aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

In which April learns it takes 18 hours to get enough video to create a 7-minute film

On Tuesday, I spent another eight hours getting filmed. (This is for a project being funded by an offshoot of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal is to interest 9th graders in reading and writing). Since they were mostly just filming B-roll (illustrative footage that is shown on screen while someone is speaking - to avoid the whole “talking head” phenomenon) - they just sent a cameraman/producer and another cameraman who served as an extra pair of hands.

The first thing they did was to film me typing in various sections of books that I had previously read. That will give them the possibility of showing the words appearing on the screen as my voice reads them aloud. How well do I type when someone is filming? Not that well. So each of them took about three takes.


Then we were off into the world. One section I read from a book called Finish Her Off that won’t come out until 2013 takes place in a woods. Were there woods nearby, they asked?

I remember that Gabriel Park had a wooded area, and it turned out to be even more authentic looking than I remembered. They filmed me from behind, from the side, and from two different areas where I appeared from around a corner or over a rise and walked toward the camera. And again. And again. Waiting for breaks in the rain or people with dogs. Trying to look thoughtful, like I was plotting, when really I was more worried about plotzing because the ground was super muddy.

At the Hoot Owl Market (which is what my husband calls a “food museum” - because it has one of each food item on display) I purchased peppermint chewing tobacco, the smell of which provides a key plot point in Girl Stolen. The owner, a Chinese immigrant with a limited command of English, at first took our explanations of “it’s for kids” and the video camera as evidence that we were conducting a sting operation for stores selling tobacco to minors. I’m not sure he ever did understand what we were doing, but we won him over.

We also went to a coffee shop where I tried to make my typing look real by working on an email to dlgarfinkle. And when we needed a dog to show how a dog might have inspired a scene in Girl, Stolen, we ended up at the house of lkmadigan where her husband lent us the use of DJ and Pepper. No actors, the dogs showed interest in everyone but me. Salmon treats concealed in my hands made everything a bit better.

Somewhere along the way, they showed me the rough cut of the video. It looked really good. My Kajukenbo sparring wasn’t even that bad.


Editing a video must be a really interesting process. You’ve got all these sounds bites, all these films - and you have to take those hours and hours and create something that makes sense, that moves along, that holds interest. I told Gabriel, the main camera guy, that writing sometimes reminds of quilting, where you have all these pieces and then one day they start fitting together and making a pattern. It seemed like it might be something similar for videos.

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Tags: martial arts, video
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