Quotation: Margaret Atwood
Video producer and storyteller

My newest project, an interactive re-make of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ video from his 1986 album Graceland.

I’ve been working professionally in video production for nine years. I’ve worked for network shows, as well as for corporate work and live concert video production in various capacities from producer, director, camera operator and editor. Working at Ryerson as a technical instructor remains my largest single contribution to media in Toronto (and Canada), though admittedly it’s not as ‘sexy’ as saying you work on major network television. But the education process is something I truly enjoy. I put work through two different companies: Allude Entertainment for the creative work, and Little City Media for my corporate/music concert work.

Since I had an idea three years ago for a music video of multiple cyclists biking through Toronto interacting with cameras on their heads in a showcase of Toronto, I started forming ideas about interactive video. The ideas probably stemmed from my childhood love of “Choose your own adventure” books. I wanted the viewer to be able to choose which cyclist to follow, as each of them went passed beautiful parts of the city, and we hid lyrics and friends of ours along each route.

A couple years ago, there had been no readily available software developed to have four streams of video running simultaneously with the ability to switch between them. Now, it does exist, though the companies basically are operating in a beta mode testing out possibilities. With the release of Bob Dylan’s music video for Like a Rolling Stone, more people are exploring this technology and method of storytelling. But, in my opinion, though conceptually interesting, most interactive video still doesn’t really engage the viewer beyond the immediate ‘wow factor’. So, I am beginning to explore this area of media production to see what’s possible. I am beginning with multiple video streams at once, and I’ll continue from there.

My music video idea was shot in fall 2011. There were significant hurdles that prevented it from being released. Firstly, it was a 20-minute bike ride condensed down to a 5-minute song. Speeding up the bike ride by 400% immediately made the shots ridiculously shaky, and it wasn’t fixable with stabilization plug ins. Between that and the band no longer being active, I stopped working on the video. But, in my attempt at generating interactive content, I am once again working on it, and will post something soon.

I’m also working on the idea of shooting live music performances, and being able to switch between any band member at any point. I have a shoot booked for January 25th, 2014 to try this out. In the meantime, I’ve been working with some concert footage I shot over the summer. This is a three camera test for just the chorus of a song. The user can become the director and choose which camera to look at when.

The software used to create this has it’s quirks. It can’t actually have simultaneous streams running at the same time, so each of these videos are cut into five second chunks, and at the end of that portion, the program sees if the user clicked to go to another camera, or continue on with that same angle. It also has those ‘dings’ every time a button is pushed (which isn’t in all videos created by this program), and has buttons that always want to disappear (which doesn’t seem to be changeable). But, it gives a good sense of where technology is at in terms of latency between cuts (as apparent by the audio glitches).

After the recent ice storm in Toronto, I went to the nearby park with my dog and shot some footage as a camera test for my new Black Magic Cinema Camera. Here is some of the shots edited together, and graded in DaVinci Resolve.

More video samples coming soon.