Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From the virtual cutting room floor

I don’t use every second of footage I shoot. That probably doesn’t need further explanation: after all, if I go somewhere and come away with forty minutes’ worth of material for a ten-minute video, that’s thirty minutes of video sitting on my computer’s hard disk, unused.

Most of that, to be sure, is from trimming down shots. When I’m pointing a camera at something for one of my travel documentaries, I want a good twenty seconds at least; and I’m probably also going to take several shots from various angles, some close-ups of interesting details, some establishing shots from further away. But how will that footage actually get used? That gets decided later, when I am doing the research and writing the script: it might be just a second or two during a montage, or I might spend a whole minute explaining the historical significance of whatever it is we’re looking at.

Sometimes, though, for various reasons, a scene might never get used at all. Often this is because it simply wasn’t relevant: when focusing, for example, on Obernburg’s Roman past and mediaeval remains, a casual mention of a war memorial honouring the dead of the Franco-Prussian War is a complete non-sequitur, no matter how magnificent the memorial is. Other times, the footage was just not usable, such as the spectacular shot through the window of the Merkurbahn funicular in Baden-Baden — a great idea spoiled by the really extraordinarily bright reflections.

So here are some of those scenes, collected into one, commentary-free video.

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