Those who subscribe to the EDM Models Newsletters [Subscribe] will know that the business has been closed for two weeks and most will have guessed that I was away driving trains again. I could write a blow by blow account of the two weeks but let’s just stick to the highlights, 640 miles driven over 12 days on duty, totalling 122 hours (bit more than a 40 hour week then) and 25 times to Blaenau.
Four different engines driven, David Lloyd George (56 miles), Linda (166 miles), Earl of Merioneth (194 miles) and Merddin Emrys (224 miles).
Driving trains from Porthmadog to Blaenau, and back, is pretty routine but there is new stuff to be seen. Our railway has got a pretty savvy media team who keep it in the public eye. They are constantly making new videos either for sale or to use in the social media and they are always looking for new angles and now they seem to have found one
We’re talking a pro job with six rotors, two cameras, a pilot with a helicopter license and five million quids worth of liability insurance.
Have a look at the video below. This was filmed by drone flown by vertical horizons media and edited by them and not by the railway
Whilst spectacular there are some issues with it. You will note the chap walking backwards and Merddin Emrys inhaling his own smoke. This is because the swooping in shots are actually filmed as swooping out shots as they’re easier to fly and then played backwards (ie forwards) and some bits were missed. The filming on the cob is all from the seaward side. This is because one of the drone flying rules is you don’t fly over the road.
Its all clever stuff but a film of 100% drone footage does get a bit tiresome.
Vertical Horizons have done other equally good films that are worth a look here Vertical Horizons
The future of drone footage is to use it sparingly cut in amongst ordinary camera shots. Whilst I was in Wales the railways camera teams and Vertical Horizons set out to film a sequence to demonstrate this and they chose Dduallt as the location and Linda with train as the subject. Five cameras were used and one top notch drone. Have a look at this and see what you think
Now this is actually a compilation of two up trips, the 10:45 and 14:30 ex Port on the 30th July. This I know because I was driving and my friend Clare Oates was firing. Whilst the film gives the impression of a non stop run that’s not the full story. On the first run we stopped to drop one of the cameramen off and the opening drone shot of Linda approaching to go under the bridge and you’ll see several seconds of steam from the chimney as Clare puts the blower on ready for me shutting the regulator. In the next drone section, the high level shot over the top curve you’ll see Linda slips twice as she tries to accelerate away from the stop. The bit in between of Linda powering through the station was the second non stop trip as the drone was over the embankment for this bit.
Once you have spotted it it’s difficult not to look directly at the drone and it is kind of weird as it backs away from you as you approach.
This film was just a sample of what is to come as they have apparently filmed loads.
I’ll finish with another video. Bit more of an amateurish attempt this and he needs to buy one of them furry squirrels to stick over the microphone
So why include that one? Well its me driving Merddin Emrys out of Porthmadog on my last day, 9th August, with Matt Ellis firing on what might be our last day on Merddin before its withdrawn in early September for its 10 year overhaul.