The Cello Suites: A Story About Music

VIDEO: The Cello Suites: A Story About Music

POB09 0310 Siblin0013.jpg
Photo: THE GAZETTE/Pierre Obendrauf

When I got this video assignment I was really doubtful that it’d be suitable as a video story. I’d been to a number of book launches that, though they could be interesting by virtue of the reading itself, it’s rare that there is anything of visual interest. And so after cussing for a second or two, I decided to look into it a little deeper to see what I could scrounge from it.

The assignment had said a “book reading” at this launch, with live music played on a cello, but when I called the author he said that there was to be no reading at all. Just a guy playing the cello and him signing copies of the book, with a short introduction. Ok.

I decided that to make this thing work he HAD to read, and for people interested in buying his book it would be nice to hear him say something about what motivated him. So I inquired whether he’d be willing to get to the venue a little early so I could get him to talk about his book on camera, and read something. Being a journalist and former colleague he was quite accommodating and understanding, and agreed to do so.

This was my plan then: A-Roll: him talking about why he wrote the book, reading excerpts from it;
B-Roll: people milling about, him signing, people reading the book, tons of closeups of the book etc, the cello, etc
Use the cello music as background.

Got to the event. Interview went fine; reading went ok, then found out that the cellist was expected to play 1/2hr later than I expected. Ah well. All things considered the shooting went ok.

I managed to complete post production in about 3 hrs and, except for a few things I kinda liked the end result.

1. I need to get to interviews with about 15mins to spare, even for simple sit-down interviews. Usually if I’m using lights and such I give myself 1/2hr, but for this I gave myself 10 mins since I had no plans to use lights. Maybe I’m a perfectionist but I wasn’t happy with the framing and lighting of the interview at all. In fact it sucks.

2. As much as the assignment might look like crap at first, give it time. I’m finding out that if there is enough advance time, a little planning might help you save it.

Bear with me y’all; I’m getting there. CRITIQUES PLEASE. Thanks a lot.


About Phil Carpenter

Hi all. I'm a newspaper photo/video journalist at The Gazette in Montréal, Canada, and I'm just reviving my film making skills from my university days, for the online version of our paper. It's been 13years since I began shooting professionally, four years at The Gazette, and a year since I've begun shooting and producing video stories and documentary shorts. I'm enjoying it immensely. In addition I have taught photojournalism at Concordia University's school of journalism, been a guest lecturer and panelist on classes and workshops on photo and multi media journalism. View all posts by Phil Carpenter

6 responses to “The Cello Suites: A Story About Music

  • yadb

    There’s some really nice stuff here. Framing and lighting isn’t that bad. I would have liked to know a little more about the book: I’m unclear as to whether this is a piece of reportage, fiction?

    You definitely are getting there. The pacing was nice and you did a good job given the limitations of visual possibilities at a book signing.

    Keep ’em coming


  • Phil Carpenter

    Thanks Mark. I really appreciate it.

  • The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle | Sports, Betting and Training Blog.

    […] The Cello Suites: A Story About Music « Shadows, Substance and … […]

  • Fagstein

    Framing and lighting are fine. And especially since you got a lot of visuals in there, if one shot didn’t look great it disappeared in a second or two so it didn’t matter much.

    There were a couple of points where he was talking over himself. Try giving a longer pause between audio clips, letting them fade out a bit more gradually if they’re going to turn into background noise.

    Also, if you’re going to have text over the video (like names), you should have it up for at least five seconds so people can read it. And consider a solid or semi-transparent background for the text so it’s not drowned out by the visual noise behind it.

  • Robbie

    wow….the cellist was absolutely horrible…sorry if you knew him but wow im sorry that was a disaster…he gave the cello suites no recondition or gratitude….sad. i love the Bach Suites especially suite No. 4 (i think) its the one that you tune the a to the g…oooo amazing…i cant imagine what was going through this mans mind at the time creating it…he must of been very lonely…..and angry…almost trembling with some solemn amber sadness….scary….well thank you for your time…its much appreciated.

  • Robbie

    ooooo wrong idea of this opinion…sorry yeah good video regardless…i didn’t think i was watching any home made stuff yeah know….good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: