Pemberton Press

Aerial Video & Surveys

Drones in Grazier’s Hellfire

The town of Bungendore, set in a scenic green valley in the New South Wales southern tablelands, is an important crossroads linking Goulburn, Braidwood, Queanbeyan, Canberra and Cooma.

Nearby Mount Fairy is home to graziers whose cattle and sheep roam large tracts of farmland and a wind farm powered by the prevailing winds that careen through the valley.

Currandooley Fire burns out of control.

 

On 17 January  the Goulburn Post reported that 2,500 hectares of farmland had been wiped out by a huge and raging grass fire, with more than 30 units from the Southern Tablelands, Lake George and ACT zones called on to join the fight.

The fire had jumped two roads, Bungendore Road and Mount Fairy Road, reaching Tim de Mestre’s property, Merigan. Volunteers who heard of his plight moved quickly to help upon news that 88% of his 900 hectare property had been decimated.

Merigan Driveway.

 

Many of the livestock had been badly injured, with burned hooves, lips and teats. The pretty tree-lined driveway leading to the homestead had been destroyed, but thanks to the efforts of valiant firefighters the house had been saved and no lives had been lost.

Many of the surviving cattle and sheep were able to be moved and Tim and his band of hardy volunteers wasted no time in starting to clean up the mess. Fixing fences, removing debris, getting much-needed water to the right places and keeping the troops going through the early days was a huge challenge.

When we arrived a few days later we found him lying on the floor, unshaven and utterly exhausted, but resolute. Aerial imagery would be useful for assessing the scope of the damage, so we quickly got to work with Tim’s son, Darcy, as our guide.

Merigan homestead was saved by aerial firefighters.

 

Shooting with the Inspire One Quadcopter and Z3 zoom camera we were aiming to get the big picture as well as zero in on particular areas which warranted further examination. Up at 400 feet, we had a clear view of the property but the winds were stiff and even stronger higher up.

To the West of the front gate the nearby windfarm turbines spun at an increasingly furious rate and the drone  struggled to maintain position as the wind speed picked up to over 25 knots, well above the safe upper limit for operation.

Unable to fly, we returned to our base at Tree Change Cottage, further down Mount Fairy Road, where owner Anne Fairhurst and her 89-year-old mother, Ida, had also survived unscathed . Airbnb had lead us to an oasis where we could re-charge the batteries and regroup. Like Merigan, the house had been saved but everything around was burned to a cinder.

Tree Change Cottage.

 

When we arrived we found Anne putting out water for the surviving wildlife which clung to the few small patches of green visible from the cottage.  She was effusive about the strength of the local people and what needed to be done to restore the land.

An Echidna waddled along nearby, but thankfully there was no sign of the local tiger snakes.

 

Anne’s mother, Ida,  had been out in town that morning and was lucky to have missed the whole thing.   She pointed out that their structures had been made from metal rather than timber as a protective measure against this sort of catastrophe.  Our flying robot was certainly a surprise for her!  Watching with keen interest, she had many questions about how it worked and what it could do.

Anne Fairhurst

 

As the winds abated we were able to get airborne at Tim’s place once again. Moving to five different locations in the property, we shot 360 degree views of the devastation from 120m, which is the maximum altitude permitted under CASA UAV regulations.  We later enjoyed a cheerful dinner with our hosts before returning to the cottage for the night. We were able to pass on the Fairhurst’s contact details at Tim’s request, who offered to connect Anne with local services organisations who could render further assistance. It was so great to see the Aussie spirit alive and well in the face of such brutal adversity.

Tim De Mestre and volunteers winding down after a long, hard day’s work.

 

Tim sent out a heartfelt thank you to all who were able to assist and was optimistic about finding answers to the cause of the blaze. “According to one theory a bird had shorted an electrical wire, caught fire and fallen into the dry grass below.  It isn’t the first time.” he said.

Tim De Mestre (right).

