With about a four-minute run time, the film is the latest in a long series of short travelogues I've made over the last few years. When I'm traveling, I usually keep a small video camera handy to capture incidental moments. I never shoot any footage specifically intending or expecting it to be a film, but instead enjoy just shooting video as a kind of anxious traveler's pacifier, and then, sometimes months or even years later, playing around with the footage to try and achieve some sort of simple feeling or texture.
Across the Sound chronicles a ferry ride that Valarie and I took last summer from Victoria to Seattle, returning home to Portland from a long weekend. When we booked the ferry tickets, we were expecting some sort of ship large enough to hold cars and a couple hundred people. Instead, we climbed aboard the 'Victoria Clipper', a small cruiser that raced across the water. Suddenly Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca were going by rapidly.
When editing the footage at home, I struggled with what speed to present it at. Sometimes I like to slow footage of the landscape going by (from a boat, train or car) at molasses-slow speed to emphasize how one is giving in to a different pace and environment. Other times I like using time-lapse to speed up footage and show the landscape going by quickly, to both quicken the feel of the film and to get a sense of the topography or weather changing.
With Across the Sound, I started by making the footage really fast, then slowed it down to near normal speed, which is what you see here. I also considered slowing the footage to slower than normal, and actually have still contemplated going back and re-editing the film to do so. What you see now, though, is the ferry traveling at about 125 percent of normal. The broader idea, though, is that as a viewer you are losing yourself in the meditative pattern and ambiance of the water going by. Even if you find this video really boring, my idea is for it to be a kind of lullaby. That's also why I used some existing music by one of my favorite musicians, French electronica artist Colleen. The music is from an album called Colleen et les Boîtes à Musique, in which she loops and combines several music boxes. I like the idea of the waves in Across the Sound combining with children's music boxes a world away to put the viewer in a kind of happy trance.
The film is part of a program called "Short Cuts II: Made In Oregon", screening at 11:45AM on February 8 and 21 at the Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium.