Thursday, March 29, 2012

What I learned about Haunt Videos

I just finished watching disk 5 and the final disk of the the Home Haunter's DVD's  for 2011. They were great! I certainly don't envy those judges. I'd have to go back and watch these a second and third time to even narrow it down to a small list!

So I learned a few things to keep in the back of my mind should I ever decide to submit a video. Please don't take this as negative criticism for anyone! Those people that put themselves out there and take the time and energy to submit a video are tops in my book. These are just observations of an amateur that I will want to think about should I decide to take that leap in the future.

#1.  If you only have 3 minutes worth of haunt, best not to stretch it out to 10 minutes worth of video. I'm thinking perfect the footage of the 3 minutes worth. Actually some of the best ones I saw were relatively short.

#2.  What a difference the soundtrack makes! If the video is so long you have to change songs though I think I would loop the main song or shorten the video. Then again, looping it too many times gets monotonous. Might need to refer to observation #1.

#3.  Just because you have a cool effect on your video editing software might not mean you should use it. Some things just don't go together.

#4.  "Haunted house" videos- the low light footage of the horror on guest's  faces- Priceless!

#5.  Likewise, I liked the idea of a few guest commentaries at the end... the young lady comment, "I pee'd my pants... twice" hilarious!

#6.  Repetitive motion on props  really looks..." repetitive". This observation gave me a lot to think about as far as continuous moving props, how many, and how close together they are located.

#7.  Daytime video of props designed for dark...mostly not so good. I imagine the quality of camera and access to tripod for moving footage at night is essential though. Maybe it's because I'm used to horror in the dark it looks out of place in the daytime.

That's about it! These of course are just opinions and I'm sure there are others that would say just the opposite. I would like to hear from anyone else that could add or subtract from these pearls of useless wisdom to maybe help us out when our time comes to take the leap into The Haunter Videos, especially from people that submitted a video. Once again, "Thank You" to all the people that contributed this year! If you haven't purchased these DVD's you really should consider it. It's a true compilation of imagination and inspiration.


  1. Well said Mark.... I have made a few of those same observations as well and I plan on implementing a few of them next time to boot. All in all, the disks were a great thing to just watch. I too do not envy the task of the judges.

    1. Thanks Ked! Once again, nice job on the vid. I didn't even know you had submitted until I saw the intro.

  2. Even though I haven't seen the DVDs you're referring to, all your suggestions sound like they would improve the entertainment value of the films for the viewer, which I'm sure is ultimately the goal of the filmmaker. I really think we can learn so much through observing and analyzing the successes and failures of those other brave souls who throw themselves out there and learn through trial and error.

  3. Thanks Emma. Hope you get a chance to see them sometime. Hopefully it doesn't come across as critical to the people that contributed, it,s not my intention.

  4. Not critical at all..I really thought your observations were very good. Everybody seems to have a different creative drumbeat, that's why there are so many different types of videos. The nice thing is that you can watch them all and take a bit from here or there. I think we are just plain lucky to have a fun haunt community and great people like Davis Graveyard to make the set a reality. Thanks again for the insight and Looking forward to seeing you in the credits next year!

  5. Thanks October Boy. Thats a whole lotta Witch lights hanging at the Deadwood Cemetery! GL to you too on the awards! Nice job!

  6. Coming from a judge of this year's awards, your observations are right on target. There's a couple of more I'd like to add...

    1. If it's too dark, it's too dark. It was difficult to see some props/haunts because of low light.

    2. Pixelation due to low light made it hard to see some props/haunts: do a daytime shot, borrow a camera that is able to handle low light situation or add additional lighting.

    3. Dazzling video editing and effects are nice but don't overdue it, viewers to be dazzled by the props/haunts.

    4. How-to's and props/haunts in construction videos are definitely pluses. The behind the scenes shots add interest and information as well as entertainment.

    5. Lastly, look at your finished video product with a very vicious critical eye. Is it entertaining? Is it too long (leave them begging for more rather than reaching for the fast forward button), would you like watching your video, does it convey what your haunt is about, does it say about your haunt what you want it to say, does it make sense? There were a LOT of haunts that I watched again and again because they told a story, conveyed an atmosphere, or were just plain fun to watch.

    And I have to say, it was VERY hard judging the haunts, there were tons of fantastic haunts this year and narrowing them down to a few winners was exceedingly difficult!

  7. Good tips, thanks Mr. Macabre! Thanks for doing the judging also, tough job!