 

The fire is now likely to be the subject of a coronal inquiry. Goulburn MP Pru Goward wrote “Following my meeting with Tim de Mestre I have written to the Attorney General…I am now seeking a coronial inquiry in the absence of any other means of establishing a full, independent and transparent inquiry. There is a history of fires and bird deaths in the area that probably need to be part of this inquiry. I consider the matter to be urgent.”

Windfarm to the West.

 

Aerial Video & Surveys

Seagirl

Seagirl

This month I had the pleasure of working with the talented canopy pilot, Tashi Gye, who tasked me with realising her vision for a new video that could change people’s perceptions about Speed Flying. In a traditionally adrenaline fuelled, male dominated arena, Tashi wanted to bring out the art, the grace, the dance and the music, with her femininity and skill as the undeniable hook.

Using the DJI Inspire 1 with the new Zenmuse Z3 Zoom camera, we were able to get close-ups not previously possible with a mid-range drone.

The paragliding and speed-flying social media circuits lit up, with over 8,000 views in the first week, hundreds of comments and an overflowing outpouring of positive emotions for the way she chose to illustrate and interpret the sport.

In her words:

“Seagirl” is my final project I presented at the end of a 2 month mindfulness course for creatives, sharing my love of flying and music. Speedflying is not just an adrenaline fuelled sport. Flying is rhythmic, much like a dance in the sky and to me has a musicality about it that feels similar to playing the piano. I chose one of my favourite piano pieces by Jean-Michel Blais “Nostos” to illustrate how flying feels. I recommend the course I did to anyone keen to be more creative or want to finish those projects they have started or yet to. I had a lot of fun :)

Special mention to Andrew Forsyth (Pemberton Productions) for the drone footage and videography, Julian Walker for ground control, and Aaron Lyon for co producing and editing.”

Aerial Video & Surveys

DJI Unveils powerful new zoom camera for aerial asset inspection: Zenmuse Z30

It was a real thrilled to be asked by the guys at Australian UAV to participate in DJI’s launch video for the new Z30 telephoto 30X zoom camera. It was the first time in eight years I’ve been in front of the camera instead of directing, so it was certainly a change of perspective!

Andrew Chapman piloted the DJI M600 Hexacopter with impressive precision and control, demonstrating the Z30′s powerful capabilities in a point-of-interest scenario.  In addition to my role as gimbal operator on the M600, I was tasked with piloting and shooting the air-to-air scenes with a second, smaller drone; the DJI Inspire 1 with Zenmuse X5 Camera.  Manually flying a counter rotating arc around a $30k drone and cell tower has definitely challenging but happily we got the shots the DJI film crew were after, plus a few of our own creation.

View the video here: http://www.dji.com/zenmuse-z30

A high-powered zoom means that any movement in the system is magnified, so stability is of utmost importance. The Z30 incorporates DJI’s leading gimbal technology for stabilisation within 0.01° and the same precision for controls. This enables long-range inspection that is always high in fidelity.

The Z30 takes asset inspection to a whole new level, allowing safe acquisition of very detailed images and line of sight verification. While not yet commercially available, it is expected to arrive on Australian shores early in the New Year. As you can see above, it’s so easy you can do it with your eyes closed!

For more information on aerial asset inspection please call Andrew Forsyth on 0431 770 620.

 

Aerial Video & Surveys

Fish Underfoot?

Highlights_1080

Tasmania’s Vale of Belvoir and Skullbone Plains Reserve,  August 2016 (3 min).

 

The Clarence galaxia is a rare and endangered freshwater fish which lives in a very unexpected place; under the grassy plains of Tasmania’s Central Plateau, in the hinterland of the majestic Cradle Mountain.  They actually live under the grass, right under your feet.  Really?

Also incredible is the fact that introduced brown trout live in the same unlikely place and prey upon this native species, which occurs in only six isolated locations across the island.  Skullbone Plains Reserve is one of them.  

 

Tasmania’s native Clarence galaxia.  

 

You’ve got to wonder how they do it. A vast labyrinthine network of subterranean waterways criss-crosses just below and within the glacial plains, in one of Tasmania’s only sub-alpine karst, or limestone cave systems. This small fish grows to about 13 cm in length and has irregular dark brown patches along its back and sides. It spawns in spring with eggs taking approximately two months to hatch.

