chopped liver productions
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a day and a night in oregon

I DID NOT SEE THIS SONG COMING! It wormed its way into conscious waking thought after much persistence in my subconscious. It began as one line about being ready to go, and turned into a cautionary tale about getting too relaxed on a summery afternoon in the mountains.

We here at Chopped Liver Productions haven't done much traveling in the last couple of years; our transportation had some stability issues (don't we all?) that were finally resolved a couple months ago. Suddenly, after a long house-bound stint, we were free to take off and explore the forest, and we were off like a shot.

Perhaps I was inspired by this song pushing its way into my head.

We've hiked Oregon's great and small trails, done some beachcombing and bushwhacking, for many years. From time to time we have discovered that night was falling fast, and we were still a long way from shelter. This type of thing happens when the sign says, "TRAIL WASHED OUT. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK," and you all agree that this hike is starting to sound like a really fun idea.

(The upshot of that particular evening was, we were all very hungry but nobody suffered any real damage aside from a badly torn pair of pants [not mine]. Good times.)

writing the song
I find myself exposed to a lot of lesser-known commercials on the web. So I'm trying not to watch a beer commercial where these people are hopping out of a bus, and they are dressed like hops -- hops, y'know, as in beer. Yes, it's very stupid. Worst of all is the jingle that blares as the hops hop. The first line is, "Oh oh oh, are you ready to go ..." and then the jingle disappears under the soothing voice of the omniscient announcer, who wants us to know about this great beer we should be drinking.

Of course I ended up walking around humming, "Oh oh oh, are you ready to go ..." but that's the only part of the annoying jingle that you hear. Eventually my subconscious finished the question: "... to the forest?" Well YEAH, I'm pretty much always ready to go to the forest. In fact, I was planning a trip to the forest at that very moment, hoping to catch the last precious rays of Oregon sunshine before the rains begin again.

One afternoon in early September, I was at work, walking from one office to another with that mangled jingle in the back of my head, and the song kept getting slower and more lugubrious (look it up!), until it was reminding me of a certain Brian Eno song I've enjoyed for decades now, from his brilliant album Before and After Science. I was humming this soft, slow song with new words about the forest, and suddenly I came up with the line about the wind blowing through our wet clothes. That was the point where I said to myself, "This is going to be a song."

lyrics

a day and a night in oregon
janice leber 2014

dawn breaks slow
are you ready to go to the forest
sun breaks through
oh there's so much to do in the forest this fine day
rain falls softly, pulling you to me
feel the wind blow into our wet clothes

river run
over dapples of sun through the forest
rock and vine
and our fingers entwine in the forest this fine day
lie across the leaves and the moss
you touch my cheek, we quietly drift to sleeeeeep

blue jays call
and the shadows have fallen through the forest
pale moon rays
to lighten our way through the forest this fine day
maybe we should live in the trees
and swing from vines
wait for the sun shine

(I will remember this, I will remember)

The last line of the song there, "I will remember this," isn't on the video :-(. The final version of the song is, I fear, a lot better than what's on YouTube. Maybe someday I'll put out an mp3 collection for y'all.

We're trying to figure out how to handle feedback from this web page without inviting an even bigger world of spam than we're already dealing with. In the meantime, Facebook really is the best way to get in touch with us here at Chopped Liver Productions with any non-spamular feedback.

Anyhoo, this last line played persistently in my mind as I was swimming through a warm geothermal pool in the moonlight after shooting video of gorgeous forest all day. I really didn't want to forget that feeling. I think I will remember.

making the video
This was far and away the most fun video I've made this year. The Mysterious Doctor Knobs and I spent an idyllic day wandering along the McKenzie River east of Eugene, hiking and lingering with the announced intent of scouting pretty scenery that might go with the song. I wasn't sure if it would really work, so I sat on a log in the woods and did a "rough cut" on the ipad. We immediately saw that this could be pretty cool with the footage we were getting. We probably ended up with about 40 minutes of video in all, most of it in chunks of a minute or less, and plenty of it not really useable. It was great fun to just tinker with ideas and see how they came out, for good or evil.

I didn't get a lot of twilight footage -- we were too busy watching the bats darting and swooping over pond insects and didn't think to record them, duh -- but we did experiment with techniques we haven't used before. One of my favorite little sequences is walking through a very tall meadow and watching the branches brush into and past the camera. I was wondering how that would come out, and I'm happy with the result. It's not ground-breaking, but I haven't done that kind of thing before. I think I might do it again!

The final video was assembled on a Mac using iMovie, after we got back from our trip to the forest. I have not used iMovie's video effects and transitions before, so I had a lot of fun fiddling with those. I have concluded that I will probably never use most of their effects, but it's nice to know they're there.

Now that I've finished the video ... I think I'm ready to go back to the forest.