As this semester comes to a close so does this chapter of my Humanities Project. Towards the beginning of this project, I had set my sights on completing a documentary style short film that told the story of the “Gathering at the Crossroads” Commonwealth Monument featured on T. Morris Chester Way. As I continued on this journey I was met with many unexpected twists and turns. I learned how to adapt and continually mold my final project into an effective way to tell a story.
My final project turned out to be a high quality 2-minute news styled package. The video project tells the multi-layered story of the history and creation behind the bronze monument that is off of Walnut Street and the T. Morris Chester Way in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. What makes this video unique is that it’s styled with an informative view of the monument’s history by featuring some of the creators themselves. The final product features interviews from both Lenwood Sloan and John Melham.
To create a news package, I first sequenced together various clips of B-roll of the monument, the Dauphin County Library Research Center, and personal interviews to tell the story of the monument. I unconventionally decided not to use my own voice for narration throughout the package as a normal reporter would. Instead, I decided to create what is called a NATPACK, which means a natural sound package. Basically, this means I only utilized the audio I have collected from interviews or b-roll versus editing in another voice like my own. The story had its own voice, and I didn’t want to take away from that. Finally, I edited in multiple lower third name graphics describing the speaker, end credits noting the people who contributed to this project, and thank you credits to important sponsors who have been behind the monument project since the beginning. This final video is built the same way as a news story is built for a local broadcast like the ones you see on Harrisburg stations ABC27 or WGAL, except for the end credits which do not usually occur in a broadcast.
Shooting a multi-cam interview is very difficult to do alone so I employed the help of two incredible production assistants. I had PJ Riddell as my videography and production assistant for my first interview and Marie Miller for my second interview. By enlisting the help of a production assistant, I was able to solely focus on my guest’s interview while they monitored sound and lighting quality during the actual shoot. An extra set of hands also proved very helpful with production set up and tear down. The Past Player room in the research center at Dauphin County Library was what we used as the first interview location. The room provided a creative backdrop and a quiet space to capture best audio. For the second interview, I was able to use a studio space in Harrisburg from Messiah Alum Chad Frey. His space gave me beautiful lighting and a warm brick accent wall to frame my interviewee.
All the editing in post-production was done through the editing software system provided by Messiah, final cut pro. In the editing process, I had to learn how to add sponsor graphics to my clips and edit in lower third name graphics to let viewers know who each speaker is and their proper title or role corresponding with the project throughout the video. I learned a new editing technique while doing this project called multi-cam. This function you can only do on final cut pro software, and it allows you to sync your high-quality audio from one camera with the rest of your camera angles. This style function took me a while to learn, but I finally was able to get the hang of it to successfully complete the final project.
The final video will be uploaded to my personal YouTube page where the video can then be linked to different websites like Digital Harrisburg, The Commonwealth Monument Project, and The Dauphin County Library page. The link will also be QR accessible to still put by the monument as originally promised. If the QR code is linked to a page like The Commonwealth Monument Project or Digital Harrisburg, multiple video projects can be uploaded to the site by either myself or future students in the program who decide to continue the path that I started.
I do plan to continue my original plan of a documentary style of short film covering this project. I look forward to continuing to hold various interviews and learning more about the collaborative efforts behind and multi-step creation process of this beautiful bronze monument and the impact its story has had on the public.
You can view the video below, on the Digital Public Humanities YouTube Channel, or keliganeyhistory YouTube Channel
Keli Ganey is a Junior History major at Messiah University with a concentration in Public History and minor in Digital Public Humanities. She holds the position of Humanities scholarship program leadership council co-chair, President of the Messiah History Club, works for Yellow Breeches Television as the station’s historian and serves on the editorial staff. Keli also is the exhibit designer at York County History Center. You can see her many works in various forms on her personal website.