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Old December 1st, 2015, 07:18 AM   #1
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Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Nowadays pollution in Madrid, like many capital cities, is not a new thing, and indeed, to state the facts, the levels of pollution have been falling over the past few years, but on November 11th through 13th was the first time the city council enforced the new regulations regarding reducing traffic pollution.

I had been filming a documentary in the town where I live, and the views to the city, some 40 Kms away as the crow flies, had shown their normal brown coloured ¨boina ¨ (beret) as it locally known, for a few days.

Sod's Law applying as normal, once I had time to film, the weather changed, the rain and snow fell, and the winds cleared the smog away. I did not have time to travel closer, so although finding lots of info on the national news, was left with a basic idea, but very little footage.

However, on November 30th, I had some time, went out to shoot at 5pm, and managed to put together a story, certainly missing some key shots, (caused traffic problems, with a quiet rural street scene), and without the drama that I could have got by driving to Madrid, and adding to the problem.

Interestingly enough, on 1st Dec, the speed limits have been re introduced, as the levels of smog again increase - this can be seen in the sunset footage at the end of the film.

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Old December 1st, 2015, 03:30 PM   #2
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Hi Paul:

Nice job putting this all together, especially shooting footage on the 30th and submitting before midnight!

I like your topic choice. I used to work as a research scientist at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and have done my share of work with atmospheric brown clouds and pollution events. I think you have presented your case well and you really capitalized on an event happening right during the month of the UWOL challenge, way to go!

I do have some points about clarifying your graphics to help your viewers understand what you are showing. When you fully understand what you are showing it's easy to forget that your viewer only has a few seconds to orient themselves to the graphic and to what you are saying.

Here are a couple of examples:

The weather map (40 sec) could have been clearer if Spain were labeled so the viewer could quickly identify what you were showing. Granted, the second time through watching this, I figured it out, but I didn't orient myself quickly enough the first time through, and trying to do so, I missed what you were saying.

The Google Earth clip, which is really cool, would have been very useful if it showed the city location obviously nestled in surrounding mountains to prove your point. I didn't catch high mountains on the clip and I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking at here. Stopping the clip and highlighting and labeling what you want us to see from it would really make your case strong!

I LOVE your graphic that explains the temperature inversion. Now that is very clear and shows us what happens to the air as it traps pollution.

The graphic at ~ 1:20 could be clearer without the numbers 1-5, since you were talking about 11 out of the 20 measuring stations measuring high quantities of pollution, and I wasn't certain of the difference between the left and the right.

And also the graphic at 1:30 would have been most useful if you had the y-axis labeled, to drive home the point that pollution levels measured at these locations were high.

You get the point! Instead of me using all these words, I could just say, clarify your graphics and you would make a really strong case describing the pollution episode that occurred this past month in Madrid.

Just my personal preference here, but soft music behind your VO would have been fun!

Cheers Paul! Solid effort and well done!
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Old December 1st, 2015, 07:47 PM   #3
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Paul,

Why does pollution have to be so beautiful sometime? I loved the color in your pollution shots like at :48. I guess any time you have particulates in the air, it scatters sunlight and makes for beautiful sunsets.

Couple of questions I hope you can clarify for me.

Any idea how much the pollution is reduced by lowering the speed limit? That didn't seem like a big reduction in speed. I apologize if I missed that amount in your film.

Also, does banning on street parking for non residents mean that people either stay home or take public transportation? Here in the US we have a ton of off street parking so if I was banned from parking on the street it certainly wouldn't stop me from driving.

Course, you guys have nothing on China! Their pollution is insane!!!

Even though you didn't get all the footage you wanted you still made a film that really educated me and was entertaining to boot!
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Old December 1st, 2015, 08:55 PM   #4
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Hi Paul,
What a great film about pollution. I really liked all your graphics. Ok, like Cat alluded to, there could be some polish put on some of them, but the fact that you used them to back up & illustrate what you were talking about i thought was great. Actually, on a technical note about the google earth clip, perhaps had you flown in at a lower elevation, you would have seen the mountains surrounding Madrid better??
What i do find interesting about all the pollution is how the studies show that most of that pollution is caused by transport. It seems as long as it's not being trapped above our heads, it's pretty much out of sight, out of mind, & we don't need to worry. Maybe there's a story right there? The fact that when those conditions exist, we can actually see what it is we are doing to our planet.
On another note, as usual, i found your narration well timed & the information very well put forward. I only have 2 things to add & that is that i could hear a distinct background sound when the VO was being played, & those clips could have been trimmed a bit especially at the beginning of each clip to get rid of the breath we so often take just prior to talking into the mic.
It certainly sounds like you had some challenges getting this one together & staying out of the shark tank so well done on a great film.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 09:26 AM   #5
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Hi Paul

Having worked in news (photography), I know it can be frustrating to miss key shots. However, I think it was a very well rounded and informative piece of film making. It felt a bit like something I may have seen on the ABC's (Australia) Foreign Correspondent show.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 04:04 PM   #6
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Hi Paul. Interesting video. As mentioned the use of graphics helps and as Cat mentioned a little more detail on some would help to show where we are. You mentioned home heating was one other cause so what do you use for that? A good job getting this done. Thanks.

