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Brief us


Small worlds are built by a team of amazing people.

Five thousand photos, 5,000 steps, 5,000 ideas to distill, create, and match to a beautifully written poem by Vanessa German.

Collaboration is inherent in the process of creating.

Collaboration is also difficult. Whether it be to the egos involved, timelines not aligning, or the inherent challenge of bringing a talented team of individuals together singularly focused on one vision. When we overcome these challenges, great things happen.

Over 5,000 photos were taken to create what you see when the camera pulls out from the Tree through Jackie Gartner-Schmidt’s eye, wraps around Leon Ford at the corner of Frankstown and Homewood Ave, and settles over the skyline of Pittsburgh from Duquesne heights. Five thousand photos distilled into 24 frames per second. Every frame captured through one-half step and one click of a shutter through streets, rivers, parks, museums, libraries, buildings, and people. Three photographers, Greg, Nate, Matt, and myself, spent countless hours moving in a single direction, six to twelve inches at a time, focused on framing, the subject, and the idea.

For every tedious step and calculation in the real world, there would be two more to be made in stitching the video together in the edit. Alex, scrubbing through frame by frame to create seamless transitions and smooth camera motion. There were no shortcuts or tricks to make it easy. All he had was the patience to use his skills, log the hours, and work.

These techniques were a new experiment for us, and we pitted ourselves against a short 2-week timeline just for fun. It was a challenge to ourselves to push our limits, stretch our imaginations, and make what seems impossible possible. The hope being we would create a video that would be worthy of being paired with Vanessa’s words.

No words written will genuinely explain the dedicated effort, time, and talent it took to create this video.

Nor will it allow us to understand the effort Vanessa spent writing every word, letter, and punctuation or analyzing every breath, statement, and pause. There is no way to know the complete process of any artist. That’s the magic of creation: unless you are indeed behind the curtain, you will not know what it takes to make it. All the artist can do is to hope for the creation to be inspiring and appreciated by the audience. When it happens, that’s their magic.

Many small worlds came together to create something inspiring.

I hope this video inspires you. I know I appreciate all the collaborators, speakers, and TEDxPittsburgh for ensuring that it happened.

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