HAPPY NEW YEAR! I woke up this morning and thought, “I should learn how to make a Vine. For those who might not be familiar, a Vine is a 6-second (or less) video made with a mobile phone application called “Vine.” Although I have a couple of friends who play around with it, I was only driven to action by a perfect storm of circumstances: 1) I read an article in the New Yorker a couple weeks ago, 2) I’ve been thinking more and more seriously about shooting a short film in 2015, 3) I woke feeling slightly energetic without anything on the agenda for an entire day (such an amazing feeling!) and 4) I just got new contact lenses and can see the world around me much more clearly.
In preparation for the short film (short but long compared to six seconds) I know I need to practice seeing the world and events more in terms of images and that I also need to think more about how those images can be assembled.
Making a Vine seemed like the kindergarten version of this– just putting a few second-long snapshots put in order to tell a very simple story. How hard could it be?
The answer–if you haven’t guessed already, is that IT COULD BE HARD. I basically did EVERYTHING WRONG. In my defense, I wasn’t ready! I was still watching some kid’s instructions for how to use the app on YouTube when Paul said, “I want to walk to the donut store.” He also wanted to leave right then. Only as I scampered behind him, pulling on items of outerwear did I start to piece together a vague plan: I’d get a few shots of Paul walking to the store, and then a final shot of him holding his donut. Great. I opened the app and shot my first scene of Paul walking.
Several blocks later, I decided it was time to shoot the second scene. But… Had I held the phone vertically or horizontally? I decided to hedge my bets by getting a shot both ways. I hadn’t had a chance to look at the post production part of the application, but surely it would allow me to omit one of them later, right? Or probably it would let me rotate the images. Probably. I’d figure it out later…but definitely I could fix it in post.
As we walked I concentrated on taking REALLY SHORT moments of video. Because six seconds is like…practically instantaneous. And what if the app cut me off after six seconds and I didn’t get the last shot? Quicker was better, I figured.
We arrived at the donut shop. It was closed. When we decided to walk to a nearby cafe, I started shooting the new adventure. Maybe the editing part will let me break it up into two Vines. I would have Vine 1, going to the donut shop, and Vine 2, going to the cafe. And if the cafe was closed too, then I could have parallel endings for both. Endings…Uh-oh. We were already a couple blocks away when it occurred to me that I’d been so distracted by the shop being closed that I’d forgotten to shoot the ending I was thinking of. We had to go back and do pick-ups. As I shot the last scene, I realized I should have begun with a “first scene.” of Paul saying something like, “let’s go get a donut.” It would have been a beginning. It’s good to have a beginning. And a middle. And an end. Oh well, I could shoot the beginning when we got back to the house and then re-arrange the clips. I’d fix it in post.
Once home, I embarked on my mission to fix it in post. Half my footage was horizontal and one scene was upside down. Clips that needed to be longer were so short you couldn’t perceive them. And it’s possible the program deleted a couple that were too long, I’m still not sure of the rules. Without going into great detail, I will say that the amount of fixing my footage required was well beyond the in-phone editing capabilities of Vine. In the end, I downloaded two new applications and a new browser and opened the iMovie 9 I’ve never opened since buying the computer three years ago. I also watched a half-dozen videos, read some articles. Five and half hours later, I had what you see above. And by the way, failed at “hacking” the system to upload it back onto Vine.
So my first Vine is not technically a Vine at all. But I like to think that when the time comes for my next six-second venture, I’ll be ready.