Wissahickon Ambient Video

This is a sample from a longer, as-yet-untitled ambient video piece I’ve been working on for a while.

Let’s begin by saying that the music is by Chris Zabriskie, who’s made a lot of his excellent ambient music available at the Free Music Archive. It’s under a Creative Commons license for free use, as long as the artist is credited, but since I’d like to sell my full-length video in some form or another, I’ve emailed him about the project to work things out. But it appears that a sampler can be released, for now.

So what’s the story here? During the summer, I’d ride my bike up to the Wissahickon, and I started bringing my video cameras with me. I figured that I might make a nice atmospheric video for my own enjoyment: get some nice nature shots, lay in some music, and have it play in the background while I did important things like edit video, write, sketch house renovations, sleep, or whatever. (The music I use for my home, personal version includes some Ravi Shankar, some of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack from The Last Temptation of Christ, and other good stuff.) I figure there’s probably a market for this, as well: I’ve seen some videos that are collections of gorgeous nature shots of places like Costa Rica and Monument Valley and the like, and the Wissahickon has a lot that’s at least as gorgeous.

By the way, it’s not as if I just slapped this together. I’d thought about establishing overall themes. For a while, I was going to have long segments of Water, Stone, Trees, Fauna, and the Hand of Man. Well, you’ll see the Water, Trees and Stone stuff. I never got as much footage of animals that I’d hoped for (the ducks, turtles, and others were shy much of the time). The Hand of Man was going to be things that humans had built, such as bridges, dams, statues, that odd baptism-font-like thing in the southern area of the park. I decided to leave those out and stick to nature, save for the waterfall footage at the beginning.

I have been giving some thought to making a full-blown documentary about the region. But that’d take about a year of shooting throughout the park, plus doing research, writing a narration, including antique maps and illustrations, and more. Maybe Wissahickon Moods might serve as an introduction/selling point to raise money for that project.

Assuming that I can clear the music, and find some good sounds from the footage (you can hear traffic from nearby thoroughfares a lot of the time), I may have something that people can watch while they’re meditating, or something that a yoga studio’d have on their big-screens, or whatnot. But how do I sell this? I’m finding that the major pay-for-video-distribution systems are a little tough to get into. Vimeo seems the easiest, at $200 a year: iTunes has a raft of requirements and costs close to two grand. Manufacturing DVDs or Blu-Ray disks is, for now, prohibitively expensive: I’d have to pre-sell a lot of disks, before I can have them made. So, for now, this sampler should work as a preview, and as a portfolio item.

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