AFTERBURN REPORT 2002
Burning Man 2002 was the most successful year yet for the Video Documentation Team, both on and off the playa. Changes from 2001 were few but tricky, starting with reduction of the team to five professional shooters using the same video format and two assistants with production experience. Still, the team was able to achieve an operational working effectiveness beyond the experience of years past. The team began the event with a better working knowledge of their subject matter and an expected volunteer work schedule covering theme art, performances, and the Burn. Because of this planning, their organization and time management improved, resulting in greater coverage gained.
Working more closely with both the Art and Media teams, interconnections and the team's internal structure both matured from previous years. With a better understanding of the organization's internal dynamics, the Documentation team members achieved good productivity, although more improvements in communication are needed to prevent inefficiencies due to lack of information. Connectivity and communication within the Burning Man Project, both on and off the playa, is an integral factor to the Video Documentation team's success, and we plan to improve upon what we gained and achieved this year.
As a result of all that activity, the team produced two cuts. One documented this year's Burn, and the other, called "The Art of Burning Man," showcased interviews conducted over the past three years. The latter piece is a work-in-progress, a rough-cut or outline of a greater project to come. Additionally, the team created an online database for storing and accessing transcripts of footage in order to simplify future editing.
Although the Video Documentation team enjoyed many successes, the event brought challenges, as well. On site, the team has a need for a secured office space for work and storage as well as a vehicle to meet interviewees. We were unable to procure either resource until Wednesday of the event. That lack, coupled with a breakdown in communication resulting in discovery of important information through secondhand channels, resulted in on-the-fly operations and an overloaded work schedule. Difficulties in coordination made some goals nearly impossible to achieve.
Looking forward to next year and years to come, "The Art of Burning Man" documentary is almost ready for post-production work, with a projected completion date of 2004. To attain this goal, the Video Documentation team must expand its budget and retain available and qualified assistants working from a centralized office space. As with all volunteer teams, successes reflect the work of the whole body, not the team leads. Similarly, the future successes of the team will result from its cohesiveness with the larger group.