My latest video project is a quick montage of video clips and photos I shot while on a camping trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains with my good buddy Dakota and dog Jasper. As is often the case in the Sierra Nevada in late summer, we were hammered by a series of thunderstorms that kept us reading in our tents and playing chess in the truck. While I only had one clear sunset over the course of a few days, there was usually some time during the day we could get out and about, and we tried to make the most of it.

Putting it Together

I was mostly focused on taking photos during the trip, and didn’t have much of a plan when shooting video footage — I was mainly just grabbing shots as I found them. When assembling the video clips, it became clear that Jasper was really the star of the show, being his goofy self almost on cue.

So I decided to outline the story around largely around him, contrasting pretty pictures and scenery with his antics. I used the concept of spending three days camping for the overall structure, and used longish “dip to black” transitions to to separate the three days.

Lessons Learned

Or maybe it should be “Lessons I’m Still Learning.” Going in with a plan is always better than trying to figure out a story after-the-fact, and as I’m making the transition from stills to video, this is probably the number one thing I need to work on. This can be tough, though.

Many of my video projects are based around documenting a trip or adventure I’m on; by definition I don’t know what the story is going to be ahead of time. So I’m trying to go in with broad story themes: looking for beginnings, middles, and ends, conflicts that may arise (recording more footage of rain would have been good for this one), and resolutions that may present themselves. Trying to pay attention to the basic building blocks of a story should make it easier to actually put one together after the dust settles.

Camera Gear Used for Video

A list of the camera gear I used to shoot the video:

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