My First Upload - Caribbean in January at DVinfo.net

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Old February 18th, 2008, 12:58 AM   #1
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My First Upload - Caribbean in January

I finally decided to upload a file of some video I shot using my A1. This is the first video camera I've personally owned, but not the first video camera I have used. I bought the XHA1 specifically because of the plethora of controls it offers the videographer. Many many years ago I did this for a living. Then, for reasons I cannot explain, I changed careers and became a chef. Like making moving pictures, cooking is an art form and I thought I would get the same thrill. Its close--I envy those of you who do this for a living--but it's not the same. My specialty way back when was medical video production and I saw some incredible things in operating rooms in NY and other places. I won't forget those shoots. Then, for a while I did some work for a government contractor and got to sit in and play with F16 and F15 fighter jets while making videos about how to fix them. More unforgettable moments there. Fast forward 15 years...

Today, I am a chef who flies on a corporate jet cooking for the CEO of the company I work for, better known as a corporate flight attendant. I get to travel to places often off the beaten path and thought it would be fun to make videos of my sometimes-short visits. I have owned the A1 for a little over a year, and after pulling my hair out trying to get Vegas to capture my video, I gave up. Then, for Christmas my kids and I decided to make a DVD out of all the things we did this past year and give it as a gift to family and friends. Since, I was short on time I opened iMovie and discovered that it was a pretty useful tool for making quick and dirty moving pictures. So, until I get Vegas down, these are iMovie-edited short travelogues. And when Vimeo let's me upload another video, I will submit more.

The Details: http://vimeo.com/698784
This video is footage I shot on Harbour Island in the Bahamas and then Guadaloupe Island. Harbour Island is a small island off of North Eleuthera an island of the Bahamas that to get to you take a water taxi; its 3.5 miles long. We had torrential rains for most of the trip until the last two days, so my shooting was limited but, there's some good rain shots. Personally, I like the way the rain looks at 24 fps. The dark sign that says Tingum Village is for a small hotel, bar and restaurant famous for their "Cheeseburgers in Paradise." To order at the bar, you make your drink while Ma watches and then you write it down on your tab. At the end of your trip, you pay up. The Guadaloupe Island section was shot in one evening, just walking around the hotel and the small town we stayed in. The plane in the video is my transportation sitting on the tarmac as we wait for passengers.
Settings: XHA1, HDV 24F, S.Dempsey's VIVIDRGB.
I bought the A1 specifically because it offers the option of shooting video at 24fps. I tend to like the softness of the image because it has a film-like quality. But I realize that since everything today is shot in HD people expect crisp sharp images and I expect people will comment about the lack of crispness and the jumpiness of the pans. I now own a tripod (cue Cupid) so the cruddy pans should be a thing of the past. Oh well, it's my art. Enjoy.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #2
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Steve, I must be honest with you I could not watch the whole video. I was bored to tears by the shots and music. It seemed most everything was out of focus or a least way to soft to suit the situation. Perhaps this was the look you were going for but it just didn't work for me.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #3
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I only watched the beginning and I can second Jims comment.

About the softness: maybe this soft look was what you were after, but it just looks too much like out of focus or some wrong rendering settings.

A few other things you may consider:
- get yourself a tripod to get more steady shots. This will be of enormous benefit. Take it with you wherever you go.
- learn about how to compose a shot, how and when to make a pan or a zoom (and when not)
- always think about telling stories in multiple shots... don't just show the best shots you made but make a story out of it (like: a storm is approaching and look everybody anticipating and making preperations, or a party at night where people arrive, do things, have a great time etc. or going on a boat trip ...)
- polish your editting skills: when to use a dissolve and when not, how long should a shot last, when to use a wipe and when not etc.
- keep your shots short... half of what you are thinking... and kill your beauties if they don't add to the story
- use a voice over to tell us what is going on and why we are supposed to look at it


Good luck and I am looking forward to see more from different places because I believe you have a great opportunity to travel.

regards,
Erwin
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Old February 18th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #4
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There are some nice shots of the Bahamas in there, makes me wanna take off from my current gig, but I agree with the previous posters, I thought it was a little long and meandering. I think it would have been interesting to show and tell us a little bit about being a corporate chef. Maybe include some odd ball stories of stuff that's happened to you.

Focus - At first, I thought it was out of focus, but then I realized it's soft because your video is in SD??? Did you downrez it or shoot it in SD or maybe your software does not support higher resolutions? It seems a shame to downrez since Vimeo supports 720p.

But please don't be discouraged, that's what it's all about. I'm also looking forward to more from you, love to see where you go next. Maybe you could do a travelogue of your adventures! Kinda like a travel channel webisode or a reality tv show (Jet Lear Chef or something).
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Old February 19th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
There are some nice shots of the Bahamas in there...I think it would have been interesting to show and tell us a little bit about being a corporate chef. Maybe include some odd ball stories of stuff that's happened to you. But please don't be discouraged, that's what it's all about. I'm also looking forward to more from you, love to see where you go next. Maybe you could do a travelogue of your adventures! Kinda like a travel channel webisode or a reality tv show (Jet Lear Chef or something).
Totally, you've got a unique opportunity to see many different places and many different things. Maybe, and this is just the wanna-be host in me, but maybe you could get yourself a wireless lav mic and do some video tours of your exotic locations. Set the cam up on the beach, plop down in front of it and go for it.

