Hiking through the woods is one of my favorite things.. Another is to create short videos. I decided to combine the two on a recent outing to one our favorite St. Paul places, Crosby Farm Park. I brought our dog Ginger because she shares my enthusiasm for hiking and because she always finds something interesting along the trail.
How can we use video as a tool to document our outdoor experience and deepen our engagement with the natural world?
A producer looking for an excuse to get outside and shoot, I grabbed the video camera on a beautiful fall day, determined to find out.
Creating a video of my walk with Ginger intensified my outdoor experience.
1. Creating the video slowed down the walk. Because I was shooting a story, I took my time to capture footage of things I found interesting along the way.
2. In shooting video, I looked for relationships and patterns. I consciously set up sequences of shots to show the way things are connected. For example, featuring two varieties of maple leaves back to back. Showing a muskrat house compared to a beaver lodge in the same lake. A tree stump chiseled by a beaver, another one with a dragonfly in the sun.
3. The process of video creation lead me to double-check my facts. I looked up red maple to confirm it's identity, checked resources to learn the dragonfly was a ruby meadowlark.
4. With a video audience in mind, I looked for fun. I found myself creating the video with young viewers in mind. I wanted to create something that would make kids laugh. The narrative quality of the piano music I selected is meant to set a light tone.
WHAT DID I LEARN?
Because I had a positive experience with this exercise, I think it would be fun to collaborate with nature centers to arm youth with digital tools and guide them through the process of creating short videos about their outdoor adventures. I believe that the act of creating and sharing short videos strengthens our engagement with the natural world and with each other.
Producer Audrey Robinson Favorito explores the craft of digital storytelling