Feast of the Sacrifice 2016 (A Second Chance)

Everyone knows second chances seldom come in life. The same rule applies to film making. However, since I'm spending two years in Indonesia, I was able to take two swings at making a short video about the Islamic sacrificial holiday called Idul Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice). Making this video for a second time allowed me to see how much I've grown as a film maker during the last year. It also let me make a video closer to what I'd envisioned back in 2015. 

If you haven't seen 2015's Idul Adha video you can see it here. The new version can be found here.

 Still image of two goats that were sacrificed during the making of the new video. 

Still image of two goats that were sacrificed during the making of the new video. 

The Reason/A Note on Culture

There are many reasons why I made this video last year and remade it this year. The main reasons were because I wanted to learn more about the holiday, and I wanted to capture the activities on camera so I could share with friends and family back home. Of course some abhor the bloody part, the sacrifices. That can easily be sensationalized, and it's definitely not something to be ignored, but it's actually the smallest aspect of the holiday. The bigger aspects are the reasons why Muslims sacrifice the animals and what they do with the meat afterward.  

 Still image of the meat preparation after the sacrifices.

Still image of the meat preparation after the sacrifices.

 Another still image of the meat preparation. 

Another still image of the meat preparation. 

Everything is a community effort. Muslims gather in the mosques to pray, they sacrifice the animals together, and they distribute the meat in large groups. I was happy to find out that the meat is donated to people in the community once it is divided up.

2015 vs 2016 Quick Video Comparison

In my opinion, the second version blows the first out of the water. The two versions tell similar stories, but the new one is told in a punchier, more concise way. The photography, editing, pacing, coloring, music/sound, and overall feel is much better in the 2nd version. I'm very happy with of how it turned out.  

 Behind the scenes shot of me filming meat preparation.

Behind the scenes shot of me filming meat preparation.

Getting What I Hoped For/Gear

In the first video, I wanted to have the scene in which Abraham and Ishmael are walking through the woods. However, I was still new in my village and hadn't built many relationships in my community. So, finding two people willing to be in that part of my film was impossible at the time.

 Still image from the scene with Abraham and Ishmael. Abraham has decided to sacrifice Ishmael for God. 

Still image from the scene with Abraham and Ishmael. Abraham has decided to sacrifice Ishmael for God. 

Flash forward to this year, I now know scores of people in my community and finding actors was much easier. I thought a scene like this would reinforce the story being told during the first interview sequence. I wanted the scene to have a dreamy quality to it, so I shot it with my 10-20mm lens at 10mm. I also shot it at 60fps and slowed the footage down in editing. Additionally, in order to enhance the "dreamy quality" of the scene, the coloring is a bit more stylized than all the other sections of the video. I moved the lift (blacks) a little into the blues and the gain (highlights) into the yellows to give it a more filmic look. 

 Still image of Abraham and Ishmael just before Abraham tries to sacrifice his son.

Still image of Abraham and Ishmael just before Abraham tries to sacrifice his son.

Other than the 10-20mm lens, I used the Nikon 35mm f1.8 (52mm equivalent). That has become my go to for run and gun work. I also used the GoPro for the one timelapse in the video.

Final Thoughts

I could go into great detail about all of the other little differences between the two videos, but I think the end results speak for themselves. I will say that it was a blast to make this video both times and I'm glad I got a second chance at it.

Do you think there's something else that could make version 2 even better? I'd love to see your comments, questions, or critiques below in the comment section.

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Take care and keep creating.

-Max