Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Amanda's Bio Video: Call for submisisons

Just hours before Amanda died, we met with her palliative care doctor and her regular nurse and talked about the weeks to come. The doctor urged Amanda to get busy on memory-making, and leaving things behind for Gordon.

We didn't even get to begin. I had dozens of questions printed out, the camera charged, the microphone at hand, ready to put together an extensive video biography that would show Gordon what his mother looked and sounded like, so he'd never feel like he was losing the memory.

In the absence of her memories, let's use yours and ours. Let's make that video.



I've seen comments on Facebook in the past two weeks from people who've said wonderful things about Amanda. YOU are who I'm talking about here. Hey, even if you didn't like her, you probably have a story. The more material I have to work with, the better this will be.

TOPIC SUGGESTIONS:


  • How did you know Amanda?
  • What did you first think of her?
  • Major stories or memories that changed you?
  • Her character traits and anecdotes that illustrate them
  • If you knew her at the relevant time .... what did she say about Gordon? About Scott? About her family?
  • What do you want her survivors to know that they may one day forget?

TECHNICAL DETAILS:


  • Video format: 1080p preferred, 30 fps. Any video container will do, but .mp4 or .mov will probably be most common. And shoot in landscape orientation, not portrait -- that's horizontal, like a TV set, not vertical like a movie poster.
  • Audio: Avoid wind noise and get as close as the shot allows, so we can hear what you're saying most clearly. Most people don't have external microphones, but if you do, bless you,
  • Lighting: Outside on a cloudy day usually looks great, or position yourself facing a bright window. Bright sunlight can be hard to work with. Plain indoor lighting -- lamps and such -- usually look bad on video.
  • Framing: Keep it steady! I got an adequate iPhone tripod at the dollar store. Use stacked books and some tape if you need to lock a phone down. Don't use the digital zoom -- if you need to get closer, move you or move the camera. 
  • More framing: Close but not too close. A medium shot. From about belly button up, with your eyes about 1/3 to 1/2 way down the frame. You can talk right to the camera. Having the camera at eye level looks the most natural, so you're not looking up or down at the camera.
  • If you're already an experienced shooter and have access to great gear, go for it! Or if you know someone who's great at video and sound, have them help you out.
  • And don't forget .... introduce yourself! I'm lousy with names and remembering who's related to who and how.

LOCATION/B-ROLL:

  • Here's an idea: if your story/memory takes place in a PLACE, take us there! If you can be at the location, that's pretty cool.
  • Extra video from the location can help in editing, for cut-aways or establishing shots. Talking about softball? Take us to the field. University library? Seedy bar? Your backyard?
  • Do you have any video of Amanda? Oh, that would be awesome. I don't have nearly enough.

WHERE TO SHARE:

  • If you have a server or cloud site where you can post the raw video, contact me with the link and I'll download it. Pulling it off YouTube or Facebook is often a headache and can yield lesser quality than getting the original.
  • Dropbox: The following link will let you upload files as big as 2 GB each to me. https://goo.gl/o2AVUI

DEADLINE:

  • By the end of this week. Tomorrow. Geez, I dunno. Try to get it in by the end of summer? Part of Amanda Simpson's legacy is her procrastination. It's part of what made her who she was, but not a part that I can say made things better for her or the rest of us. So, celebrate Amanda's memory by doing this exactly the way she wouldn't have: promptly!
Thank you! I look forward to learning more about Amanda through the process ... and being able to share her story with Gordon for years to come.

2 comments:

  1. I didn't know Amanda ... all I knew of her was through you, although I "feel" as though I knew her. I can't contribute to your project.

    I feel amazingly bereft though. Surprising what a web presence can contribute to your life. Some people think you can only really know someone in person. Often, I feel the opposite. Web friends sometimes say things they can't say in person. Not only has Amanda touched the hearts of all she knew in person ... but of those who "knew" her online. Thank you Scott, Amanda and Gordon, for sharing your lives with us.

    Many blessings and hugs to you and Gordon, and may her memories and love warm you forever.

    ... I'll still be reading.

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