The Man on the Ledge: Suicide on the High Level Bridge in Edmonton

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 15, 2014 in video

 

The Man on the Ledge: Suicide on the High Level Bridge from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

500 Albertans committed suicide in 2013. About one third in Edmonton. Some think impulsive suicides from the High Level Bridge can be stopped with fences and nets. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Read the full story here.

I lost a very close friend to suicide when I was in Grade 11.
I’ll never forget that time in my life and the impact it had on everyone who loved him.

It turns out that 500 Albertains kill themselves every year. More than murders. More than car accidents. And yet no one really hears about it.

So this spring when I overheard that Journal reporters Otiena Ellwand and Cailynn Klingbeil were working on a story on suicide on the High Level Bridge, I immediately asked if I could be involved with the project and do all the multimedia for it.

We interviewed a diverse range of experts including law enforcement, social workers, family and two men who spent 45 minutes with a jumper on the Bridge waiting for police to come help.

The result is probably the best video I’ve done so far.

The video and story were very very popular on edmontonjournal.com and I’m told that the Canadian Mental Health Association is going to be screening the video in Edmonton high school classrooms in the future which is tremendous!

Big thanks to my friends who helped me on this video. Anne-Marie Jackson and Adam Kidd for helping me with the final edit and my boss Donna and Yvonne.

If you are ever dealing with suicidal thoughts please call The Support Network Distress Line at (780) 482-4357

Bruno Mercier and Brent Wittmeier discuss being on the High Level Bridge with a suicidal man for more than 45 minutes.  For this segment of the video I wanted to try something a little different. Rather than interviewing them looking into the camera I decided to put wireless mics on them and just have them stand on the bridge and have a conversation about what it was like to be on the bridge with the jumper. I was inspired by this short film http://mediastorm.com/publication/new-york-reacts with real people having real conversations about 9/11. I just love the style and how even though the situation is staged, the conversation feels real.

Bruno Mercier and Brent Wittmeier discuss being on the High Level Bridge with a suicidal man for more than 45 minutes.
For this segment of the video I wanted to try something a little different. Rather than interviewing them looking into the camera I decided to put wireless mics on them and just have them stand on the bridge and have a conversation about what it was like to be on the bridge with the jumper.
I was inspired by this short film http://mediastorm.com/publication/new-york-reacts with real people having real conversations about 9/11. I just love the style and how even though the situation is staged, the conversation feels real.

Here's all the people it took to film the Brent and Bruno segment.  Left to right. Bruno Mercier, Brent Wittmeier, Sam Brooks, Cailynn Klingbeil, Otiena Ellwand, and Ryan Jackson. Sam videoed the whole bridge from the North side of the river valley and had the opening shot of the bridge in the video. The girls videoed Brent and Bruno from the train bridge below the High Level.

Here’s all the people it took to film the Brent and Bruno segment.
Left to right. Bruno Mercier, Brent Wittmeier, Sam Brooks, Cailynn Klingbeil, Otiena Ellwand, and Ryan Jackson.
Sam videoed the whole bridge from the North side of the river valley and had the opening shot of the bridge in the video.
The girls videoed Brent and Bruno from the train bridge below the High Level.

Here you can see how far away I was from Brent and Bruno. If I could do this shoot again I wouldn't have used my GH4 for this video angle. I would have used a video camera with image stabilization like my Canon XF300.  The bridge had too many vibrations and since I was zoomed in all the way the vibrations were exaggerated in the video. Luckily Final Cut Pro X has some fantastic image stabilization filters but it's always better to get it right the first time.

Here you can see how far away I was from Brent and Bruno.
If I could do this shoot again I wouldn’t have used my GH4 for this video angle. I would have used a video camera with image stabilization like my Canon XF300.
The bridge had too many vibrations and since I was zoomed in all the way the vibrations were exaggerated in the video.
Luckily Final Cut Pro X has some fantastic image stabilization filters but it’s always better to get it right the first time.

