Friday, May 30, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #126

China 2001:  Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs are one of China's cultural treasures.  But one of my joys when editing a vacation video is to disrespect institutions in a humorous way.  So ...

...did you know that Flash Gordon's nemesis, Ming the Merciless, was an ancient Chinese ruler?  I discovered that little-known fact while doing some research for this video.  Some old episodes of Flash Gordon are available on YouTube; I used scenes from one to create this chapter of my trip DVD.  You'll also notice little touches like substituting a movie poster for an Angelina Jolie movie for the name of the mausoleum -- "Changling".  And R&B legend James Brown is the resident artist at the site's "Soul Tower".

Frankly, we were underwhelmed by this tourist attraction.  But I really like the video!  If you want a good laugh, check out the helmets worn by Ming's guards at 01:18.  Also notice that the pink hat gag from the Summer Palace chapter reappears at 1:30.

Lessons Learned:
Use video unrelated to your trip to create an entertaining chapter.
Use running gags to surprise your viewers and provide continuity between chapters.  

If the chapters are posted separately on the Internet, a viewer who watches only this chapter will be confused by the running gag.  "Whats with this pink hat?" ... you might consider a special YouTube cut that omits the running gag.
Be careful when disrespecting a nations treasures.  My work is intended to be light-hearted, inoffensive, and humorous. 

All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).

Copyright Considerations:
This original audience for this video was friends and family who would view the DVD in my living room.  It contains identifiable video and music that is regrettably used without permission.  
Today, with digital distribution, artists' rights deserve more attention.  Since this video is intended for non-profit illustration and educational purposes only, I believe that valid arguments can be made for its "Fair Use" in this situation.  Please understand that I do not encourage improper use of copyrighted material.

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