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Production Approach

The Stony Creek Saga will be a hybrid of classical documentary and contemporary non-fiction production styles. The story will unfold through the actions and voices of the participants, without use of third-person narration. This is not reality television, where the producers need to manufacture a challenge, or thrust their players into a series of artificially created confrontations. There is drama enough in the everyday struggle of this extended family. Situations will be recorded as they occur, without intervention from the filmmakers; we will strive to remain observers, not active participants.

Dan and Kate are trained educators, willing and able to explain what they are doing in a way that is readily understandable to an audience. Personable and articulate, Dan and Kate will explain the rationale behind their building projects and farming techniques at intervals throughout the program. These interludes will not be dry and pedantic, but conversational and informal, a natural part of the ebb and flow of life on the farm.

A companion website will provide viewers with a destination to obtain additional information about techniques and products as well as a place to interact with Dan, Kate, and other experts. The site will incorporate out-takes as well as more in-depth looks at what is happening on the farm, building designs, and farming techniques.

Life at Stony Creek Farm is an ongoing story that, ideally, lends itself to presentation as a series of episodes, each self-contained yet part of a longer storyline. As the rhythms and activities of life on the farm are closely tied to the seasons, we are initially planning a series of 4 one-hour documentaries, each concentrating on single season, starting, logically enough, in the spring.

In order to obtain the highest production value while retaining the ability to move quickly with a relatively small, agile crew, we intend to shoot the program on location with the latest generation of small high definition cameras, recording to tape, disc, hard drive or cards. Because these cameras are light and portable, even a small documentary-sized crew will still be able to employ lightweight cranes, dollies, and other techniques to provide the kind of unique visual perspectives that will make this project stand out from the crowded field of non-fiction television. Our goal is to provide the maximum production value possible while remaining within realistic budgets and schedules.

Post-production will be completed digitally using Final Cut Pro editing suites along with the latest effects and graphics software. Using the Pro-Res codec in Final Cut, we will be able to retain full high definition quality throughout the process while controlling costs and retaining flexibility for final output. The final programs will be output as HD and/or SD in whatever format is required by the network.

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