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The Making of
THE PIONEERS
by Diggie Mottram
Having been an aircraft engineer, I was aware of the little known English aeronautical pioneer Sir George Cayley. So when I read that, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first manned aeroplane flights a band of enthusiasts was going to fly a replica of that aircraft, which was designed and built by Sir George, I just had to be there. So off we went in our mini camper-van to Yorkshire. The flight was to take place on the original site in Brompton Vale, just a few miles inland from Filey and the event was open to the public. I managed to get some close-ups of the replica and to film the flight from a suitable vantage point.

Caley Glider
 
First Flight
Fine, but there was now the problem of what to do with the footage. The actual event took only a few moments, and whilst I had a serviceable record of it, its significance would not be apparent to the non-specialist. I therefore decided that I would have to describe the background to it and the importance of his approach to the subject. Fine but little did I realise how much effort would be expended on the final film. What was going to be a quickie turned out to take months –not that I minded! The research for details was absorbing.
For instance, I found, incredibly, that in the Surrey Library service there were only books on the science of aerodynamics, surely one only for the specialist student. Anyway I got rather carried away and in the end I researched and built 2 of his model aircraft –his first and last and the "whirling arm" rig he used for much of his research. I can't really call them replicas since the details in the literature were sparse and so they were really "representations". Anyway, what started out as a record of a 30-second flight finished as a seven and a half-minute film. Despite its obvious technical faults as a film, in my mind it is one of my more successful since a surprising number of people have said that they had no idea that so much had been known and demonstrated before the Wright brothers flew. Incidentally, Cayley is more appreciated in the USA where the crew who built the replica were invited to demonstrate it at the official celebration of the Wright's first flight.
The Pioneers

 

 

Diggie Mottram's The PIONEERS was awarded Surrey Film & Video Festival Documentary Cup 2005 and the SERIAC Maiden Trophy also in 2005.

SECOND TAKE April 2007

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NONSUCH REVIVAL
THE MAKING OF SACRED AND PROFANE
A DAY TRIP TO CHICHESTER
SUCCESS ON A PLATE
BIAFF 2006 - A MEMBER'S VIEW
THE SURREY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL 2005
THE FUTURE IS RED
COURT SHORTS
TIME OUT
We came, We shot, We chomped
BOB'S BASIC EDITING GUIDE
My Introduction to the Wonder ful World of DV!
Grandeur of the Granada
FILMS ARE LIKE ELEPHANTS
How 305 Sqaudron was made
THE BIG FIVE "O"
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NORTH V SOUTH 2008
HOT CHESTNUTS
WIDER AND WIDER
FALLEN ANGELS
EARLY CINE RAMBLINGS
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