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Old November 3rd, 2008, 06:37 PM   #16
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So we have 3 entries. How about a thread on the main "contest" part of this board posting links for all 3 there so they can be seen and commented on by a larger group than ever read this far down in the site ?
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 06:43 PM   #17
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Contest Links

Sounds good.

The Documentary Challenge Our even newer contest
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 09:05 PM   #18
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Kelsey video

Philip, The FLV played great over 802.11g Comcast connection, even on a very old IBM thinkpad. Nice job, great video.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 09:06 PM   #19
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I'm up for that but I have no control over it -- I'm just a regular joe. Chris, can you move us up to the contest section so we can have a broader audience?

If the UWOL wanted to keep their tagline we could be the 'underground dvinfo contest'... although I guess if we get moved we won't be underground anymore.

Sigh... I better stop writing.

Thanks Damian - glad to hear the format is working ok, and thanks for the kind comments.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 09:17 PM   #20
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Ken -- I love the ending, especially the 'animals harmed' section of your credits. Cracked me up!
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Old November 4th, 2008, 12:11 AM   #21
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Hope feedback on this thread is OK

Thanks Phillip, It was fun putting that together and coming up with the zingers and trying my hand at dead-pan humor and "Spinal Tap"/"Best in Show" type genre. I must say, its doubly frustrating when you are critical of your own technical work, but also to cringe at your own lines on camera compounds the whole "i should have done that different or better'
I enjoyed both of your guys' offerings. I very much appreciated the slick looking interview portion of the Changing Uniforms. The soft, kind of somber, asymetrical light (or whatever that's called) had a nice professional touch. Not sure how much of that conversation made it to the final cut but it seemed to be edited for content and flow very well. Was it hard to get the in-chopper clips?
Good-byes at airports should be considered cheating though, for these things... : )
Kelsey is a doll. I've got 3 girls of my own, youngest is about her age. Could very much connect with that. I laughed a bit at the sight of the big wireless on her back side going up the stairs. All that soft natural light coming in windows on hardwood floors etc. Had kind of a scrapbook, polished photo album kind of feel to it. Personal and intimate. I am the sentimental type and it pulled my strings a bit.
As I was watching these the other day while putting the last pieces together of my irreverent farce, I was thinking ...what have I gotten myself into...
I felt a bit like being the only one in the office that dressed up for Halloween.
Good stuff though, I'm glad I got in on it.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #22
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Ken, thanks for your kind words about the Changing Uniforms film. Chris Barcellos shot the in chopper stuff so I'll let him comment on that. I did the interview so can answer some of your "questions" or address your comments on that.

Mike (the subject) is Chris's son in law. I quickly realized the only way to get a totally candid and relaxed response from him in the interview was to be with Mike alone. We did the interview at Chris's house but the interview proper (which lasted over an hour) was just me and Mike. I banished all other family members, including Katie, Mike's wife during this time. Doing so turned me into a one man crew.

I have learned a lot on here, and from other sources, and a DVD on "How to Set-Up, Light and Shoot Great Looking Interviews" (By Vortex Media) has greatly furthered my progress in that aspect of interviews - kind of a jump start. My lighting setup was a 36x36 softbox above and to the viewer's left of the subject (with an eggcrate in it to reduce spill) a gold toned reflector placed slightly below and to the right of the subject's face to spill some light into the dark area, and a lowel Prolight to the right and well behind the subject to provide hairlighting and some separation. I also had another light (aimed at the background) shining through a homemade cookie to make the background a little more "interesting". I had just picked up the Prolight I was using as a hairlight/separation light not long before from E-bay (another E-bay admission from me) and I only had the bulb that was in it (additional bulbs were on order).

Being a one man band, I was probably 10 minutes into the interview before I realized the backlight was not working. By then I already had some good stuff "in the can" so to speak, and decided to just go ahead as the interviewer and continue. I found out later the bulb had burned out. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I was lucky, that the lack of hairlighting and separation was not all that much a detraction, and in fact it DID add a somber note.... but it was pure serendipity. HOWEVER.... I will keep that in my little bag of tricks, to be used "thoughtfully" in the future, when appropriate.

Chris B. edited this film. I found the thoughts and comments about how to conduct an interview offered in another thread in this section helpful, and really just let Mike just talk.... guiding as little as necessary and appropriate. Poor Chris B. had to edit 70 minutes of Mike talking to me into 5 minutes in the finished cut. I thought it worked well... Someday maybe I will be able to edit that well too.

I haven't been able to view your entry yet, but will try to get to a computer faster than dial-up that will also let me view You Tube (my computer at work won't). Again thanks. I'll look forward to sharing mycomments on your entry I am sure it is well done from the other comments on here.

