In the AidanEyewitness blog, I reveal some of the background to my videos and other projects. I go into detail that’s not practical in a video, and reveal some interesting facts and one or two secrets. I also talk about some of the technical issues.
Manchester should be called the city of libraries.
In the city centre, there are four historic libraries, each fascinating in its own way. And yet some people are not aware of them.
I’ve written about libraries before, on my website Eyewitness in Manchester and in the photo and editorial feature I produced for the Manchester Evening News around 2016.
Each of the four Manchester libraries is from a different century, each library is a superb example of Manchester architecture: post-mediaeval, early 19th century, late 19th century and 1930s neo-classical, combined with state-of-the-art 21st century following the renovation.
One of these libraries is my favourite building in Manchester but which one and why?
I’ve also added three libraries from other parts of the world.
It’s important for me to put Manchester and my other home city, Liverpool, in the context of the world and to look to other cities for comparison and inspiration.
The three other libraries are each unique in their own way to but can you identify them?
The background to this video actually goes back to an idea I had for an audio podcast, which was intended to be a journey through many libraries and many cities.
It proved to be a bit impractical because it would be quite long, over an hour. But I did gather a lot of material and visited several libraries for this project.
I then decided to produce it as a visual project and on the spur of the moment on Wednesday 24th of June, 2021, I came up with the idea of a 10-minute video featuring seven out of the 20 odd libraries I had planned to feature, the four Manchester libraries and three from further afield.
In the past, the emphasis on my channel was video podcasts featuring still photography from my archive and Wikipedia.
Since then I’ve moved towards still and moving images captured on my iPhone, supplemented with archive photos and that’s what I did for this video
In fact, nearly all the images of the Manchester libraries were captured on one day, Friday, the 26th of June 2012.
I had already taken photos of the three non-Manchester libraries and edited them into videos on the iPhone.
I also used some older images that I had taken, for instance, a photograph I took in 1997 on film during a guided tour of the library.
All the initial editing was done on the iPhone using iMovie. Then I transferred it to the Mac Mini and completed the project using Final Cut Pro.
I selected five pieces of music from the YouTube Audio Library, which I find a fantastic resource. Two tracks are not from the YouTube Audio Library.
The one credited to Urbanstrasse, entitled ‘Northern Light’, was created by me in GarageBand.
When I was visiting one of the libraries on a day trip, just admiring the architecture gave me a strong musical idea and I actually sat down at one of the desks and recorded what was in my head, using my MacBook Air. I didn’t disturb the readers – I used the keyboard to input the melody! I eventually used this very rough snippet of music in the video.
The track accompanying the section about the futuristic library towards the end of the video was by someone recommended to me by an ex-colleague on a writing project.
In fact, it’s his son, who is highly gifted, particularly in music composition. When he sent me this track I was astonished, as it was so perfect for that particular library and expresses the busy, futuristic nature of the building very well indeed.
One of the libraries in Manchester, within its Local Studies section, contains several books that I have either co-written or been involved in.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them on the day that I visited, apart from one. It’s called ‘On Looking Back’ and it’s an account of growing up in the Red Bank area of Manchester in the 1930s.
The cover photograph is by me and I helped with the layout and design. The author is William Kenneth Jones.
I really enjoyed making this video in my new video-based format, using the iPhone to capture most of the images. However, I need to check out the settings of the iPhone to improve my low light shots.
Still, each video is a kind of ‘work in progress’ and I accept that it’s difficult to achieve perfection every time but I’m working towards higher and higher picture quality.
I’ve been photographing and documenting Manchester since the mid-1990s. In the early days using photography and writing and nowadays using photography, video clips, writing the script, doing the voiceover, choosing the music and occasionally using my own very basic snippets of music.
So here on the AidanEyewitness blog, I hope that you found some of the background to this video interesting.
Please play the video all the way through, like it, subscribe to the channel if you haven’t done so already and hit the ‘bell’ button for an update whenever I put a new video online.
Please help me to create lots more content that showcases the amazing cities of Manchester and Liverpool and other cities further afield.