A Tale of Two Timelines: an Apocalypse from an Archive

This was made as an example video for the GENED1001: Stories from the End of the World workshop on video editing.

We wanted to create a series of examples on how you could build the story of an apocalypse, in this case it was using solely footage from the Prelinger Archive. And as the source of inspiration, we chose the Americans opening credits.

In Premiere

The timeline below is what the final video looked like once it was completed. In the bottom right quadrant, all the found footage clips show up in light blue, the music beds are in green, and some effects show up in pink -- although several of the other effects that are in the video are done in After Effects, which I'll address in another section.

From this view, you can see the arching structure of the video --

In Reality

The timeline of creation for this video was unusually linear, with a few divergent tasks. I started off with the two major assets: an archive, and an inspiration. The archive gave us the material, and from the inspiration I could see the need for a hook. In this case, some fairly popular, contemporary music. From that point forward, the workflow followed the path of the creative process. I'd find an appropriate clip and lay it down to see how it worked with the music and how it interacted with the clips before and after it. Rinse and repeat.

Here you can see the rough outline of how much time was invested into each portion of the project. In this case, there was a remarkably small amount of time optimizing audio as all my media was already properly produced. This is a little bit reductive, as editing workflows tend to jump quickly between Assembly and Trimming continuously, but inevitably there are moments where you spend more time favoring one task over another.