Above ground, this is home to carnivorous marsupials such as the spotted-tailed quoll and the endangered Tasmanian devil. Snaking rivers, tarns, karst potholes and expansive lagoons hide undisturbed in what can seem from the ground to be a rather featureless landscape, pristine and desolate in the depths of winter.  

 

Near Kenneth Lagoon, Skullbone Plains Reserve.  

 

From the air, though, it’s a whole different story.   Skullbone Plains consist of 1,600 hectares of exquisite open valleys, old-growth forests, native grasslands, cushion plants and rare, endangered sphagnum moss beds.   To the north, at the Vale of Belvoir, snow capped mountains frame magnificent valleys and grassy plains which are skirted buy old-growth sub-alpine rainforests with Myrtle Beech and Eucalypts towering above a soft, spongy carpet of green below.

Rainforests in the snow and fish underfoot?   With Cradle Mountain thrusting sharply skywards on the horizon, this region truly is something else.  

 


 

The Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) is now finalising a plan to protect the little Clarence galaxias as part of their stewardship of the of Skullbone Plains reserve, which was acquired by the NGO in 2010. After filming the Big Punchbowl for TLC earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to be invited back to the capture more imagery of these wilderness areas with our unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone), the DJI Inspire 1.

 

Kenneth Lagoon, Skullbone Plains Reserve.

 

Teaming up with TLCs Community Engagement Officer, Phillip Roach, Strategic Projects Officer, Margie Jenkin, Media and Communications Manager, Stephanie Cahalan and Field Officer, Tim Devereaux, I was able to produce extensive coverage of these and other TLC reserves, including Lake Lea and the newly acquired Daisy Dell.

We were shooting video and stills with the integrated Zenmuse X3 camera.  As keen photographers, Stephenie and Phil both had the opportunity to take advantage of the quad–copter’s dual camera controls, which gave them a full view of the action on their own iPad and the ability to move the camera around and to adjust the exposure settings to their desired effect.   While I was piloting the drone, they were able to take the shots they wanted at the click of a button.

 

 Phillip Roach on camera with Andrew Forsyth piloting the DJI Inspire 1, Vale of Belvoir.

 

The Vale of Belvoir has been described as one of the most important places for nature conservation in Australia and was protected in 2008. These World Heritage Listed areas are now private land thanks to the generous contributions of philanthropic donors around the world and the tireless efforts of dedicated conservationists.

While challenging for UAV operations due to the effect of cold temperatures on the batteries, we were lucky to see some brilliant morning sunshine in a place where clouds normally rule the roost. Thanks to the intrepid efforts of the TLC team we were able to get the camera in the air in the right place and at the right time to produce over an hour of finished video and over one hundred high resolution still images over three days. By the end of the trip the wind was picking up and we had to fly below low, fast moving cloud to capture the last few shots of Kenneth Lagoon, where the little Clarence galaxia desperately flee the clutches of the marauding brown trout.

 

Introduced brown trout.

 

It’s great to know that TLC makes these remote wilderness areas accessible for all, particularly with excellent new camping facilities at Skullbone Plains. Just make sure they tell you how to open the gates!

 

Vale Drone Social v1.1

Stephenie and Magie’s excellent adventure (3 min).

 

For more information  or to lend your support please visit  http://tasland.org.au/reserves/

Andrew Forsyth, Managing Director, Pemberton Productions.

 

Pemberton News

Drones in Macadamia Heaven

In 2016 the Australian macadamia industry is in the best of times. Long periods of dry weather in the majority of growing regions has resulted in ideal harvest conditions for most growers. Production is up 4% (Source), prices are high, demand is strong and the time is right for investment & innovation to further improve quality, yield and profitability.

Technology is also driving the pace of change in agriculture at an unimaginably rapid rate. The way farms are managed will surely be very different in two, five and ten years from now thanks to advances in precision agriculture.  In fact it is already happening here in NSW.

