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At a recent video shoot, I noticed that I was surrounded by repurposed things.

photo of an exercise sandbag weighing a light stand
Exercising at work?

The sandbags that kept a light stand secured, once had been used for fitness training. They came in two sizes, for ankles and wrists. They didn’t get much use for exercise (it was a ‘90s thing) but they found a new purpose in my video kit. I also have some power cords, originally bought on Holiday clearance. They come in varied lengths with single or multiple plugs, in an elegant forest green. The different lengths make for fewer coils to trip over, and the color is less obtrusive when strung across carpets and along baseboards. Then there was a roll of yellow plastic Caution ribbon that I’d originally bought to discourage the neighborhood dogs from trampling through grass seedlings (that purpose was a definite fail.) But now repurposed for video production, it effectively marks off my tripod and stands from the unwary.

Some time back editing video I desperately needed footage of a babbling brook, to cover a gap of narration describing the effect of the sound and sight of moving waters in nature on meditation and healing. But it was winter, and there was no moving water in sight. Searching through my  files, I found a short clip of a small, babbling brook that I’d shot on my iPhone. It was of a restored stream I’d come across one summer day in the middle of downtown Seoul. The video was just a  bit too short, but slowing down a close shot of a riffle sweeping past a grassy bank, and framing it  to avoid the looming skycrapers, stretched it out just long enough to fill the gap, and slowed down the effect of the moving water was even more soothing.

Digital content, whether written, graphic or multimedia, is the ultimate repurposable. Sometimes you have an idea of what else you can do with the content, and other times it’s a pleasant surprise. Either way, its always wise to archive your materials because the best surprise of all is that time when finding a repurpose saves your project or makes things even better.

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