I hope my Tamborine Mountain Archive will inspire others to do similar projects.

For anyone interested in how I set about it I have made some notes about the process, illustrated with a Flow Chart, extracts from my Film Diary, shot selection lists etc.

See my Notes.

This is not an exhaustive account. Hopefully it provides a fair idea of how complex a process making the archive was.

As you can see from the Flow Chart, the archive consists of two data streams. The arrows show how the streams progress and how they relate to one another.

I employed two editors, one for Parts 1 to 5, the other for Part 6.


The Film Diary lists the number of each camera tape and consists of a brief jotting-down of what and where I filmed each day. There are 1105 diary entries.

A whole day’s filming could be of a single garden – such as entry 248 which consists of 120 shots – or it could entail filming a titan stick insect, a couple of wallabies, vegetation above the western shelf land, a flowering dahlia tree – all in different locations.

Fortunately I quickly hit upon the idea of colour-coding entries according to broad subject headings (e.g. rainforest, built environment, birds, fauna, flora) using 7 colours. This enabled me to access material speedily and reliably at the start of the editing process.

During my one and only visit to the editor, two hours south of Sydney, some key decisions were made. Firstly, several hours of footage were deleted. Next, we decided to present the archive according to the four seasons on the Mountain. Thus, time-coded DV CAM master tapes were made grouping all the bird or flora or rainforest footage, using the diary entries for reference. Each DV CAM tape was given a number. A digital master subject list reflected this grouping. I received a VHS dub of each tape. From this I produced a shot list as a preliminary to making the shot selection – supplying the editor with time-coded lists and brief descriptions of each shot (following the seasons for Parts 2 to 5) for him to assemble on his computer hard-drive.

I received a VHS dub of each assemblage. The dub came with a computer generated reference system which I used for writing the script. The revised script, including titles and sub-titles, was posted with the narration, recorded on mini DV tapes, using the camera mike.

The editor was provided with a sound cue list which linked the computer references to the time-code on the narration tapes. A list of suitable, natural background sounds was also provided at this stage. A VHS playout of the material was sent to me and once all corrections had been made a DV CAM edited master of each part of the archive was created.

From the start of filming to the completion of editing took 6 years. By then, the intention to present the archive on VHS had been abandoned, thanks to the advent of the DVD. Remastering from digital tape to DVD took a further year, during which time the archive website was created.


Part 6 consists of the interviews. The equivalent of the film diary were my interview notes. After each interview I jotted down a summary of what had been said. My notes grew more detailed as the interview schedule progressed.

The interview equivalent of colour-coding was the signed release form, whereby the interviewees gave me permission to use their voice and image for the archive and related matters.

In addition to time-coded VHS dubs, a set of audio cassettes of the interviews was dubbed from the camera tapes, allowing complete transcriptions of the interviews to be produced. I could thus carry out a transcript edit, deleting passages and providing word out and word in cues for the editor.

Editing consisted mainly of adding dissolves and titles. DV master tapes of the interviews were created and remastered on to DVD.