A 3 day stroll through New York Professional practice – (Evaluation)

by weslar

The idea behind the video pre-visit was to create something of a walkthrough, not complete, not 100% to being a literal walkthrough; but a candid recording of my personal experience in visual form. The notion that this is what I saw, what I experienced, the quite and sombre nature of a new city, a new country, silence as a motif of wonder and discovery.

The amount of footage I recorded tallies to roughly 3hours 30 minutes, a heck of a lot of footage to comb through. A lot of it was the here to there, a to b, what is used is very quick sections of time lapses to illustrate the enormity of New York City, a place where we had a lot planned and little time to discover. It was an adventure to say the least, walking, taxi’s, walking, more taxi’s. There was a cat and mouse game with time, hoping we’d make each attraction we intended on seeing, which most or in fact all of them have been captured on film.

We go through the city, see the Empire State Building; the view from it, Rockefeller Centre, Ground Zeroes + museum, Times Square. New York it self is an awe inspiring place which for me is the attraction, coming from an entirely different country and for the first time being in another country made it surreal and lucid because it was actually happening. You get a real sense of scale when you’re in New York; in Film or Television you can’t grasp the scope because you see it as small because it’s stored visually from someone else’s perspective.

The video became more of a ‘Here I am, look at the city as though I’m one of the ant’s in a big urban maze’ type of deal, the intention and the reality match. Going from I want to make the audience feel as though they’re looking through the eyes of someone in the city for the first time, in the edit & in the outcome it’s the same – the point is put across.

On a technical level it isn’t something that is gorgeous to look at, the camera is standard DSLR affair, 1080p using a 10mm – 18mm Wide lens with an aperture of F./4.5 didn’t help when shooting at night. Everything shot in the day was extremely well lit, the sun light provided me with an incredible lighting source – o-natural is always good! But for indoors/night time shots it looked patchy.

I did take my 50mm F./ 1.4 which looked stunning at night, but the that changes things for the vibe of the video, it’s less spur of the moment, candid. Becoming more manufactured and fake as it were. 0.5% of the video uses the 50mm, because of this thinking it kept the intercity of the video, the purpose of it.

Sound didn’t factor into the production, as carrying a camera, mini tripod wasn’t enough to arouse suspicion adding a shotgun mic to the top makes the camera look bulky and could cause more problems. I’m not saying that I would get arrested, or anything of that nature but as it’s my first time in another country the least suspicious I could be, the better. But the onboard sound provides decent quality audio recording, add the little dead cat to protect your ears from the awful wind noise is a bonus that increases the production value.

The edit was something I tackled with great trepidation because I didn’t want to leave too much in to make it seem bloated, or take too much out as to remove something from the experience. The fact of the 3hours and 30 minutes of footage never crossed my mind as a problem, but just an obstacle I had to tackle.

I intended on making a 2hour cut of the footage, but for reasons, obvious reasons I opted against that. Round it down to 25+ minutes and there’s the video. The process wasn’t arduous because it was scanning through the footage to find pockets of gold, to find elements that felt organic, authentic to the feel of the film. It took several editing sessions to go through the footage for the first time; trimming the fat. Another session to go through and do even more trimming, whilst adjusting time and positioning of shots to make it interesting, have a pop to it. And finally a third editing session to fix sound, to remove frames from the clips to have a nice organic flow.

The objective as described by Paul Clarkson, to shoot something in New York and make it look like you want to go there, like I said before I went with the intention of showing my experience; less ‘here’s why you should go there’ to ‘this is why I went’.

Goal achieved in the end. It’s looking though my eyes, what I saw, what I did, a taste of the city that is so fast, and incredibly time consuming that you want to spend so much time in to discover everything.

But, alas this was 3 days in the making.