The Bentinck Banks Experimental Video

An image of me, walking out of shot in Portland Park - the woods in my hometown.

I’ve realised I haven’t posted it here, though I did talk about it on both my blog and on Instagram.

As you should know, I’m doing a hike across Great Britain in the summer. In conjunction with the hike, we’re having a feature-length documentary film made, by Joe from This Way Up Travel. Now, obviously, he won’t be able to be with us for the whole journey, so last month the three of us went on a short trip to the Peak District where he could teach us some quick tips and tricks on how to film, so that he can use footage we take in the final production rather than just relying on the short segments he can film.

This is not that footage. Rather, on 1 March I took a walk through the country park in my hometown and, based on his advice and the ideas he taught us, did some filming on my own to practice and to get a feel of how to do it without anyone watching.

It felt quite weird; I’m not used to seeing myself on film, plus it made me realise just how much effort goes in to producing even just a few seconds of video. There’s a lot of walking about and a lot of filming ‘dead time’, so a large part of what’s recorded would and could never be used. It was pretty interesting though to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t; and also what needs to happen to make the film look coherent and flow nicely. It was also quite interesting to see just how wide my camera filmed – there were many instances when I thought I’d out of shot and I … er, hadn’t! It’s also made quite clear the difference in quality between my camera and my phone – I used both to shoot with and you can tell which is which.

It being a Sunday, and a fairly decent day weather-wise, I came across quite a few dog-walkers when I was filming, but none of them got in the way at any point – also none of them queried what I was doing. Evidently seeing a tall hairy barefoot man fiddling with a camera and waiting around for no apparent reason is normal up here?!

It’s the very first time I’ve ever made a composite video – my experiences so far have been limited to one-shot phone videos on IG Stories and the occasional dabble for longer ‘point and shoot’ videos on my camera. It was surprisingly easier to edit than I expected, though it did highlight the limitations and age of my desktop computer. Don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence on my part – there’s a reason I do podcasts and not vlogs! – but it wasn’t the scary and overly-technical experience I feared. It’s quite ‘rough’ compared to films made by more experienced and professional people, and there’s one or two little things that I’d still have liked to change, but my computer stopped being able to cope at one point so I figured ‘ah, it’ll do’. I realised too that my standard music (the same I use on my podcast) is 2m15s long and my video was around 3m originally so I spent half my time editing out a couple of seconds in each shot just to make sure I had as little ‘dead air’ as possible. It’s hard to judge when you’re filming just how much time has or hasn’t elapsed, never mind how much you’ll end up using.

Anyway. Let me know what you think – the finished video is on my YouTube channel (yes, I have a YouTube. It consists of my podcasts, and, from about 6 years ago, me in front of a camera reading out four of my poems!), as well as on my Facebook page.

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