by Nigel Kahn
It’s time to meet Louise McGuire, who created the delightful series of 2–5 minute videos of the progress of the Peace Palace construction that were posted every month or so on the Peace Palace website. These became extremely popular, viewed by people from all over the world as fans circulated them to their mailing lists or posted them on social media.
Louise took care of the whole process from start to finish. She first had to film the activity, and did this almost daily. She quickly became a favourite with the site team, and had access to more or less anywhere she wanted to go. Events such as putting the rose window in place or erecting a new area of scaffolding don’t get repeated, and Louise had to make sure she was on the spot to capture the moment.
Louise’s bright and engaging personality must certainly have helped to gain the confidence and respect of the foreman and the site workers. Most of them were sure to view the finished videos online, eagerly looking and hoping to see themselves at least briefly. Louise was definitely part of the building team!
Every month or so she would produce a compilation, selecting the material and editing it down to a watchable 2–5 minutes – nowadays people don’t like to view anything longer than just a few minutes. She made free use of time-lapse footage where the action gets speeded up (as in a nature video where a week’s growth of a plant is shown in a few seconds). This created a wonderful impression of the momentum of the work being accomplished. The August-September video, one of the last before the completion of the building, was set to some piano music by Liszt, and Louise cleverly aligns the time-lapse footage with faster sections of the music.
The videos are light, often amusing; but remain very informative, conveying the serious message that the building work was progressing well and that something valuable and desirable was being achieved. This undoubtedly helped inspire donors to continue supporting the project.
To provide context, Louise uses a few carefully chosen subtitles, which are informal and often produce a smile in the viewer. She uses these very sparingly, preferring to let the action speak for itself, adding a few words of description or explanation only when needed.
Each of these videos is a little work of art. Why not take a look!
Since the completion of the Peace Palace in October 2016, Louise’s creative skills have continued to be in demand. She filmed the grand opening on 11 October (independent of the main team), and then the first course to be held in the Peace Palace, a two-week residence course on Total Knowledge led by Raja Peter, with precious input from Dr Vernon Katz speaking on the Upanishads including unique gems of knowledge from his time with Maharishi in the 1960s and 1970s. Whatever she films, Louise has then to edit down into a coherent record, in itself a hugely demanding and time-consuming task.
Louise continues to do freelance work for the Peace Palace, and for some areas of the international Transcendental Meditation organisation, fitting this in between her own work projects.