Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world, made up of thousands of islands, languages and cultures. A solid proportion of Indonesians also of course speak the main language Indonesian – commonly known as one of the easiest non-European languages there is. I’ve just spent the past few months learning it, including 6 weeks in Bali, and now I’m in Timbulsloko, somewhere in the middle of the island of Java, trying to chat to the locals in it.
Turns out, I don’t speak Indonesian. I learnt the stuff that was useful in Bali, yes, but I’m now on a shoot in the middle of nowhere and never learnt the word for camera. Yes I can ask where the city centre is, how to get to the beach and for Nasi Goreng, but can’t say that it’s too useful when filming a video about aquaculture.
Across the coast of Java there has been some serious coastal erosion, caused by various factors including increasingly serious storms, over-cultivation and the general thing we all know in the world as ‘progress’. Recently it’s been noted that the loss of mangroves along the coast has caused a significant increase in issues, as storms start to damage important surrounding farmland and cause financial hardship across the area.
To counter this, there’s bio-engineering. The basics are this – some guys wade out into the waist-high water, and plant a load of bamboo poles into the water in a long straight line, creating a barrier that looks a lot like an underwater bamboo picket fence. Then they leave it. After some time, sediment starts to build up on before the fence, resulting in deep, fertile water, that’s ready for mangrove seeds.
Chuck in a million seeds, wait a bit, and you’ve got a new mangrove forest.
I am definitely over-simplifying, which I suppose is my job when you’ve got to say something pretty basic in 2 1/2 minutes.
When filming a testimonial video like this, the main block of the filming is the interview, which I do with a translator. I have no idea what Mr Chomedi is saying most of the time so just keep filming every single question as much as possible, to ensure I’ve got enough content. Eventually we film about 40 minutes of talk, and from the translator I think we’ve got enough.
Now I’m going to have to admit, I don’t really go for fish and seafood. It’s never really been my thing. So, this was lunch:
Grilled eel and fish. Never mind, it was pretty good and I was starving. And I may have overdosed on bananas to get rid of the eel.
Then we move on to the fun bit – the b-roll, which involved walking through mud, getting on a boat, and flying the drone around to get the right stuff, with an awesome team on a not particularly big boat. The most complicated bit was trying to keep stable whilst standing on a small boat, interviewing the talent rocking from side to side on the bamboo complex. I’d say I was fairly stable given the circumstances.
It does make me sad that I meet brilliant, welcoming people and have a beautiful time with them, and then have to say goodbye afterwards. Hopefully I’ll get back to Timbulsloko another time and see how the mangroves are progressing, as these beautiful people keep working to protect and develop the coast in this wonderfully sustainable way.