Film maker John Howden scored a double first in the documentary competition. (24 November) John gained joint first place with his two entries – “Just Fuchsias” and “Judy’s Tale” - scoring top marks in both the external judges’ and the club members’ voting.
It was a close run event, however, with John Jones snapping at his heels with “The 2015 Big Garden Birdwatch” only one point behind; and in third place Brian Salmons’ “The Legend”, one point behind John Jones.
Commenting on his success, John said: “Bill Wye, the fuchsia hybridiser, is an unassuming grower of plants, a ballroom dancer and an enthusiastic family man. The main stage for his plant work is a small greenhouse in a rather scruffy garden on an estate in the village of Writtle.
“But with the aid of a tripod and camera (Sony HXR-NX3) squeezed into a corner and a radio lapel mic we managed to capture his meticulous culling of the seeds for the start of developing an award winning fuchsia.
“I also used a Panasonic HC-X920 camera hand-held especially in the sequences in the flower shows. Post production in the pruning sequence I used time lapse (applied on the time line) to truncate what was actually 10-15 minutes of filming.
“Judy’s Tale, however, came about by sheer chance. Along with thousands of others, I had gone to the London Olympic Games and taken quite a bit of film. When I got home I wondered what I was going to do with the material.
“There it rested for a couple of years until a lady, called Judy, moved into our village and started to attend our church. I learnt that she had been a Games Maker.
“Bingo! The green light came on and I sensed a possible film. She was willing, with a little persuasion, and we arranged a date to do an interview.
“It turned out that she was at the Volley Ball arena on Horse Guards Parade. My film material was all at the Olympic Park in Stratford. But with some stills and linking commentary the story was told.
“The main camera used was the Panasonic HC-X920, mostly hand-held. I did no colour balance for either film and, as always, the main problem was in sound balance.”