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Quick Chat: Northern Lights editor Chris Carson on Globetops campaign

Northern Lights editor Chris Carson has teamed up with the global non-profit Globetops — which collects used laptops and donates them to people in need of computers worldwide — in order to tell the stories of entrepreneurs in need of access to technology in Guinea.

The almost four-minute Laptop Stories: Guinea takes viewers to Guinea, where the non-profit began, to deliver laptops to the leader of an agricultural group in need of access to paperwork to receive government subsidies, a teacher who needs to log her students’ grades, an artisan who creates technological courses and a single mother who dreams of starting her own Internet café. Watch the short here.

Chris Carson

Chris Carson

Let’s dig in a bit with Carson regarding the edit…

How long was the shoot, and what was it shot on?
It was shot over a week while Globetops founder and the film’s director, Becky Morrison, was traveling in Guinea distributing laptops. She used a Nikon D800.

How did you work with the Morrison? What direction were you given and did you have some say in the edit?
She gave me a lot of control over the direction of the edit. She helped me at the beginning, finding (and translating) the best interview pieces. There were so many recipients we wanted to profile, but we eventually narrowed it down to five.

What did you edit on?
I usually work in Avid Media Composer, but for this I used Adobe Premiere.

Can you talk about the challenge of editing this project, which features interviews in a language different than your own?
Language was a big challenge. The hardest part was finding a way to quickly tell everyone’s backstory so we could get on to them receiving their laptops. Another thing Becky wanted to convey was a sense of the recipients’ strength, community spirit and entrepreneurial savvy, and not just frame them as needy or desperate people.

I suppose happiness and emotion bridges all language, because the looks on their faces when they got the laptops were amazing.
I was tempted to just edit a string of 15 people receiving laptops, because their joy is so palpable. But we wanted to give a sense of why they needed computers, what kind of work they were engaged in, and how much they could improve their own lives and even their communities.

Did you only do editing, or were you asked to do anything else?
I only did the editing (and the graphics), but Ted Gannon from SuperExploder did the audio mix. The DP was Jordan Engle.

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