Chris S.

ps. I now consider one, or better yet multiple, replacement bulbs for every fixture I have on set a MUST. See, I had a "learning" experience, for "free".
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Old November 4th, 2008, 12:57 AM   #23
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Chopper Clips

It just so happens that I was scheduled for a Blackhawk on a National Guard bosses lift. They provide lifts to thank employers who put up with employees needs in the guard as a small thank you. I was in back section of chopper with my back to the pilots, and had my HV20 with me, hand held. I knew I wanted some cabin stuff for this film, so I shot it over my shoulder, trying to monitor by flipping screen. The flight was 45 minutes, and my first chopper ride, so it was hard to keep my mind on the film, but at least I got a couple of shots that worked well.

The goodbye day was shot, to be inobtrusive, with my HV20 again, using a monopod on the tarmac shots.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 01:07 AM   #24
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Ken nice docuspoof. Had me laughing ...

Heard distortion on little girls mic once.... The narration was actually quite funny and well done. This may get some play on YouTube...
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Old November 4th, 2008, 07:16 AM   #25
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It was cool to see the shot from inside the chopper, and the goodbye ceremony on the tarmac. That's why I like documentary films - you get to see things and get to know people that you wouldn't normally get to experience, and you know it's real, not a set somewhere or whatever.

I like hearing why he's changing his uniform -- that's what I was looking for when I watched it. I don't have much experience with the military (my dad was in the Navy, but that was when I was so little I don't remember it), so I don't know or appreciate a lot of the small details, but it's good to see someone who cares about their job and wants to do something that uses their skills more, and is willing to take risks and make changes to get there.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #26
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Phil and Ken:

I didn't comment in depth on Phil'ss yet. Here is how I saw it:

1. Images were great. A lot of nice and interesting camera angles, and the film was nicely transferred to your finished codec. It played well.

2. Though I know how hard it is to keep a youngster in a viewfinder ( I have four grandchildren) I am thinking there was a bit too much camera movement, even though it appeared to be done with a stabilizer. On a big screan or projected I am guessing that wouldn't play well, and it was a bit distracting from the story to watch it going on.


General thought on all entries:


As to story line for all of us, it seems like all of us stayed close to home using family and friends to demonstrate our documentary technique capabilities. But I think that resulted in films that may be of limited interest to others. Yours for instance, is beautifully shot, well narrated, has the cutest subject in the world. I am not so sure it provides a unique look at anything.

The same could be argued for our film, as there are thousand of soldiers going off to war and Uniform Changes may not be unique, though our premise was about a man that changed uniforms three times.

Ken's docuspoof, may have the widest audience appeal, because of the humor involved, though staging was apparent at times.

One of the things that we should consider in future contests, if this goes forward, is avoiding themes. I don't know quite how you would approach a contest, but it seems like selecting a theme in a documentary contest does not serve well in a documentary format. It is hard enough to find an interesting subject, let alone trying to fit it into a theme.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Ken nice docuspoof. Had me laughing ...

Heard distortion on little girls mic once.... The narration was actually quite funny and well done. This may get some play on YouTube...
Yeah, I didn't think to monitor and adjust down the sensitivity on that lav mic til it was too late. I could have cut that background fan noise at the same time too by doing that.
Thanks.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #28
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Good input Chris -- thanks.

I was told by a film teacher one time that I might be able to make it as a camera op in a production company somewhere but would never be a ground-breaking film-maker. I was pretty upset about that at the time, but in some ways he may have been right. I have a lot of trouble breaking out of my comfort zone sometimes -- not like this is news to me or anything. I'm guessing a lot of people struggle with that.

I could see maybe trying to avoid themes - you think it'd be better to just do an open-ended contest with no content guidelines at all?

I'll take a look at my shooting again too - I rarely watch any of my work on a large screen, so it might be instructive to dig out the projector and see how it looks. I shot it using a figrig.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
...

I was told by a film teacher one time that I ... would never be ...
Interesting "teaching" technique.
I bet there are at least a few "Ground Breaking Filmmakers" whose names we would recognize, that heard something like that in there early days.

Reminds me of my first week of little league...ever...and the coach's advice to me was asking if i knew how how to bunt. Really built me up.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #30
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You know we all do this in one respect as a "cheap film school" and learn by doing, and looking at one another's work. I think every entry probably improves the skill level of the filmmaker creating it.

But this WAS (at one time anyway) a competition. I guess It wasn't seen as needing to be put in the forum competition section for a broader audience and that call is not/was not/will never be mine to make. I'm cool with what I've learned here, though I wish more had commented critically or had the opportunity to.

That said, the entries are closed, there have been a few days for comments and mainly it has been the film-makers sharing our comments amongst ourselves, which is great...But a niggling little voice says to me, "Is there more? A Judging? or?"

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; November 6th, 2008 at 11:52 AM.
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