Thursday, March 29, 2012


This is a competition hosted by National Geographic Travellers magazine and their corresponding online presence. Obviously the emphasis is to be on travel and "telling a story" The competition has several categories including Video, Photo and Blog. Naturally I decided to submit a video

For an earlier competition I had created a video that contrasted the stone and water environment of Georgian Bay Ontario with that of Iceland. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the outcome, partly because I had to tailor the video to the specifications of that competition

But I liked the original idea. Both areas are defined by the interaction of stone and water; the Canadian Shield of the Georgian Bay and volcanic rock of Iceland. In both cases one is impressed by the power of water that has carved and shaped the stone of thousands of years. This is the story I wanted to tell

I already had the shots I wanted so I fiddled around with the structure of the video. At first I was thinking of traditional travel videos that use narration to tell their story. I wrote and self recorded some voice over but was not satisfied with the result.

I have always been about, when possible, letting the visuals tell the story and use music as the structure. For a competition like this one must have the rights to the music you use; and although I think Moby is a terrific guy and he was generous to permit some of his music to be used for the Vimeo competition last year, I didn't want to test said generosity. So I created my own soundtrack in Garage band

Music bed goes down, video gets edited to it; nothing terribly complex here, just contrasting the two locations. But it still needed a little something. So instead of using narration I just created a few simple title cards: White lettering on a black screen. I decided to work with a black screen instead of superimposing or "supering" the titles over video. I wanted to keep a good pace to the video, I wanted to keep it moving, and white on black is less distracting, the titles can be quickly and easily read without disturbing the rhythm of the music.

The soundtrack is more than just music. When not using a voice over, I always feel you have an opportunity to layer the audio, to use that soundtrack as a kind of narration. So along with the music I have ambient audio, that being the sound associated with a clip, like the sound of the waterfall. I also striped in (an old old video editing term that means inserting sound under a clip) audio not tied to a clip; there are boat sounds and general water sounds recorded elsewhere that I blended in with the song itself

I was not satisfied with my first interpretation of this concept but I'm happy with this one (as happy as I ever am with a video) I have no idea if this video will be successful in the competition. I know they will be receiving thousands of entries and frankly I find the brief of "tell us a story" to be incredibly vague. So when I enter something like this, I just try to make the best video I can by my own standards within my interpretation of the brief.

Officially entered now, we'll see what happens.

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