Thursday, October 22, 2015

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #161 - Scandinavia Cruise (#6 of 10)

Scandinavia Cruise 2005:  St. Petersburg, Russia (#6 of 10)

At over eight minutes this is the longest chapter in the Baltic Cruise collection.  
St. Petersburg has a real challenge to keep my audience's attention.  So I kick the chapter off a little differently:  Three introductions:  What do tourists expect? (a montage of post cards); What does Scott think he saw? (lots of naked women); and What did we really see? 

There are extraordinary sights and sounds to record in St. Petersburg, but the video reveals that much of the beauty was obscured by crowds.  Well, this is obviously not a Rick Steves production ... we were tourists among throngs of tourists. 

Nevertheless this was an action-packed and exciting two-day port-of-call.  To give the audience a taste of the fun I relied on a few running gags:

  • Scenes from Norman Jewison's brilliant Cold War comedy, The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966)
  • Scenes from Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire/comedy, Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  • Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale who are parodies of foreign spies in in Jay Ward Productions' side-splitting The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-1964) 
  • Clips illustrating the way our tour group was "Rushed" in "Russia"
  • Making fun of my nephew Matt
  • My typical "witty" narration

  • There are some fades and page turns but I especially enjoy the well-timed simple cuts.
  • One "pretty fancy special effect" that viewers seem to enjoy occurs at 5min53seconds.  A silver basin with the "Arms of Baron Stroganov" morphs into the muscular "Arms of Schwarzenegger".  I have no idea what gave me that goofy idea! 
  • I love the inclusion of Ronald Reagan's joke about bombing Russia.
  • My favorite cut transition occurs at 7min05seconds.  Jonathan Winters punches Paul Ford (The Russians are Coming ...) which seems to cause Russian ambassador Peter Bull to fall into George C. Scott's lap (Dr. Strangelove).
  • Music was mostly recorded in-camera while filming local musicians.  Also, the tour company gave us some souvenir music CD's and you can hear those traditional Russian tunes in a few scenes.

Lessons Learned:
  • What's the old saying ... "When it ... make movies"?  I was very worried about this chapter.  Although the raw footage included a few moments of nice video, I knew that there was great risk that the final cut would still be too long.  I've watched it dozens of times now -- thankfully I'm still happy with the final result.
  • Yes there is copyrighted material included in this chapter.  Not making excuses, please see below.

  • Invest the time necessary to pre-plan your edit.  It took several months to capture external video from YouTube, toss out my unusable footage, and create a storyline from the remaining assets.  I remember laughing to myself at possible ways I could put the thing together.

Next up:  Rostock, Germany ... East Berlin's port city.

All of the Scandinavia trip chapters have already been loaded onto YouTube.  Individual chapters may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
The combined 30-minute video is also available here.

Copyright Considerations:
This original audience for this video was friends and family who would view the DVD in my living room.  It contains identifiable music and commercial video 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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