Jeff Titon explains the "why and how" of making a video in 1989 on video equipment before the event of computer video editing programs
George Fowler introduced Albert Collins to me in 1981 as the only old-timer he knew in the Blue Hill, Maine peninsula (where my wife and I had bought an old house we were fixing up during the summers) who played traditional dance tunes on the fiddle. Albert could play tunes like "Soldier's Joy" and "Golden Slippers" and "Endearing Young Charms" and "Turkey in the Straw," but he was quite out of practice and although he could get a good tone from the fiddle and his bow arm was agile, his intonation was not good and he dropped beats, making it difficult to play with him. I saw him a few times every summer after that. When Nick Hawes visited me in 1983 I introduced him to Albert and we played some music, and again in 1987 when Barry Dornfeld visited and we went to a party at the Fowlers I used my old black-and-white portapak, 1977 vintage, to video Albert playing a few tunes. Then in the summer of 1988 George told me that Albert's health had gotten worse and that if I wanted to do any kind of a project with him I should do it now. I had just purchased some 8mm color video equipment for Brown and decided that a short tape of Albert would be a good experiment.
At first I planned simply to video a conversation between Albert and me in which he talked about his life and work as a lobster fisherman. I really had no intention of taping him fiddling, but I would ask him about dances in the old days and his music-making. I knew it would be of interest as a document for the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History at the University of Maine in Orono, for the archive contained many such conversations with old-timers in Maine, and I didn't know how much was known about traditional ballroom, square and contradancing in this part of the state. Besides, this was the first chance I had to try out the 8mm video equipment and I was anxious to begin with a small project.
And so I read the instructions that came along with the camcorder, decided that the built-in mike needed to be replaced with an external mike, made some test shots around the house to make sure the thing worked, got my tripod, and drove for ten minutes to South Blue Hill. I'd asked George to meet me there so that Albert would be more at ease, but George was working at the hospital that day and suggested I stop by. I did, but he worked for another couple of hours, and by the time we got over to Albert's most of the day was gone. I decided the best thing to do was to take some exterior shots of Albert and George talking, just to get Albert used to the project. Albert had two very large paintings of boats over the outside door to his shop--in addition to being a fiddler he was a painter--and I took some closeups of them. Albert wanted to know what I was going to do with the tapes and George and I explained again that they would go into the Northeast Archives where people could look at them many years hence, and that Albert would get a copy of them himself for his own use. Not long afterward he went out and bought a VCR. I taped for about a half hour and made an appointment to return by myself, shortly after supper in a couple of days. I would videotape him for a couple of hours indoors while we talked about his life.
The usual setup for this kind of shooting, the setup I wanted to avoid, depends on whether the interviewer is also the cameraperson. A separate cameraperson usually sets up as television news is shot, with the image of the informant/consultant taking up the screen most of the time while making statements and replying to questions. Sometimes a question is included, and occasionally the interviewer's head is seen from the front, listening, in a cutaway, or in a shot taken with the back of the interviewer's head in the foreground. (A cutaway is a term for a quick shot away from the main activity sandwiched between two longer shots of the main thing. It's used to add interest or smooth jumpy transitions.)
If the interviewer is also the cameraperson, the video is almost always shot from a single, fixed position, on a tripod; the interviewer speaks from behind the camera and may be heard but is never seen. The informant/ consultant speaks to the interviewer and looks at the camera. I used that setup when in 1977 I videotaped John Sherfey's life story for the Powerhouse for God documentary project. When we shot the Powerhouse documentary film in 1985 and 1986 we used the first setup and deliberately included a few cutaways and questions in the film because we wanted the viewers to be reminded that they weren't looking through a transparent window at the church members' performances and statements, but rather through our eyes and ears.
To help put Albert at ease I decided to do the videotape in his kitchen where he spends a good deal of his time. We would sit at his kitchen table and talk. Like a tape recorder, a video camcorder is silent and, once on, can be forgotten about if one doesn't look over at it. (When I looked back at the videotapes I realized that Albert seldom forgot about the camera and often looked at it. Still, he was much more at ease than in the shots when I was talking to him from behind the camera.)
