Pioneers in Irrigation – Legacy Video for an Industry
When Glenn Bowlin, the official Historian of the Irrigation Association, approached us about creating a video for the IA’s Museum, he had no idea what sort of an education he would be receiving about the production of a great legacy video over the following two years.
He wanted to take advantage of an upcoming industry show to gather industry leaders and videotape interviews of them about the parts they played in the irrigation industry. Glenn knew he was on to a great idea, and so did we. Can you imagine how many different video production crews you would have to send out to various locations around the globe to accomplish the same thing? The costs would be prohibitive.
Videographer and Director of Photography, Mark Schulze, spent several hours of “pre-production” time learning about what end result Glenn and the Irrigation Association wanted, and then teaching Glenn about the best ways to accomplish their goals.
At the IA’s next several conventions that spanned three different cities, a quiet interview space with a green screen backdrop was utilized to capture the recollections of dozens of irrigation experts, many of whom had been involved in the industry for decades, including entire families. The education I received, on the other end of a pair of ear phones was stellar. I’d gone in as a Sound Technician thinking that irrigation was going to be a “dry” topic, but on the contrary, it was fascinating.
The history of the Irrigation Association is really the history of water use and conservation in the United States and the video deserves a global audience. The same can be said of many industries here and around the world. If you are planning a convention where many of the movers and shakers of your industry are going to be gathering, it can be an excellent idea to videotape interviews with them, even if you merely archived that footage for a while. The use of a green screen helps to keep the video “evergreen” in that you can switch out the backgrounds at will.
Glenn told us the IA was very happy with their video, especially since one of their more exemplary members whom we captured on videotape died shortly afterwards. (The video was subsequently dedicated to this revered irrigation leader.)
The award-winning documentarian, Ken Burns, gathered interviews of World War II veterans, who are now departing the earthly plane at the rate of approximately 850 a day. How soon will it be before the leaders of your industry retire or pass away? Historians already know the value of preserving history. A video production company like Crystal Pyramid Productions that has been in business for over 30 years, and knows how to create beautiful lighting and make non-professionals feel comfortable in front of a camera, can help you produce a legacy video for now and future generations.
You can view the Irrigation Association here:
The “Pioneers of Irrigation” has turned out to be quite an interesting video project. Technically it shows off such video production advancements as the use of the green screen, couple with the 16 x 9 high-definition format which demands more from an editor.
In this case, the editor was me. I also worked as sound technician on two of the three shoots which took place in San Diego, Los Angeles and Napa, California. (I missed out on the Napa one unfortunately, because as we all know, some of the best wines in the world come from there and it’s a wonderful place to be.)
This video is worth checking out because it tells the story of an industry through its pioneers. As a “fly on the wall” during two shoots, I learned many things about irrigation and its leading innovators. For instance, when asked if they would do it again, most of the interviewees, some of whom had been involved in irrigation for two, three and four decades, said, “I would have gotten started sooner.” They were completely devoted to their chosen profession, and several of them had businesses that included several generations of family members.
It turns out that Irrigation encompasses three tiers: agriculture, turf and golf courses. The most important topic for everyone concerned was water conservation. It was readily apparent to me that the Irrigation Association is way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to conserving our water usage.
What you see here is video that the Irrigation Association has put up on its website. They have plans to create a longer version that tells the full story of irrigation from the past to the future.
I hope this can be an example to other organizations in that an industry’s “elders” will not always be around to tell their stories. Ken Burns showed us all with his series on “The War” that now is the time to collect the stories of our foreparents before they die.
It is good that History Chairman, Glenn Bowlin, had the idea of producing this historical video on the Irrigation industry, as one man we interviewed, Al Dedrick, is now gone. But his words and smiles live on through the power of video.