From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 106, Number 15 - April 9, 2009
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Tourism DVD still dark

by Stephen Crane

And the saga continues.

The Sublette County Joint Tourism Board continues its quest to produce the $35,000 DVD it funded nearly two years ago.

The video is intended to highlight the summer recreation activities available within the county to tourists stopping by the Visitor’s Center.

Initially, the video was scheduled for release by Thanksgiving of 2007. But by Christmas, it was not yet available for the public, though the tourism board did hold a private viewing in the Visitor’s Center conference room on the Blu-Ray player and flat-screen TV, which the board had purchased for that purpose.

Since then, the project has been delayed repeatedly, for a variety of reasons — some clear, some not so clear.

One complaint initially voiced by some was that the Blu-Ray format made viewing the video by the general public a difficult prospect, despite the fact that filmmaker Ryan Coston was contracted to make it in Blu-Ray only, since it’s a hi-definition medium.

“In all honesty, my contract stated I was only responsible for getting it onto Blu-Ray,” said Coston.

In the fall of 2007, Coston traveled to his brother’s home in California to edit the raw footage and convert it to Blu-Ray. He then sent that final product to the tourism board.

And then, he waited — and waited.

“I didn’t hear anything for about a year,” said Coston.

After that year passed, his brother asked Coston if he could delete the more than 155 Gigabytes of data from his computer.

“I was just waiting for the go-ahead for so long, I told my brother just to wipe it out,” he said.

Then in the late fall of 2008, he got a call from a member of the tourism board, asking that the Blu-Ray Disc be converted to the DVD format.

Despite his frustrations, Coston agreed, which entailed going back to the raw files and redoing it, since his brother had already deleted the Blu-Ray version.

He has since finished converting the 17-minute main feature of the DVD, and is now working on the smaller featurettes that highlight individual interests and activities.

“I’m doing it because I want it done right,” said Coston.

The timeline for the latest edition is still unclear however.

“Certainly by the open of tourist season in June, we would have a target date,” said board member and former chairman, John Godfrey.

“Technically, it’s going to be available this summer for people to view, but this is not the final product,” said Fred Pflughoft, who worked with Coston in filming and producing the video. “The final product won’t be ready until next summer, in the Blu-Ray form, but it is essentially done.”

Well, almost.

According to Pflughoft, “there needs to be some additional camera footage and probably needs to be chopped in length.”

For both Godfrey and Pflughoft, part of the delay stemmed from the Visitor’s Center, where the video was supposed to be showed, allowing the board to provide editorial feedback.

The Blu-Ray player and TV that were purchased by the tourism board were placed in the Visitor Center, and it was there that the board held the initial viewing of the video back in Christmas of 2007.

Since then, without any video to show, the Visitor’s Center stored the equipment for a time, though it was always available for use by the tourism board.

“We have a flat screen, a DVD player and a Blu-Ray player,” said Terrie Swift, executive director of the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce, which runs the Visitor Center. “As far as setup, we’ve always been set up. We’ve always been equipped for every deadline that they have set that has passed.”

Despite that fact, blame was still cast on the Visitor Center.

“Nobody could review it or make changes or tell us what they wanted changed (since) the only one in the county who has a Blu-Ray player is the Visitor Center,” said Pflughoft. “And that Blu-Ray was taken down and stuck in a closet.”

“We can provide the material, but it’s up to the Visitor Center to make it available and show it,” said Godfrey.

Despite no association with the funding or production of the video, the Visitor Center is ready and willing to do just that, as soon as it has something to show. And in fact, the center has the TV and viewing equipment already set-up.

“The Sublette County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center have eagerly anticipated the completion of the DVD/Blu-Ray project commissioned by the Sublette County Joint Tourism Board in 2007,” said Swift. “We look forward to this project complementing the many services and displays available for visitors and locals at the Visitor Center.”

Despite the lodging tax’s defeat in last fall’s election, the tourism board is still providing $20,000 for the second scheduled video, which will highlight the winter recreation activities of the county.

Pflughoft is going to be the primary filmmaker on the project and will start shooting next winter, though he had hoped to start this past winter.

“That was put off and put off for a number of reasons,” he said. “Number one, I wanted to make sure we were going to get this (summer DVD) finished. And number two, is we had such a crappy winter. I want heavy snowfall, so I just kind of kept waiting and waiting.

“But I’ve got a bunch of ideas to really make the winter one pop.”

In the meantime, the summer DVD still awaits more work, and the Visitor Center awaits a finished product to show.

“What I was told was, ‘Try and get it wrapped up by fall (of 2009),’” said Coston. “So it should be done, and that’s good. It’s all I ever hoped to have accomplished.”

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