FISHBIO staff have a long history of wielding cameras in the field, but lately some of us have had to practice speaking in front of the camera as well. Our team expanded earlier this year to include a fulltime videographer and graphic designer, Dee Thao. While we’ve always recognized the value of communicating our work visually through photos and video, with Dee’s help we can take our video storytelling to the next level. One example is our film Replenishing a River: Stanislaus River Honolulu Bar Restoration, which we recently released and is currently making the rounds on local media outlets. We were excited to produce a video that really brings the story of the project to life.
Dee comes to us as a recent graduate of Chico State, and previously made her own documentary about a trip to retrace her heritage and visit family she had never met in Lao PDR. She’s been learning quickly about the challenges that come with trying to film fisheries biologists. In addition to organizing our extensive video archive, Dee has tirelessly joined our crews in the field when needed, whether it’s scrambling over logs in Big Chico Creek, or following rafts down the Stanislaus River. A recent rain shower was a reminder of the importance of weatherproofing our equipment for the field – luckily, she made due for a while with a plastic bag!
To help our crew get the best shots when she’s not around, Dee has also been helping us all become better camera operators ourselves. She’s trained our staff in how to incorporate a variety of filming techniques, such as camera tilts and pans, close ups, and over-the-shoulder shots. Sometimes it takes an extension pole or underwater housing to get just the right perspective. We have also had to improvise pop-up “studios” for conducting interviews in unusual places, whether setting up shop in our FABLAB or on the banks of a river. But the biggest challenge is helping us perfect our on-camera presence!
We’re thrilled with some of the recent videos Dee has helped us produce, including in-depth stories like our Honolulu Bar video, as well as short, fun recaps of our salmon fishing expeditions and creek cleanup efforts. Be sure to check out our “FISHBIO Films” playlist on YouTube to watch some of our favorites. They include a video highlighting our work on freshwater protected areas in Laos that recently won a contest organized by Pushing Boundaries, a group for young professionals. Before you know it, we’ll be ready for the big time!