December 17, 2001
A sense of time and place: Bothell's story on film
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
Through the eye of a camera lens, viewers slide down a logging flume. In another scene, they're offered a view of Bothell's old brick road at ground level. The camera walks viewers through a pioneer family's house and puts them within inches of a moving paddle wheel on a riverboat. It also pans forests from all angles, from an overhead aerial view to a straight shot looking up into tree branches separated by glinting sunlight. The man behind the creative film work is Gray Warriner. He and his camera have documented Bothell's history in a movie called, A Sense of Time and Place.
In coordination with the film's narrator, Janet Ray, Warriner's camera tells Bothell's story. As an example, the beginning of the movie opens with a black and white still shot of the Cooperative Mercantile Company open for business on a downtown Bothell corner. A flatbed truck and an old car are parked out front. After a few seconds, the picture dissolves. The same downtown location reappears, with one difference. It's the same building in the exact location, but the new scene shows what the building looks like today with color and action added. Now home to a new business, the modernized building has had a cosmetic make-over. Present-day cars cruise by it, instead of the vehicles of yesteryear. This is just one example of how the video moves its viewers from the past to the present. "We did a lot of shooting of archival photos," says Dale Marston, Warriner's wife who helped produce the video. She says the feel of "then and now" comes through as old photos dissolve on screen and reappear in the present.
Marston and Warriner own Camera One of Seattle, the production company that the City of Bothell hired to produce the film. The company specializes in national park films, but also does a lot of Northwest historical pieces. In addition, Camera One works for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, shooting opening sequences for shows like X-Files and National Geographic Explorer.
In order to take viewers through Bothell's history, Warriner employed various techniques, such as slow-pace to fast pace, black and white to vibrant color, vintage footage to new footage. Warriner explains that he shot some of the film in color, then erased the color and added dirt specks for an oldtime film reel look. "We added a computer generated scratch track," Warriner says. "It scratches and jerks to make it look like old film."
In contrast, there's also state-of-the art footage, including an industry and development scene illustrating progress in accelerated motion like seen in a Charlie Chaplin movie. Period music highlights the scenes and adds entertainment to the video's education element.
Warriner says that filming the history of Bothell has enlightened him about the town's roots. "I go back to Bothell now and say, 'yeah, this is where the old mill was." He goes on to say, "It's a story you don't think about until it's presented to you. Then you start looking at things in a different way."
He also hopes that viewers will take away a message from the film ... that old places have value and landmarks help to define a place. He says that Bothell is special for its city parks, old buildings and the Bothell Landing. He adds that these are the places that define the old core of town. Says Warriner, "Even though Puget Sound is becoming a megalopolis, some towns like Bothell are trying to preserve the things that make them special."
Gary Hasseler, Bothell's Community Planning Manager explains how the idea to produce the video first began. "The idea goes back as far as 1995," he says, mentioning that the City has an excellent historic preservation program through the Landmark Preservation Board. "This video is an offshoot of that. The idea expanded from there with the eventual goal to hire a professional company to produce a quality product."
A $6,500 King County Special Projects grant allowed the City to hire Camera One. In the pre-production phase, Hasseler collaborated with the production company to write the movie's script. The second phase involved the collection of old photos and films. "We ran some radio ads and asked people for their old photos and stories," Hasseler says. There was quite a bit of response. Lots of people contributed, including the seniors at the Northshore Senior Center. "Some people had the old 8 mm film of the hydro-races," says Hasseler.
Also during this phase, Camera One shot a couple of staged reenactments. One involved a bank robbery. City staff and local folks volunteered to play the various parts and dress in period costume.
"We just closed off a portion of Main Street one day and Camera One came out," Hasseler recalls. In the movie, Hasseler appears as bank teller Ross Worley, firing an old shotgun after the robbers make their getaway in a Model A Ford. Hasseler mentions that the Evergreen Chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America loaned their antique vehicles and participated in the reenactment. "They had a whale of a time," he remembers.
The final and third phase of the production process focused on technical aspects, such as editing, digitizing the film, dubbing in music and adding narration.
Though money had been available for the first phase, funds were still needed to pay for the second and third phase. The Bothell City Council stepped forward and provided the funds after the Landmark Preservation Board brought the need before the Council during their annual budget presentation. The Council responded and supplied $6,000 to cover costs of stage two and $8,500 for stage three.
Hasseler says that he has received thumbs up reports from the people who have seen the film. "The response to the video has been overwhelmingly positive," he says and adds, "We're hoping it will be shown on PBS in 2002."
Currently, A Sense of Time and Place is available for checkout at Bothell City Hall and will soon be ready for checkout at the Northshore Senior Center and Bothell Library. The movie can also be seen on the BCTV government channel 21 at 9 am and 6 p.m. Says Hasseler, "Our eventual goal is to try and make copies available for the general public."
Gray Warriner says that he's pleased with the final product. "Sometimes we're happy. Sometimes we're really pleased. This is one of those times we're really pleased."