A video director by trade, Harry also has a YouTube channel where he indulges his love of making and unusual projects. His latest adventure sees him attempt to take a tiny restored speedboat around the UK, very slowly.
Our Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future film, created by Don't Panic for World Oceans Day 2020, was directed by Harry.
Ocean Ambassador Q&A
When and why did sustainability first become important to you?
Some years ago I worked on a TV programme with Kevin McCloud about recycling an airbus A320 passenger jet. I came across some fascinating aviation statistics like the fact that at any one time there are more A320s in the air than on the ground! It made me really think about consumption and our effect on the planet. An Airbus A320 carries 23 tonnes of fuel, that’s 23,000 litres or 1,000 fill ups on my boat. I recently worked out our boat trip around the UK will use less fuel than one seat on a 747 from London to New York and back.
How big a challenge for humankind is the protection of our oceans?
The ocean is massive, and daunting and untamable. It feels relatively out of the control of us humans and like the climate, if we completely break it, I’m not sure we are equipped to repair it.
What was the inspiration behind the MSC video you directed?
We wanted to create something that really captures the atmosphere of the sea and the direct connection we have with it in the kitchen. It’s easy to forget that when you’re munching on a fish finger in front of the TV. I love a good split screen and the way unexpected coincidences can align between two very different pieces of video footage.
Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future
What do you want people to think or feel when they watch the video?
Often we are made to feel guilty about our effect on the environment but I hope our video will instill a positive feeling about eating fish and our interaction with the ocean.
Are you a designer, video editor, animator or inventor?
I'm kind of all of these things but I often struggle with categorising exactly what I do. The one consistent thing in my working life has been making videos but I love all kinds of making and when a building project starts formulating in my mind I'm very keen to see it through. I am currently building a full-sized plastic bottle speedboat. It’s made from old plastic bottles, many from last year's London marathon. It's taking up a lot of space in my studio but I think I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
We also hear you’re a keen up-cycler. What is up-cycling?
Recycling often tends to undo a lot of the energy that’s gone into making something. Up-cycling attempts to harness that energy by keeping those aspects of the object but changing the use. My favorite upcycled objects require very little work to change something into a desirable item. We made lots of bird boxes from the cooling pipes of the Airbus A320 but not sure if any birds ever moved in to appreciate the stylish interior.
If you could be upcycled into any object, which would you be?
A clock. When coming up with what to make from an object I always joke "stick a clock in it" as anything can become a clock by simply drilling a small hole and adding a clock mechanism. Not sure where I'd like the hole drilled though.
Which project has been the most memorable transformation?
On a project in New York we were given loads of big and interesting old vehicles. I wanted to make something on a smaller scale so collected all of the interesting bolts I could find and made a chess set. We sat at a lathe for days turning the bolts down until they were like jewellery.
Sailing boat or speedboat?
After sitting for hours next to the noisy engine in the speedboat I long for the silent relaxation of drifting with the wind in a sailing boat. Not to mention one with the space to sleep on.
Fish or crustaceans?
Fish, I spent a month filming in Tokyo and came back a massive sushi fan.
How are you filling your time during the coronavirus lockdown?
Just before the lockdown we ventured from Paignton to Plymouth on the speedboat trip. The lockdown has been a great excuse to really get stuck into editing the episode. I've done a really fine cut, down to the very last frame. I'm really pleased with it but I’m not sure I can sustain the same level of quality without being in lockdown, it's such a luxury and perhaps life is too short.
Living in London, it's surprising to find that the natural world really is just around the corner. We left from there on our circumnavigation of the UK and after only half an hour in the speedboat we'd seen seals and the landscape quickly became wild and often untouched.
Have you been able to try different kinds of seafood on your coastal journey?
Unfortunately we've had no seafood on our trip! Onboard our tiny four meter boat the rations mainly consist of scotch eggs, crisps and chocolate biscuits. Having said that the working fishing boat has become a very familiar sight on our journey. As we motor through rough seas it's reassuring to see others out there bobbing around on the lonely waves.