In July/August 2019 I went to the USA and Canada, for 3 amazing weeks, with a Scout Unit, to the 24th World Scout Jamboree, taking place in West Virginia, having been selected to be part of the UK Contingent to this amazing event, attended by more countries than compete in the Olympics. There were over 45.000 participants, all gathered together for this event hosted by Scouting Associations from USA, Mexico and Canada. It is an event that scouts only get one chance to apply for in their time as a scout/explorer scout, which only happens once every 4 years, so I was very honoured to be selected. I can, in future years, apply to be a member of the next World Scout Jamboree International Service Team (IST), a large group of adult volunteers from around the world who are part of making this event happen, and I intend to apply for IST for the next World Scout Jamboree in 2023 in South Korea, something that I could not have imagined doing before going on this life-changing trip.
During the preparation time in the UK, and during our time in the USA and Canada, I shot some footage. When we flew to the USA for the actual Jamboree, we started our expedition in New York, then went to the site of the actual Jamboree (The Summit Bechtel Reserve) in West Virginia for the 12 days of the Jamboree. After the Jamboree, our Unit went to Washington for a few days, along with the rest of the UK Contingent. After this, we went to Canada, for a few days, our Unit staying with a Scouting Group there. This section contains some of the edited pieces I made with this footage. I have explained in the Progression Section more how this awesome opportunity changed me, but to start with here are some videos. Virtually all the footage and photos in this section are filmed by me, but there are some photos and videos that other Unit members took too, which I have edited in where appropriate. All my footage in this section was filmed on my phone. The first video here (the final one I made) was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro on a couple of different computers, and the other videos were edited on my phone using Cute CUT Pro. I prefer filming using a camera, but in these instances it wasn’t practical. I think that, under the circumstances, and despite me seeing lots of things I would now improve on, it did work better than I had anticipated.
The first video is actually the last one I made, but I feel it works best first here since I feel it is technically my best film in this section and also the content gives a good feel for the subject. I edited a short 4:31 minute video of the actual 3 week trip, for the first meet up of our Unit (36 scouts plus 4 leaders, unit name “Swans and Stags”, Unit 51) after we got back from the trip. It had been a really emotional and “growing” experience for us all, for most of us it was the longest we had been away from home and I can confidently say that we all developed great teamwork skills, independence, and a strong emotional connection. So, I decided that for this film I wanted to go with the emotional feeling that we all had. I had recently re-watched the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, and I loved the song “The Last Goodbye” written and performed by Billy Boyd (Pippin Took in the Lord of the Rings). This song is about the parting of ways of a close-knit group after a long battle. Although we certainly weren’t fighting anyone, just the opposite, we were coming together as scouts from all across the globe to work together, our Unit had spent 18 months preparing and 3 solid weeks 24/7 together so the parting afterwards to go back to “normal” life felt strange, like the music showed it felt strange and emotional for the Lord of the Rings characters, so I felt it was a good match. It also had lots of useful lyrics that I could match images I had filmed to, (where appropriate, without overdoing it) which I like doing since I feel it helps tie in the emotions of the sound to the visuals. You will spot lots of examples throughout this video.
I put a lot of thought into editing this video, in many ways. One way, as I have mentioned was image/words matching. Also, I take notice of the music beats and often match a movement in a shot to a beat or sound element e.g. at 0:10 when Lucy turns round to the camera as the music does a little “twiddle”. And I consider the pace of the music and try to make my visuals work with the pace changes. I think a lot about how music/sound and visuals combine to enhance the emotional experience and it has been great on my College course to learn more about how that is so.
Another way was in my transitions. I think about which way the camera, and thus the image, is moving when I decide where to put my cuts, which shots to combine, and whether a straight cut works best or a more fancy transition like a fade. For example, in the transition between the clips from about 1:14 to 1:20, I was wanting to put them next to each other when I noticed they both had a lens flare. I decided to use the lens flare as the transition. I did a slight fade between the 2 clips, which works with the lens flare to give a subtle, effective and different transition which I am pleased with.
At the end, the inclusion of the song “Country Roads”(which contains lines about West Virginia) by John Denver is because, with the main Jamboree taking place in West Virginia, it became a song that we sang a lot. I felt that (as happened) there would be emotional tears as we watched the main video, so adding something that would make us smile and sing along at the end would be an effective way to end.
Footage I shot and edited from the Jamboree
These next 2 videos are the first ones I filmed and edited. The first one is the first time that most of us met. We were working on teambuilding, doing some community work at the scout hut, and on choosing our Unit name and designing a badge that we felt would reflect us – our final choice was “Swans and Stags” to reflect that we were a combined unit of scouts/explorer scouts from Bucks (hence swans) and Hertfordshire (hence stags). The main audience for these videos is our Unit, other Scouts who we would like to show our journey and inspire to go to future World Scout Jamborees and other interested people. I would make them in a very different way if I was filming them now. These 2 videos were filmed nearly 3 years ago, in a less planned and controllable situation than for my “Serebrus Serum” film (which was also filmed several years ago), and I think they show how much further my filmmaking has developed over these 3 years.
Swans and Stags (Unit 51) Training and Bonding
As one our Unit’s two “Communications Champions” I was asked to create a 15 seconds’ video clip for our Unit 51 to form part of an online countdown, of the 100 UK units, from 100 days to go. The brief was that it had to be 15 seconds and had to include our Unit name and particularly our Unit number for the countdown. In actual fact, many of the other units went over 15 seconds but I like to keep to the brief. I had hoped, during one of our training weekends, to do a drone shot of our Unit lying on the ground forming the letters “SWANS AND STAGS” and “51”. Unfortunately, the person who was going to get hold of the drone was unable to, and this was the only opportunity we had to be together before the deadline date. So, instead, I got the group to do the same thing on the floor in the scout hut for the “SWANS AND STAGS” part. I put a row of chairs alongside them that I could walk along and film, but, when I looked back at it, I wasn’t happy with it. So, I took screen shots of my video at certain points and stitched them together to make one shot which I held on the screen for as long as I could within the brief time and time needed for other images.
I was concerned that for someone who didn’t already know our Unit name “Swans and Stags” it wasn’t easy to see, in the held shot, quickly enough that this was what was being spelled out. So, I used one of the 15 seconds to add a few quick shots at the start of various forms of our Unit badge (badge, polo shirt, hoodie). These badges only appear for a second, however, due to my characteristic attention to detail, I wanted them lined up with each other so as not to jar. It took quite a while to get the photos exactly right for this but eventually I did, and I think it works. The footage of us spelling out “UNIT 51” worked better, so I was able to put that in at the end. I also like the panorama shot, one our leaders took that, and we had fun running round to each be in the photo 3 times. It may only be a 15 second film, but it certainly confirmed how long even a few seconds of film takes both to film and edit.
Swans and Stags (Unit 51) Countdown to the Jamboree
This final Jamboree film is of a song that my Unit adapted, before we went to the World Scout Jamboree. We wanted to do a surprise project for our 4 leaders, so some of the Unit worked out alternative words to “Reach” by S Club 7, based on “Swans and Stags” instead, and all about when we would be going to the World Scout Jamboree. We didn’t have very long to record the song, which is why the singing is a bit variable since some people were seeing the song words for the first time. I then edited it, using footage that (if you have watched the previous films in this Jamboree section) you may recognise, footage that I got others in our Unit to send me, and spare Unit footage that I shot on other occasions.
Where I could, I tried to match some images to words e.g. a shot of swans at a particular point where the words are “Swans and Stags”, footage of the Unit dancing where the words “When D.J. Alice plays those tunes to you” is being sung. There are a few “in” jokes (like D.J. Alice, and “accidentally summoning Brandon at 2am”) because my “target audience” for this was our Unit, our 4 leaders, and all our parents. Even though the target audience wasn’t huge, I still put a lot of thought and effort into the editing though, as I always do. I wanted to show the variety of activities we had done, the fun we had had whilst doing these activities, and how well we bonded as a Unit and Team. I tried to include a variety of shot types to keep interest and attention since humans are programmed to notice change which is why a variety of shot types can help keep the energy of a video up, and I wanted this to be very high energy to reflect our energy and passion for going to the World Scout Jamboree.
As I usually do, as well as matching images appropriately where I can, I also take notice of beats of the music and try to make actions match. Sometimes this means cutting on a beat, but I like matching an action within a piece of footage to a beat, either a camera movement action like at round 0:16 where I matched moving the camera up to see Ben’s face smiling to the beat, or someone’s movement in the scene like at 0:26 where I matched Zoe swinging round to grin at the camera to a beat. Also, at 1:50 when Conor flips scrambled eggs (I think) over in the pan on the beat and at 1:53/4 when Alex raises and lowers the laser gun to the beats. There are lots of other occasions since I do this a lot, even though it adds a lot of time to editing. I could go on picking out the moments but hopefully you get the drift. Hopefully it just makes the song beat flow more easily (rather than being very noticeable, so I do try not to overdo it) adding to the enjoyment, adding energy and showing just what a great time we had preparing for this amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.