Spank's Edinburgh Diary, Postscript 2010 (#2 of 2)
Retubing: Ninja!

Retubing: Europe By Train

These bits were an utter cow to render, I can tell you.I think The Belated Birthday Girl and I would both agree that of all the videos that we've put up on YouTube over the last four years, Europe By Train is our favourite. It's an insanely ambitious piece of work, but it managed to achieve everything we hoped it would when we first started editing it.

And yet, in the three years it was online before my account got trashed, it racked up no more than about 2000 views. 

So, could more of you watch it this time? Please?

A quick bit of context for those of you who need it. Europe By Train is a montage of video and still photos, taken by The Belated Birthday Girl and me during our rail-based jaunt around the continent in 2007. In my early years of working with video, I would have used a two-week five-country trip as an excuse to produce a two hour holiday film that would only ever be watched by people in my living room who were too polite to walk out. The idea of taking one of the most complex journeys I'd ever been on, and compressing it into under five minutes, seemed perversely appealing.

It was a bugger to pull off, frankly. I had a vague idea at the start of the sort of look I wanted to achieve, and it turned out that none of the video editing programs I'd picked up over the years was entirely up to the job. I think - for those of you who care about this sort of thing - that the overall assembly was done in Pinnacle Studio, while the shots that could charitably be described as 'effects' (zooms in and out of still photos, and the map dissolves between cities) were achieved in Ulead MediaStudio. (Nowadays, I mainly use the latter's less obsolete relative, Corel VideoStudio.)

Part of what appealed with this approach was the sheer ludicrous speed of the country-hopping depicted - one of our early versions was labelled The Michael Bay Edit until we slowed it down and let the individual shots breathe a little more. I think the rapid cutting plays off nicely against the stately waltz of The Divine Comedy's Europe By Train on the soundtrack, a music choice I didn't reveal to The BBG until far too late in the process. She wasn't too keen on it initially, particularly with my original selection of the grungier studio version: but she was a lot happier with the rare orchestral live recording from an old b-side, and it turns out she was right.

Anyway: we liked the finished product a lot, and still do. The comments on the original upload were sparse, and for the most part twatty (apart from FilmFan's praise of The BBG's photography in the Hamburg fairground sequences). When we embedded it in the original Europe By Train articles on this site, the Suzanne Vega Fanclub referred to it as "[your] YouTube Martini commercial." Well, I'm taking that as a compliment, because right now it's the best we've got. I'm hoping it'll get a better response this time.


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