Ellen Craft : Running a Thousand Miles For Freedom

This November  I covered the theatrical play of E. Reid Gilbert’s Ellen Craft: Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom. I recorded, edited, and created DVD cover art for the Racial Reconciliation Outreach Network who commissioned me.

I did work for their other branch Sunshine Ministries in June for the Awakening Conference :

So that’s how I got this following gig, which was a leap in my setup because I don’t normally do theatrical plays, but I took on the challenge, and it was a challenge. Many things didn’t go according to plan. The first challenges were to get the audio right.

There was no installed audio system, so I had to purchase 4 choir mics, and a Zoom H6 to record actors, but gave the narrator a lavalier so to get clean up-close audio without all those ambient sounds. The choir mics didn’t live up to my expectations. In some places they were good and at other times they didn’t really capture the actor’s voices as I hoped. I had to run an ERA denoiser over the voices.

I attended all three plays and recorded from different angles using a canon t7i, T4i, and RF800 simultaneously. All of them at 1920 X 1080 24 frames ( or 23.97). On, the first run I focused primarily on the main actress, the second I focused on the secondary character, and the third run I focused on other characters. I then tried piecing these together – not ideal. It’s better just to shoot in the multicamera mode for live situations like this, and have the computer figure it out. This is not cinematic editing, but more like live concert editing.

Nonetheless, I did it. But if I had to do it again, I would definitely have two other camera people … 1 focusing on the main actor, and the other on the secondary character, and a 4k camera ( Blackmagic pocket cinema)  capturing the wide shot. I would also have a slider, and a better tripod ( with a fluid head) because in post-production I had lots of editing to do in order to stabilize the shots. 4 k gives the option to cut into an HD timeline without degradation of video – especially since it’s going to DVD (720X480).

I am happy about the overall project though. The DVD cases, and the way it came out artistically. All this thing needs now is a movie trailer to get people interested in watching the whole thing. I think the actors were great, I don’t like profanity so I would exclude that. But other than that, I think this is a good story to look into. It shows you the power of the human spirit to think outside the box. It also brings up questions about human dignity, and us respecting each other like God intended.

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