The travelog-style of video filming and editing is often thought of as an easy for of video type—more documentary than narrative. It is relegated to the back bin by video creatives because of this. Until you find something that draws you into the scene like a vacuum, sucking into the place you are watching. In this kind of video you become a character and are watching everything as if you are there.
This is how Ricky Mouser builds his fan-made videos — as if they are characters in the story he is telling; where you become a character. The vérité videos we usually see are nothing close to the video Ricky produces.
Maybe we need a definition here: vérité is a genre of film, television, and radio programs emphasizing realism and naturalism and comes from the French, which literally mean ‘truth.’ At TikiKiti we many documentary-like videos where people are just showing what their vacation was like. Sometimes these are very well done because the producer has taken the time to think about what they are doing before they pick up a camera.
In Ricky’s case he takes it to another level. For him he looks for his surroundings to offer an emotional state waiting for his view to have a reaction. In this way, he turns the locations he’s filming into a character. This is a way to suck the viewer into his scene and become part of it. With his eye for detail he takes the mundane and usual and shows us how beautiful this image can be. One such image is a cross-walk button in the rain; becoming a detail where we want to stop and look for clues to something greater.
His video to “God,” by Sublab is a perfect example of his style. This article is being written on Halloween. Watching this video during this time of year makes it seem eerie and mysterious. The rain-swept streets and the late night lights play with your eye. Sometimes his scenes delve into the abstract as with the tail lights of cars going through a tunnel. There are some shots where you just have wonder, “How did he get that shot?” Such as the shots taken from inside a suspension bridge. Did he stop and climb up there? Who does that? Well, Ricky Mouser does. There is a shot of the Seattle Space Needle. Normally a very common image. But here it seems as if it is a real space ship with an elevator entering it. Again, he turns the mundane into something else entirely. It is no surprise then that he ends this video on a shipwreck.
In his video to the Evanescence song, “My Immortal,” we know we’re going on a trip when he the first image we see is a compass, followed by an old steam locomotive. This video, done entirely in black and white brings the details to the surface. Then the trip begins. A climb of a mysterious old stone stairwell; an airplane trip; strange ruins; and beautiful scenic shots.
As with his video to “God,” there is a sense of mystery throughout. We are transported from San Francisco to an aquarium (one of his favorites recurring themes). And there always seems to be another mysterious staircase — and rain. The rain the Pacific Northwest is known for is a significant part of his character development. And we are always on the move. He takes us by car, bus, boat, and bridge to see more; more astonishing beauty; more hidden nooks and crannies; all combined with bustling city streets. We see more scenes that seem to be part of a ballet, such as the jelly fish. All coming together right back where we started with the compass.
In “Float On,” by Modest Mouse, his third video submitted to the TikiKiti International Film Festival. Explores familiar themes with an emphasis on an aquarium (floating animals and things). There is more humor in this video — the goats are cute and funny (of course they are). And then there is the traffic scenes. As with any big city traffic is always on the mind of a driver — especially the Seattle traffic.
Ricky’s editing skills are on full display in this video. He manages to coordinate the lyrics to the song with specific images. Mostly likely you will not notice this up front. This is one of those subliminal editing techniques that makes his videos so compelling. That is, you are just floating along with the song and everything just fits together perfectly.
Style is something you develop over time. It takes a lot of work and a lot of mistakes before getting it right. Usually, you don’t even know you have style. Ricky Mouser has a style that is highlighted by his attention to detail and the music he likes. Putting these together he is able to create different moods. But in every production, he manages to be the eye of his audience — grabbing us and drawing us into his world — and taking us on an adventure.
Ricky Mouser’s videos are linked here and can also be seen on his YouTube channel and on the TikiKiti International Film Festival playlist on the TikiKiti YouTube channel. I suspect we will be seeing more of his music videos soon.
Article edited by Rosemary Camozzi