Sunday, 6 October 2013

Elephant No. 34: Music Video

Orphaned baby elephant with keeper, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya.

I wasn't sure what to call this—mini-film, slide show, music video—so I settled for the latter. It's also a bit hard to say much about how I made it, since my process wasn't all that methodical.

Although I know how to use Final Cut Pro editing software, I opted to use iMovie for this project, because it's quick. I dislike many things about iMovie—the automatic save feature in particular—but Final Cut is more time-consuming to get it right, so I opted for iMovie today.

After a year or more of daily blogging about elephants, I have a vast mental bank of images, so it was relatively easy to source photographs from the Internet with a Google search. I also remembered to take down credit information to add to the end of my little film—although, if I were doing this professionally, I would obviously have to do more than add a credit. I hope those whose photographs I used won't mind for a blog project like this.

Next, I chose a piece of music I thought might work: "I'll Find My Way Home" by David Hobson, which I downloaded from iTunes.

After this, it was mostly a matter of sticking the photographs in a general order that seemed to work, moving them around to match the music, compressing or stretching them to fit logical breaks in the song, adding the Ken Burns effect to give the static photos a sense of movement, and generally fiddling around with it.

When I was happy with the image-song sequence, I added a quotation and credits at the end.

The total process took me three hours or so, which was about all the time I had. It has lots of flaws—and is maybe even a bit cheesy—but I'm happy with it.

If I'd had more time, I would have chosen higher-resolution photographs in some cases, and fussed around with it some more, maybe even creating some original music in Garage Band. Anyway, for better or worse, here it is. Because the viewer here is small and only of medium resolution, I've uploaded it to YouTube—my very first YouTube upload ever. You can see it on YouTube here.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Because I ran out of time today to research elephant lore, here's one of my favourite bits of lore from the original Elephant a Day blog. It was originally posted on March 21, 2012

I love this little story from Alex Edwards of Natural High Safaris. Last year at a safari camp in Tanzania's Katavi National Park, one of the normally well-behaved elephants in the area suddenly took to ripping the canvas flysheets on the camp's tents.

At first everyone assumed this was an accident, despite the fact that elephants are usually clever enough to pick their way over guy ropes and other obstacles with no trouble. The safari operators called in a tailor, who carefully sewed the tears in the sheets.

A day or two later, it happened again. This was repeated several times, until the guilty elephant was caught in the act. Resting his tusks on the flysheet at the back of a tent, he was gently pushing down on the canvas to make it rip. At first no one could figure out why this particular elephant had become so destructive. Then in occurred to them: he simply liked the noise of ripping canvas.

Because the flysheets could only be mended so many times, the safari operators came up with a clever solution. Instead of sewing the flysheets back together, they fastened on new pieces of canvas with Velcro®. The elephant still gets to enjoy the sound of tearing Velcro, but now it's easier to patch up.

African elephant near a vintage-style safari camp.

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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