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.
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Producer Audrey Robinson Favorito explores the craft of digital storytelling