I'd given a good deal of thought to where I wanted us to be relative to the camera. I wanted the camera to show both of us in dialogue, yet I didn't want a third person behind the camera. I thought it would put Albert more at ease if it were just a conversation between the two of us with nobody else around. To do that I put the camera on its tripod on one side of the room, focused it on the other side where we were going to be, turned the camera on, and left it. I noticed that strong light came through the kitchen windows behind us, but rather than risk putting an artificial light on us I decided to live with the strong backlighting. The result was that some of the footage from this setup is marginal. I also had to ask Albert to unplug his refrigerator because I knew its noise would be bothersome on the tape.
We sat at Albert's kitchen table and talked to each other while the camera took a single, long shot, 2 hours at a time. This, of course, violates the usual practice in video or film making, for the film maker is advised never to let a shot run for more than about twenty seconds or the viewer will get bored. My feeling is that the "language" of film, with its establishing shots, medium shots, closeups, angles, cuts every few seconds, and so forth, calls too much attention to itself in a situation like this. Instead, I thought that the long, single shot would enable the viewer to forget about the fact that this was a video, and look at the two of us at Hap's kitchen table as if sitting and watching from across the room. The long shot is an established technique in contemporary British and European documentary. The idea is that with a long, single sequence, and a single camera, the sound and image are closer to what the observer would see and hear, without interference from the editor. This is particularly the case for performances, and in ethnomusicology Hugo Zemp has shot films like this. Of course, his films are edited, but they contain relatively long sequences, and his camera is often hand-held, as he pans and walks to follow the action. Having the film maker set up the camera, leave it, and come into the picture to converse with the informant/consultant, as I chose to do, follows from the "dialogical" notions of representation that I endorse in the Introduction to the Powerhouse book. I don't know how else the idea for that setup may have come to me.
During the videotaping I learned a great deal more than I had known about Albert and decided to make this into a larger project. I was most surprised and delighted to find out Albert was a poet. This turned up in conversation near the end of the first tape. I had been asking him why at the age of 76 when most people his age had retired he was still fishing for lobsters. I knew he just about broke even at it; he'd said as much, so it wasn't for the money. One of the questions I've been interested in for many years is why a folk artist continues to do the old-fashioned thing (see "The Life Story" for one formulation of this question.). At any rate, he thought about it and came up with some reasons: he'd been raised around boats, it got into his blood, it was a habit. I decided to push him a bit, so I asked some leading questions (you can violate a rule when you know it!) and suggested perhaps there was something deeper. Lots of people in his locale were raised around boats, had fishing in their blood, and did it as a habit--but they retired long before 76. Why did Albert continue? He thought a minute and then quoted John Masefield's poem, "I must go down to the sea again..." I was stunned (and I can see that on the video). Soon he said, "Poetry . . . runs through my mind all the time." Not long after, he began to recite other poems, saying he had a library of books of poetry. This self-educated man preferred Milton, Shakespeare, Spenser to the modern poets. In fact, as I found out shortly, he had written some poetry himself. He was a folk poet in the sense that he was self-trained and wrote in imitation of poets he admired, both high and low, Shakespeare and Holman Day. He was also a folk poet in the sense that he wrote about local events and gave his poems away to the participants. He didn't have copies of most of his poems.
After that first day of videotaping I was eager to learn more about his poems and poetry. I decided that instead of making just a videotape for deposit in the Archives I would try to make a documentary portrait of this man of parts. I decided to include other scenes than conversation. I would go out lobster fishing with him and videotape him doing it. That would provide many scenes for his voice-overs telling about his life, I thought. He had a sawmill and a shingle mill in the back of his house; I would videotape him as he explained how he used them. I would videotape him fiddling, making sure George was there to keep him on track in the tunes, and I would back them on guitar after framing us all in the camera.
I began to wish I had better equipment. Should I write a grant proposal and make the video with better equipment if and when the grant money became available, no sooner than the following summer? If George was right it would be foolish to wait. I hoped that the quality of the 8mm format would be sufficient... but for whom and for what?
The route I had gone with Powerhouse was grants and PBS. I found the process of applying for grants and shaping the film for PBS disturbing. It was time-consuming and delayed the project. It required a kind of premature project planning in the grant proposal stage. That is, when you write a grant for a film or video you must write a script or a detailed scene-by-scene treatment and show what you want to film and how you will edit and shape it. For Powerhouse we shaped our proposals partly in accordance with what we thought our major granting agencies, NEA and NEH, would want. In the process I became convinced by my own rhetoric and believed we could and should make the film we proposed to the granting agencies. In retrospect I think we would have been more flexible and shot different and better footage had we not formulated a detailed treatment as part of the grant process. Another problem was that we didn't get enough money. NEH turned us down twice over a two-year period. We limped home with the film, editing it over a three year period, getting paid almost nothing, and sinking several thousand of our own dollars into the film. At this point we are still trying to get the film on PBS, another process I find dispiriting. I think the film is a good film, but it took five years of anxiety from the grant-writing stage to the finish. I didn't want to go through that with this videotape.
