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Dec 19, 2012

Feeding the sharks

People have been asking me where to find the shark feed video, so I'll embed it here:



I need help: documentary in process (More info here )


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Dec 14, 2012

Episode 141: Are you doing something good for the world?

Every now and then we all wonder what we are doing here.

We ask ourselves what we are doing and why.
Playing concerts for a living was always perplexing for me. The feedback was direct, but over very quickly. You just never knew what the audience was experiencing, despite moments where we all felt connected and energized somehow.
Making films is somewhat less intangible and is more permanent, but every now and then you come across people who are doing things that have an immediate and direct effect on people's lives:



You can contribute to the project until Jan 15th 2013 by clicking below:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/282006


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Dec 4, 2012

Episode 137: A glimpse underwater in Bonaire

While writing a review about a wonderful dive operation in the Dutch Antilles, I started to dig through my underwater footage and ended up editing a short video to pair with the review. 

There are quite a few nice moments caught on camera in this one, shot during a week long excursion as a dive club's videographer. Bonaire is a destination where you can keep to shallow depths, so working with natural sunlight can yield some rewarding shots.

With very little current it's possible to hang about and wait for creatures to trust that you will not eat them, and the shots can be more interesting than a fish swimming away from you.




I need help: documentary in process (More info here )

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Nov 29, 2012

Episode 136: Trailer for "Mist of the Perfume River"

Here's the trailer I put together for some pre-sales and funding of the documentary.

We need more funding to get the translations of the interviews taken care of.
Please hit the donate button and toss a few dollars our way.


I need help: documentary in process (More info here )


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Nov 23, 2012

Episode 135 : Interview at the Citadel, Hue Vietnam


The Citadel in Hue is a tourist attraction, and it's also the place where Hung's father lived and worked for a period. 
The guards at the back entrance wouldn't let us in with all the camera gear despite having a piece of paper saying that we could shoot 'anywhere in Hue'. 

Heading around the front entrance we bought tickets to enter as tourists (and the others as locals - cheaper!), the camera and tripod came out in a field under an enormous tree. 
Hung Interviews one of his Dad's old Art Pals
The horse grazing in the field behind me as we filmed, made horse noises from time to time, so when we were done, I had Hung go over and say hello:
It was a very hot and humid day
The professor left us and rode off on a motor bike. Cigarette in mouth. 

I need help: documentary in process (More info here )


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Nov 22, 2012

Episode 134: The Facilitator: every documentary shoot needs one

"Can you make that happen?"

Pretty much everything that was said during this shoot would be in Vietnamese, so there was a large element of trust that things would unfold in the right direction. I would have to let go of the need for control and accept that this has all been pre-determined.

I need help: documentary in process (More info here )

The man who would become known as "The Facilitator" shook hands with Hung in the lobby of our hotel in Vietnam's city of Hue.
Pete and Huy (wearing one of my Mother's paintings)
Vo Xuan Huy is a man not to be trifled with. My thoughts expressed in simple English words, if said in an ernest enough way would soon end up taking place in reality if Huy was involved. He only spoke English if he was full of alcohol, so daytime planning was dependent on Hung's Vietnamese, which he says is that of a seven year old.

The first moment I realized this man's power to move was when the three of us boarded a boat on the Perfume River, 18 hours after I had mentioned the wish to hear some traditional Vietnamese music.

We were about to witness a concert of some of the city's best specialists in Vietnamese folk music, dressed in traditional garb. No public were allowed. Just the camera, Hung, myself and the man who made it happen: Vo Xuan Huy.
Five of the seven musicians giving the camera a private concert

One morning, Huy had some time to show me some of his artwork. I was surprised to see that he is actually a famous artist and teacher. Beautiful stuff. I intend to buy some of his work online this Month
Have a look: Visit his site

Huy's stills from our shoot will feature in this blog

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Episode 133: Bulbs blowing in Vietnam. Sunshine forecast.

The Hue Heritage Hotel was like walking onto the set of The Shining.

The off-season is our friend! Quiet nights, and breakfast in hotel restaurant with not a soul.
Pete and Hung at Breakfast: strong coffee and an old guitar
The Mist of the Perfume River shoot, taking place over 3 weeks was delayed by a few days because of SANDY. Somehow, though, all things to do with this shoot have been blessed.
The delay enabled Hung to get things organized before my arrival from New York with the camera gear. Interviews were scheduled, locations chosen and the City of Hue's stubborn clouds drifted away, giving us gorgeous sunshine to light the interviews. The bulbs I brought from America blew during the first indoor interview, so it seems that this would be a sun drenched documentary.
During a time-lapse shoot of the Perfume River at Sunset

I need help: documentary in process (More info here )

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Nov 8, 2012

Episode 132: Vietnam shoot, Scotch Whisky blend

Being accepted into the inner circle of the city of Hue is not something that many white men can claim.

I have found myself teary eyed many times in the first five days in Vietnam. The people honor what we are undertaking to do with this documentary, especially when they hear that Hung, the 'protagonist' is the son of the artist responsible for the famous statues by the Perfume River.

