Systematic Change & Peace Journalism & Actvisim

Polly Tikkle Productions: Making The Political Palatable.

Below is the latest entry of my Independent Film Making Blog which aims to share what I do and learn as an independent film maker driven to promote brilliant ideas for positive change, as well as revealing acts of depravity by our authorities.

Palestine Israel holy land occupy

March Blog

A few things had to be done this year for Polly Tikkle Productions to stay afloat and in the game.

Upgrading to a Second Hand Apple MacBookPro.


Why this is a good decision?



My 2007 darling finally died. As most things that leave me, it did so with an explosion. No melting away into oblivion. The battery blew up. It was a little poop, but still as far as laptops go I should not dismiss the event as anything but an extraordinary goodbye.

I was delighted to discover that Apple is cheaper in Australia due to Australian dollar being quite weak in comparison to the English pound.

The new MacBookPros cannot run older operating systems and the new operating system will not run FCP 7 smoothly, and I am not interested in learning FCP X from scratch. I would rather learn Premier. The fact that FCP X is an entirely different program to which an FCP 7 project file cannot be upgraded to is the deal breaker, or ball breaker if one possesses them. If Apple can do this to its consumers, than I no longer feel safe being professionally shackled to Apple.

In London, the Apple FCP experts at the mega store in Covent Garden, assured me that FCP 7 would run smoothly on the new 10.9 operating system, but after reading countless forums suggesting that it doesn’t, I wanted to test run it. In line with the general decline of customer services, that are relentlessly plummeting in unison, globally, no Apple store on the planet will allow you to test run the ancient hobbling obsolete (err not!) FCP 7 on their new operating systems. The mere suggestion of test running a product, before dishing out £2500 - £3000, is considered at best, a joke.

So I bought myself a second hand 2012 MacBookPro with 10.7.3 installed on it. It’s 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 with 8GB of RAM for $AU1400. So far so good.

In the next few months I must remember to do any small projects that come my way on Premier so I can increase my skill level in this application, the reputation of which has been steadily on the increase for years now. With two long form films in FCP 7, now is not the time to do any drastic changes to their work flow.


I was transcribing for 6 weeks from Jan 03 to Feb 15, pretty much full time. This is the work I did while in Oz. I had wasted so much time trying to find ways around transcribing systematically, to ‘save time’, that now that I have bitten the bullet so to speak, I am daunted by the long ride ahead and disappointed in myself that I did not take my need to make this film more seriously sooner.

For some years now I have used Excel. I divide the A4 vertical page into three columns. In the first column I write the timecode, the second the details and/or dialogue and the third I usually leave blank for me to write notes in while I read the work and formulate the film.

I am looking forward to that moment.

I would like to hear how you transcribe. What programs do you use? Have you discovered an automated way of doing it yet? Dragon Speech does not help us yet does it?

To transcribe I usually have two computers working at once. On one I have the Final Cut Pro project file open, the browser of which I use to open the clips by right clicking them and opening them up in Quicktime 7 so I can play them at half speed and record the true time code intermittently. If I could find a way to play clips in FCP at half speed I would not need to open them in Quicktime.

I struggled to think how I would collate the footage. Eventually I settled on transcribing it in time consecutiveness.

On the other computer I type like crazy. I now type at around 35 words a minute which is still pretty slow but I hope to get faster. It takes me about 4-5 hours to do one hour of interview.

Each worksheet is a full tape and labelled by date and key words. I amalgamate the worksheets into monthly workbooks. I have completed November 2011 and have started on December 2011. It is hard to admit that I do not have any footage from October 2011 when the Occupation started but I do not. Transcribing is gruelling work but it is imperative. To be honest I am going through it quicker than I thought. Making on the fly decisions can be problematic so I am very conservative with that although at times it is obvious that I will not use certain bits of footage so I skip out on transcribing that.


Atomos Ninja 2 troubleshoot


Visiting the Atomos headquarters in South Melbourne was a treat. The customer service was impeccable. I was taken into a meeting room where a technician David allowed me to speak at length about the issues I had with it.

My Ninja would stop recording quite randomly even when it was static on a table in a sit down interview,

Dave did numerous tests and discovered that the Ninja was getting confused due to the wrong Trigger option being activated. Seeing as I have a Sony NEX FS100 I figured (I may have also read it somewhere) that the correct HDMI trigger would be the one labeled Sony! Bad Buzzer Sound Effect. What I should have chosen in the Timecode/Camera Trigger/Options was the None/Timecode

GO figure trigger! There was an issue with double triggering. Apparently the Sony FS100 has a more advanced HDMI triggering mechanism these days and so it does not need to the Ninja to optimise itself for Sony's protocol. If it does in fact there are rather serious problems with reliability.

In a day and age where good customer service seems to be as rare as honest politicians, I really was quite blown away by the time David dedicated to my greviances. I was even given my 15 minutes (of fame) to relate to Atomos that I find the interface on the wrong side of the user friendly spectrum. I suggested that two battery icons instead of floating numerals 1 2, would help users know that touching the screen there would lead to battery usage. It may have been just mere politeness but he noted it admitting that as technicians they sometimes lose touch with the simplest approaches. Having worked on a few websites I empathised with how tricky generic user friendliness is to implement on most technologies. In what transpired to be a friendly banter about the Ninja 2 design journey I discovered that the inability to delete files on the Ninja 2 is NOT a cost cutting choice (like i had assumed)but a safety guard. I mentioned one or two circumstances I have been in where deleting footage (in front of soldiers and such like) would have been the infinitely easier option. Even in not so heated situations, it would be great to have that option with a three step "are you sure" procedure. Sometimes you take a few shots of one thing and you know which one you like the best there and then. It is time wasting to revisit multiple shots of the same thing to re figure out which one was better. Dave noted that too. It was just nice to be heard by the guys that make the machine. Very nice indeed!






Wall Street Film


Watching capitalism gun down democracy

The 99% film from Occupy Wall Street is doing the film festival circuits and it is a fantastic overview of protest in the States.

The variety of folk interviewed in The 99% film, including a police officer who chose to get arrested, the unforgiving Naomi Wolfe, and the crisp gloriously colour graded footage of voluminous protests and significant violence against peaceful protest makes this film nothing less than bloody brilliant!

Ani Di Franco’s lyrics “Watching capitalism gun down democracy” came to mind as I watched this articulate fact driven documentary that confirmed the political journey of the modern world this song so poetically illustrates. The lyrics have inspired my activism at times when I feel totally lost about my life's choice to fight the good fight rather than cuddle up in the cosiness of the goodness that remains.

What's your next bold move? The thing you are going to have to prove to yourself.

My version of Occupy London's experience will be a lot more micro than the 99% film. The inner woes of Occupy London were unique on one level but ever so ordinary on another. Activism seems to come with staple characters and issues and it is my belief that activism is an integral part of the change we want to see. This is why I am driven to raise awareness of the pitfalls in activism. In many movements there is savagery, madness, disappointment, emptiness, incredible selfishness, arrogance, immaturity and thanklessness not to mention the idealistic idiotic divisions and when all this is coupled with the formative brilliance, conviction, heartfulness, education, empathy and hard work of any movement the moves forward are slower and less powerful than they could be. This is painfully obvious to most activists... and there seems to be so little we can do to address it.

OK that is all for now folks. I will show you my disastrous home made steadi-cams and a bits of archival footage of Occupy London next time....

Until then... if you are selling a house I have just moved into property video making. £300 a pop. Or maybe you could advise me on how to secure funding or pop a donation for the Occupy London long form film in the donation button below.. Go on... be the first!! :)

Its as easy as breathing for us all to participate.


Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site