Farm Manager Chris Cook from Dymocks Arapala Macadamia Farms at Yarrahappini is one of the new generation of young, tech-savvy managers who is taking things to the next level. Chris has made significant progress by pioneering several innovative approaches, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones) as part of an integrated orchard management strategy.

His deep belly laugh belies a razor sharp eye and a relentless pursuit of results based on carefully crafted plans and consistent execution.

Chris Cook, Farm Manager, Dymocks Arapala Macadamia Farms.

When Chris took over the 70,000 tree orchard two years ago he had challenges to improve the health of the older trees in the plantation. Average Nut in Shell (NIS) from the mature trees was down around 2.5 tonnes per hectare, compared with an industry target of 5 tonnes per Hectare.

His aim is to get the average yield up over 5 tonnes per hectare of NIS.  In some blocks he and his dedicated team are already hitting 6 tonnes due to changes made in the past two years.  Being a radio-controlled helicopter enthusiast from way back, Chris clearly sees the potential of drones in agriculture and was very receptive when I approached him 18 months ago.

“We started out with a small consumer drone just shooting basic video from the air, and over time scaled up to a larger commercial drone with an autonomous flight program capturing still images.  These images could then be stitched together into a Geo-referenced “Orthomosaic” to give us a much clearer view of problems and patterns not obvious from the ground. We could also use these images to plan and communicate workflows with the team.” – Chris Cook.

 

The Author piloting the DJI Inspire 1. Photography Credit Wade Hughes.

While impressive at first blush, the software platform for flying the drone autonomously, capturing the data and stitching images together had many problems. We spent months working through the issues with the vendor before eventually being able to deliver high-quality maps which were really useful for making decisions.

Several Macadamia growers in the NSW Northern Rivers district heard about the work we were doing and were interested to participate. In one week in April we flew six farms totaling more than 500 Hectares, generating some 40 maps, which gave the farmers a whole new view of their orchards.

Thank you for your efforts in surveying our farm. The resulting data is very impressive.  It has enabled me to see the extent of damage done to our orchard in the 2012 storms and in the next pruning season I will be able to undertake more targeted pruning operations, dealing with issues in a more focused way.   Overall I feel that this has been a positive result for the financial outlay.”

-Rob Colefax.

Macadamia grower Rob Colefax & son.

In addition to high resolution orthomosaics, 3-D elevation maps provide a way to clearly assess drainage issues and come up with solutions.  An adjustable scale allows different colour gradations to be applied to the image to show relief in dramatic detail.  Several growers and interested agronomists commented that the ability to zoom in and switch between views of a block, back and forth, was particularly powerful.

3D elevation map.

For Chris Cook, the imagery has been particularly valuable in developing nutrition plans and in digging new drainage channels.  Here’s an excerpt from the latest management plan;

Diversion drains [blue triangles] and subsurface drainage [red boxes] will be installed to mitigate damage from rain events. Diversion drains guide water away from the block without causing losses to crop. Subsurface drains are to prevent waterlogging, allowing trees to grow, and machinery access quicker after an event.

Being able to see the big picture is one of the great advantages of this new approach. Using special digital filters and indexes also allows farmers to see the unseen, such as disease or levels of plant vigour and trends within the orchard. Variations in the amount of solar radiation reflected, absorbed or transmitted by vegetation provides a strong indicator of tree health.

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a measure which has been used with satellite imagery and we were able to try using this filter with the image data we had captured. However, as the drone was not equipped with a camera with Near Infrared (NIR) capacity, a pseudo NDVI was derived from reflectance data measured by the Green and Red spectral bands.

While the pseudo NDVI could indeed show variances in tree vigour, which prompted Chris to ask new questions he hadn’t thought to ask previously, we soon discovered the limits of the Red Green Blue data (RGB) used in standard photography.  While RGB is very good for producing high-resolution orthomosaic visual images, elevation maps and 3-D models it is limited in its ability to enable detailed and accurate analysis of plant health using reflected light. That is because the RGB camera we used is only able to capture a small percentage of the solar radiation reflected from tree canopies compared to Near Infrared cameras. To get more accurate and detailed information with NDVI we needed a different kind of camera – a multispectral sensor which detect a range of infrared light spectra as well as RGB.

