Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Introduction of Video Production

A significant component of my position with the Park Service for the last year and a half has been serving a photographer at special events, particularly the 150th anniversaries of Civil War battles. If you haven't already seen them, this album of Memorable Moments and this album of Scenic and Landscape Photography contain some of my favorite results.

While at Vicksburg this past May I ventured into the realm of video for the National Park Service for the first time. I hadn't done anything with video since I left Oroville, CA in early 2009 and all the work I had done there was via Final Cut on a Mac. Now I had to learn to use Adobe Premiere Pro on a PC. It was a bit of a learning curve. My first forays into video in Vicksburg were not spectacular, but weren't bad either. They included these three:


Although I didn't put the final video  together, all of my artillery footage was used in the final Artillery Thank you video during the event as well. 

When we returned from Vicksburg and began to plan for Gettysburg we decided that I would focus exclusively on video with the assistance of one other member of the team brought in from the regional office.

The result was much more impressive than our efforts at Vicksburg. Most of the work was done during the actual event or in its immediate aftermath, but the final video on the list is one that just went live this morning. Since the launch of that video officially concludes my involvement in the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, I thought it would be worth putting all the direct links together in one place here on the blog.

The Videos of Gettysburg:

June 30 - The Eve of Battle

In this video you see timelapse of the sunrise as well as the opening program that occurred the evening of the 30th. You also see and hear footage that I filmed of various different speakers including Director Jarvis and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

July 1 - The First Day

July 1 began with a program about the last march of the Iron Brigade, as they entered into the fighting when the battle began in earnest that morning. It was one of the most impressive programs I have ever seen as living historians dressed as members of the Iron Brigade led the way as 1,300 people streamed across the fields of Gettysburg. I was sprinting through the fields trying to get one shot after another with Alison right beside me. She stayed with me despite being attired in shorts and sandals, which was most impressive. Unfortunately it also meant that she exposed herself to poison ivy, which stayed with her for the better part of a month!

July 2 - The Second Day

On July 2 I followed in the footsteps of the Confederate advance in two separate programs, both of which are featured in this video ("In the footsteps of Captain Johnston" and "The Valley of Death). I also managed to capture some memorable footage of Confederate living history demonstrations, which is likewise featured in the video.

July 3 -The Final Day

The highlight of the third day, and really of the commemoration, was Pickett's charge. More than 15,000 visitors followed in the footsteps of the 13,000 man charge, crossing the same fields along the same paths taken by the nine brigades that made the charge on July 3. It was an impressive sight, and all told roughly 40,000 people were present for the program, making it by far the largest of the sesquicentennial.

Pickett's Charge Preview

A short video highlighting the impact of Pickett's Charge on the battle and the war as a preview for the larger video to come later. 
July 4 -The Aftermath

Among the programs focused on the aftermath of battle was a fascinating presentation about the dead, given on the Rose Farm with 3D pictures and glasses to help visitors more fully appreciate the experience. Even I donned the glasses as I filmed the program.

This is the big one, with footage from the entire event over the audio of interviews that I did with various NPS personnel and footage I captured of speakers at the opening ceremony. 

This video tells the story of the "Last March of the Iron Brigade" program on July 1. Everything in it was shot by me in the manner described for the July 1 video. 

The final video is of the big commemorative march on July 3. Much of the footage appeared in the July 3 and Pickett's Charge Preview videos, but this one is really focused on that specific program and contains a fair amount of new footage as well.

I will be running the video side of things again at Chickamauga in a few weeks. It won't be the scale of Gettysburg, but I am still hoping for some fun results!

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