About the unseen clips

The first thing you should know is that nothing on the DVD appears on this website. The purpose of the website is to complement the DVD and encourage visitors to support the Wildlife Trust by buying the disc. You won’t see any spoilers here and you shouldn’t consider the use of this website as a substitute for watching the DVD. You won’t see any of the official film here. Buy the DVD to enjoy The Great Fen Spitfire Excavation.

The clips here have not been through the full post-production process, so they might not be colour-corrected and on some of them the sound is not great. The sound and image quality of the DVD is better than the clips you will see here.

In most cases, the sole reason for not including sequences was in order to keep within the agreed running time of the main feature. It’s important to say that all the interviewees featured on this website did a great job and I really regret not being able to keep everything in the final version of the film. This is just a normal part of film-making but it doesn’t make it any easier to drop great contributors.

In one or two cases I, the film-maker, made mistakes and the quality of image or audio fell below an acceptable standard. I will explain the reasons for this in the text accompanying the the unseen clips, not as excuses but to help other film-makers to avoid my mistakes.

An alternative intro

When we considered producing two episodes of the film, this sequence was one of the proposed intros to part two. I needed visuals to accompany the Radio 4 broadcast and threw together this breakfast sequence to show the producer. She wasn’t keen.

The very first words spoken by John Humphries are a slick edit of three different broadcasts. I found separate clips of him saying the day, the month and the date so that I could recreate the date one year on (when the 5th of October wasn’t a Monday).

Maxey Stacey sings

One of the young boys to witness the crash of the Spitfire in 1940 was Maxey Stacey, life-long resident of the village of Holme.

In December 2015 I was joined by the Great Fen’s Mandy Corney and we went along to interview Maxey at his home.

We enjoyed a lovely couple of hours in his company and I got more great footage than I could ever use, including these priceless few moments:

You can hear Albert Whelan sing Maxey’s song in a recording made in 1931 here:

Some sound advice. Shame I wasn’t listening…

This clip illustrates very well how NOT to record sound. During shooting for the Great Fen Spitfire Excavation film we went along to a meeting of the volunteer archaeologists. They were cleaning Spitfire parts in a barn.

I decided to grab some fairly informal comments from the team and started asking them questions. The interviews themselves were great, as you will see.

Unfortunately, my sound recording technique was less than great. I really didn’t want to put radio mics on the speakers. That would have made them a lot more self-conscious. So I trusted my ‘shotgun’ mic across the cleaning tables, where the cleaning was being done.

The idea of a shotgun mic is that it is very directional and cuts sound that isn’t originating within its very narrow field. You only have to listen to the interview with Sue to hear that the washing and scraping going on just below my camera is far too intrusive to allow me to use the clips in the final film.

Producer Louise was not impressed and I learned an embarrassing lesson. Sorry Louise, sorry Sue.