Experimenting with Video Production

I've always been a fan of documentaries and often thought that I would love to produce one. Over the years, I've wondered whether my research might be conducive to this sort of presentation. Of course, I fully recognize that these sorts of projects take a great deal of time (anyone who's edited clips into a short YouTube video knows how many times you can output a "final" version only to make a few minor changes and output it all over again). I've also never been certain that I have the right "eye" for video. With academic training as an ethnographer, I tend to capture an event with as wide a view as possible to see how things are interconnected, instead of zooming in for the sort of close up shots that give a documentary some intimacy. I do, however, trust my ears to select the right soundbytes and musical accompaniments. So, perhaps a radio documentary or podcast is more my speed…

In any event, recently at work I was tasked with coordinating the production of a promotional video for the Purdy Crawford Chair. I welcomed the challenge as an opportunity to learn more about video production (that perhaps I would one day use in a documentary). Since October, I've been arranging green screen interviews, reviewing video footage for the "money shot", composing thematic outlines, helping to edit video (from a content perspective, not a technical one), arranging an audio recording session, and helping to write the script. Before it's all over, I'm certain that I'll be involved in locating and creating additional visual elements, helping to select background music, and participating in the "final cut" process. It's largely foreign territory for me, but I'm grateful for all I'm learning from other collaborators on the project.

I'm also feeling inspired. Perhaps the Mill Whistle Project will turn into a short documentary one day!