Friday, June 12, 2015

Marching Milkmen

My wife and I started a marching band 12 years ago for a local dairy delivery company called Munroe Dairy. Why does a dairy company need a marching band you might ask. Because they were already appearing in a couple of parades every year, dressed in old-fashioned milkman whites and leading a restored antique milk truck. And we were already associated with the dairy, having done some graphic design work for them. "You guys need music," my wife said. "You need your own marching band."

Six years ago a budding videographer and friend of ours named Richard Goulis spent two parades recording us. He took all the footage home and edited and edited . . . and edited. I hadn't realized then how important editing is to storytelling, digital or otherwise. We loved the final video, and I present it below.

What I love about this video is that it is a story. It is a story about an event (a parade) that is in itself a kind of story. Those of us who perform in parades experience them like a story because they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They have an arc, and a resolution, and things happen along the way. The videographer captured this experience, and thereby told a story. He told it with music, with imagery, yet with no explicit verbal narrative.

I referred to Jason Ohler's list of possible digital story evaluation traits to examine this story. I used three traits: the story itself, the understanding of content, and the voice.

The story: Goulis quite successfully portrayed the experience of the parade. He presented the band preparation and the build-up of excitement and camaraderie before the parade, and the anticipation as the parade stepped off. He captured the way the audience started out a bit thin, increased in size and energy dramatically, and then thinned out again at the end. He even somehow captured how exhausted and dazed we were at the end. However, Goulis could have shortened the parade-end segment a bit to avoid the sensation of dragging.

The understanding of content: For Goulis to tell this story, he had to develop an understanding of the parade experience by immersing himself in it. He also understood that his assignment included showcasing the sponsor, Munroe Dairy. Goulis needed to know the role of each participant in the band. He demonstrated that he fully understood the situation he was assigned to portray.

The voice: Goulis revealed a distinctive voice in his video. He maintained visual interest with his varied and imaginative framing of shots, constantly in motion. His visual imagery was consistently full of energy and humor.

I would be remiss to not mention Goulis' use of audio. He chose one of the many songs the band plays and used it exclusively throughout the video (except for the credits). He maintained the viewer's interest by synchronizing visual events with the music. An added touch was his use of a cannon shot as a kind of punctuation, another sign of his sense of humor.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your video and critique of the Marching Milkmen. The video had a nice flow. The footage felt like a sampling of what you would see as a spectator and possibly as one of the performers. I appreciated the use of audio. I liked that the music was the same until the end. The credits with emotional expressions at the closing was a nice touch as well. Overall, the video gave an interesting perspective on what it could might be like to watch the Marching Milkmen perform.