I made Brent carry A LOT of wireless mics and backup audio devices. You can only record it once!

I made Brent carry A LOT of wireless mics and backup audio devices. You can only record it once!

Dr. Michael Trew, chief addition and mental health officer with Alberta Health says height and accessibility make the High Level Bridge a magnet for suicidal people. Trew poses for a photo at the High Level Bridge in Edmonton on August 6, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal) Believe it or not this is an actual frame grab from the 4K video of the Panasonic GH4. It's nearly indistinguishable from a still image from a DSLR.  What really helps is the lighting and also the camera is still.

Dr. Michael Trew, chief addition and mental health officer with Alberta Health says height and accessibility make the High Level Bridge a magnet for suicidal people. Trew poses for a photo at the High Level Bridge in Edmonton on August 6, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)
Believe it or not this is an actual frame grab from the 4K video of the Panasonic GH4. It’s nearly indistinguishable from a still image from a DSLR.
What really helps is the lighting and also the camera is still.

Otiena Ellwand interviewing Dr. Michael Trew about the suicide statistics in Alberta. It was a rainy morning and I wanted Dr. Trew to look as good as possible so I lit him with two LEDGo 1200 LED video lights with battery packs. The lights made a HUGE difference to help him pop out from the background.  I wrapped everything in clear bags and used an umbrella for the camera.

Otiena Ellwand interviewing Dr. Michael Trew about the suicide statistics in Alberta.
It was a rainy morning and I wanted Dr. Trew to look as good as possible so I lit him with two LEDGo 1200 LED video lights with battery packs.
The lights made a HUGE difference to help him pop out from the background.
I wrapped everything in clear bags and used an umbrella for the camera.

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviewing Kris Andreychuck about barriers for the bridge.

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviewing Kris Andreychuck about barriers for the bridge.

ris Andreychuk, supervisor of community safety with the City of Edmonton, is working on a report about suicide prevention on the High Level Bridge for city council. He poses for a photo in Edmonton on June 12, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Kris Andreychuk, supervisor of community safety with the City of Edmonton, is working on a report about suicide prevention on the High Level Bridge for city council. He poses for a photo in Edmonton on June 12, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Journal reporter Otiena Ellwand interviewing Dan Klemke about his wife who jumped off the High Level Bridge.

Journal reporter Otiena Ellwand interviewing Dan Klemke about his wife who jumped off the High Level Bridge.

Dan Klemke lost his wife Marilyn Klemke to suicide off the High Level Bridge on Jan. 2, 2013. Since then, Klemke has urged city council to examine suicide prevention barriers on the bridge. Klemke poses for a photo at his office in Edmonton on June 10, 2014.  The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Dan Klemke lost his wife Marilyn Klemke to suicide off the High Level Bridge on Jan. 2, 2013. Since then, Klemke has urged city council to examine suicide prevention barriers on the bridge. Klemke poses for a photo at his office in Edmonton on June 10, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Here is my Panasonic GH3 shooting the time lapse photos of the bridge from my friend Patrick's apartment.  You can't see it in this photo but I covered the camera with black tinfoil and taped it to the window so that there weren't any reflections on the glass. You can also see a small fan under the camera to keep it cool in the sunlight. Although I shot a couple weeks of photos I only used photos from the day that Brent and Bruno were on the bridge as they actually looked the most interesting.

Here is my Panasonic GH3 shooting the time lapse photos of the bridge from my friend Patrick’s apartment.
You can’t see it in this photo but I covered the camera with black tinfoil and taped it to the window so that there weren’t any reflections on the glass.
You can also see a small fan under the camera to keep it cool in the sunlight.
Although I shot a couple weeks of photos I only used photos from the day that Brent and Bruno were on the bridge as they actually looked the most interesting.

Cailynn Klingbeil and Mack Lamoureux helping setup gear for the interview with Sgt. Chris Hunter.

