Video Pay To View - 7 Minute Coaching Session from New DVD

A slick trailer can mislead an audience. We've decided to make an entire chapter of our new Rescues DVD available to view online. More than seven minutes of coaching by Gordon Brown on the use of Contact Tows, in exchange for a small, affordable sum - $4.50 that's under £3. (It's a US player and has to be priced in $.)

We think this is the best way to experience the standard of coaching and video production in the DVD. There's also a short free preview, and it's embedded in the website too. It takes a while to load on Blogger, so if there's a big white gap below, go here instead.

Of course we will also have a slick trailer! It will go live on 1st October when a re-designed website will open for orders of the Rescues DVD, Volume 2 - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown.

I'm now off travelling and riding my bike for a few weeks, so probably no updates until mid-Sept.

Video – Trailer for Historical Sea Kayak Film

Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s Hamish Gow was at the forefront of Scottish Sea Kayaking.

He and his wife Anne were the first people to sea kayak to St Kilda, the cluster of islands 40 miles into the North Atlantic.

Hamish was a keen photographer and cine film maker. (and anti-nuke protestor!)

Now he has kindly allowed me to use his old home movies, shot on Barra, Mingulay, Staffa, the Treshnish Islands and St Kilda.

I've combined this with professionally shot, modern footage to produce a 24 minute video called Hamish’s Kayaking Films. The trailer is below.

From 1st October will be available as an HD Download from Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown.com. An 8 minute, cut-down version will appear in our new Rescues DVD which is partly shot on St Kilda.


Download Version of New Rescues DVD Unlikely To Happen

As of this morning, it is highly unlikely I will be able to make our new Rescues DVD, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown- Volume 2, available as a Download.

I am very disappointed about this.

Many people have contributed their thoughts about downloads and DVDs. I’ve spent a lot of time developing a download system which works well for DVD1. And I’ve been trumpting the fact the new film will be released simultaneously as DVD and Download.

Now it won't. So what’s gone wrong? Put simply, this.

If I sell a download, retail stores probably won’t stock the DVD.

That’s the stark warning from one of our distributors. And I have a good relationship with distributors and retailers. I want to support kayak stores. So I feel it's wise to to right by them.

The argument goes something like this.

One of the advantages retail stores have over online stores is their ability to deliver something instantly.

If you want the DVD today, go to your kayak store and you can get it today, rather than waiting a few days for it to arrive in the mail.

Downloads remove that advantage. When online stores offer that immediate gratification, there’s no reason for the retailer to give the product shelf-space.

There’s also a concern that a new product, released without digital copy protection, will be ripped off instantly. You wouldn't, but others might.

So again, why would a retailer give shelf space to a product you can get free on a pen-drive from your friend?

I’ve loked into copy-protection, thought I had on which might work, but decided it didn’t.

So for the forseable future, Volume 2 will not be available as a download, whereas Volume 1 will.

However, I have some really positive developments to share, including a new sea kayaking film with superb archive footage which will be available as a download.

More about this tomorrow – and then I’m taking a month off blogging to travel and ride my bike.

Video - Ferry Tunes. Busking on the Skye CalMac

A couple of weeks ago I was returning by ferry from filming the very last piece to camera for the Preview vesion of our new DVD. I tweeted that some traditional musicians were busking on the CalMac ferry. I volunteered ti shoot some video which they could use wherever they liked.

With bright sunlight streaming in the windows behind their heads, and no opportunity to ask for tunes to be repeated, this wasn't the easiest shoot. I thought I'd share the results.

Cover Artwork - our new Rescues DVD

I'm rather delighted with this. Rowland Woollven took the top photo, using my camera, during one of our filming sessions off Tarskavaig on Skye. The swimmer is Janice, who features quite a lot in the DVD and could now seek employment as a stuntwoman.

The bottom image was taken by Douglas Wilcox, using Gordon's camera, in a massive cave on Boreray in the St Kilda group of islands. The boat in the picture gives a sense of scale - twelve of us lived on that for a week. And the kayaker in silhouette in the hat is Liz.

I think Gregor has done an excellent job with the artwork, considering the style was already set by the first DVD and I asked him to come up with "the same, only different". The rest of the cover and the artwork which will be printed on the DVD itself is equally as good.


The Guardian - Professional Shots from St Kilda

Everyone is heading to St Kilda this year. Or so it seems.

These stunning images are the work of photographer Murdo MacLeod working for The Guardian newspaper. They appeared on its website on Tuesday this week.

Add to this the team recording the islands in 3D and our own video shoot, it sounds like it was a busy summer on the islands.

How To Deal With Bike Lane Blockers - Video

When I lived in Glasgow it annoyed me that the council would spend a lot of money creating bike lanes, but they were impossible to ride in because they'd always be full of parked cars. The Mayor of Lithuanian Capital of Vilnius has a solution.

Traditional Kayak Meeting 2011 in September

This from Bill Samson. The TKM will return to Ullswater, and will take place on the weekend of 17th/18th September 2011. It will be based at the Waterside Farm campsite and as usual everybody should make their own arrangements direct with the campsite.

In case you've not been to one of these before, it is thoroughly informal - no registration, no fee - just getting together to try each others' kayaks, go for paddles on the lake, and most of all to chat and eat. There's a laundry room that works nicely as a place to show off photos and DVDs, - I plan to bring a laptop.

Some of us may arrive a day or two early, and some may choose to stay on after the weekend - The 17th and 18th just represent the 'core' time of the meeting. I look forward to meeting old friends as well as seeing new faces this year.

DVD Sales Falling, Download Sales Rising

Figures from the BVA I spotted in Monday's Media Guardian highlight an interesting trend.


"Spending on digital viewing via download and streaming services to mobile devices such as tablets rose 18% year on year, according to figures from the British Video Association (BVA)...

But they are yet to offset the slump in DVD and Blu-ray sales, which fell 8.1% in the first half of the year. Physical discs accounted for 96.5% of all sales in 2010."

And according to the BVA director general, Lavinia Carey, "Digital is growing and has huge potential with the growth of internet-connected devices such as smartphones and tablets now an accepted norm for video viewing."

Which is why our new Rescues DVD, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, Volume 2 will be released as a DVD and as an HD digital download at the same time, mid- October.

Video - Trailer for Body Boat Blade's Rescues DVD

Having spent much of the last ten months planning and then shooting our sea kayak 'rescues' DVD, it's fascinating to see how Bryan Smith and the good folks of Body Boat Blade have tackled the same (or similar) challenge.

As I'd expect, their trailer looks really good, and they're launching the DVD at Outdoor Retailer in the USA. It will be very interesting to watch the whole thing when I can get hold of it.

One of these days I might even get the chance to chat to Bryan about their approach and swap notes. Two film-makers talking shop - now that certainly would not be an interesting podcast!

Video Diary 4 - Shooting DVD2

What can I tell you - some filming days are just... odd.