For the past three months I have been working on editing “Covenant in the Cove”; a personal project I filmed back in June/August with my dad and a co-worker. It has been a long, hard, wonderful journey editing a documentary program with two audiences in mind. The first audience is the local members of my church who experienced the pioneer reenactment in Martin’s Cove, Wyoming. The second audience is for people unfamiliar with the story of Martin’s Cove and the history of our church.
Production-wise, most our work was completed in June with a few follow-up interviews in August. Our challenge was that we needed to blend the follow-up interviews (in Kansas) with what we had already shot in Wyoming two months earlier. Visually, it wasn’t that hard to get the shots to match. It was still summer, they still had their pioneer outfits, and we could match the lighting with time of day from the other shots. However, audio capture quickly became an issue! In Kansas, August is the height of the cicada season, and even in remotest field far away from trees, you can still hear them. When push came to shove, I had to hit record and pray that I would be able to remove some of the noise in post. Big mistake. . . big mistake!!
Looking at the audio analysis from adobe’s spectral viewer you can see the horizontal lines of cicada drone. Ahh!! Painful just to look at.
*If you have the patience of Job and a lot of extra time you can remove a fair amount of the background noise using a range of tools in Adobe Audition. I learned that less was more and by doing a number of passes with just one or two frequencies at at time was a lot more effective that hitting it hard on the first pass. Audio cleanup in post is never ideal, but I was able to get about 80% of the bad sound out. Near the end of editing I discovered another long-lost filter in Logic Pro that helped get the last 15% out. Stress aside, the time I put into cleanup was all worth it.
Throughout the edit, I had several temp pieces of music playing in the background. Most of the music came from a BBC soundtrack we licensed from firstcom.com. Jonathan Elias is the main composer.
This project was a little unique for me in that most of my cuts were not influenced by the beats or changes in songs, but rather a mood that would lead us from one part of the story to the next. It really helped shift the chapters of the film from one location to the next. Of all the soundtracks I have used this is the one that felt the most complete.
One of the songs that worked particularly well is called “Heart’s Content”. When we got to the Women’s Pull scene this was the main song I used.
Looking back, the story from this film that will stay with me is of one young lady’s testimony of what she wanted to gain from the experience.
Early in here interview she recounted the experience of a pioneer woman who had lost all of her family on the original trek, due to exposure and the harshness of the winter travels. She went on to describe how she wanted to gain some of the same spiritual perspective of that early pioneer. Little did she know that she would lose her own father in an an accident just a few months after this year’s reenactment.
It’s hard to say how much of your own life and beliefs get wrapped up in any given production. I’d like to think there is a little inspiration in the work I do. This film was obviously a little closer to home than most of the documentaries I do for the college. I pray it will be an influence for good in the world and that people not familiar with my faith will gain some insight into our beliefs and how they effect us in our everyday lives. Personally, I believe there was a lot of heavenly help in telling this story.
For more information on Covenant in the Cove please head over to: covenantinthecove.wordpress.com for more information.