Producing Railroad Video
Steve Mitchell is a lifelong rail historian. He has been a photographer starting in his teens and a videographer for more than 15 years, with railroad subjects being a large part of his collection. He has also developed a passion and talent for video editing and creating railroad video DVD’s. What Steve has to say for himself…
I’m old enough to remember Great Northern steam engines pass my boyhood home in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. As steam became more rare in the early 1950’s, my Dad would call out to me when he could hear one coming, and we’d run out to the front yard to watch it pass. (Mom wasn’t too happy when the soot fell on the clothes hanging on the backyard clothes line, though.) After steam disappeared, railroading was still interesting to me but something was missing. Finally, in the early 1990’s I found that Milwaukee Road 261 had been restored and its home base was just blocks from my home in Northeast Minneapolis! I became a member of the Friends of 261 and I was hooked. I have taken many rides behind her and followed trackside with video and still cameras. I also discovered a whole new world of traveling to record steam railroading from coast to coast and around the world. I am particularly fond of the Cumbres & Toltec in Colorado and New Mexico as an example of narrow gauge steam railroading in the 1950’s because of the organization’s commitment to keep things the same. The gritty Chama yard and the many trackside structures along the rugged right of way feels like you’ve just experienced time travel!
My philosophy on railroad video
After viewing hundreds of railroad video programs, I have learned a great deal about what distinguishes the best from the rest. My programs have a short introduction, then I let the locomotives tell the story without constant narration. I seek out unique vantage points, preferably away from background noise, so you can see and hear the train passing through your living room. I use tripod-mounted HD cameras with professional microphones to record the real sounds. Music is used only occasionally, generally for transitions or during the introduction and credits. And I also don’t stretch the subject out to fill an entire DVD. This means many of our DVDs feature only the best action with shorter programs of different subjects.
Give us a try! You will not be disappointed with a railroad video DVD from Yard Goat Images!