was around the practitioners and other children.

Outdoor Nursery Videos Kids enjoying the outdoors

Outdoor Nursery Videos -  child Go Pro

Craighead Outdoor Nursery

A boy building a fire

It was so special to meet this talented young chap who was so enthusiastic about wearing the go pro and getting epic footage for the project. Just watch the short video below to see how beneficial learning in the outdoors is to him!

Post Production

Outdoor Nursery Videos - video editing in a hotel whilst on the shoot.

Editing in hotel rooms

Elgin, Scotland

Every evening I was offloading media to hard drives and also editing pictures to keep on top of the work. These pictures were then sent off to the client for processing for their blogs, newsletters etc which were due out that same week.

Outdoor Nursery Videos - Post Production - editing on a plane
Outdoor Nursery Videos - Post Production - editing at Gatwick airport before going on holiday
Outdoor Nursery Films - editing on dell xps in JFK airport coming back from New York

Editing on the go

whilst on holidays

New York & iceland

I had booked holidays before being commissioned for this project and so I had to accept that I was going to have to work on the edits whilst on the planes to and from New York and also Iceland. Additionally I upgraded to a Macbook Pro for a bit more reliability in Adobe Premiere Pro and when it came to using thunderbolt 3 SSD's and more power / battery life compared to the Dell XPS 9570.

The final edit (during Lockdown) working from home

Outdoor Nursery Videos - Adobe premeire timeline and behind the scenes edit suite

Southampton, UK

Once COVID hit, (I luckily made it back from Iceland just in time before the first lockdown) I was able to edit my ever growing backlog of weddings and also happily edit this project whilst I lived in my rented room in Southampton. I was lucky to be furloughed from my incredible part time job at Bullet Media which allowed me to be less stressed financially and more focused on producing the best quality of work for this project. I was editing from my new late 2019 16" MacBook Pro (Full spec apart from having just the 1TB SSD) on to a G-Tech G-Speed Shuttle Raid 5 hard drive system that allowed me to edit the 4K footage from the Sony a7iii mirrorless cameras with ease. Teddy also kept me company. I used Adobe's suite for the whole project as it was invaluable especially when I experienced far less crashes when I switched over to the mac.

Outdoor ELC for practitioners; what’s it like to work in a fully outdoor nursery?

Outdoor ELC for parents; why do parents choose an outdoor nursery experience for their child?

Outdoor ELC for children; what do children think of their outdoor nursery?

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