Taking place of the Sunday Evening Video and the RFC MINI SHOW this week is the above video of the 2013 Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show. This was a fun video to shoot and edit and I hope my readers get a kick out of it.
First, though, a few notes about how this video came to be. Oddly enough, the music came first. A few weeks ago, YouTube made some background music available to the folks who post there to use, royalty-free. Last week I downloaded a few tracks and found them to be pretty darned good. Two of them, in fact, were perfect for the kind of fast-moving quick-cut videos that I’ve been itching to do. “Half Pipe,” by Huma Huma and “Eviction” by The Silent Partner were the songs I wanted to use, but I didn’t know where.
Then it hit me, this was the week of the Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show, an event I usually whine about because it closes my favorite road in Charleston. This year I would actually go to the show, but with a plan. In order to make it quick and easy to edit, and to cram as many cars into the video as possible, I would shoot still photos–hundreds of them–and cut them to the beat. Melanie shot video, just so we’d have some variety, and I’d slap it all together.
There were pitfalls to my method. For this to work, I would have to shoot all the shots I wanted to use in order. That meant just one try at each photo, and that meant lots of waiting while the oblivious person who walked into my shot and froze finished their cell phone conversation. Going at the most crowded time of day was not wise on my part.
These self-imposed rules also meant that I had to give up and pass by what was probably the most beautiful car in the show, a 1930 Packard. People were swarmed around it like ants on a dropped cupcake. While gawking at a car show is not only acceptable– it’s encouraged, it can be very frustrating when you’re trying to get decent photos of the automotive works of art on display.
Luckily, one of the finest photographers in the area, Michael Keller, got some terrific shots of the Packard, and said I could share one with you…
…isn’t that beautiful?
Anyway, we walked from Capitol Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, where we said hello to The Cemetary Knights (they convinced us to cover the car show during a conversation at Shocka-Con) and then hopped the free Shuttle Trolley. We didn’t make it down to Magic Island because, by that point, I knew I had too many photos for the video, and it was getting hot and we needed lunch.
I started out shooting every car we saw. A few blocks in, I became more selective. I know the car show is an event for everyone, but a 2012 Camaro, cool as it is, just doesn’t look right nestled between two ’57 Chevys. I also skipped a lot of muscle cars and Mustangs because there were just so many of them, and especially with the hoods up, they pretty much all look the same. There were so many stand-outs from before 1965 that the newer stuff just sort of looked mundane by comparison.
I wound up with over 300 photos. Some of the cars I shot multiple times to create a sort of pixilated view as I circled them. This video presents the photos mostly in the order that I shot them. I only had to kick one photo out that was ruined by a doofusy gawker walking in front of my camera at the last second. The Cemetary Knights were the last group of cars that I shot, but I moved them to the reggae break in the second song. I ended up leaving out about forty photos that we shot on the bridge over the Elk River. Some of those will turn up in a PopCult Toybox photo essay on Tuesday.
The event was great, but it could be improved. I know it might be like herding cats, but it’d be cool if there was some sort of organization to where the cars were. with designated areas for like-minded vehicles. If they had all the Mustangs in one place and all the Chevy Bel Airs in another, it might be better for fans of certain cars to find what they want to see…but that also might take the fun out of it.
I also think it might be better to have this event on the grounds of the State Capitol, which would be more pleasant if the temps are unseasonably high, like they were yesterday. You don’t realize how much heat asphalt radiates until you spend a couple of hours walking on it in the middle of the day in 85-degree heat.
If the event contnues to grow (there were over a thousand cars this year–I only photographed a fraction of them) organizers might think about closing a different part of Kanawha Boulevard. Instead of stretching from Capitol Street to Magic Island, maybe the car show could go in the opposite direction and go from Court Street all the way to the State Capitol. They could fit in more cars and still have more space between them so that people like me can get better pictures. Plus there are more shade trees in that direction, which would have come in handy yesterday.
Overall, the Charleston Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show was a blast, and despite my distaste for closing down Kanawha Boulevard for events like this, I have a feeling this will not be the last one we attend.