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Published on Apr 2, 2011
This is a test clip for the Beowulf immersion event that my SCA group put on.
The video is kind of crap, I know, but it's what I could capture. We kept the place very dimly lit; that firepit and those torches were really the only sources of light we had in the entire hall. The goal was to capture the video without breaking immersion, so this was shot as a static camera, on hands-free mode, through a gap in the curtain wall around the hall. The next time we do this, we're going to build video points into the set, to get a better recording.
We split the entirety of Beowulf between 31 performers. Then, we created a set that replicated an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon meadhall, lit by candles and firelight, as well as faux torches. We brought in wooden benches and various types of blankets for seating, and then spent 8 hours telling each other the story. There were about 100 attendees in total.
This clip is my own performance. I've not yet secured release permissions from the other 30 performers, and I also want to give this a test run before I go editing the rest of the video.
My intent with this video is to give people an impression of the SCA that is not one of dorks in cardboard armor beating each other with sticks. I mean, yes, we do that, but that's not REALLY what we do. That's not the thing that the SCA is trying to accomplish, and my goal is to give a glimpse of the thing we're really trying to do - the heart of it.
An "immersion" event means that we actively attempt to remove as much mundane influence as we possibly can. Obviously, there are some things we can't remove: ceiling fans, exit signs, and proper hygiene. Everything else, though, is done with as much attention to authenticity as we can muster.
The result, which can't really be captured and reflected here, is a sort of "transport;" that is, when you're engaged in this kind of thing, you can - just for a moment - lose yourself in it and ACTUALLY FEEL as though you're in an Anglo-Saxon meadhall listening to your scops tell stories.
That's the thing we strive to do, not just put on funny clothes and get drunk. It's a hard thing to capture on a video, because you really need to be immersed in it for the effect to work. Still, I think this is a representation of what we're really trying for.
There are a bunch more clips - the rest of the performance - spanning a total of about 5 hours. If this one gets a good reaction, there will be a Youtube channel unto itself dedicated to just this event.