Stafford Bettridge, B.F.P., Grad.Dip., M.S.P., M.A.
As I age I frequently find peace in the isolation I experieced in my youth; camping in wild places, cooking over fires under the vault of the stars and changeable weather. I dive on Coral Reefs and I write and read. I work at a simple job in order to live. My BIOGRAPHY gives some backstory; but with the best parts omitted. Filmic Vision Pty. Ltd. is my film production vehicle. I have worn out about seven video cameras; I’ve pensioned off my fourth Canon, an early 5D, and I’m on my tenth computer, a magnificent iMac. I sold all my glass and I shoot now on 4K cameras no bigger than GoPros. I enjoy drone work and I’m honing my aerial cinematography. I seek to develop a number of my own documentaries and films, inexpensively, without access to funding.
My documentary interests follow three themes: the first focusses on an interrogation of factors causing long term decline of the world’s coral reefs with a working title of Killing Coral. Another related project Low Isles; Following Yonge investigates the changes since the first scientific expedition to properly sample data on the Great Barrier Reef back in 1828. Also on the subject of coral reefs Enewetak; Dead and Alive could be a mirror image; an atoll that was vaporised by nuclear bomb tests now has some of the world’s best coral.
The second theme is my interest in Russia, where I worked in the early 2000s. During my time at AFTRS I set out to make an immigration documentary called Russia to Australia but I hit a wall of resistance. People had stories to tell, but were camera shy. Perceptions have worsened since then, but even so I’m hoping to resurrect this with Russia East West – investigating our preconceptions about Russia both physically and geo-politically.
The third theme of interest is my father, who built four airstrips in Cape York during WW2, crucial to supporting my uncle ‘Ernie’ on the Kakoda Track. Bombed on Horn Island on one occasion, I’m hoping that Horn Island, Iron Range will reveal something about which my father never spoke. The Carnarvons is also about how this rugged part of Central Queensland is intimately tied to my relationship with my father, who put the first Survey through Moolayember Gorge in 1932-34.
It was at AFTRS that I had my first taste of film, working with Producer Andrew Dalziel and Writer/Director Aaron Schuppan (pictured above) on Shadow Valley, a film that gave a young James Fraser a career boost. Later, while doing an M.A. at Griffith I sold limited rights to my short script The Parisienne, which was then adapted into Away, shot with a cast and crew of fifty-four, using two Arri Alexas, and a budget pushing $100k. Now I intend to develop it into a feature length film.
Conversations in Courtship is an adaptation of 3,500 year old fragmentary remains of love poetry, but in a contemporary setting. The Cave is an original screenplay set in the harsh Carnarvon Ranges of Central Queensland; life, love and loss. The Jump is a WW2 film for which I’ve done an incredible amount of research, running to over a million words at present and fuelled by my Russian experience and documentary research; it’s the story of an American paratrooper who escaped from Stalag 2C in Poland, by heading East – to the slaughterhouse of the Russian Front.
Affordable drones shooting 4k video in the H264 format are becoming commonpalce. I’m currently using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro with the new H265 (HEVC) codec capturing on a 1″ sensor. The quality is suberb. Ranges of 5000 metres are possible but commercial use of this drone requires holding a CASA licence. For legal reasons I do not offer my footage commercially, nor can I fly beyond ‘line of sight’. When I gain a CASA licence, which is expensive and entails a one week course, this will change.