Associate Professor Andrew Robson (University of New England) is one of the leading researchers in the field and I had the opportunity to meet with him in June this year.  He is currently leading a National Tree Project funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Federal Government’s Rural Research and Development for Profit scheme. Andrew was able to recommend some innovative new sensors which can easily be fitted to our UAV, the DJI Inspire 1.

He also invited me to participate with the UNE project team to fly some surveys with the multi-spectral sensors over Macadamia orchard blocks.  This collaboration will allow the UAV imagery to be evaluated alongside a range of other satellite and field based sensors to identify its capacity for future commercialisation. This includes the evaluation of specific yield and quality algorithms that have the ability to convert the imagery into real parameters that growers can easily use.

Looking forward, our UAV platform is one of the first to be compatible with the industry leading FLIR thermal camera system, which is opening up exciting new applications in asset inspection, search and rescue, firefighting and other areas. For agriculture the big advantage of these sensors is in detecting disease – plants heat up when they are stressed.  It’s not hard to imagine a future where the orchard is managed down to the tree, instead of the block, using customizable development platforms like the DJI Matrice 100 Quadcopter.

For now, Chris is focused on finishing the harvest by the end of August, a full three months ahead of average harvest time over the last few years.  Apart from improving drainage he’s also using aerial imagery for guiding the nutrition plan as part of the integrated orchard management (IOM) strategy.

Chris: We have drains in some of our steeper gullies that are fully grassed, that do a great job moving water away from the orchard quickly. The different management zones along with aerial imaging of the farm will form my new soil test and leaf sampling zone [previously done block by block]. For the farm’s nutrition program, Integrated Orchard Management (IOM) is very important, but I need to have a solid science based, nutrition program. The program should take into account previous seasons yield, the amount of compost or organic matter you have used in IOM program, and different soils types within your farm. I am currently doing a thorough soil map of the farm so I can fine-tune the nutrition requirements.”

In closing, I believe every grower can benefit from this technology, especially those with larger orchards where it is prohibitively time consuming to inspect the every block on the ground regularly.

Please call for an obligation free quote on 0431 770 620.

Andrew Forsyth

Managing Director, UAV Data Solutions.

Pemberton News

Tasmania’s Moulting Lagoon

 

Tasmania ‘s Moulting Lagoon is a very special place. Home to the White Bellied Sea Eagle, it sits adjacent to the Big Punchbowl, now owned & managed by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

I recently had the privilege of documenting this unique environment from the air, working with my dear friend Stephenie Cahalan and James Hattam from TLC. As Steph explained to me, the ecosystem features a complex mosaic of wetlands, heath and woodlands, which support habitat for threatened species, including the globally threatened Australasian bittern and green and gold bell frog.

Apart from the incredible natural beauty, I was particularly interested in the Sea Eagles. Being an avid RC glider pilot, I have a keen appreciation for the way birds fly, using the wind and their razor sharp eyesight to catch their prey.

While it would’ve been great to have some aerial visuals of these superb predators, it was critical that we kept the drone well away in case there was any risk of attack. I was particularly wary after having seen footage of birds taking down a drone and flying off with it!

 

Since both eagles were high and well off in the distance, we were pretty sure we’d be able to capture some wonderful imagery without any real threat from the skies. I was hoping the sound of the spinning blades didn’t attract their attention and that we’d have enough battery to stay aloft for up to 15 mins per flight, despite the stiff onshore breeze coming in from the bay.

Things were going smoothly when suddenly we noticed one of the eagles eye-balling the quad-copter. Staying high, It made a beeline towards our flying camera down below, then started circling, descending in gentle, graceful arcs and moving purposefully towards it’s target. I had my finger on the trigger to dive, but in the worst-case may have been required to shut down the motors in mid-flight to avoid harming or killing this graceful creature. It was not an option I relished knowing it would pretty much write off our equipment!