Yesterday we were in the home of one of Hung's father's colleagues, interviewing him. We joined him for lunch and almost drained a bottle of Scotch/Vietnamese spirit blend in the process.

In Vietnam, the tradition is to drink together, not only in the general sense, but to 'drink as one' each time. It has an interesting effect.


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Nov 6, 2012

Episode 131: Shooting in Hue, Vietnam (a world on 2 wheels)

After a full morning of Documentary shooting: interviews, B-roll and taxi cab chats... my protagonist character: Hung and I sat down for some special local food. The chairs and tables are all children's size, and it was pointed out to me that people are tiny here.

It had been a busy and stressful morning: interviews set up hurriedly with limited time to complete, rapidly changing weather, rain and beating sun, workman's machinery shattering the silence, guards turning down our permits to film, and all of it happening in Vietnamese. Miraculously though, the material all exceeded my expectations and we got what we needed.

Walking to the restaurant for lunch meant running the gauntlet of pedestrian crossings. Hung's advice:
"Don't Baulk".
The continuous motorcade flows around a calm pedestrian as long as his movements are steady and predictable, but they do cut it fine....

It's a country of bikes, and having spent all morning on the back of a motor bike yesterday in Saigon, all I can say is that you have to trust.

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Nov 5, 2012

Episode 130: Ho Chi Minh City



The girl next to me on the plane from Tokyo to Saigon was on her way to a WMD Non-proliferation Conference. An Aussie living in Hawaii, we had a lot to talk about before the screaming baby behind us shut down everyone's enjoyment.
ANA's Video screens are huge by today's airline standards
The aftermath of Tropical Storm Sandy had already made me five days late for the Documentary shoot in the small Vietnamese city of Hue. A TV crew had covered the filming of the ceremony for Hung's Dad's 10th year memorial. For a small fee they will furnish us with the footage, but I wish I'd had control. An opportunity to 'remain calm and let the mud settle' which is the approach I've adopted for this period.

The hotel room I've awoken in, jet lagged at four this morning was paid for by Hung's cousin, along with a sim-card for my unlocked phone, a bowl of noodles and a beer. I haven't worked out the why's of who pays, but hopefully that duty-free vitamin cream I gave him for his girlfriend will even things out. He won't take my money though, and I withdrew Two Million Dong at the airport….  2 million.

The front desk girl was bedded down on the couch along with another girl in the little lobby adjacent to my room.

A wander around the neighborhood revealed that the people are very friendly and quite curious. It reminds me of China in the eighties - the people have a good look at me, a smile waiting just below the surface, especially the old people.


I was glad I brought my sunglasses out to breakfast as I was picked up on a motor bike: riding bitch across town weaving through oncoming traffic. Beef noodle soup for breakfast is not everyone's cup of tea. Off on another hair raising mystery trip to meet some more cousins for coffee, which the Vietnamese do in a very special way. 

The motor bike culture here is ingrained across the generations. 

Things I saw on motor bikes today: 
  • Babies
  • One 40 litre propane tank
  • One 40 foot pole
  • One family (they were moving house)
Shooting tomorrow in Hue, 7:30 start. Can't wait to get working on this project.


I need help: documentary in process (More info here )

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Nov 2, 2012

Episode 127: Sandy keeps Pete back a few days


Stormy Sandy rained on my plan to arrive in Vietnam on November 1st... still sitting here in NYC.
 Hung, the protagonist of the upcoming documentary shoot  is in Hue, and has arranged for his cousin to pick me up in Saigon on Sunday night for a bowl of noodles, a hotel for the night and them a flight the next day to join Hung in Hue.

Hung has managed to make a deal with a TV crew to film his Dad's 10th anniversary memorial, so that's covered hopefully. Thanks to my lovely wife for helping me dodge all of those canceled flights which would have put me in quite a spot.

 Anchors a'weigh


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Oct 30, 2012

Episode 123: Sandy takes trees down in Inwood Manhattan

A wander around the parks of Inwood this morning revealed quite a bit of tree damage.

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Photos on my facebook page

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Oct 28, 2012

Episode 122: Tropical storm Sandy, threat to departure for Vietnam shoot

After Hurricane Irene left me with a fridge full of emergency food and water last time, I was reluctant to join the throng at the supermarket this time, as tropical storm Sandy sweeps threateningly toward New York City.

I'm flying to Ho Chi Minh City, I hope, just as the storm is scheduled to...  storm off.
The documentary shoot that lies ahead of me on the other side of the globe is occupying so much of my mind that the on-coming weather is just adding flavor to the travel cout down.

I believe that the plane I'm flying in can take off with a 40 knot cross wind, so that might be the magic number on the day.

At least the weathermen are having fun.
In other news and weather  I hear that there's a blood shortage... and the transport stoppages in NYC have added to this problem.. Here's what you can do.

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Oct 6, 2012

Episode 113: Daytime at the movies when you run your own business. (you cAN!)

