Tree Measuring Video Begins

Project to develop a video of tree measurement procedures.

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dbhguru
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Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:19 am

ENTS,

Well here we are in Cook Forest, PA getting ready to start filming the tree measuring video, which if successful will be used by America Forests. I'm a bit nervous, since there is a lot at stake here. I'll report on our progress. Big Ed will do the filming. The project has been undertaken in support of Don Bertolette, Alaska's champion tree program coordinator. Don has the connection to American Forests.

We will cover methods for measuring trunk girth, crown spread, and tree height. We'll do each piece basically as a stand alone segment. Right now the wind is howling and I don't think we'll get much done today except choose the trees to be measured, measure them, and plan the dialogue. Tomorrow, we'll commence filming. Monica and I will be staying in a cabin at Cook, so there won't be an opportunity to report to the BBS. That will take place upon our return to Massachusetts.

Oh yes, while I'm here, we'll re-measure the Longfellow Pine.

Bob


Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by Joe » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:00 pm

Good luck with the tree measuring video. I wish I could have helped but I've gotten so busy in my work the past few months. Having bought a video camera a few years ago I have since found out how difficult it is. Modern digital cameras, both for still shots and video have come a long way to do decent work- but for me, I wouldn't be happy with just decent but to do something exceptional, it takes a great deal of time. After all, when Hollywood makes a 90 minute movie, they probably have 200 hours of film. Often they do dozens of takes for each scene.

Outdoor work is much more difficult than indoors where it's easier to control lighting. Outdoors, especially in forests is very difficult unless you have a lot of money to spend on specialized lighting, high quality microphones, etc. I was really hoping to do a lot but just haven't due to being broke or now too busy.

the main thing is to not be in a hurry- if you don't have good lighting, the video may come out mediocre, and that's OK if it's really OK with you- for just banging around and for fun, it might be OK, but if the goal is to use it for lofty purposes and show it to lofty organizations, it's all too easy to not get what you want

a bright cloudy day is best- to avoid too much contrast which can ruin it, if you don't have a lighting system- which can be very expensive

a good mike is important too- when I watch the local public access TV, almost invariably the sounds massively sucks--- they seem to be just using the almost worthless built in mike instead of investing a few hundred bucks in a good shotgun mike

I look forward to seeing what you come up with so I can learn a few tricks. I still eventually want to produce some better than decent forestry videos.
Joe

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Don
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Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by Don » Thu May 05, 2011 2:21 am

Bob/Ed
Some random thoughts for now, just to get the discussion going...big picture, there are at least two audiences. ENTS/WNTS and American Forests. Short-term, it would be great to have a video going to American Forests this year that includes ENTS/WNTS tree measuring accuracy standards. I think that it's fine to have simple methods for lay folks to bring attention to candidates. This acknowledges that the tree loving public may not have access to accurate tree measuring equipment. But every state has a big tree list coordinator, and they have the equipment and technical skills to more accurately measure candidate trees. In my view, the candidates that go on to be considered at the state and national level need to be measured by the highest accuracy standards available.
With regard to ENTS/WNTS audience, I see the video as an ongoing project...for example, the triangle station method being developed by Michael Taylor and Mr. Bob would be a fine example of the kind of additions over time that could be added (as discrete modules) over time.
Ed
Man, I know zip about video editing, about how video images get imported into a digital environment (I envision that our video would be available in CD/DVD formats, online website hypertext formats, etc.). I think it would be great to provide it in as many formats as made sense, provide as much access as was possible.

In thinking about different levels of measuring skills, I don't know enough about the technical issues, but it would be great if part of what was seen on the video was 1) we measurers doing what we do, so that beginner folks get a sense of the physical process, 2) what we measurers see and look for, when we look through a clinometer, a laser rangefinder. Whether this is a an actual view in real time, or a 'screen dump' that we put in as a 'still' in the video, I don't know. Another variation on this is to take some of the 'math magic' out of the process of calculation...using a TI 35 or other entry level calculator that retains the Sine/Sine formula on the screen, and the capturing the keystrokes that lead to the height solution would really help the math challenged.

Well, it's getting late enough that I already may not be making sense, so I'll stop here. I would really be interested in everyone's comments, as this is a really great opportunity to have input into the AF tree measuring process!
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

Joe

Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by Joe » Thu May 05, 2011 4:41 am

Don, my limited experience with video is that, it's kinda like when you decide to remodel a room in your house- it almost always takes much longer than you think. Both the "filming" and the editing will probably take 10 times longer than you think it should take. I really wish I could help with this but I'm just way too busy. If I was retired I'd just go follow Bob around until I had maybe 100 hours of video, then begin the editing process. But first I'd buy a semi-pro camera, which would cost at least $5,000. The small camera I got for $700 actually can take very good video but it's difficult to use because it's so small, with tiny buttons and a tiny viewer- and I have old eyes which can hardly see the buttons and screen. The bigger cameras are much more user friendly and of course have big lens.

I'm still dreaming of creating a series of videos on forestry because what I know about forestry is NOT to be found in video. Doing this could be my ultimate contribution to the world.

Maybe this summer- once I get past this long list of mgt. plans I'm working on, I'll go out with Bob 3-4 days and see what I can come up with.
Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by dbhguru » Thu May 05, 2011 11:00 am

Joe, Don,

I got a taste of what we're in for over at Cook Forest. The amount of takes and retakes will mount, as you say Joe. The 10 to 1 rule sounds realistic. But I have ultimate confidence in big Ed. He is not one to cut corners, leave out detail, or be colloquial. So I have confidence in the outcome. How the project will get coordinated across cyberspace is presently a mystery to me, but I sincerely believe that the video series is one of the most important mission that we'll ever undertake in ENTS. Invoking the old adage that one picture is worth a thousand words, well, one good video may prove more useful that a thousand email exchanges or BBS postings. We can show live examples of troublesome trees. We can combine blackboard graphics with live material. We can film a debate among Ents as to which sprig represents the highest point of a tree and then demonstrate how we determine for sure. The possibilities are endless.

Actually, I hadn't thought of filming a discussion among Ents about where the top of a trees lies, but why not? People viewing the video could quickly translate the video situation to trees that have challenged them or open their eye to the process.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by Joe » Thu May 05, 2011 11:13 am

If I somehow were to become wealthy, after I tour Europe, I'll spend the rest of my days doing video work. It really is an amazing tool and art- and I do intend, for the fun of it, to tag along on a few of your day trips this summer to see what I can do.

But I don't expect to get wealthy, so instead, I'll continue to spend most of my time badgering the forestry establishment.
Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: Tree Measuring Video Begins

Post by dbhguru » Thu May 05, 2011 1:53 pm

Joe,

It would be great to get a video of Michael Taylor's triangle method. Since that is done at a single location, it could be easier filming. What I would do is establish the triangle, run through the process, and then repeat it with you filming. It could be fun. There's a white pine at MTSF headquarters that is 103.5 feet tall give or take 0.5 feet. It would be a good candidate.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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