They were, and they weren’t ideal conditions. The sky was blue, the sunshine was glorious; it showed the idyllic scene at its almost best (as you shall see). I was, however, slightly impeded by four factors. But first, as ever, for your edification and entertainment, this week’s magic lantern show of a real life cozy village green:
Rubbish, Weather and Wildlife
The four impedences? First, it was bin day, and the less-than aesthetically pleasing receptacles were forming an honour guard along the kerbs and pavements.
Second, a light breeze rapidly blowing out my partly natural and partly contrived curls. Third was the nettle that turned out not to be a nettle. A wasp had taken refuge from the heat under the shadow of the folds of my skirt. Unimpressed by my thoughtless manoeuvers, it had registered its protest in the form of a calling card that I was, at the time, convinced to be the sting of defensive vegetation. The discomfort was a distraction. Nevertheless, demonstrating my willingness to suffer for my art and your pleasure, I soldiered on. Well, I filmographered on.
An Unplanned Break
Fourth? The first of my rookie errors. I ran out of phone storage and had to return to the mothership to unload the footage acquired so far, delete, refill my water bottle and strike back out to the green. By which time, it was midday, with temperatures soaring into the high 20’s (80s). Not perhaps the best time with the sun overhead, but I was on Operation Get-it-in-the-can.
I completed my mission to the best of my ability and made for my desk and editing software.
Two Lessons for Apprentice Self-Filmers
The first take-home from this expedition, for this opening attempt at cameraman-less shooting out away from my home-based library ‘set’, was extra memory storage for the phone was going to be essential. Video is voracious.
The second lesson became apparent when I listened to as well as watched the fruits of my labour. Even in the absence of planes flying overhead, cars passing, people chatting as they wandered past, dogs barking or garden power tools being wielded (please see Author Reveal Blooper Reel). Even a light breeze will muffle a voice at any distance from the phone, which was mounted on a tripod.
You might also include: choose a day that isn’t bin day, check that the sun will be shining on your subject, and be aware of local wildlife (of the insect variety or otherwise). Which furnishes us with a total of 5 tips.
For inadequate audio? Ultimately, a wireless lapel mic. Immediate fix? Record the voiceover. I am not in most of the video, so dialling down the background sounds and adding the narrative was simple. For the most part.
The challenge came with the opening location-establishing sentence where I am speaking to the camera, and you can see my lips moving. I had to type out what I’d said, practice lip-synching, and then, with headphones on, repeat the words into the phone voice recording app. Would you have guessed?
You will be pleased to know that both the storage and the mic arrived yesterday and sit ready for testing.
Where will the next on-location shoot take us? Possibly back to the real Sunken Madley (Monken Hadley) home of Amanda Cadabra, possibly somewhere else I have in mind. Or the library where I have something of keen interest to cozy readers to share with you.
Meanwhile, I am making my fascinated way through a rare antique tome penned well over a century ago devoted to the very Monken Hadley of which I speak. We shall see what treasures emerge for your entertainment and my creative furnace.
Of course, all of this movie magic is fun and entertaining, but what of the next sequel in the Amanda Cadabra series? Plans are afoot, while I continue to develop these video snippets, to allow me time in my beloved ivory tower with quill and parchment. So expect news thereof in due course.
In any event, back next time with another mini-movie for you, to illuminate the world-building of a cozy paranormal mystery series.
PS If you want to start the series now:
Available on Amazon
and Large Print