Based on a friend’s suggestion, I visited Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA this Memorial Day weekend to do some photography and filming. It’s an incredible location, with beautiful architecture, landscape, and wildlife. I didn’t have an idea in mind on what I could piece together as a video, but wanting to get my head back into film and editing, I decided I would grab a few shots and commit to making something by the end of the weekend, regardless how long or unexciting it turned out.
I was fortunate the first stop at the cemetery’s tower offered inspiration for how to structure the film. You had to travel up a steep spiral staircase to get to the top, and the view of Cambridge and Boston at the top begged for doing a timelapse, which led my mind to think of an ascension with clouds and shadows traveling out across the treetops like a series of departing souls. With the idea of an ascension in place for an ending, a way of starting that journey was to use low, ground level shots, and shots “down” in the mausoleums, with the names and shapes of the tombstones as stand-ins for “characters” of the film, surrounded by trees, flowers, and water to give them some life.
I was keen on playing with these ideas, but it wasn’t clear how to tie so may things together, especially in what was going to be a short piece. As I dug around my iTunes library for some selects, I was lucky to come across “Closing In” by Christian metal band, Demon Hunter, from their 45 Days documentary. It’s a personal favorite I had been wanting to use in a video for some time, so I was excited to put it to work – it channeled the themes I was going for and created the right mood and tone for the piece.
The video was made using a Canon 5D Mark II, and Canon’s 24mm, 100mm, and 70-200mm L series lenses; Glidetrack for most of the pans, pushes, and pulls; and variable ND filter from Light Craft Workshop to drag the shutter during the timelapse. Edited on Final Cut Pro, color corrected using Color, and color graded with Magic Bullet Looks.