Mosby Documentary being filmed in Fairfax County

Part III


The next phase of making the documentary "Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County" consists of two activities; making 8" x 10" prints of over 100 historical photographs and recording the narration to use in the documentary. 

Making the prints started by photographing existing pictures of Mosby's men and historical photos of the sites, where available, that are covered in the documentary.  The preferred size of the prints is 8" x 10" which allows Bert Morgan, the editor, to use his video camera to "animate the stills" by allowing him to zoom in and out of the pictures as well as pan side to side.  As many of the original pictures are as small as 1" x 1", I photographed them with my digital camera to get high resolution files.  These files were uploaded on-line to have the prints made.  These were initially done using On-line photo printing site from Kodak.

Once the prints were received, two problems were apparent.  One was that printing some of the pictures this large left them pixilated or blurred.  These had to be scaled back to 4" x 6" prints to be acceptable.  Bert can film these at this size but can't "move around" in the picture space as with the 8" x 10" prints.

The second problem is that 8" x 10" prints crop the original size of the files.  8" x 12" is actually a better size to print an entire image.  Kodak doesn't offer 8" x 12" prints so 15 prints were returned to Kodak and reprinted locally at Penn Camera.  The result is a combination of 4" x 6", 8" x 10" and 8" x 12" prints will be video filmed.

The narration in the documentary follows the introductions recorded on-site for each combat operation.  Controlling the sound on-site was difficult due to extraneous sounds from traffic and the streams right next to we were standing.  Recording the bulk of the stories in the studio gives us the best sound possible.  While the narration is being played back, the documentary will show the historical photographs and the film that Bert took at each location.  We're smart enough to know folks don't want to stare at out mugs very long!

On February 15th, Don Hakenson, Tom Evans, Eric Buckland and I skidded through the unplowed streets on Chantilly to arrive at the scheduled time of 9:00 am at Bert Morgan’s studio to record our narration.  That good news was that we made it.  The bad news was that Bert’s power went out three minutes before we arrived and wasn’t scheduled to come back on until 1:00 pm.

So we all went into the studio anyway to discuss how we planned to proceed anyway.  At 10:00 am, Amber Healy, a local reporter, arrived to do an interview for the Connection newspapers.  With her arrival, the power came back on and we were able to proceed with recording the narration for each of our stories to follow the intros that had been filmed on-site.

As we started recording however, we realized there were three different women’s parts included in our documentary; Laura Ratcliffe of Frying Pan, Kitty Kitchen of Herndon, and Jane Coyle of Gooding’s Tavern on Little River Turnpike, which was located across the street from today’s Northern Virginia Community College.  So we turned to Amber and asked her if she would like to join our effort and be the voice for all of our heroines.  Lucky for us she said yes.  She studied her parts and getting over her nerves, as all of us had to do, did an excellent job of lending her voice to ours in telling the stories of Mosby in Fairfax County.

So now the bulk of the effort shifts over to Bert to marry the narration, his video film and the historical pictures associated with each site with the correct onsite introductions.  He also needs to delete all of our mistakes so we sound like we actually know what we are doing!  Stevan Meserve was not feeling well on the 15th, so he will record his narration when he is feeling better.

We also reviewed the introduction to the documentary written by Don.  We decided we may use only a small portion of it as the actual introduction, and then sprinkle the rest throughout the documentary to help tie the different parts together.  Bert will do this narration to give us a different voice to lead the viewers through the film.

While Bert is assembling all of the footage, narration and photos, we’ll started working on a map of Fairfax County that will identify all of the locations covered in the documentary so folks can visit and see exactly where Mosby's combat operations in Fairfax County took place.  

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