Suppose, on the other hand, I didn't go the grant-writing and PBS route, but made the video for Albert, and for local and in-state distribution at drugstores, supermarkets, video stores, historical societies, libraries, the Northeast Folklore Archives, and so forth? Suppose the quality wasn't good enough for PBS; it might still be good enough for "home video." I took a great deal of personal satisfaction thinking I could make this videotape with equipment that an amateur or aspiring video documentary artist might purchase, valued at about $2,000. Of course Brown University had purchased it for the ethnomusicology program, on my request; but I would donate my time. I wouldn't have to squeeze it into 28 or 58 minutes; I could let the form follow a more natural course.
I began to think about the possibilities of empowerment low-tech video offered to individuals, families, and community organizations. If I could do this with Albert Collins, many other people could make videotapes for local use. Think globally, act locally: festivals, local showings, home video. Almost everyone has a VCR. Earlier advocates of community empowerment through cable television made a lot of sense to me, but the equipment cost a lot then. Truly it was within reach today. So the Albert Collins project would be a kind of test case of low-tech video. I was encouraged further during the fall of 1988 (after shooting the videotapes) when a newly-arrived graduate student, Franziska von Rosen, took an independent study course in which we read and talked about the problems and prospects of low-tech video. She envisioned it as a means of empowerment for some of the Native American peoples she was working with.
By the end of the summer I had videotaped about eleven hours of conversations at Albert's kitchen table, two hours of lobstering, an hour of fiddling, and an hour around his shingle mill and sawmill. During the following academic year I paid a graduate student, Katherine Hagedorn, to transcribe the words on the tapes onto a computer. With the transcriptions printed out I was ready to log the tapes and begin editing. At that point I did not have a detailed idea of the shape the video would take, but I knew I had some good material. The images of lobster fishing were beautiful if a bit contrasty. (High contrast shooting outdoors is one of the inherent problems with video and is worse with 8mm. One thing that helps outdoors is to use a neutral-density filter; at least this puts the background more out of focus and lets the lens work at a larger aperture. Another idea is to use an artificial light on the subject to fill in any shadows.) The sound track for the lobstering was engine noise only, but I thought I could overdub the sound of Albert talking about his life while the viewer saw images of him fishing. I thought I would do the same thing with the sawmill and shingle mill footage; that is, briefly show him walking around there while talking about the time in his life that he worked with lumber. I knew he had told several good yarns and I wanted to get them in somehow. He'd spoken about his painting and showed some of the paintings he was working on, and that was good footage. The fiddling I could take or leave; most of it sounded bad while a couple of tunes or parts of tunes might be salvageable. But most of all I wanted to get his poems into the videotape. In fact, knowing this while I was shooting, I sometimes abandoned the conversational setup and went behind the camera to fill the screen with his head and shoulders and take a few different angles while he read his poems. Finally, I wanted somehow to make the video turn on that moment that he read John Masefield's poem, as the event had turned for me. I figured I could fit it together and make it flow somehow, but I didn't want to plan it in more detail until I was at the editing table.
Editing the Albert Collins Video
1. Logging the tapes.
In editing any videotape it's necessary to have a sense of mental control over the material; you need to know what you have and how to get to it in a hurry. For a simple editing job, like cutting out the commercials from a television program, you don't need to write anything down, but when you have a lot of tapes, footage, and scenes, the best way to organize is to "log" or write down a detailed record of what is on the tapes, both sound and image. For sound, a transcription (it doesn't have to be perfectly accurate) of the spoken words provides a workable log. For images, some kind of shorthand is useful, along with a notation of whether the footage is usable. (If there was a lot of jerky camera movement it probably isn't.) Finally a few notes to yourself about how you might edit go into the log. Logging the tapes takes a lot of time. Fortunately I had some research assistantship money at my disposal and I paid a graduate student, Katherine Hagedorn, $10 per hour to transcribe the tapes with a word-processing program. In order to save the original videotapes from wear I copied them to audiotapes for Katherine to use when she transcribed. Altogether the transcriptions ran to 350 double-spaced pages. After that I spent several hours and listened back to the audiotapes and made corrections on the computer. I made a hard copy and then I went back and looked at the videotapes and noted the counter numbers on the playback unit (I used the camera for this) every 100 or so and wrote them on the hard copy to help me locate portions by number. I had eight tapes all told (about fifteen hours of material), so I had to indicate which tape was on. Later I went back and entered the tape numbers in the word- processing file.