Running your own business is something many dream about.
Often I find myself wishing that I had a floor of co-workers and a boss;

Still, it was Friday yesterday, and I spent the morning doing a dry run with my camera, shooting and logging footage, testing settings and hard drives that I'm going to be relying on in Vietnam for the upcoming Documentary; then going to the movies in the afternoon with my wife, and an early dinner out.
"Loopers" was a rewarding movie. Nice plot and concept. It's always a relief when writers give the 'time travel' theme a good showing without getting to complex.

Here's the trailer:



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Oct 4, 2012

Episode 112: A song, the Presidential Debate 2012, and twitter

Watching the Tweets fly back and forth during the first 2012 Presidential debate gave me the impression that people turn to humor pretty quickly when looking for something to say.

The New York Post asked me to go and interview Obama back when he was running the first time but I was already booked. I wonder what effect the alternative path would have had on my life...  
Journalism is hard work, especially good journalism, and the New York Post was only paying $400 a story. 

The people who made this at least had fun; I wonder what career path its success will take them on...



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Oct 1, 2012

Episode 110: Making money from underwater video

My business is 'top-side' video as scuba divers call it.

The question often arises among underwater video enthusiasts of making their video hobby into a profession, and it's difficult not to shoot people's hopes down.

Sometimes people love their sport so much that they want to make it their job... ; The pitfalls look to be so obvious from the outside but it's a highly traveled road to making no money in a field one used to love.

My answer is this: Do what you love, but do it for love not for money.
Read the full article here

As we used to yell in Covent Garden while doing our street entertainment:
"We do this for fun, but the more money you give us, the more fun we can have"


The Como String Quartet in London 1988




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Sep 27, 2012

Episode 109 : Vietnam Visa Application. Documentary shoot soon

The Vietnam Documentary Shoot approaches! 

There was lots of action down at the UN as the Iranian leader was making his nasty speech same. Lots of angry people in the streets, including the Tibetans (angry about Chinese Government) 

Time to get the Visa for travel to Vietnam:

Donate here: http://www.peterbucknell.com/styled/

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Sep 24, 2012

Episode 106 : You dive in a Quarry ?

Quarries can be deep; 90 feet deep in the case of Dutch Springs.

Scuba divers use quarries as 'safe' testing grounds for training, refresher dives and equipment testing.
I undertook a season membership at my local quarry this year to finish some more serious scuba training that required learning a bunch of new skills using new equipment.

It's actually a fun place to spend the day and there are all sorts of sunken attractions to make it more interesting for divers.
Here's a quick look at what a dive can be like in a quarry:

Filmed by Peter Bucknell

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Episode 105: Weekend Diving : history, excitement and the ocean

Getting away from the computer needs good strong excuses.
Wreck diving and cold water diving are challenging undertakings that require the right mindset.
This weekend I went anyway....

My E.N.T friend picked the dive boat "The John Jack" to take us out into the North Atlantic. A bunch of guys had slept on the boat on Friday night and were undertaking an advanced wreck diving course with John Chatterton (wiki ) who is well known for co-hosting "Deep Sea Detectives" which I had never heard of, but I have seen most episodes of Gilligan's Island. (click for accompanying music).
Ginger was very popular in Australia. My friend called his cat Gilligan (I digress).
See More Photos on Facebook/how2scuba

Much hilarity and story telling ensued as we headed out to the wreck of the "Coney Island" a ship used to carry raw sewerage from New York... out into the ocean......

I did have the video camera, but there was lots of sediment in the water near the ocean floor, so I didn't once hit the record button, but was really fascinated to see inside this large ship and just forget about the camera for a change.

Here's a shot my dive buddy took on the line at about 20 feet from the surface.


It was great to get outside...

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Aug 29, 2012

Coming up to 100 Posts in Diary of a Videographer

Tomorrow will see the hundredth post in Diary of a Videographer.

I'm not sure what to post. It's a small milestone that should be marked somehow
I'll see what comes tomorrow. I'm just glad that it's still up and running, having survived an attack from the New York Times during which they demanded I shut down the twitter account, the youtube channel, neither of which I did; They are not significant in terms of followers, but it's a good feeling to stand up and say "No!"
They even asked for sales records from a cafepress site I set up: (I reported to them that I sold to myself  one apron with the Toimes logo on it as a present to my wife, which she never wears... but I do...)

I did change the name from the New York Toimes  to just The Toimes , which turned out to be a good thing as I travel so much.
Please subscribe in the box on the right if you like reading my posts. I hope the adventures continue to be interesting and fun!
Stay tuned for post 100.

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Aug 27, 2012

Episode 98 : New York's Ship Wreck : The USS San Diego

Off the coast of New York lies the sunken USS San Diego.
We went for a scuba dive on it and here's the video:

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Aug 24, 2012

Episode 95: A stroll in Manhattan's secret park neighborhood : Inwood

I took my camera down to the park to see what it was really capable of.
Here's a look at my neighborhood: Inwood.



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