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Old December 3rd, 2015, 03:32 AM   #7
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Paul,

This is such a informative video, i like it. The covered problem is what we are facing in our country capital of Delhi in this week.
I like the flow and choice of shots.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 12:13 PM   #8
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

paul.\,

Great Job, great information.

Ugly air!!!! Reminds me of growing up in Los Angeles California in the 50's when every day looked like that!!! 30 minutes of hard play and you had to take a break because your lungs hurt.

Nicely done and thanks for sharing. Makes me feel better about living in next to nowhere.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:27 PM   #9
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Cat, thanks for your comments!

I have taken on board your comments and will update my version on Vimeo in this post once voting is over - I guess its a case of familiarity breeding bad manners - we tend to look at the European weather map every day, but I have now labelled it. Same goes for the ¨poor mans drone¨of Google Earth - i don't master that programme yet, and got some rather alarming flying through buildings effects on trying lower altitudes!
However that is now fixed.
I guess most of this is caused by my ignoring my rule of always sleeping on the edit ( and of keeping out of the shark tank!)
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:37 PM   #10
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Kevin, thanks!

In answer to your questions I'm far from sure that lowering the speed limit does much to lower the pollution, as the maximum on the ring road motorways is already 90 KPH, although I have read studies that reducing from higher speeds does have an impact - the effect here is really to bunch up traffic at rush hour. I guess it is also partly physiological -i.e. we have to do something.

The street parking does have an effect - Madrid is not blessed with large amounts of off road parking, and people hate paying for it! In recent years, virtually all of the city centre has installed parking meters for on street parking, with designated zones for residents. Last year the city introduced graded rates according to the emission rating of your car, where you have to enter your license plate number to get a ticket, and are charged accordingly.
The real drive is to get people to leave their cars at home, and use public transport, which has been increased in frequency to cope.

Interestingly, since yesterday, the speed limits and parking ban have been reintroduced as the pollution levels are again high - this you can see building in my sunset footage from the 30th.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:42 PM   #11
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Splendid Paul!

I'm thrilled you found the comments constructive and I can't wait to see the next version. It's a great clip!
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:50 PM   #12
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Bryce, thanks for your observations about the VO - I recorded in one take (yes you can tell), and then separated out the phrases on the timeline, but omitted to add back any room tone in between them, which I would normally do, as well as topping and tailing the clips - the background noise was due to speed as well - sat in front of my iMac, with its associated disk and other noise... Will do better next time!

Tim, thanks for your comments - I haven't worked in news, but was taught by Den Lennie on a lot of things, and I still enjoy working to a deadline, missing shots, or not!

Gordon, the home heating I mentioned comes form the City Council web page, along with the stats on the car emissions - central Madrid, which is where most of the pollution in found is not an industrial area, as most industry is located on the periphery - but central heating, especially in apartment blocks of a certain age, where there tends to be a communal heating system for the whole block, is often powered by heating oil, so has the same effect as diesel car, or worse. There are subsidies for changing to natural gas, but not all have taken advantage.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:52 PM   #13
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Dale and Vishal, thanks for your comments - unfortunately it seems to be a problem we all share, wherever in the world we are - perhaps we should add it to Trond's topic list for the future!
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 02:19 PM   #14
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Paul, excellent video dealing with a sad reality. I spent most of my career in the environmental field and pollution, whether air, water or soil has been, and continues to be a huge problem. You hit on some greats points, air pollution can be reduced but, we the people have to be willing to change. I agree with Cat about the graphics, particularly the map of the air monitoring stations, a bit confusion. In 1996 the city of Atlanta hosted the Olympics. They virtually shut down the city to vehicular traffic. The air quality got so much better that there was a dramatic decrease in hospital admissions for childhood asthma. You choose a very tough topic an presented and excellent video. Bob
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Old December 4th, 2015, 03:57 AM   #15
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Re: Pollution in Madrid by Paul Wood - UWOL 36

Hi Paul,

Very interesting topic you have. We have the same issues in my city, being surrounded by mountains and the pollution gets trapped sometimes.

Catherine is the master of graphics, so I'll let her comment that part.

1:56: Some jerky panning caused visual distraction.

Well done for doing all in a couple hours!
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