I sent a hard copy of the transcriptions to Albert so that he could make corrections and edit out anything he didn't want in the final version. I also sent a hard copy to George Fowler for his response, but he didn't have time to read it all the way through. He did spot a few untoward comments Albert made about a neighbor and we agreed to take them out of the tape. Albert okayed the rest of it.
My next step was to fool around with the editing equipment and find out what could and could not be done, and what could be done easily and what only with great difficulty.
2. Planning the Edits
Before editing I had to become familiar with the equipment. I had some prior experience with film editing, dating back to the time I helped my father splice 8mm home movies, through looking mostly over Barry's shoulder as he spliced the Powerhouse edit together. I knew that you didn't cut videotape the way you cut film, but you edited electronically, copying the scenes you wanted onto a master tape. This means you need a very precise way to start both tapes simultaneously at the "cut-in" point where you wanted to begin your scene.
I decided to do a test edit and I used a few scenes from another project, the Cumberland Mountain Tour, that played at Brown in the spring of 1988. I had some footage of the concert that I wanted to intercut with interview footage: performance / interview / performance / interview, etc. What could be simpler? But I found the manuals somewhat confusing and realized I would need at least a few hours just to figure out how the editing controller and editing deck worked. In fact, I hooked up the controller incorrectly the first time and couldn't figure out why, so I quit in disgust and came back the following day and experimented around until I found the proper connections. Later on, with Franziska looking over my shoulder, I tried and failed about a dozen times to cut-in at a particularly precise point! The controller was making the cut according to the counter number, and I wanted it to cut "between the numbers." (In the summer I would figure out that I could cut in bit earlier and fade up the sound manually at the right place.)
Not wanting to risk damage to the original videotapes, I dubbed (copied) them onto other 8mm tape and worked with the copies as the sources. Incidentally, copying 8mm to 8mm gives far better results than copying to VHS. I'm always disappointed in the tape copies made on VHS machines. Except for off-the-air dubs, and made-for-video movies, VHS seems to me a poor medium, sort of like 8-track cassettes. Then I tried assembling some scenes together, using the camera as the "source" or playback deck and the Sony EVS-700U as the "editing" or record deck, following the directions on how to connect them, making sure to use the RCA-jack connecting cables for the best possible quality.
The most seriously frustrating part of 8mm editing was that I couldn't figure out how to do a "video insert" -- that is, to insert an image while keeping the original sound. This is the sort of thing you do when you want to insert a cutaway. I thought the editing controller would allow me to do that. I was wrong. One cannot do video inserts because as far as I can tell, the 8mm tape technology doesn't allow for it. Sound and picture is recorded together and if you cut picture you must cut sound. On the other hand, by using the audio dub feature the original track can be eliminated entirely while another track can be added.
From a practical standpoint, this means it is difficult to do cut-aways and keep synch sound. A cut-away is an insertion for a brief moment of another picture--often a shot of the audience reacting to the performer--and it is used to bridge over some unstable or awkward camera technique in the original footage, to relieve the monotony of a shot from a single angle, or to smooth over a jump cut when compressing time to get rid of portions of a performance. For example, suppose you are shooting with a single camera and your raw footage is of a performer singing a song. You might shoot the whole song from a single camera angle, varying it only by zooming. Now suppose the song lasts for three minutes but you only want to show it for thirty seconds. (So much for the long shot.) You might want to insert a cutaway to relieve the monotony of a single shot lasting for thirty seconds. Or you might have shot part of it from one angle, then moved the camera to another while the performance continued. In this case you will have some awkward footage while you moved, and you if you want to keep the sound that you recorded during the change of position, you must insert some kind of cutaway.
