Interview: Ed Birch of Salt Street Productions

Nothing adventurous to do in Sheffield, you say? Well, Salt Street Productions scoffs at you, as they show people the hidden gems of adventure sports in a spectacular fashion.

Using unique locations and the talented adrenaline junkies of Sheffield, Salt Street Productions have gone on to make short films that have exceeded 10 million views and have won many a prize at the SHAFF film awards. Exposed gets the chance to get the low-down with Productions Director, Ed Birch.

Well Ed, could you give us the background on how Salt Street Productions started?
I was studying photography at Hallam University, and it was here when I really fell in love with Sheffield and all the sporting stuff you can do. I then started making adventure films about those sports; everything from skiing in the old ski village to road cycling out in the peak district. As I went into university, I started making films and entered them in the Sheffield Film Festival SHAFF. They started to do well, so half-way through university I decided to bite the bullet and start my own company…

How was it balancing your studies with setting up a business?/strong>
I had quite a smooth transition because I had set up the production company half way through, so I already had a client base and was known for adventure sports. I started my own outdoor film called Our Sheffield, from food and drink to sport, and that was really my first advert for the city of Sheffield.

One of the biggest draws of your videos is the locations you film. How do you find these places?
It takes a lot of research and a lot of whispered conversations in the pub. The one in our video Red Sands we had been actually looking at for a while, and we had gone back there for a series that were doing for Channel 4. One of the most difficult factors is all about how you’re going to get there. For Red Sands, we had to get a fishing boat to take us out. It took quite a few months because we were organizing it through the winter, and we had to postpone our trip five different times due to bad weather, otherwise the boat would crash up next to the forts. Often our locations need preparation for safety. That took a day and a half to prepare to just to clean the location and take stuff away.

Would you say it’s hard to find talent in Sheffield to star in your videos?
Sheffield is the home of sport. We have the world’s best climbers here along with the world’s best mountain bikers, so the wealth of talent that’s within the city is absolutely incredible. It’s fitting the right personality to the right location that seems to be the biggest challenge.

You think Sheffield being labelled ‘The Outdoor City’ is justified then?
It’s always been the outdoor city for me. It has everything from taking a stroll to walking to the peak district, which will only take 15 minutes by car. Within the actual city there’s also so much potential; bouldering for climbers and so much for parkour and skateboarding. For our movie actually called, “The Outdoor City”, our aim was to get someone who doesn’t do sport at all to try adventure sports or adrenaline sports. We wanted to show people a sport they didn’t expect to find in Sheffield, like canoeing or kayaking, but also to advertise what sports you can do from an 8 minute drive from Sheffield, including paragliding!

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