A number of years ago, a small surprise party was thrown for my friend Pauline, at an isolated setting in the mountains of Scotland, to celebrate her 40th birthday. Family and close friends were there, but one, John, couldn't make it, as he was far away in Dunedin, New Zealand.
About a month before I had sent John a script of a scenario I'd like him to film for me, and then send me the footage. It was written to take into account pauses where I could ask questions on the day.
I took the footage and edited it in such a way that it looked and sounded as if I was talking to him live and he was answering my questions. I even put interference on the image when it was coming to an end to imitate losing satellite connection. The time came, and we ran the footage, and everyone there was amazed that we had managed to link up live to the other side of the world.
Isn't modern technology amazing.
I did own up to the trick later that day.
Fast forward to today and I have been working on a series of five short clips to be shown at a celebration of a local ministers time in my community, the Rev John Weir Cook, who recently passed. There are various key moments being shown, and talked about, of which one is a friend of mine David, explaining how he helped organise a surprise This Is Your Life for John Cook, in the year of his retirement.
But David lives in Boston, so how to get him on the screen for the celebration?
Naturally, previous experience held the answer. This time however, instead of getting David to film it and send it across, we connected this afternoon using Skype. Using a clever piece of software on my edit suite I was able to record him live.
Voila, we have him on screen for the celebration.
This time however there will be no playing tricks. I think people are way too savvy these days to know a ruse when they see one, and it wouldn't be right for the occasion either.
But to have David able to speak to the masses, and record him instantly, live, from the USA, through my computer in my office, is really something.
Isn't modern technology amazing?