Just as this 6ft spanned White Belly was moving in on us, I lost sight of the drone. It had blended in to the forest background and as I frantically scanned and squinted, a radio call from James confirmed the powerful bird was closing in.  I could see him further up the beach, wearing bright yellow and closer to the fridge-sized nest we had seen on our way to the foreshore.  I commanded a decent, and was urgently trying to get a visual fix on our altitude when the drone reappeared, glinting in the sunlight.

There were a very tense few moments and we all held our breath as I gently maneuvered away from the area, out to sea.  While it came a lot closer than I’d like, the eagle seemed satisfied that it wasn’t a threat to it’s progeny soaring above. With a couple of beats of its powerful wings it zoomed off towards it’s nest.

With the low battery warning sounding, it was time to bring the Inspire 1 home.  Her landing gear angling downwards, I pointed into wind on final approach and she touched down in the soft Bearded Glasswort, native to the area.  After 20 hours of flight time to date it has proven to be a reliable and versatile airframe, producing smooth, high quality shots that I hope will help people appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of Moulting Lagoon and the Big Punchbowl.

I have a huge appreciation for the work TLC is doing to preserve these natural habitats -if you’d like to learn more check out the website at

http://tasland.org.au/reserves/the-big-punchbowl/

Photography credits: Heath Holden

One minute video:

Big Punchbowl v2.1

Pemberton News

The rise of the drones

About a year ago I had a nasty accident, tearing my hamstring off my pelvis.  I managed to do the splits while windsurfing in the waves.  After surgery and weeks on some pretty heavy drugs I began the long and arduous process of rehabilitation.  One thing that has kept me involved with the action sports I love was learning to film from the air, with the latest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The pace of innovation in this area is staggering.  Locked in position by satellites in space, they can take off and hover at the push of a button. The aircraft uses a slew of integrated technologies to allow easy flight, beaming magical pictures down to the controller in real time.

Remote controlled aircraft have always been challenging to fly, however, today the real issue is not in flying, but in complying with industry regulations and mitigating all manner of risks. As a remote pilot you are entering commercial airspace and have a responsibility to abide by similar regulations to manned aircraft.

It’s so specialised and demanding that many UAV operators focus purely on aerial photography and nothing else.

Our approach is a little different.  With a wide range of expertise in business video production we are able to offer breathtaking aerial imagery as icing on the cake.  While aerial shots are extremely compelling, viewer engagement is a product of interesting and relevant people and their stories and how well those stories are crafted for the screen.  If aspects of the story can be illustrated from the air, it’s another way to keep your audience interested and attentive.

Pemberton Productions is Certified, Licensed and Insured for UAV services and our clients can focus on the pictures, not the risks.

So now I’m back on the water and 99% recovered, with one more arrow in the quiver.  The opportunities are endless and I’m excited to see where our clients’ imagination will take us with the new DJI Inspire 1.

Andrew Forsyth

aerial-showreel

 

 

 

 

 

Showreels

Who’s got your login details?

VERITAS Solution for Amazon Web Services Cloud Platform

“Businesses operate in a much more hazardous, heterogeneous environment than ever before, with fundamental changes to the nature of cyber risk and inadequate global cyber governance frameworks.” So says Axel Lehman, Chief Risk Officer at Zurich Insurance Group in a new report entitled “Global cyber governance: preparing for new business risks”.

Having worked as a marketer for Microsoft for many years and now realising the advantages of the cloud in running my own business, it’s easy just to focus on the upside of advances in technology and hope nothing bad ever happens. As we have seen though, a number of high-profile leaks & hacks such as Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, Sony and JP Morgan show that not only government’s information but corporate, SMB and community organisation’s information is at greater risk than ever.

In addition to the damage caused by malware and spyware, we all now face the spectre of ID Theft, stolen bank account details, email addresses and login details. Even people’s most sensitive personal information can be exposed, for better or for worse. Just imagine the desperate anxiety of all those people looking for discreet affairs are feeling after the harrowing scandal at Ashley Madison, not to mention their significant others.

The stakes are high and getting higher.

Information management and security solutions need to be able to address these changing risks, as businesses migrate to the cloud and embrace new levels of productivity and agility. I recently had the opportunity to work with Veritas/Symantec to help explain their solutions for enterprises and SMBs, on both AWS and Microsoft Azure cloud platforms.

