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Making memory lane short enough to travel

By JIM BUSEK • Oct 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM

You know how distracting it is to sort old photographs, right?

Practically every one recalls something that you want to share and reminisce about.

You might as well give up the idea of getting anything else done when you are sorting pictures.

And, I am here to tell you, it is just as bad — or maybe even worse — when you are sorting videos.

Lately, I have been working with precisely 50 of them. One for each place I visited in my quest to have an adventure in every state before my birthday earlier this year.

It would be tough enough if someone else had created them and given them to me.

But as the maker of these little two minute movies, I have an intense personal involvement that makes each of them incredibly evocative.

For starters, on each adventure I had to decide what parts of it I was going to record. I was always on the lookout for video shots that would quickly capture how interesting or beautiful or challenging each place was.

Then I would have to decide where to put myself in that shot. And then what was I going to say.

Since I was making it up on the fly, I would often have to shoot a 10 second shot multiple times to get it right.

After a few days in a place, I would end up with 15 or 20 minutes of video.

Even the most ardent fan of my travel adventures is not going to sit still for 20 minutes of video. So then I would began the painstaking and, often, painful process of editing.

Editing is another word for cutting out stuff in an attempt to make the video short enough that people will actually watch it. My original goal was two minutes for each one.

That meant that lots of things — sometimes up to 18 minutes of the original 20 that I shot — had to be thrown away.

And, of course, I wouldn’t have shot the 20 minutes worth of original content if I did not think it was all fascinating.

That’s where the painful part of video editing comes in. And that’s why it was not uncommon for the making of a two minute adventure video to take almost as much time as the actual adventure itself. It is very difficult to throw away stuff that you worked so hard to create in the first place.

And all of it — the shooting decisions, the editing decisions, not to mention the sights, sounds and smells of each adventure location — came back to me when I began working with my videos again last week.

I am editing again, attempting to get snippets of all 50 videos onto a single compilation brief enough that a club or organization audience might be willing to sit still for.

The Vermilion Rotary Club had me in for a presentation last winter. At that point I had not yet completed all 50 adventures, but the Rotarians said very nice things about the video I showed them. And I had such fun doing it, I thought I would make a better one in case a club or library or somebody ever asks me again.

That’s what has had me up to my elbows in video nostalgia.

And it has brought to mind several themes from my travels.

Lots of you have asked what was my favorite place, but it isn’t that simple.

Some places were better for scenery. Some were better for adventure challenges. Some were more emotionally involving. That’s what makes up the travel themes I just mentioned.

And, while they are fresh in my mind, I will share some of them with you in coming weeks.

Or, as I implied earlier, if you are in an organization that would rather hear about it person, send me an email and we’ll work something out.

 

Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at jimbusek@ hotmail.com.

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