Intro from Jay Allison: Once the piece starts, you'll find it hard to close your eyes, but if you do, you'll hear a fine radio piece beneath those images. But, my-oh-my, the images and the way they work...
I shot this video at the Brockton Fair using the cheapest digital video camera I could find. When I shot the video, I intended to use only video stills from the footage for a book that I was making, so the camera work leaves a whole lot to be desired; I did lots of quick pans and zooms to find and frame as many interesting things around me as quickly as possible.
Because the audio capabilities of most video cameras (including, yes, mine) is so crummy, I recorded the sounds from the fair onto a minidisk using Sonic Studios head worn binaural microphones. They look kind of like headphones, but they sit in front of your ears. I felt a bit like Dork City, USA, using them, but I was there on a mission, so I put on the emotional armor and forged mightily ahead. If I were making a strictly video piece, then I probably wouldn’t record onto separate media b/c it’s a hassle to synch everything up, but b/c the audio didn’t have to be perfectly tied to the video, I wanted to get the best quality sound that I could.
Jay saw a copy of the book that I made, and asked if I was interested in doing a radio piece with the audio that I had. Obviously, I agreed, and I thought that I would simply give an impressionistic ramble of the things I saw at the fair. The radio story went together pretty quickly, in maybe two weeks.
I had already done a lot of audio editing for the readalong cds in the books, so I mostly assembled snippets of that in Pro Tools, and laid a voice track on top of it at home. During the course of the editing, Jay discovered that I make a living doing computer programming and animation, and he knew that I had video from the fair, so he asked if I wanted to make an animation to go with the audio. I agreed. The animation took forever. I worked on it in my spare time, and early on, I established a fairly quick pace for the animation. I wanted to maintain the pacing throughout the piece, but I didn’t have much good video to work with because of my frenetic camera work, so I had to keep grabbing stills from the video, exporting them, bringing them into Photoshop, editing them, bringing them into Flash, laying them out and animating them. Over and over and over. My original idea was to have more drawings and frame by frame animations similar to the ferris wheel animation in the NIGHT section, but in the interest of actually finishing the piece, that didn’t happen.
What did happen is pretty damn cool.
Help Transom get new work and voices to public radio by donating now.
Additional support for this work provided by
with funding from the