It was still a time when a Udege, looking at a deer, he thought he saw a deer-man (…)
In those times all sort of things happened to people. Such things happened that nowadays do not.
Udege people have lived in the Boreal Jungle for hundreds of years. Due to their close contact with Nature, their beliefs are riddled with references to supernatural forces that shall be respected.
In 1997 a Russian poacher called Markov ran into the trail of a gigantic Amur tiger. Despite the risk, Markov saw the tiger’s footprints as a promise for a better life. He shot the tiger, but was not able to kill it. Udege people believe that if someone attacks a tiger without a reason, Amba will hunt him down. Unexpectedly, Markov unleashed the Amba, the dark side of the tiger.
During the following 72 hours the animal tracked down Markov and killed him. Later investigations suggest that the tiger planned its movements with a rare mix of strategy and instinct and most importantly, with a chilling clarity of purpose: Amba was seeking for revenge.
This animistic belief constitutes the leitmotiv to experience the impact of Nature in the Udege communities across one of the last remains of shamanism: the hunter’s culture.
We asked some questions about the multimedia The Hunter, to Álvaro Laiz (AL) photographer, and José Bautista (JB), multimedia producer and editor.
Was The Hunter originally conceived as a book? Why did you decide to translate that into a multimedia and what opportunities or advantages multimedia offer?
AL: Effective multimedia storytelling remains in the ability of mixing video, image, sound and especially, time. In every work, but specifically in short pieces (more or less 10 min) rhythm is the key. José Bautista is an experienced multimedia editor but is also a talented musician, so that makes working with him much easier.
Can you describe the editing process?
JB: Once Álvaro and I decided to start the short multimedia project, we immediately agreed that we had to develop a sort of “little tale”, where the tiger and its wicked alter ego, The Amba, would play the role of a key character. This is constantly mentioned by the interviewers, and suggested not only by the use of still and motion images, but also by the entire soundtrack, where the idea of transformation – human/tiger – is constantly addressed using all the audiovisual elements within our reach.
To that effect, the editing process aimed to achieve the best narration and pace to allow us to tell this short story through 4 characters: 3 people and the hidden presence of the Siberian tiger, without ever losing sight of the animistic principles underpinning it. This way, all the audiovisual elements were considered having the same importance within the narrative, with a particular focus – as Álvaro has already addressed – on the time; specifically, pauses and silence between chapters or related photos, videos and sound design.
There is a German word used in music composition called “Langsam”, which is a way to describe the interpretation of a musical passage where the rhythm is particularly slow and the listener progressively perceives a crescent tension – not necessarily related to volume increase – that is culminating in the final chord of the score, where the essence of the passage is unveiled. You should think of The Hunter multimedia editing the same way.
Speaking of the editing process itself, Álvaro and I develop our own points of view of the same story but in different languages. Then we sit together and after sharing different versions, we eventually come up with the one that satisfies both of us. Then I test it with some good friends, which usually give us some good ideas to improve the final edition. And after all this process, the multimedia is ready to jump into the web.
How and why did you choose that sound/music?
AL: This time I had the opportunity to travel with José to the Russian Far East, so that he could record directly from the source, but specially feel the ambiance in order to translate it into a sound landscape. The main Soundtrack was originally designed by José for an installation that I proposed for the Fundación Cerezales in Leon, and that is surround 7:1 (8 speakers) 20 minutes length composition, where all sound elements where recorded directly in the Taiga, with the addition of some original music composition.
What program was used to create the multimedia?
JB: The list of software I used to build the piece is the following:
– Adobe Premiere Pro cc (editing)
– Adobe Audition cc (sound postproduction)
– DaVinci Resolve 11 (color grading)
– Protools System HD 11 (sound mix and mastering)
If you want to learn more about The Hunter project, read the interview for GUP Magazine.