Successful diplomas this year...

January 2022

Bob Oakley WSDP

Diploma in Audio Visual

CROSSING THE CONWY  AV by Bob Oakley

I joined the WCC AV Group in 2018 knowing nothing about how to make an AV.

My first attempt was “Oxford Town & Gown” in Feb 2019. It had no dialogue, the pictures were interesting but in no particular order and did not tell a story. Perhaps one of the best parts was the music. I had worked out how to use the software (PTE AV Studio) to produce the AV but that was about it. There was a lot for me to learn and I am grateful to Barrie Glover, Dick Sabey & Peter Young all of whom gave me initial advice on how to proceed to make a better AV. I also watched lots of AV’s that others had produced both in our own AV Group but also from national and regional AV competitions and from Andrew Gagg’s U3A AV Group to which I also belong. 

Since those early days I have completed a further 25 Avs. One of those was called

“The Last Resort” and was about a very wet & windy New Year in Exmouth. I entered this into the IAC Regional AV competition last year and it was Commended  by the judge even though she came from Exmouth and had once run a hotel there!

I August 2021 Susan & I had a few days in Llandudno . When Eric Williams heard we were going he set me a challenge to make an AV about the suspension bridge across the River Conwy built by Thomas Telford. My initial reaction was to say that we were not going to Conwy and would not have our own transport. However, once we had been in Llandudno a couple of days I discovered that there was a bus I could use to get to Conwy so I jumped on board and took pictures of the Telford Bridge, the castle, the town and the river.  I decided that it would be possible to make the AV but that I would have to expand the brief to include all three bridges that crossed the river

In September 2021 I registered for the WCC Specialist Diploma in AVs and Andrew Gagg became my mentor for the project. The rules stipulate that previous AVs cannot be used for the Diploma and so I had to make a new AV produced after the registration date. “Crossing the Conwy” was to be the new AV that I would use. I had the pictures I had taken at Conwy but then had to come up with a workable storyline which is an essential initial task. Appropriate images are then needed to to fit the script.  With an historical subject such as this there is sometimes a need to use 3rd party images. The rules allow this but lay down limits on either the number of 3rd party images or in the case of WCC the total running time on screen of those images. In this case I needed an image of Thomas Telford, some maps and a few other images which it would for historical reasons have been impossible for me to take.  

With the script typed out I opened the software and imported the images. Some didn’t work, others needed to have the order changed in the timeline and in others I noticed some editing was needed. 

A good title image was found and the name of the AV applied in Photoshop. I decided that there were several events that needed to be separated with black slides to mark the change from one major event in the history of the the three bridges to the next.  A good ending was needed and in this case I linked Thomas Telford who built the first bridge to Telford New Town in Shropshire.

Next I turned attention to the script. It’s a good idea to read the script out loud to yourself to see how the words flow and whether some changes are needed because some words are not the same in the written word as they are when spoken – e.g. “do not” usually becomes “don’t” when spoken. With the script altered if necessary it can be recorded. In my case I used a Zoom H2N recorder mounted on a table tripod and broke the script into bite sized chunks each with a number corresponding to where they should appear in the timeline.  The completed spoken dialogue was then transferred to the free audio program Audacity, edited and broken up into smaller files for each place number in the script. I find this for me is the best way to be able to move the bits of dialogue along the timeline.                                                                     

Consideration was then given to sound effects that would be linked to the railway bridge and to the 1950’s road bridge. These sound effects were obtained from the Internet.  Background Music was then needed to play throughout the AV to give it some unity. The volume of this music (played on a harp) was adjusted in the appropriate places to allow sound effect and/or dialogue to come to the fore where it needed to.

With everything in place I was then ready to play the AV to see what the overall effect was. This necessitated further changes to the image order, the fading in/out of those images and changes to the music timeline. I was then ready to show the AV to Andrew Gagg’s U3A AV Group. Up to that point I had not discussed anything with Andrew. His initial reaction was favourable but he suggested a few further tweaks. I feel that if you are making an AV and have a mentor especially one with the experience of Andrew it pays to take notice of that advice because small things can change an AV from one that is just OK to one that is much better. I am very grateful to Andrew for that advice.

After several versions I submitted the final version to Clive Haynes for consideration by the assessors for the diploma award and am very pleased to have been successful.  Chairman Nigel Reader presented me with the certificate on 14th of January.


Bob Oakley. 21st January 2022

View Bob's AV here: Crossing the Conwy


June 2022

Lucy Allum WGDP

General Diploma 

Assessors' Comments:

We’re very pleased to announce Lucy Allum’s success with her WCC Diploma in General Photography.

Although for convention, a ‘panel layout’ is included, Lucy never intended her set to be a ‘print panel’, therefore, formal presentational balance wasn’t something she was strongly considering.  For Lucy, her photography and expression is ‘about the image’.
Here are a few remarks from the assessors…………
“There’s a delightful variety of work”. 
“Her seeing eye is very good indeed”.
“Good and appropriate use of camera techniques”. 
“The swan’s white feathers: no burn-out, making a good image and cropped to effect”.
“I especially enjoy the discarded bouquet sadly floating in canal.   … I like the thin film of oil / diesel framing the discarded bouquet, reminding us that fossil fuels originate from vegetation. A striking image, well seen and fits well in Lucy’s portfolio”.
“This is classic Lucy - multi-exposure of trees! I really like this photo for its simplicity but also for its complexity. Good use of colour and a dynamic composition”.

“Trees and reflections - perfect!. Nicely captured and good exposure”.
“I’ve walked past this canal-side mural many times and it does carry a pertinent eco-message. Good composition of the artwork in its location and exposure handled nicely”.

“Lovely still life - you can almost smell the planed wood”.

“Evening sun, flooded river-time for the Cathedral. The classic shot from Worcester Bridge provides a good balanced and well exposed photo”.

“Lucy has demonstrated that she can manage her camera well and has chosen interesting and different genre for her diploma submission”.