Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The art of dull

One thing I’ve come to realise over the years is that even things that are boring are, in fact, interesting. The very fact of their boringness is a point of interest, which is nothing if not paradoxical.

To be sure, the village depicted in this video is very small, and there’s no budget for municipal decorations. The locals do what they can, but they can’t do a great deal. And of course, it’s really the weather that makes everything seem drab; a week ago, with all the snow lying around, it actually looked quite fetching.

Still, cue a video poking gentle fun at the lack of obvious Christmas spirit, always with the caveat that people here know how to have fun, and inside their apartments and houses they have lots of tasteful (or not so tasteful) decorations.

More interesting from the filming perspective is that for the opening to-camera bit, the lighting looks pretty good, and this is because I now have a second floodlight. What you’re looking at in those first forty seconds or so is thanks to eight hundred watts of halogen power. One light is fairly close to me, to my left (the camera’s right), while the second is a little further away, almost level with the camera.

There is also a reason why I insisted that my office be painted white, even though doing so made me snow-blind. One of the things you have to do when taking this kind of video is to set the white balance. Halogen light may look almost white to the human eye, but to a camera it’s yellow: white balance corrects for this so that the video looks closer to what the eye perceives. Automatic white balance simply isn’t up to this particular task, so it has to be set manually, by pointing the camera at something white — in this case, a wall. (Well, it’s not the only reason I wanted them white, but it’s a good one.)

Having Bonnie in the background was an unexpected bonus. I’d already done several takes when she jumped up onto by desk, and I liked the image so I did one more take. And that’s the take in this video.

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