"I just flew in from Chicago and boy are my arms tired...(pause for laughter, get none, and move on)...but I'm lying on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Warm sun, hot sand, it's beautiful. I touched down in Cabo san Lucas about an hour ago and this place is lovely. I saw this and this (show video), this and this( more video)..."

You get the point. Now that is a video that I'd like to see...
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Old February 25th, 2008, 01:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies...

Have you ever had upload remorse? I do. Of the shorts I've made thus far this is by far the worst. I am kicking myself for uploading the Bahamas footage first, but hey, they can only get better... Hopefully, you're all thinking. And its all about learning, I think. I thought some of the shots were nice but I could do better. i did just get a new tripod for Valentine's day which will help.
Thanks again for all the feedback.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 11:04 AM   #7
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I think we have all had that feeling. Don't be discouraged, you have great gear, great opportunities for travel in your job. and most important a desire to learn and grow with your video. That's a winning combination.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 04:00 AM   #8
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Jim, thanks.

The rest of the crew was balking yesterday as I dragged my new tripod and camera all over this place we are in and not shooting video. But after I let them walk back to the hotel, I went and shot some footage. At least it's steady with the tripod, and maybe having to guess where it was shot will not have you bored to tears this time. But at 30 bucks a day for internet access, I am not uploading anything till I get back home. Friday. Ah, Friday. Also, I will thrill you with some stuff shot in another country last year-that I know is better than the Bahamas stuff. I'll give you a hint, a mean horrible man ran the place and they make expensive cars. Sorry, I don't have the money or the where with all (is that supposed to be one word?) to carry a Letus and 35mm lenses around the world with me so my stuff will never look like S.D.'s. Maybe I should upload the raw footage and let someone else do the edit. I never liked that part as much as I did shooting the video. Then, I have this great footage of a country that makes great wine, well, it goes with the country that had the evil leader and makes expensive cars, that I have been too afraid to tack into a piece, though there I shot with my real favorite preset, the BleachBP. I know you are thinking how unfair it is that I get to go to these places and can't shoot decent footage, but just think of the work it takes to get here. Oh yea, and Customs tossed all my groceries. That was O.T. Cheers.

Just a quick comment. I have never wanted to be in front of the camera. Photographer work should be viewed, not the photographer. Though, the next upload will address the comment about commentary.

Jet lear; I just saw that... No, sorry lear jets have no range and are too small for serving a proper meal. :)

Last edited by Steve Kachocki; February 27th, 2008 at 04:07 AM. Reason: Add the fact that I made it to Regular Crew, is that like Silver on Delta? And a comment about the lav mike, etc.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 04:29 AM   #9
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Hi Will and Michael...

Thanks for the comments. They were added since my last post. And I have been on the plane a lot this week. Ok, Ok, I get the point. I have a ten minute clip of this guy on the nude beach in St. Maarten trying to pick up these girls. They were standing in front of us and I just quickly turned on the camera while he played his hand. He lost. I will find it and do something with that too. But that was wayyyy before I was comfortable taking out the camera and just shooting life as it goes on...

Do you know what time it is where you are, home and in bed? Somewhere near 3 am. It's near 7 pm where I am. But I'm still not giving it away.

Do any of you travel often? Ever notice that every big city is the same as the last one? Go to a mall in Costa Rica and find that the Diesel jeans are still 200 bucks? Sorry, didn't have the camera back then.

I think one of the difficult things is finding the images that make a place unique and interesting. I thought the rain shots on Harbour Island were cool, Jim was ready to slit his wrists.

My problem is that I shot most of the early stuff in 24F and Sony doesn't like Canon so Vegas won't upload the video in HD. So, now I am shooting in 60i (and with a tripod) which should make the upload to Vegas go smoothly, I think.

I will upload the evil place stuff and see what you all think about that next. But, just remember, it was shot 24F then captured in SD, so its still not great. But, better than the Bahamas, well, ain't many places better than that but the video is better, I think.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #10
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Steve,
You've certainly been a good sport with all of this input, and I think that's very admirable, but I have to say that some of the stuff at the end of that video was quite enjoyable to watch. I liked the lizard shots, for instance. Admittedly, I had no speakers plugged in whilst watching, so I can't comment on the soundtrack, but I was also impressed that most of your horizons were pretty close to level, which is saying something without a tripod. Good job with those things and keep shooting!
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:18 AM   #11
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Re: A Good Sport

Alex, a good bit of beer always helps. As does exhaustion from our travel schedule. Right now its over 10o degrees where I am and humid. The best accomodations are a Best Western.

I knew when I uploaded the Bahamas stuff that it was mediocre overall. But I knew some of the shots were good, though they were low res. Few pieces uploaded to this site are spectacular overall. Most of the people here are doing this for fun, and/or as an aside to a job in video that pays their rent.

Thanks for the comment about the level horizon. I have used my camera bag and other props to steady the camera in the past. i dragged the tripos around this week and have to say, its not the most fun. But the shots are steadier.

And like any person with a phobia to overcome, I will upload more videos, and suffer the wrath of the experts. No Worries.
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