Number 1 – Hakuba To Tokyo
Today I posted the first in a new series of weekly short films on YouTube. My hope is to use these to give you some background and behind the scenes moments to my life and work here in Tokyo and also my travels during the year. This one starts in The Japanese Alps, at the end of my New Year’s ski holiday, then returns to Tokyo to look at some DIY stuff, unboxing a Synth kit, and a little too much coffee.
Recovering From A False Start
I started 2016 feeling really enthusiastic about making YouTube videos then I got myself in a real mess. I set the bar high, I wanted production values I couldn’t deliver on, I would up with lots of unused clips and unfinished ideas, then I gave up.
Sometimes the planning, the goals, the whole temptation to be an architect and design the perfect project can get in the way of the far simpler task of just sharing and communicating what we want to say. For some time I’ve wanted to get into video updates because it feels like a good way to show what my experience of living and working is like. It’s not a substitute for photos or blogging; more of a compliment to them.
Finished Is Good Enough
For 2017 I’ve adopted a few themes which I hope will filter into all my projects and creative decisions. The first of these is Finished is Good Enough.
I’m the harshest judge of my own work and long ago lost count of the number of creative projects I haven’t finished and creative ideas I haven’t acted on because I simply talked myself out them, saying my efforts weren’t good enough. Of course, in so many ways, 80% is as good as 0% done if you never get around to completing your efforts.
So, for this year I’ve decided finished is good enough. I’m just pushing stuff out the studio door and I’m going to try (with the help and encouragement of friends and family) to not sit in judgement. Just get it out there and if you want to watch, read, look, like and buy, then great, thank you!
This Video’s Creative Decisions
There were still a few big decisions I had to make to get this project going. The first big creative decision was to shoot everything on the iPhone (in my case a 5s). That will change during the year but for now I didn’t want camera or film management issues to be an ensues for not doing this. I didn’t want the worry about camera settings and lighting to become an excuse for not making the short films.
This of course meant I had a lot more candid video to work with, from the ski field shots, to clips in cafes, on trains and out in the street.
The second big creative decision was whether to stick with Premiere Pro, which I sort of know my way around, but not well, or switch to Final Cut Pro, which I don’t know at all, but which at least from an audio editing perspective feels more familiar. While I have a feeling I will try Final Cut one day for now, for purely practical reasons I decided to stick with Premiere.
Interestingly, this commitment actually pushed me to learn my way around the Premiere interface a little better, which led to exploring parts of the colour grading and title making panels that I was previously unfamiliar with.
The third big creative decision was to add original music, which for this short film involved two pieces, a slow reflective acoustic guitar piece for the front half of the video and a more upbeat funky theme for the walking section at the end.
Last year I recorded very little music and I can’t help but think that was connected to how bad I felt for much of the year. While I’m less and less known as a musician, there’s no question making music is still something deep in my soul that needs to be expressed. The two spur of the moment pieces I made for this short film, written, recorded and mixed in an afternoon, felt very satisfying to produce.
Please let me know if you like any or all this. It’s a new direction for 2017 and I hope to connect with many of you through the short films. I’d really appreciate it if you could like the video, or comment on it and of course, please subscribe to my channel to see all the videos I post.