Navigating History: Egypt

I’ve been a little bit too busy to write for Outside Hollywood regularly this year, and I’m about to get a whole lot busier. Fortunately, my next project will essentially require me to post regular updates. This project is not a feature, and not a documentary. It’s kind of an experiment.

In two weeks, a four-man video team is heading to Egypt. We will be there for two weeks. During that time, we will post a 24-minute video episode every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will stream this video live to subscribers on the web and immediately afterwards stream live audio from the team on the ground for 30-minutes of interactive Q&A.

It’s a pretty brutal production schedule, and to make it work we’ll be relying on the blinding speed of Premiere CS5 on two high-powered laptop editing suites, the superior image quality of the Canon 5D, and the extreme flexibility of the GoPro HD Hero. We’re using a mix of shotgun mics and wireless lavs for audio, LED flashlights for lighting, and an assortment of GPS trackers and satellite pagers, not mention a huge stack of redundant eSATA hard drives that we’ll be backpacking around the desert.

It’ll be quite an adventure, but the project is more than a simple travel show. We’re hoping to cover the history and culture of Egypt in a presuppositional way, and look at the consequences of the ideas that have affected it. The four dominant ideologies of the globe – ancient paganism, Greek humanism, Christianity, and Islam – have all owned Egypt at different times. A hike down the Nile will reveal pyramids, Roman temples, New Testament-era churches, and modern mosques, and the effects that these influences have had on the surrounding culture.

We’re calling this the Navigating History project, and we’re hoping that Egypt is just the first of many seasons to come. You can read more about our goals and process on the website, and over the course of our trip, we’ll be posting images and video there at least once a day once we hit the ground in Egypt.

If this production schedule works, and our subscriber model works, we’d like to produce a new season of Navigating History every 4-6 months, each focusing on a different location and culture, and rotate different crew members through the process as well. So, check out this first season. It’ll be interesting, educational, and entertaining, and it’s very possible that readers of this blog will be on the teams working on future expeditions.

  1. Wow! This sounds like quite the adventure.

  2. YEAH! After seeing you speak at the Film Academy, I really look forward to these!

    - Natalya
  3. That sounds so interesting! I found the Africa one (in the about page) very interesting because my Daddy will be going there this year! :)

    - Shiloh
  4. This is so exciting! Thank you so much for orchestrating such an informative project (great title too!). It is exactly the sort of scholarly and adventurous thing I want to do some day. I hope to promote it in a new history project of my own (

    Have you approached television stations to see if any would consider airing it eventually?

    ~ Amanda

  5. Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

    - Nathanael Brunner
  6. This is so cool. I have been a lurker on your blog for a while as I really like filmmaking.

    I will be very serious about checking your blog now.
    In Him,

  7. What a superb idea. I love how you’re tackling daunting challenges with gusto! These promise to be fascinating on-the-ground adventures in learning. I can hardly wait!

  8. This sounds incredible! How will you process the 5D footage in Adobe? Will you compress or edit natively? Where specifically in Egypt are you going?

  9. Awesome! I’ll have to keep up with this! :)

    Keep up the good work!

    - Justus
  10. Wow, that will be very interesting – both from the production side and the “content side”. You made the following statement in the article “Why Study Culture?”:
    “We are going to Egypt to explore the mysteries: who were the Egyptians and what did they believe?”

    This triggered a question in my mind: with a production schedule like this, you will hardly have time to think. Also, with the level of information available today, you likely have a pretty good idea of exactly what you will see.

    1. Are you really going there to explore these mysteries, or are you going there to take video that will help narrate the exploration you have already done?
    2. If you are doing the exploration on-site, do you have one or more dedicated team members that will focus on the intellectual side while the rest handle the technical aspects (sounds tough with that production schedule and a crew of just 4!)?

    - Jeff Baird

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