In a continuous performance like a song it is to my knowledge impossible, using 8mm equipment, to insert a cutaway and maintain synchronized sound. You can insert or assemble the video portion of the cutaway but you must dub the audio portion on later, directly from the videotape that has the sound you want to overdub onto the video track. Furthermore, the audio dub completely eliminates the original sound, so if you want some of the original sound for ambience it must be mixed with the overdub track at the moment of recording, and this means feeding it through a mixer from another source such as a tape recorder.
In a noncontinuous performance, like a conversation, it is possible to work around the problem of maintaining synch sound while inserting a cutaway by making the video cut on each side over a spot of silence on the audio track, then overdubbing the audio, but this can be done only if the silence is about 1/2 second or more, as at the end of a sentence. It is still a tedious process, particularly for anyone who is used to editing 16mm film.
(Why then, you might ask, should a person bother with 8mm video? The tradeoff is this: by merging sound and image together on the tape 8mm is able to achieve much higher sound quality than VHS. And despite what advocates of VHS say, the video quality of 8mm is also far better.)
(Another way around the cutaway problem is to use the 8mm camera or playback deck as source and edit on a different format that permits video inserts. I'd advise against using a VHS editing deck because the quality deteriorates so badly.)
I needed cutaways in the Albert Collins video because so much of the footage involved our conversations at his kitchen table. In editing I wanted to insert cutaways or at least change the image significantly whenever we jumped to a different part of the footage. This is a cardinal principle of editing: avoid jump cuts. So by judicious overdubbing I could fake cutaways in some spots, I thought; and in other places I would simply fade the scene out to black, then come up with the new image; or cut to black and fade up the new scene. (To do that one needs a special outboard fader; that's how I used the Radio Shack model that I bought.)
3. The Rough Edit Takes Shape
Having shot this footage, how should I arrange it? I assumed that Albert would want any of it in the final video, as I had copied the raw footage and given it to him and he liked it a great deal. I asked him what he wanted to see in the edited version and he said it was up to me. I sensed he didn't really want to get involved in the editing process. And so in no particular order, I told Albert I thought that the most important subjects I wanted in the edited version were: Albert reading and talking about his poetry; Albert showing and talking about his paintings; Albert lobstering and talking about his life lobstering; Albert talking about his life (he spoke almost exclusively of his working life) and also his grandparents, parents, and his boyhood; Albert telling good stories; Albert contrasting the old days with today. Albert said that would be fine.
I went back through the transcript on the computer and lifted out sequences on the various subjects I wanted, making and printing out files on the following subjects: Albert's autobiography; Albert's stories about lobstering; Albert's poems and stories about poetry in his life; Albert's fiddling and stories about fiddling; Albert's good stories; Albert's painting. I began to see one possibility, that the video would move from one of these subjects to the next. I had the footage numbers on these hard copies and could move from one scene to the next as I went through a subject, seeing what would work and what wouldn't.
Then I began to list subjects in order of my priorities. They were: (1) our dialogue concerning Albert's reasons for continuing to fish at age 76, and his quoting the Masefield poem; (2) Albert reading his best poems; (3) Albert's painting; (4) Albert's best stories; (5) Albert's autobiography; (6) Albert's fiddling.
Next I tried to see how these subjects could be connected. I could see how to make a transition from Albert talking about lobstering to his poetry via our dialogue and his quoting Masefield. The other subjects were connected to his autobiography, I thought. And so, really, was lobstering. But then when I returned to the transcript and thought about the images, I realized that Albert's autobiography was given more or less in sequence at the very beginning of the first tape: he summarized in detail his working life. Other autobiographical recollections were interspersed throughout the other tapes, but the best long sequence was the first fifteen minutes or so of the first tape.
And so I returned to the idea of an autobiographical "chunk" on Albert's working life, rather than thinking of autobiography as the center of a wheel that would connect to various subjects. I thought I could present most of this autobiography as a voice-over during images of Albert lobster fishing. Besides, the images and sound on this first tape were not as good as on subsequent tapes after I had a chance to review the setup and add some lights, so I was pleased to think of a way to mask some problems. But where should this go? It wasn't the most exciting part of the tape.
For me, of course, the most exciting part of the tape was the discovery of Albert as a lover of poetry. I wanted that toward the end of the tape, as a kind of climax. But I imagined that for general audiences the best part of the tape would be Albert's stories about his horse and about Kittredge's oxen. Here Albert was in a sense acting out the role of the Maine character, the downeast Yankee storyteller, and he did a great job of it. Unfortunately the video that went along with these stories wasn't very good because of poor lighting. So I felt I really couldn't begin with them. I wanted to begin with some nice video images.
