You & the Staged

Assignment Objective:

To shoot & edit a 60 second video. To better familiarize oneself with Adobe Premiere software. To familiarize oneself with the language of media. To learn and repetitively practice Premiere commands along with more advanced editing techniques. To shoot on any desired device, import and manage media, edit and export. To dig deeper into a conceptual approach to making video.

Commands | Tools | Problems | Technical Considerations
  • use header footer
  • add credits or titles
  • no longer than 60 seconds
  • fade sound levels in and out
  • no music
  • create a shot list

“This is your moment to get on your soap box, video soap box. What do you care about? Do you care about not caring?” -Dan Paz

That’s it. Those are the rules. The due date on this was very tight initially, which I used as a tool to be decisive when I would ordinarily languish in indecision. Why not stage a protest? Protests are very much staged, planned events. The concept speaks to issues of community organization and current topics of interest. In the ideation process, though, it became clear that I was limited by what we have on hand. For example, in a real protest I would expect to see at least one bullhorn, and we don’t have one and/or couldn’t borrow one in time. Making this video required taking my limitations and flipping them into advantages. At the end of the day all I really have is myself and my stuff. So the focus shifted to not just a generic protest, but what the idea would look like specifically in my life.

I have these items, these weapons that are filled with personal history, flowers, this military jacket, some cardboard—not even a legit picket for my picket sign. There were several shots that got cut due to technical difficulties and even though I made a shot list, I managed to miss one.

By the time I got to editing over the weekend something had happened with Premiere or the media. Fuckery was afoot. I could see the clips in my timeline, but the media was pending and wouldn’t show up in the preview feed no matter how hard I rendered my entire work area. I went in to use the school computers early Sunday morning thinking their system (with its to-the-teet-Adobe-connection) might work better. It didn’t. I wasted time, and energy getting up early when at the end of the day I had to start over anyway. Could’ve edited in my pajamas and slept in. It will haunt me. For those of you who follow on Instagram you probably saw these posts.

All that said, I’m still proud of what I was able to put together. Enough of my original goals shine through that the message comes across. I really appreciate my classmates’ critiques, too. Just to have several perspectives think through your idea helps so much.

One lesson learned was that I should’ve created an audio shot list as well as the mandatory video shot list. Also, if I could go back in time I would have had another camera on me while I waited for Matt to drive under the overpass. He was using my phone to film that clip so he couldn’t tell me when exactly he would be there. I just had to stand there and look out for a blue Nissan. While waiting, several people walked by and really wanted to take part in the demonstration. They asked, “what are we protesting?” We. That’s so powerful to me. In that position, there was no way they could see what was on my sign, and if they could it was only a circle with a slash through it which is intentionally unclear. There’s not just one thing wrong with our world and our government, though I do offer examples I care about [Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock] elsewhere in the video, these people on the street had no context and were still on board in solidarity. They patted me on the back, they honked and they really cared.

That moved me so much and the whole time I had to just keep protesting. The other camera was literally at my feet, with a full battery, just sitting there. Get it together, Bri! All I can say is videography is challenging. Especially if you have any kind of perfectionism issues. I’ve spent years working on perfecting a single image in the form of a painting or in photography. With video you have thirty images to perfect per second.

Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe having not filmed that part is important for another reason. I don’t know, but I’ll never forget. A big, giant humongous thank you to my Honeybee who helped with so much with ideation, props, and filming. He’s such a clever and helpful partner and I couldn’t ask for more.

So, here’s Protest. Lemme know what you think in the comments. Subscribe here and on Youtube for more Wrays of Sunshine!

Author: Brianna Wray

I'm an artist in Seattle just living the dream.

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