Trivia: 4 Generations The Water Buffalo Movie

  • The idea evolved from Philip Greenspun’s post where he offered to buy a water buffalo for a poor family in China, and we offered to carry out the task and make a video of it.
  • The water buffalo was 3600 RMB (~$460 USD at the time) and was donated by Philip Greenspun and Craig MacFarlane and travel expenses were donated by Thomas Thompson.
  • It took about 60 hours to edit the movie (Final Cut Pro), write and perform the music (Pro Tools), record the voiceovers, edit the pictures and create text (Photoshop), translate the Chinese and add subtitles, and export final copies to Quicktime and Flash, all of which was done in five days.
  • It takes about 3.5 hours to drive 75 miles to the little town of Da Zhuan. One quarter of the road was loose gravel, one quarter was wet dirt and mud and half of it was brand new asphalt.
  • The reason there are rocks all over their yard is because the father carried them home from a local river. The father was starting the process of building another room for his house, but when his wife committed suicide and after his loan/interest, he did not have the money to buy the Chinese "roof" tiles (zhuan wa / 砖瓦) , or the money to buy wood to finish this room.
  • We looked at three buffalos: one was 10 years old, one was sick, and the one we got was 5 years old -- all were male. We specifically asked for a female, but there were none.
  • T2 recorded the instrumental version of The Fray’s "How To Save a Life" using Native Instruments Kontakt libraries, Pro Tools, a Korg Triton as a controller. Robert Thompson performed the instrumental violin tracks using his electric and acoustic violins.
  • All music, including the cover and the “string quartet sound” was recorded in one day on January 9, 2007.
  • T2 used Final Cut Pro to edit the video, and a Logitech USB Headset for the voiceovers. Normally, we would have done the voiceovers in Pro Tools but our mics were in the US.
  • 4 hours of DV cassettes edited down to 7+ minutes.