"Cumbria's Rake Makers"

Ronald E. Hole


- For my line of work, shooting with an DSLR camera opens up great possibilities in offering full multimedia packages to "newspaper" clients, shooting stills and full-frame HD video with one device, achieving cinematic quality in a small or one-man/woman team. That has been fantastic, and it is certainly of great use for this line of work, says Rii Schroer.

About the film/Text by Tansy Sibley:

It's a story about John and Graeme Rudd, Cumbria's last traditional wooden rakemakers. April 2009, North of England.

In the Cumbrian village of Dufton, a traditional handcraft business - one of the few remaining businesses of its kind in the country - continues to thrive. Here, in a workshop that dates back to 1632, the Rudd family have been producing traditional wooden hay rakes for four generations. Founded by joiner John Rudd in 1890, the business is now run by John's grandson, John Henry Rudd, and his son, Graeme Rudd.

Little appears to have changed since the time John Henry Rudd, now in his seventies, started making rakes here with his father as a young boy. The design of the rake - a six foot long shaft made from ash, with a head and sixteen teeth inserted into it - has not altered at all in his lifetime. “It’s been tried and tested for well over a hundred years, so it can’t be far wrong”, John explains. I don’t think someone’s going to invent something better than a wooden hay rake, really", agrees Graeme. “I think it would’ve been done by now”.

The style and methods one is working with are directly related to the content or essence of the piece and have it’s meaning in its own right. It has been fantastic to see how "form" has made a big impact on visual storytelling through DSLR shooting and that’s what makes DSLR video shooting so attractive. I am primarily interested in good content that is visually translated well. Good content can stand alone even with poor visuals, but the impact of a piece with good content and interesting visuals/form is what interests me and what the recent DSLR developments have brought to the photographer/videographer.

Technical data: Shot on 5D Mark II with a Canon 24-70mm/2.8L, Canon 50mm macro. Steadycam work with Nikon 28mm and Canon adaptor. Background Audio all 5D mark II, all other some 5D mark II, some on Marantz Audio device. Edited in Final Cut Pro with conversion to AppleRes.

Rii Schroer first got her degree in Economics and Business Administration at University before she got into photojournalism. After one year photojournalism course, she started doing freelance and then staff work as a photographer. The last 2 years she have been working with the Daily/Sunday Telegraph on contract and work for the UK Times for print and web, photography and video.

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