Retubing: Vltava Cruise, Prague 2008
Simian Substitute Site for October 2010: The Infinite Monkey Theorem

Retubing: Naughty Man At The Back

I couldn't really have done this one in 4:3, could I? In terms of the rebuilding of my video library following The Great YouTubeocalypse of August 31st, I think we're more or less done now. Apart from the odd one-off like The BBG's Roundhouse concert, the last major collection of videos I added to the old account happened about a year ago, with the various bits and pieces we filmed during our China 2009 expedition.

So, as this series appears to have been partly about the evolution of my editing style, it might be fun to finish off this collection of highlights with a nine minute video that only has three shots in it. (If I'd had my way, though, it would only have been two...)

Naughty Man At The Back was filmed on July 15th 2009, during a tourist rickshaw ride through the hutongs of Beijing. As you've probably noticed if you've been following this series of Retubing posts, I'm rather fond of videos shot from moving vehicles, and the chance to get a near street-level view of the alleyways connecting the old courtyard residences seemed too good to pass up.

It wasn't until I was on board and moving that I realised how good this would look as a single-take shot. Which is a pity, because if I'd realised that earlier, I probably would have made sure that I had enough power for the whole journey. As it stands, the reason why there's a crossfade halfway through the film is because the battery ran out and I had to change it while we were still moving. Sadly, there was no way of recording the angry yells of The Belated Birthday Girl as I attempted to change a camcorder battery while travelling at high speed along the street in a wholly unsafe vehicle. But nobody was hurt, so it all worked out okay.

Aside from the languid pace of the film that comes from the lack of editing, it's also one of the very few things I've done that doesn't have any sort of musical soundtrack. It doesn't need it, I think: the repetitive squeak of the rickshaw wheels gives it its own internal rhythm. Our two Beijing guides provided the only vocal accompaniment: Eleven (yes, that's her name) called us onto the rickshaws, while Peter spotted me with my camcorder in the rearmost vehicle, and inadvertently gave the film its title.

There were a few other videos that came out of the China tour. Call To Prayer is based around a similar shooting aesthetic (but on foot this time), while The Great Wall and Temple Of Heaven are more traditional selections of shots cut to trendy pop instrumentals. We still have some footage left over from the holiday that we keep meaning to edit some time: keep an eye on TheSpankTM's YouTube channel, and maybe it'll turn up on there eventually. Maybe.


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