Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Oh no, this vacation video is hopelessly boring!" - Tips for Amateur Video Editors #148

The Amazon 1999 (video edited in 2012) -- (Part 1 of discussion)
The Amazon River: Beautiful but not necessarily exciting.

The last five blog posts have discussed vacation video edits from travel in Peru during 1999.  What I didn't mention is that those trips to Inca ruins and Nazca were "extras" ... excursions added to our primary destination which was a cruise on the upper Amazon river.  

I came home with five hours of miniDV tape from this voyage through Peru and Columbia, plus my friend added another four hours on Hi8 analog tape.  As you'll see in the edited movie, some of the camerawork was [accidentally] beautifully done.  Most of it was typical boring vacation stuff:  scenery; sunsets; the wake of the boat; etc.  There were a couple of interesting villages, the river was so high we floated through the treetops, and local folks would paddle up to our boat.  But frankly, if you weren't a bird enthusiast, there wasn't much to do during our week on-board A&K's Explorer

After watching and cataloguing all nine hours I realized that it would be hard to create an interesting vacation video from my raw footage.  Although our traveling companions kept asking for the movie, I wasn't inspired.  It took me thirteen years to dream up an editing concept that might produce something entertaining.

We'll discuss that in my next post...  Meanwhile thanks for reading!

Suggestion: browse through the blog archives  Over Here  - - - - - > > >

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #147 - Machu Picchu

Peru 1999: #5 of 5   Machu Picchu (edited in 2012):

It's pre-dawn when we board the switch-back train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.  A bus ride completes the ride up the mountain, and features the "One Man Band in Llama Land".
Benny, our spry 90-year-old guide narrates the visit, focusing on the archaeological aspects of its discovery,  Great scenery provides imagery while we listen to Benny.  He speaks flawless English, but the production could use captions to help understand the imperfect camcorder sound.

Suddenly deep bass notes from a pan flute introduce a shift in the movie's character.  We are now having some fun; playing with / posing for the camera.  No disrespect to Benny, but the second part of this video is much more entertaining compared to listening to a guide's narration.  Our friend Chuck was using his hands a lot to explain something geologic, those five seconds are played back a few times … embarrassing for him but it's pretty funny!

The source of the music is revealed to be the band at Jose Antonio's restaurant, which I recorded "last night".  Some still photos are displayed as a slideshow with the "Ken Burns" effect, then it's over!

A video title identifies Angela and Norman near the end of the video, but everyone else remains anonymous for some reason.  

Lessons Learned:
Once again, the importance of pacing.  The music sends a message that you're having fun!
Those who were on the trip enjoyed re-hearing Benny's narration, but it's of little interest to everyone else.

Look for opportunities to capture live music.
Perhaps a "private" edit for this who were on the trip, and a "public" edit for the Internet. This video could easily be less than four minutes long.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #146 - Cuzco, Peru

Peru 1999: #4 of 5   Cuzco (edited in 2012):

This is a fun video montage.  It's built around a live performance of The William Tell Overture performed by an Andean flute band in a local restaurant.  Compared to the Peru #3 of 5 video this one is practically manic, with fast paced music and inspired cuts between clips.
We start with a look at the backside of a bus that's labeled "cuatro ases" -- which looks vulgar and sets the stage.  Subtitled "Culture in Ruins" you see plenty of Inca structures, llamas, and mummies.  Folks dressed traditionally quickly cut to closeups of the pan flute player and drummer.  Llamas, a narrow gage railroad, and toxic waste al contribute to an enjoyable 2-1/2 minutes.

Lessons Learned:
The importance of pacing.  Quick cuts to lively music sends a message that you're having fun!

Look for opportunities to capture live music.  The highlight of this video is that terrific flute band performance.  Note that I spent some time in Apple's SoundTrack Pro to reduce background noise and enhance the sound balance.