Documentary -- and tribute to Disjecta at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old April 16th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #1
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Documentary -- and tribute to Disjecta

I got my A-1 at the end of January and decided to use it for a documentary project. The documentary was screened this past Saturday night at the Reagan Library before around 800 people, it was projected on 2 large screens as well as several big plasma screens -- and it looked like a million bucks! I simply played the full HDV out of my computer as a quicktime file, it was down scanned to 1024 x 576 (resolution of the projectors), and I swear it looked like a feature film.

I've put a smallish copy of it online in case anyone wants to see that yes, you can put out a product people will pay for using this camera. (It's 35 minutes long...which may be a lot longer than most here are interested in viewing...)

For those of you who, like me, are big fans of Disjecta (Steven Dempsey), you'll recognize the opening music piece and style, inspired by Steven's "Snow" film. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!) My thanks to Steven for turning me on to his music source, and for posting his beautiful work, which continues to inspire me and many others.

Also thanks to Barlow Elton for some valuable advice and tech help at a few nervous moments.

These discussion boards are a life saver!

http://www.mostlymagic.tv/demo/dreamers.htm

(Note: This should play as a progressive download -- it's 324 megs -- but let me know if it doesn't for anyone.)
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Old April 16th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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Congratulations, it look really nice! Great lighting in interviews.
One question, have you used same preset for the beginning (color) and the interviews?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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That looks great, what did you edit it with?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #4
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Thanks. I used different presets. For the interviews, I used preset #6. For the exterior stuff, I mostly used Presets 17 and 18.

I edited with Final Cut Pro.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:46 PM   #5
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Very nice Jeff. I'm very flattered by your mention. Inspiring others is a great reward.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #6
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Did you shoot in 24 F or 30F?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #7
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Steven -- you're da man.

Rick, I shot 24f.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #8
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Watched the whole thing last night - it was an inspiring story and well told. And you did a great job of captured the bond between the two men. It's tough to incorporate all the interview shots and still keep it dynamic but you made it work.

The lighting did seem different on the other people compared to Mick and Howard, but that may have been due to the different background treatment. Not sure.

For the music did you have to purchase rights on some of it or was it royalty free, or not an issue for the piece?

Great stuff
trish
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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:44 AM   #9
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Thanks for the kind words, Trish.

You're right, the lighting was different on the Mick/Howard/Ellen segments, because I shot them first and had just gotten the camera, and didn't really know what I was doing. I learned on that first shoot and did better on the rest.

Re: the music, I licensed it, cost about $1,200 for a blanket license to meet the purpose/distribution of the piece. I interviewed over 40 people (not my idea, they gave me a very big list), I shot some 17 hours of interviews, had it transcribed (over 800 pages -- used a company in India which saved a lot of $), organized and edited on paper before I started cutting. Have another 15 minutes of interesting/humorous stories I assembled but didn't include in the film (they're "bonus scenes" on the DVD that's going out). My kids go to this school and we've known Mick and Howard for 10 years, they are really wonderful people, which made the project rewarding to do on another level. It was great to have a lot of articulate, warm, intelligent people to interview, who were good subjects to work with.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 11:47 AM   #10
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transcribing in India

I am downloading your piece now. You wrote:

I shot some 17 hours of interviews, had it transcribed (over 800 pages -- used a company in India which saved a lot of $)

Could you please tell me which Indian company you used for transcribing your interviews? Email or/and website.

Thanks,

Calle
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:54 PM   #11
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For transcription, I used: http://www.transcriptionstar.com/Home.html The transcribers are in India, very nice folks. I uploaded small Quicktime 7 files with visible timecode, they downloaded and did a turnaround very fast, just a few days for several hours, with the timecode put into the transcript every 30 seconds, making it very easy to find shots when cutting. The guys who run it live here in S. California, and have a big company in India which does outbound and inbound telemarketing, transcription, etc. Very nice people to deal with. Some colloquial things the transcriber didn't get right, some typos here and there, but on the whole it was great, very useful, will definitely use them again.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #12
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About the great audio...

I planned to watch a few seconds of the film - and irresistably watched the entire thing. Loved the editing - and loved the audio...
Was the audio recorded into the camera? What microphone did you use for the interviews? - and was there any problem getting the high quality?
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Old April 28th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #13
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Thanks, Tom. Audio was recorded right into the camera for the most part using a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun mic. Nothing special really. Did have some sound issues, having to ride sound when folks got animated and topped out, and some ambient noise/hiss/buzz that I worked to fix in Soundtrack Pro.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #14
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What a great story!. I though, ok, I'll watch to see the camera work and editing, besides, my A1 is arriving today via UPS, and I'm just waiting. But, I was captivated by your story telling. There is a nice informality about it much like the characters. I have to admit I soon forgot about all the technical stuff and became invloved with what was going on.

Great editing, pacing, etc. Loved it.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 06:51 PM   #15
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Loooved it. Very touching, without being sappy. It made my eyes, well not teary, but moist because it was both funny and warm.

But I think the ending credits, and paricularly the last photo in color is selling the doc a bit short. Can you ease out the last zoom motion of that colorphoto, for example?

But what I'm saying. That's just nitpicking. Loved it. And I take my hat off!
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