Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Working Vacation in Greene County, PA

My good friend Greg Ayersman was kind enough to buy me an airplane ticket to Pittsburgh, in exchange for doing some camera work and editing for him. We picked a ten day window in August 2011 when four tourist events were happening.

The first was a portrait of the last day of the historic Jacktown Fair. The farming communities around Wind Ridge have had this celebration for well over one hundred years. But now, as the economy changes, so does the feeling at the Fair.

We went with a classic "hands-off" documentary approach for this one. Some viewers found it gloomy, others were reminded of their happy experiences at Jacktown. For me, it was just fun to be in PA during the summer, edit to a pop song for a change, and to test out the "cinema" settings on the Canon Vixia.

A few days later, I stopped for an hour and captured the Waynesburg Farmers Market during the height of the season. My production goal was simple- get some pretty pictures and focus on one message. I came up with the line "Wednesdays in Waynesburg" as a persistent mnemonic device.

The best part of editing the Waynesburg Farmers Market video was writing the music. By doing a cut-down video edit, I was able to see how many pictures I liked and what the approximate pacing of the video would be. I had used GarageBand in "Music Project" mode and wasn't impressed. This time I opened up "Movie Score" mode and had a completely different experience. I was able to write a short song that contained the pastoral country flavor of the market, contained a faster section to show off the products, and then returned to the laid-back sound for the closing.

The next Saturday I stopped at the Historical Museum for the opening of the annual Quilt Show. This is "in their own words" event coverage. Greg and I turned it around quickly, so it could be embedded on the front page of the local newspaper to promote attendance the following weekend.

This showed the limits of the Vixia, though. It did not capture great pictures with only ambient indoors lighting. And even though we closed the door and turned off the room's fan, the built-in mic's audio is not acceptable to me.

The last video was for a small section of The Warrior Trail in western Greene County. I shot some pretty pictures and then headed for the airport and back to San Francisco. So of course it's still sitting on my computer, waiting for an edit, behind all the regular daily edits I have to keep up with. Soon. I promise. Soon.

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