It was a bright day. The skies were more than clear.
This parade in question runs four miles. I had with me a total of three lenses, these being a 28mm, a 200mm, and a 14-42mm that I would return for value the following day (I can’t really stand using zoom lenses, but I had given this one a chance).
This parade moved fast. I would shoot from multiple angles in a one block radius, then run up to a quarter of a mile to get ahead of the parade, alternating between the 28mm and 200mm. It was such a great practice of switching lenses. I felt like a gunslinger, going from one lens to another within seconds.
Thankfully, Portland has this constant cloud coverage. This was helpful, as at the time I did not have an ND Filter on me. This venture was also such an excellent exercise in not only film-making, but as as physical work-out. Four miles! And I was running, not only that, but back and forth, and across the street when possible. I can’t imagine the energy the participants had to keep. Still, I wish it were a weekly activity.
The filming of the event took about three hours, but perhaps longer. I was filming in 4k quality the entire time, save for the last thirty minutes (rather, what appears as the final thirty seconds of the video; you can actually see the black bars atop and below dictating this, as I had not expanded the video in post; whoops).
Speaking of post, editing this was quite the rush, both figuratively and literally. As soon as I had finished filming, I made my way back to my office. I uploaded the footage, and immediately began editing. Shortly into the process, I realized that I could edit my further and closer shots of the particular parade participants together, even though these shots had been recorded up to some thirty minutes apart. By doing this, I would be able to give the parade a solid sense of a timeline, this being better for viewers.
An exhausting endeavor, I inevitably finished the edit about twelve hours later. I’d cut about two and a half hours of footage (500 GB total on an SSD Hard Drive), down to four minutes. At this point, I thought, “Hey, I should add a song.” Little did I know how well a Lykke Li song would fit into my chosen edits. There were some parts that lined up perfectly! Even certain lyrics matched with the performers!
Next was color-correcting. I wanted a rich, colorful, film-like substance to enrich the overall vibe. I chose to bring my contrast high, and truly play with the highlights and shadows. The saturation was brought to a tilt, and after a time, I could almost feel the texture within the frames.
Within twenty-four hours, I had finished the edit, and posted the completed short online. A wonderful exercise.
My favourite moment in the short would have to be the moment a young lady waves her flag, the flag covering the frame, then cutting to the backside of another young woman who also brings her flag down. The transition is practically invisible. A wipe of a cut, and the performer’s smile undoubtedly helps to disguise this fact.
I learned so much from this practice. In the editing room, going through the 200mm footage, I noticed that so many people’s eyes went directly to my long lens, even some fifty to one hundred feet away. As such, I was able to at times capture almost private moments, one that most their own immediate would have no notice of, one between them and the lens. I could truly understand, and share their joy.