The Fish & The Fly 1
I've just started watching the third DVD in the series as I write this introduction to the review, and I can only say to those many who want to get into doing fly fishing videos: watch and learn.
In one single minute of introductory footage Niels Vestergaard combines a row of simple but beautifully filmed scenes to illustrate how the angler in these DVDs - Morten Oeland - prepares to go fishing. No time lapses, no effects, no tricks. Just plain old well produced video.
This is the third DVD in a series, which are build over the same template: you get to follow a skilled angler on the water scouting, casting, hooking and landing fish while he and the narrator tells you what he does and why. Each scene introduces a fly pattern, and in the second half of the DVD you get a thorough step-by-step tying instruction for the individual patterns.
All DVD's contain an excellent combination of fly tying and fly fishing action from Danish video producer Niels Vestergaard and fly tyer and angler Morten Oeland.
Morten Oeland is a fairly well known innovative fly tyer in Denmark and to some extent in Europe, and the cameraman and producer Niels Vestergaard has many years of experience as a photographer and film maker.
Niels Vestergaard has a very keen eye for angles, focus and camera position, and his videos are, as already mentioned in the intro to this review, schoolbook examples of well produced fishing videos. His addition of plenty underwater sequences during the last many years has added a whole new dimension to the videos, showing the behavior of fish underwater, especially before they are hooked. Getting underwater footage of a hooked fish is one thing. It's on a leash after all. But Vestergaard employs a technique where he places cameras on certain spots in the water, and catches some amazing fish behavior in that way.
The ever present Go Pro camera provides some Point of View sequences where we are literally onboard while Morten Oeland figths and lands fish.
I still get my overdose of slow and timelapse, but at least Niels Vestergaard uses some of the slow motion to illustrate certain points, like indicating where a fish rises or pointing the veiwer's eyes to a certain place in the image by slowing down the speed and circling the area of attention.
I would personally rather be without these "enhancements". I prefer seeing things real time, be it fish rising, fish taking a fly or fish jumping. The only slow motion that triggers anything in me comes from Phantom and Red cameras, and is something very different from slowing down the frame rate of ordinary video, and honestly out of the scope of most fly fishing videos.
But luckily Niels Vestergaard has enough skills and raw material to make the rest of the videos a joy to watch.
As mentioned I'm viewing the third DVD in a series that will contain four DVDs when it's done the fourth volume on streamers is in the making, but the first three: dries, nymphs and terrestrials already make up a review-worthy body of work.
The concept is basically the same in all DVDs. There is a section with fishing and a section with tying. Each is about and hour or more, and the flies fished are all illustrated by Morten, who ties them with emphasis on tying methods and getting the proper durability and proportions. Morten is an excellent tyer and many of the patterns are quite inventive and uses some great techniques like hair hackle and often unconventional materials such as rubber legs and different synthetics.
I have saved the fishing sequences as the last in this review, because they deserve some special attention. Niels and Morten have traveled the world and shot in many locations. On these DVDs we're treated to fishing in some really beautiful spots in Denmark, Greenland, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden.
Vestergaard is the sole cameraman on the set except for very few cases, but still manages to give the impression of having many cameras running. Skilful use of angles and excellent editing makes this much more varied than you would think possible from a single cameraman.
As already mentioned these sequences are both nice to look at, great entertainment and quite educating, where the narrator tells exactly what Morten does and why. We also see some preparation, how to approach the water and the fish and get all the action from the cast to the landing and the release. Morten is a good subject, concentrated while preparing and casting, and excited and laughing when he hooks a fish. He's not afraid to let the feelings loose, and Niels Vestergaard isn't afraid to convey some of this joy in the video.
To sum up, I would call these videos close to perfect. They aren't ground breaking, but deliver a very solid, entertaining and educating product which both beginners and seasoned fly anglers and tyers will enjoy.