Cover | Part I: Gear | Part III: Promotion | Order Video
Award-winning videographer, Victor Rook, discusses his experience in making, promoting, and selling his Telly Award winning nature video, "Beyond the Garden Gate." Order this top-selling video at www.gatevideo.com.
Part II: Production & Editing
Now that I made my equipment purchase decisions (Part I: The Goods, The Gear), I began production of my video masterpiece. Different projects have different requirements, and a nature video can be very demandingboth on your equipment and your patience. Since I wanted to capture "a year in the life of a garden," I knew the project would take me at least a year. I shot in frigid cold temperatures for the winter scenes, on extremely hot and humid summer days, even in torrential rainstorms. For time-lapse shots where the camera would sit outdoors on a tripod for 6-12 hours straight, protection became even more critical.
Protecting your Investment
For other scenes that were not time-lapsed, like in the rain and in the cold, I used a clear plastic bag with a hole for the lens to keep the warmth in and the rain out. If the camera gets too cold, bring it inside for a spell and let it slowly acclimate to the inside temperature to prevent condensation on the lens or tape.
Mother Nature Knows Best
On another occasion, I set up the tripod in the morning to capture honeysuckle opening. After the six-hour battery began to fade, I plugged the camera into an extension cord. Four o'clock in the afternoon and still nothing. Finally, at 7 pm, just as I was about to give up and turn the camera off, the delicate flower petals began to peel open. Thus I learned that day that honeysuckle opens in the evening as the sun sets.
Another example of quick thinking was when I wanted the camera to float through a field of wildflowers. Unfortunately, the Glidecam rod that stabilized the camera was too long for me to get the camera down low enough to the ground. So, thinking ahead into what I could do editing-wise, I turned the Glidecam upside down to get the shot. I then digitally flipped the scene in post-production. An added bonus, a butterfly darted in and out in front of the camera to make the scene even more special.
Once in a Lifetime Moments
I also learned what you can do when you experiment with your camera controls. For instance, falling snow sparkles like glitter if you turn on your high-speed shutter. Take some time to play with the controls when shooting a scene, and if you can't get the effect you want, there's very little that you can't do with today's editing software.
My project scenario required that the year in the life of a garden be shot and edited as naturally as possible, and that only music would be used to "narrate" the seasonal transformations. If you've ever looked for quality music to add to your production, you know what kind of challenge that can be. Luckily, serendipity played a big part in the making of "Beyond the Garden Gate."
Web design was my day job, which I would do at home in between shoots. As luck would have it, one of the sites that I designed was for Emmy-nominated composer, Matt Ender (mattender.com). He had just released his new album, "Ancient Isle," of which three songs worked perfectly for the video. I then contracted him to produce two more original scores for the video, and the rest of the songs for the video (nine songs total) I found on my own. Hooking up with a talented artist may be a stretch of luck, but you'd be surprised on how many are ready and waiting to show off their work in films and video. Royalty-free music libraries can be very cumbersome and disappointing, so check out the Internet to find and listen to other artist's work. Music was one of the most important elements in my video, and so I spent months getting the right pieces for it.
800 hours later
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