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Cave Video

Jim McConkey and Dave Socky were contacted in the summer of 2002 by a philosphy teacher at a private high school in DC who was interested in making a video in a cave. He has been dreaming of a series of videos to complement his classes for some time, and the pilot is based on Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Always excited about a new project, Dave signed on as chief videographer and Jim signed on as Lighting Director. Numerous Sligo members and friends volunteered their services as well to help fill out he crew.

Jim and Dave met producer Hugh Taft-Morales in late September at Greenville Saltpeter Cave south of Lewisburg, WV to introduce Hugh to caving and to see if the cave was suitable. Dave picked Greenville Saltpeter because it is large and friendly to non-cavers. All agreed that the cave was very suitable, and preparations began in earnest. Jim repaired a ton of old lights, Dave procurred more batteries, and Hugh began making and/or collecting all the props and finalizing the script.

On the appointed day of October 19th, Hugh, actor Ken Knisely, Dave, Jim, and the rest of the crew gathered at Greenville Saltpeter Cave. We had a large crew, but there was ample work for everyone. In a marathon day of shooting, ending at nearly 1 AM, we shot all the footage necessary for the video. Ken was a trooper, freezing his butt off in a glorified sack all day, repeatedly falling on his face on que, and getting dragged around by his cruel guards. Everyone was in great spirits all day, and both Hugh and Ken were impressed by everyone's energy and good nature. Everyone had a great, if tiring, day.

The video is currently in post-production, and we are all anxiously awaiting the final result!

The following are some pictures from the project. All photos by Jim McConkey except as noted. (Click on each thumbnail for a full-sized picture.)

Danger! Philosophical metaphor ahead!. (Photo by Hugh Taft-Morales) Actor Ken Knisely does a sound check.
Dave and Bryson on cameras and Cathy on sound boom are ready for the next shot. Producer Hugh Taft-Morales reviews the script.
The Prisoner is chained to his post. Blinded by the light! (Photo by Hugh Taft-Morales)
Carolyn and Clayton simulate the flickering of a fire with a bounce board and colored light. Anya and Hugh use flame cutouts to simulate the shadows cast by a fire.
Jim works the puppets which cast the shadows that the Prisoner sees. The other prisoners are never seen directly. Anya lights a cardboard cutout that makes their shadows.
Caver Ken, the Prisoner's alter ego, re-enters the cave he left so long ago. Larry starts feeling the effects of the long day.

Thanks to everyone involved for making the project a big success!

This site is written and maintained by Jim McConkey. Last update: 15.May.2004
© Copyright 2002-2004 Sligo Grotto of the NSS