Cailynn Klingbeil and Mack Lamoureux helping setup gear for the interview with Sgt. Chris Hunter.

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviews Sgt. Chris Hunter with the Edmonton Police Service about suicides off the High Level Bridge in Edmonton. I really wanted this important interview to be outside with the bridge but Sgt. Hunter was only available in the afternoon to talk so we were forced to do it in bright sunlight.  This provides heat, brightness, shadows and squinting issues when filming a long interview. I decided to setup the interview under a tree as that would give us shade so that it wasn't too hot. The shade also meant I could control the light easier. I used four LEDGo 1200 LED video lights with battery packs to give fill light on him so he stuck out from the background.  Those lights are very very bright and yet I could have used twice as many to really light him properly. LED lights are fantastic for indoors but anything outside needs really big power or reflectors.

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviews Sgt. Chris Hunter with the Edmonton Police Service about suicides off the High Level Bridge in Edmonton.
I really wanted this important interview to be outside with the bridge but Sgt. Hunter was only available in the afternoon to talk so we were forced to do it in bright sunlight.
This provides heat, brightness, shadows and squinting issues when filming a long interview.
I decided to setup the interview under a tree as that would give us shade so that it wasn’t too hot. The shade also meant I could control the light easier.
I used four LEDGo 1200 LED video lights with battery packs to give fill light on him so he stuck out from the background.
Those lights are very very bright and yet I could have used twice as many to really light him properly. LED lights are fantastic for indoors but anything outside needs really big power or reflectors.

Acting Sgt. Chris Hunter started studying ways to improve safety after responding to numerous calls on the High Level Bridge related to suicide. Hunter poses for a photo in Kinsmen Park in Edmonton on July 28, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Acting Sgt. Chris Hunter started studying ways to improve safety after responding to numerous calls on the High Level Bridge related to suicide. Hunter poses for a photo in Kinsmen Park in Edmonton on July 28, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Doug Boyer who is involved with the North Saskatchewan River Keeper was kind enough to take me out on the North Saskatchewan River one night to get some establishing shots of the High Level Bridge. Shooting the bridge from the water and river banks far from roads really helped to get different perspectives of the bridge for the video.

Doug Boyer who is involved with the North Saskatchewan River Keeper was kind enough to take me out on the North Saskatchewan River one night to get some establishing shots of the High Level Bridge.
Shooting the bridge from the water and river banks far from roads really helped to get different perspectives of the bridge for the video.

I had to haul a lot of gear around for this project but it was worth it. I used the Panasonic GH4 in 4K video with Canon 24mm f1.4L and 50mm f1.2L lenses for all the interviews which looked beautiful.  I carried almost everything I needed in two Thinktank Logistics Managers.  I absolutely love these cases as they can fit the Kessler Slider, Kessler Pocket Jib and two tripods in once case!

I had to haul a lot of gear around for this project but it was worth it.
I used the Panasonic GH4 in 4K video with Canon 24mm f1.4L and 50mm f1.2L lenses for all the interviews which looked beautiful.
I carried almost everything I needed in two Thinktank Logistics Managers.
I absolutely love these cases as they can fit the Kessler Slider, Kessler Pocket Jib and two tripods in once case!

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviews Melanie Lintott about her partner who jumped off the High Level Bridge. I only needed to use one 4'x6' reflector to light Melanie. I placed her with the sun behind her as a hair light.  This also allowed us to conduct the interview mostly in the shade so it didn't get too hot.

Journal reporter Cailynn Klingbeil interviews Melanie Lintott about her partner Louise Veillard who jumped off the High Level Bridge.
I only needed to use one 4’x6′ reflector to light Melanie. I placed her with the sun behind her as a hair light.
This also allowed us to conduct the interview mostly in the shade so it didn’t get too hot.