At that point I hit upon the scheme that organized the video. If we started with images of lobstering, we could also end with them, effecting a kind of visual introduction and closure. But as the sound track for the lobstering was only engine noise, I had to use Albert's voice-overs. So I thought I would begin the film with lobster fishing and voice overs while Albert went through his recollections of his working life. Then I would take up the other subjects I wanted in turn, eventually coming back to Albert as a fisherman and the dialogue that led to the Masefield poem. I would follow that dialogue with Albert reading his poems and talking about poetry, and end up with fishing again. I could see some links: some of Albert's poems were about fishing, so some of them could be voice-over while I showed him fishing. And so on. There were also Albert's wise comments about lobstering and his beliefs about education, money, and so forth and I wanted to get them in somehow. I figured I would find a way.
I began to think of other alternatives. One was to use the lobster fishing tape for almost all of the images, with Albert talking in voice-over about his life. The film would cut to those parts that showed him reading his poems or showing his paintings, but only those scenes that I had taken from behind the camera. I was tempted to do this in part because the shot that I had used for the conversations was not of very high quality most of the time. For the first tape the sound was not as good as it could have been because the mike was too far away. The picture was backlit some of the time as well and too contrasty, with the result that our features did not stand out.
But I decided that it was better to edit a film truer to the original situation, and so instead of hanging the film on the lobster fishing image framework, I decided to hang it on the conversation framework, which meant centering on the conversation and cutting away to the other kinds of scenes. Yet if I was going to begin with lobster fishing and Albert's autobiography, I would need to get the "real situation"--our conversation--on the screen early to establish the scene that was providing the voice-overs. Otherwise it would be confusing when my voice came in, either grunting agreement or asking questions.
I spent a long time trying to solve this problem. I began the film with some scenes of Albert and his partner, Ken Taplin, starting out in their boat, then switched to the lobstering images and Albert's biography, but it didn't work. I needed something in between. I kept looking at the transcript and log. I remembered one of the "wise" sayings I wanted to get in was Albert's very lyrical "grand tour" of lobstering, so I put that in as a voice over at the beginning of the fishing sequence. Then I decided that a good way to establish the "dialog" scene was to show us talking about Albert's grandfather. Logically we could start the autobiography with the ancestors instead of Albert's funny story about what his father said when he was born. So I shot some footage of a map of the area showing Blue Hill and Long Island and Brooklin and used Albert's voice-over about his grandfather coming from Scotland to Nova Scotia to settle on Long Island, and then showed the two of us at Albert's table as we continued the conversation. After that scene established the conversation as the basis for Albert's autobiography and my occasional interjections, I returned to the lobster fishing images and used Albert's autobiography of his career as a voice over.
I felt (and still feel) that I had too much fishing and voice over in this section. Eventually I returned to the conversation scene at the point when Albert stopped reciting facts and told an interesting story about how he quit his job in a North Carolina shipyard during World War II and returned to Maine and to lobster fishing. Then I went back to more fishing and voice over until Albert finished his story.
Throughout this process I used the "audio dub" feature to do the voice overs. I was not very happy with the awkwardness of this procedure in comparison to film editing, where you can cut very often and precisely, reducing a rambling, two-minute story to a snappy thirty-second one. In fact I abandoned the idea of making several cuts because it was so awkward doing so, and just let Albert go on. In the fine cut I imagine I will make some of those cuts and shorten this section a bit.
During the rough edit I kept a careful record of the scenes I edited onto the tape, making a new log. This is so I could come back and re-do portions, and use it for the fine cut to follow. I won't go into the procedure I used for editing the rest of the video here. It was pretty straightforward. After the lobster fishing/ autobiography I decided to move from subject to subject, leading up to the return to Albert's talking about fishing and then the transition to his poetry. The fiddling was included and provided a certain relief. Certain things fell out because they seemed less important. A few things were added. I tried to unify it in a few ways. It would have been impossible to work through the editing without a very detailed log and control over the footage; I consulted it every step of the way. But I've said here what I wanted to say, and I'll just add that once I got going on the editing, the video gathered momentum and decision-making became much easier.
Little Deer Isle, Maine