VERITAS Solution for Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform

Our brief was to develop an infographic which would stimulate conversations and questions that all businesses should be asking. One of the challenges of a production like this is taking enormous amounts of technical information and condensing and crystallising it to arrive at a set of powerful visual concepts and crisp statements that will clearly communicate complex ideas. It needed to be done in an informal way that is easy to understand and sticks in your head. Oh and it had to be under 3 minutes and work perfectly to the beat!

In a way, information management and security solutions like this are really like insurance, in that it always seems like a hard burden to bear until the time comes when you really need it and then gee you’re glad you have it. I’m sure the people at Zurich get the analogy.

I hope these infographics help people understand the advantages of these leading software solutions and that they’re free to focus on delivering new value, rather than fighting fires at work or getting a divorce!

*Credit to our senior motion designer Rebecca Stegh.

 

Andrew Forsyth

Producer/ Director

Aerial Video & Surveys

A Bull in a China Shop

Qlik – Harris Farm

I have huge respect for anybody who runs their own business and successfully competes with the big end of town, especially if they do it in a way which reduces negative impacts on the environment.

Harris Farm is doing some innovative things in a hotly contested market, and I had the opportunity to learn more about their business on a recent production for software vendor Qlik.

I was quite shocked to learn that 25% of all crop production is ploughed back into the ground and wasted, just because it doesn’t look the part.  That is insane!

With Aldi and Costco driving costs down and making life tough for Coles and Woolworths, Harris Farm is carving out their own unique niche and growing their market share by arming their team of charged up buyers with some handy new analytics technology and rethinking how produce is offered to consumers.

One of their secret weapons is a dairy buyer described as a “Bull in a China Shop”, Scott Carrodus.  The guy will move heaven and earth to make sure his range is as prolific, fresh and as profitable as possible.  He’s also actively engaged with IT to keep Harris Farm ahead of the pack, without making it all too expensive.

In talking with him and CIO Simon Maizels, I learned that freshness has underpinned their entire competitive strategy, but more than that, they are continuously innovating to provide new value while saving food wastage.

Their “Imperfect Picks” and “Curious Cuts” campaigns have opened my eyes to new forms of value I just wouldn’t have considered in the past, since I am not much of a cook and have always just bought groceries as quickly as possible without too much thought.  The other days I tried a basket of imperfect picks and the Zucchinis were delicious and fresh, and about 50% of the cost!

In this 4.5 minute video we provide a quick snapshot of Harris Farm’s business and then zero in on how QlikView business analytics software is giving them a competitive edge.  Qlik is a market leader in data visualization and sits on top of Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV ERP solution in this particular case.

From a production point of view it’s a good example of how a character driven narrative can lift viewer interest and engagement over and above just a purely product centric message.

Time for some Winterfood?  Worth a look for sure.

A Bull in a China Shop

 

Andrew Forsyth

Producer/ Director

Pemberton News

Hilti Video October 2014

Coming from a technology marketing background, I thought I knew a thing or two about hardware. Well this was a whole new dimension!  We had the pleasure of working with Jan Pacas, Anne Adamson & the extended team at Hilti for their latest internal video and wow do they have some serious hardware which simply blew us away.

Hilti jackhammers have effective vacuum cleaners attached to reduce dust exposure and drillbits with hollow tubes to suck the dust out as they drill holes, and they have scanners revealing steel bars through concrete! Pretty amazing stuff.

Manoeuvering around major construction sites in Sydney was certainly a thrill.  We saw firsthand the innovative solutions the company provides to speed up construction projects with the safety and reliability the brand is famous for.  Shooting with the new Sony F-5, Andy Grant and Morgan Burrett successfully captured the emotion the management team was seeking, with some spectacular locations and dramatic shots of the Hilti team in full flight.  Ann Foo did a super job with the edit, proving once again she can deliver no matter what curve-balls come her way.

All in all a great success and a lot of fun working with the folks at Hilti to bring their vision to life.

-Andrew Forsyth