Stories, Musings & The Vision Thing

Tag: editing video

The Joy of Being, Part One

I’ve been wading through the river of thoughts and imaginings that flow by me, casting about for the next post for The Vision Thing.  And today, I’ve found several.  They are quite unrelated, except they all celebrate the joy of being.  

The first is a well-cultivated “spontaneous” event. And while the event was well-planned and carefully crafted, it has all the sense of surprise and adventure that serendipity invites into our lives.  And I love those moments of happenstance that randomly connect us to something larger and more intriguing than what lies on the path we think we’re following.

Here’s a link to the video “We are Sabadell flash mob” created by Banco Sabadell celebrating the 130th Anniversary of its founding.  Yes, it’s a commercial, but it’s also an Ode to Joy.  Definitely worth checking out.

In the Company of Animals

All photos by Graham Haber for The Morgan Library

My son Ben is creating videos for The Morgan Library exhibit In the Company of Animals on how animals can inspire the creative process and I wanted to write about his approach.  You can see the video featuring Emma Straub on Youtube here.   

This is basically an A Capella piece; all you hear is Emma Straub’s voice.  It was recorded very close to the microphone, so it has a very intimate quality.  The effect is that you feel like it’s just the two of you and she’s telling you her secrets. It makes her very present and, in a quiet way, it draws you in.  

And of course the voice is edited, but you can’t tell — the spacing of the words and movement of the story just flows along.  Graham, the photographer, did a wonderful job capturing the interactions between Emma and her cats.  You can see that Emma knows you’re there watching, but it’s more like she’s letting you in on the joke, sharing her space and her pets with you.  Which also makes the piece so effective. 

You can she how intertwined she is with her two cats.  All of which helps you understand how she practices her art, and her writing, in the company of animals.

The Power of Pictures

Recently one of our clients, Booz Allen Hamilton, asked us to create a video series to show some of the cool things their people are doing that sets them apart.  “They call it Missions That Matter.”  

The first one features Sandra Davis, who volunteers at The Children’s Inn, where families stay for free while their seriously-ill children are treated at a NIH Medical Center.  We approached the story in classic documentary fashion, with an in-depth interview and filming Sandra as a volunteer, interacting with children, staff and parents.  I didn’t work on the piece, but it shows Sandra in action and has a lot of heart.    

The next piece is about John Cobb, who is helping develop a special program with the Department of Defense.  We planned to approach it in the same way, do the interview and then shoot him working on the program.  But after we did the interview, we were only allowed to show him in a neutral setting talking with colleagues.  Couldn’t show the program, couldn’t show the room where he works, couldn’t show anything that depicts what he actually does.  Leaving a huge visual vacuum.

Big trouble, and this is why:  the words you hear in a video are always edited.  So, I typically join several phrases to make a complete thought, chop out extraneous comments, add pauses, delete false starts, ahs and ums, and shape the material to build a flow of words and ideas to tell a story.

But every time you make an edit in the interview, the picture jumps.  And cutting down a 30-40 minute interview into two and a half minutes means lots of edits.

So the visuals serve a dual purpose.  They help move the story along and they make all those edits invisible.  So what to do?  I needed visuals.

As you might say “necessity is the mother of invention.”  I was told about a DoD photo site and searched through about a thousand images to find some I could use to tell John Cobb’s story.  I looked for photographs that were more symbolic or abstract, so the viewer could read into them.  And I looked for ones that could show why what John was doing was so important. 

I think the final piece turned out pretty well and clearly shows the power of pictures.

What it Feels Like to Fly

I can safely say that JP Auclair and I probably have little in common and I’m sure we will never meet.  Can’t imagine how our paths might cross. Until today, I’d never heard of him.  But he makes my spirits soar.  

JP is a freeskier. The man has 20 videos on vimeo.  You can tell right away, he’s a major ski dude.  Even has his own page on the Oakley site. That’s JP on the right, catching some air.  

So why am I writing about him? Because of a 14 day collaboration with this man, Dave Mossop (Dave’s on the left). 

And what you’re about to see is a tour de force:  beautifully shot, edited and executed.  And also really cool.  Go Dave and JP.  

Kind of an all-time kid’s fantasy.  Anyone who ever dreamed of flying knows what I mean.  So see for yourself.   Here’s a link to the video “JP Auclair Street Segment.”  And you can read an interview about the making of Dave’s video here.