Melanie Lintott lost her partner Louise Veillard to suicide off the High Level Bridge on May 2, 2014.  Lintott poses for a photo at her home in Edmonton on July 30, 2014.  The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Melanie Lintott lost her partner Louise Veillard to suicide off the High Level Bridge on May 2, 2014. Lintott poses for a photo at her home in Edmonton on July 30, 2014. The High Level Bridge is considered by some to be a magnet for suicide in Edmonton and the city is investigating measures to reduce the number of people who jump to their deaths.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

 

The Man on the Ledge: Suicide on the High Level Bridge from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

500 Albertans committed suicide in 2013. About one third in Edmonton. Some think impulsive suicides from the High Level Bridge can be stopped with fences and nets. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Read the full story here.

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BioWare and creating the world of Dragon Age in Edmonton

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 11, 2014 in video

BioWare is a great Edmonton success story. The video game company started in 1995 and have created some of the highest rated games of all time. I remember spending countless hours playing Shattered Steel back when I was a kid and now I’m addicted to the Mass Effect series.

Journal columnist Paula Simons and I got a tour of BioWare after they won Game of the Year for Dragon Age: Inquisition.

BioWare and creating the world of Dragon Age in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Take a sneak peak inside BioWare and learn about the immense storyworld of Dragon Age that is enjoyed by millions and is created here in Edmonton. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Read the story here.

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Haunted Halloween videos

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 31, 2014 in video

Haunted Alex Taylor School from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Edmonton's Alex Taylor school is said to be haunted. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

I’m a pretty big skeptic so I had a lot of fun with the haunted school above.

Haunted House and Corn Maze from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

An over-the-top cinematic look at the haunted house and corn maze at Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, October 12, 2014. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

For the haunted corn maze video above I wanted a gritty dreamy look.  I attached a 40-year-old Russian fisheye lens to a 30-year-old Vivitar zoom lens that I bought at Value Village for $5.  I'm in love with the soft focus and distortion. I added grain in FCPx for an extra gritty look.

For the haunted corn maze video above I wanted a gritty dreamy look.
I attached a 40-year-old Russian fisheye lens to a 30-year-old Vivitar zoom lens that I bought at Value Village for $5. I’m in love with the soft focus and distortion.
I added grain in FCPx for an extra gritty look.

Halloween Trick or Treeters from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Halloween Trick or Treeters in Edmonton 2015. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

For this last video I just made video portraits of trick-or-treaters with my Panasonic GH4 with a Canon 24mm f1.4L and a 0.71x Speed Booster adapter. I had a second GH4 with a 7.5mm fisheye lens shooting still images every 1-second for the timelapse footage.

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Tee-Tahs

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 28, 2014 in photos, portrait
Garage-punk band Tee-Tahs featuring (left to right) Caity Fisher, Benjamin Christopher, Jessica Jalbert and Jenni Roberts pose for a photo to promote their upcoming Halloween show in Edmonton on October 28, 2014.  (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Garage-punk band Tee-Tahs featuring (left to right) Caity Fisher, Benjamin Christopher, Jessica Jalbert and Jenni Roberts pose for a photo to promote their upcoming Halloween show in Edmonton on October 28, 2014. (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Prison Art

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 15, 2014 in photos

Prison Art from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Artwork from inmates at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre in Fort Saskatchewan is on display at The Nina Haggerty Centre for Arts in Edmonton for the month of October 2014. Video by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Here's me getting some B-roll footage of the guys drawing.

Here’s me getting some B-roll footage of the guys drawing.

Jana Pruden interviewing one of the prisoners. I only had two small lights for the interviews. One as a fill on the face and one as a hair light.

Jana Pruden interviewing one of the prisoners. I only had two small lights for the interviews. One as a fill on the face and one as a hair light.

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Arm Wrestling Championship

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 11, 2014 in sports, video

Arm Wrestling Championship from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Strong arms and sore wrists at the Western Canadian arm-wrestling championship at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton on October 11, 2014. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Shot with the Panasonic GH4 in 4K and 96fps HD, 12-35 2.8, Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS.
Used a LitePanels Micro Pro LED light on a stand as a fill light as the mall was daaaaaark!

