Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mindfulness - Living in the Present

Here it is, my latest video.

I wrote my script on Sunday, spent Monday morning plotting my shots, Monday afternoon actually shooting it, and Tuesday editing it.

The message to the video is simple: "We forget. The present is where life is happening - here, right now."

Producing my three-minute, 24-second video was a lot more complex.

I did my first video on mindfulness at the end of June, but it was only last week when the idea for a second one congealed in my head.

The first part of my video is based on an ancient Zen parable. "Getting" Zen, though, poses a major problem, which explains the long gestation for the script. Then it occurred to me to explain the Zen thing with reference to an earlier Zen experience of mine. Zen explaining Zen. That's why it's Zen.

I live a mile and a half from a state park in southern California. A natural boulder formation was perfect for my purposes. But I was shooting in 50 MPH wind conditions that posed special problems. I performed one difficult stunt jumping from a boulder only to discover the wind had blown my camera and tripod to the ground.

Then two indoor scenes before going back outdoors to recreate my Zen experience from two years before. The setting sun had to light up a distant peak just right. One cloud in the wrong place and I could forget about shooting. After waiting 30 minutes, the peak lit up like someone had illuminated it from the inside. I was a very happy boy.

Back in the "editing room," my rough cut showed as much promise as a fallen soufflé. I refined my cut into 28 clips spanning three minutes, four seconds. (From memory, the shower scene in "Psycho" involves something like 55 edits.) One of the clips, spanning five seconds, involves nine rapid-fire images of paintings, representing the mind in turmoil.

The wind gusts had played havoc with my "live" narration, so I had to go with more voice-over than I had intended. I picked two classical pieces and a surfer instrumental from my royalty-free library as my soundtrack music, and suddenly I had air in my soufflé. One of my scenes involved five layers of sound, and for dramatic effect in my "distant peak" shot I "turned up" the wind.

Then tweaking and more tweaking. My final major decision for any video I do involves whether I roll with short credits or long credits. I decided to go with long credits, 20 seconds worth.

As you can see from the video, I'm having way more fun than any human should be allowed to have. I shot my first video in March last year, using only a webcam and the primitive film-editing program that came with my new iMac. In late April, I made the leap to a high-end camcorder and FinalCut Express.

The 16 videos I have done so far represent my own healing. Learning something new helped pull me out of the extreme burn-out I was feeling last year. Suddenly, I was motivated. Suddenly, I was having fun.

I had also found a new way to reach out to people with my illness.

If Spielberg calls, tell him I'm busy ...


This video is based on my mcmanweb article: Mindfulness - Living in the Present.

No comments: