While most people were very complimentary about the Ghost Kickstarter video when it was first released, there was one subject that cropped up again and again: What's with the damn birds?
This morning, I received this email from a very friendly gentleman named Chris.
Congrats on all the great accomplishments, we are currently testing your platform and have nothing but nice things to say about it. However, the topic of the "Annoying Birds in the Intro Video" comes up every time we invite someone to check out your website.
The sound of the birds from your intro video is too high and it takes away from the main voice, the strong message you are trying to convey loses it's footing when we can't follow along without being distracted by the birds. I'm sure you are aware of this, plus the loop sound of the birds is a bit too staged for anyone to believe it was real nature creatures cheering you on your sales pitch, ambiance music disaster in everyone's opinion so far which is a crime to all your great accomplishments so far.
For the record, we love birds =) just feel there is a more important mission at hand that is getting lost in the remix.
To save me from covering this subject once again, I thought I'd just go ahead and clear it up right here.
Thank you for taking the time to bring this to my attention. It is an unfortunate situation that I will have to ask your forgiveness for. I hope it has not too severely marred your opinion of the Ghost project, and I would like to explain:
Believe it or not, they were real birds. As much as I would love to say that I planned cheesy background ambiance, in fact the video was set on the top of the Pöstlingberg mountain just outside the city of Linz, Austria, where local wildlife is (unfortunately for us both) all too common.
I spent a great deal of time that day shouting at the birds in question (as well as cars, people, and one particularly large tractor). The dialogue included "shut up you heinous creatures!" and "God damn it don't you realise your incessant chirping in a consistent pattern as a result of millions of years of evolution is going to sound like a staged audio loop? YOU BASTARDS!"
I would love to tell you that as a result of their plague on the video, I constructed a time machine, travelled back to that day, and employed a bird-destroyer-device to rid the Kickstarter video of its one downfall. But alas, what actually happened was that I spent 4-5 hours working on the audio track myself to try to minimise the bird noises (you should have heard them in the raw footage) - and this is where we ended up.
The entire video, for what it's worth, was shot, edited, and produced by me. There as no video production film crew with a big budget. At this point we had no money at all - and so - the glamorous film shoot was comprised of a single Canon 60D with a 50mm lens, perched with a Gorillapod on top of a car door, pointed at my face. My girlfriend pushed the record button for me between takes. The entire thing was shot in 2 hours, before I sat down with my Macbook and edited it all together as best I could. I am not, and have never been - a video editing professional. But I did what I could with the tools available to me.
I had a few other things on my mind at the time - like building the software which was actually being funded in the Kickstarter video. Marketing the entire platform. And attempting to set up an entire PR campaign which would be successful. So the birds - I'm very sad to say - were a compromise which simply had to be made. There was no time to re-shoot. And I, somewhat begrudgingly, decided to allow them their 15 minutes (ok 3 minutes) of fame.
Of course I apologise profusely on their behalf. Should I ever come face to feather with them again - I will be sure to let them know of your severe disapproval, and that you felt their role was instrumental in the ruining of an otherwise great video.
I appreciate you taking the time to write to me about this issue Chris - and by way of apology I have put together this outtake reel for your enjoyment: (Warning, nsfw language)