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One of the last violin makers: PJ Tan

Posted by ryanjackson on Aug 27, 2014 in video

Violin Maker PJ Tan from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

PJ Tan, 82, repairs and makes violins at PJ Tan Violin Shop in southeast Edmonton. Video by Ryan Jackson and Mack Lamoureux, edmontonjournal.com

My lighting setup for the main interview. Notice the small LED light in the bottom left. This was to add a nice little pop of light on the cello in the foreground. I used a large 4x6 foot diffuser in front of a Lowell Pro Light as the main fill to get a nice soft light on him.

My lighting setup for the main interview. Notice the small LED light in the bottom left. This was to add a nice little pop of light on the cello in the foreground.
I used a large 4×6 foot diffuser in front of a Lowell Pro Light as the main fill to get a nice soft light on him.

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Creating a recurring video series on Food Trucks in Edmonton

Posted by ryanjackson on Jul 17, 2014 in video

Working in the news means that I get to shoot a lot of random things all the time. I love the variety but I also wanted to hone my skills on one topic.
This spring we decided to create some recurring video series at the Edmonton Journal to help build a regular audience and also an archive of evergreen content.
Food trucks have exploded in popularity in Edmonton in the last few years and so Journal food critic Liane Faulder and I set out to explore the more interesting ones.

I shot all of these with a Panasonic GH4 and 12-25 f2.8 lens except for Drift Food Truck which was with the GH3. I usually only used a small on-camera LED light for the videos but by the end I was using two LEDGo 1200 LED lights for lighting which made a tremendous difference.

My favorite thing about doing this series, aside from eating all the food, was focusing on one topic and improving every week. The difference in quality between my first video and last video is huge and it all comes from practice and knowing what shots work best.

Bully Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Bully Food Truck in Edmonton. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

S’witch Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

'Switch Food Truck in Edmonton, AB. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Filistix Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Filistix Food Truck in Edmonton. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

The Local Omnivore Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

The Local Omnivore Food Truck in Edmonton. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Sailin’ On Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Sailin' On Food Truck in Edmonton, AB. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Little Village Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Little Village Food Truck in Edmonton, AB. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Drift Food Truck in Edmonton from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Drift Food Truck in Edmonton, AB. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Huge thanks to Edmonton Journal summer Intern Mack Lamoureux for helping me with the last two food truck shoots!  https://twitter.com/macklamoureux

Huge thanks to Edmonton Journal summer Intern Mack Lamoureux for helping me with the last two food truck shoots! https://twitter.com/macklamoureux

I started lighting the standup videos with Liane half way through the series which really raised the production value.

I started lighting the standup videos with Liane half way through the series which really raised the production value.

Filming a standup with Liane Faulder.

Filming a standup with Liane Faulder.

Lighting setup for meat slicing for the S'witch Food Truck video.

Lighting setup for meat slicing for the S’witch Food Truck video.

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RCMP recruits get Pepper Sprayed

Posted by ryanjackson on Jul 12, 2014 in video

Hiiiiiiiiilarious!

RCMP recruits get pepper sprayed from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

RCMP Auxiliary Constables get pepper sprayed as part of their training at RCMP K-Division on July 12, 2014. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

Since I was around pepper spray I took the necessary precautions.

Since I was around pepper spray I took the necessary precautions.

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Elsie Stocks

Posted by ryanjackson on Jul 8, 2014 in photos, portrait
Elsie Stocks, left, has been a fixture at the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market since its very inception more than 30 years ago. She poses for a photo in Stocks Greenhouse, north of Sherwood Park, Alta. on July 8, 2014.  (Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Elsie Stocks, left, has been a fixture at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market since its very inception more than 30 years ago. She poses for a photo in Stocks Greenhouse, north of Sherwood Park, Alta. on July 8, 2014.
(Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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