Lights, camera, action

Lights, camera, action

Sarah Smout, Ingleborough beyond © Film on the Brain

A glorious day making a glorious film for a glorious song

Jenny Sharman and I spent a hard but happy April day on Fleet Moss filming, of all things, a music video. The track, “Atlas” – by Dales singer-songwriter and cellist, Sarah Smout – was released on 4 June and is about the difficult relationship between humanity and the environment. You can find the finished film and a link to download the track at the end of this post.
During the runup to filming, restoration work had already come to a halt on site for bird breeding season. Through regular surveys, we knew where birds were nesting and put a 300 metre exclusion zone around these locations. In addition, I spent the day acting as a spotter ready to bring everything to a halt if it looked like we were causing any disturbance.

Image of Sarah Smout planting sphagnum © Jenny Sharman

Sarah Smout planting sphagnum © Jenny Sharman

The morning's shoot took place on a hag at the southern end of the site with Ingleborough as a backdrop (see the header shot at the top of this post). For those of us used to the Yorkshire three peaks route (I’ve done it 3 times) this gives you an unusual view in which you can see all three summits at once without being on any of them.

After lunch, we moved further up the site to film on the restoration work. I've never worked on a film shoot before and, whilst nowhere near as active as restoration work, this was an exhausting 7 hours out on the fell. As you can possibly tell from the photographs, no lights were required; just camera and action.

The film is just beautiful; it's an extraordinary thing to have been a part of and I hope you enjoy it.

Image of the Atlas film crew © Film on the Brain

The Atlas film crew © Film on the Brain

Sarah had this to say about Fleet Moss and the song:
"Being at Fleet Moss feels like I’m visiting a broken landscape. There is an eerie, bleak feeling when you walk by a peat hag that is taller than you. The degradation is shocking. I wrote Atlas from a birds’ eye view, witnessing changes in the landscape and the inevitable chain of reaction that happens when one thing gets damaged in an ecosystem.

"But the reason I wanted to make this video with YPP is because the work they are doing is restorative, and gives hope for the habitat to recover. I feel very strongly that we must educate ourselves on things like peat bog restoration, and why it is important for all of us. As we were filming, we noticed new cottongrass appearing out of the dark peat bog, and we were careful not to disturb nesting birds; a sign that things are going in the right direction. I really hope people enjoy the film and the incredible footage we got of the healing landscape, and that me and my cello can play a small part in getting the message across that the place for peat is in the ground.”

Atlas (Official Music Video)

Written, recorded, and performed by Sarah Smout
Mixed by Gren Bartley, Wooden Walls Studios
Mastered by Katie Tavini
Filmed, edited and directed by Film on the Brain
Produced and directed by Jenny Sharman, True Nature Films
Listen and download:

The film was made with support from Pennine PeatLIFE, Friends of the Dales and Great Place: Lakes and Dales.