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Old January 11th, 2011, 06:21 PM   #1
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Two Perspectives on Global Warming

The topic of "perspective" is interesting because most subjects can be viewed from more than a single perspective. Living in the country as I do now gives one greater insight into changing weather patterns than living in the city does (as I did for most of my adult life). I also work sometimes in the far north of Canada where the effects of global warming are quite dramatic. By comparison, here in relatively warm Ontario, many people don't see any real effects so are skeptical. This skepticism is even more obvious in moderate climes. When people cannot see any real change or feel any real problems directly, it is easy to take sides. When, as in the case of global warming, the evidence is scientifically strong, but personally not obvious, and when the most important aspect of the scientific data is actually its interpretation, this leads to even stronger differences in perspectives.

To emphasize the personal nature of perspectives, I thought it would be fun to hold two different perspectives myself -- a kind of schizoid portrayal. I am not an actor, so it was a real challenge to set up the camera, start the recording, sit in one chair and look at another chair (empty) and act as if I was also in the other chair. Keeping the timing, gestures and reactions all together was a real challenge -- my hat's off to the pros who do this all the time.

My first green screen attempt as well so I had to learn about splitting the screen and having the split move during a clip to allow both "actors" to cross the mid line. I learned a lot and had fun doing it.

The information is real, the interpretation and perspectives are both mine and mine!? I am certain you will have your own perspectives as well.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 10:41 PM   #2
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Alan, I am impressed! Mighty ambitious of you, trying all those new things at once. It worked out pretty well!

It seemed to me you got more comfortable with your acting as the video progressed, or maybe because of the charts you didn't feel the need to insert gestures that needed synced up. Don't get me wrong; I liked the hand gestures and expressions -- by their inclusion you kept the issue lighthearted enough for the debate with yourself to remain civil. ;) I particularly liked the close-up of the skeptical you!

Thanks so much for entering this. I really enjoyed watching your hard work. But what put the biggest smile on my face is your post, "I learned a lot and had fun doing it." You just won the best prize of all. :)
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Old January 11th, 2011, 11:47 PM   #3
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This was funny.
For your first attempt at green screen, you pulled it off quite well. I don't know if I've ever gotten it to work without fading away part of my actor's body. So props on that.

I also liked the snow starting as a blizzard, but slowly melting away into lush green. It fits what you were talking about, but it was also nice visually just to have something different to look at.

My biggest concern was a script one. At the very end you had the two "yous" mention that they both agree something needs to be done about global warming, yet this didn't seem the case. If the dissenter was on the track to changing his mind I feel we should have seen this more, or they should have not agreed so wholeheartedly at the end.

Once again, congrats on taking on such a huge task and pulling it off!
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:23 AM   #4
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Hi Alan,

Like Cole, I'm very impressed that you managed to do such a good key with the greenscreen. The couple of times I've attempted to do it I've had to push the whole thing into black and white to hide the green halos round everyone's heads...

The whole piece was fun and informative as well, approaching a very serious subject in a lighthearted way. Well done!
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Old January 12th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #5
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Cool and interesting video presentation and it's cool that you managed to try so many new things while making it. 8)
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:47 AM   #6
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Alan, you're my hero for trying two techniques I've been meaning to look into myself -- and putting both in your video.

One is to "clone" someone in front of the camera seamlessly, as you did. The other is to master greenscreen and chroma keying (something I played with a little bit last night, but with disappointing results)....

Great effort.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:12 PM   #7
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You have found a good way to set focus on the global problem.
I think you are a good actor as well.
Your greenscreen work is impressing.
The presentation of graphical statistics is pretty smart.
I also liked the climatic changes in the background.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:43 PM   #8
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Hi Alan:

Impressive work here! This is really quite creative and a very compelling way to address a formidable topic. Editing, green screen... this was quite an effort and very well executed for tackling new techniques for the first time.

Your arguments are one reason why there has been a change in nomenclature from Global Warming to Climate Change. Not every place on the globe warms.... some places get dryer, some wetter, some colder and some hotter. Almost everyone gets occasions of more violent weather as well as more extreme temperature departures from the norm (either way, +/-). It's hard to make the argument for "Global Warming" to people in places experiencing record-breaking snow totals and extreme temperature lows. But Global Warming is what is happening to cause this.

Nice work here, and I'm glad you took up the challenge to give your differing perspective on the subject!

You are from Canada, eh? Join us in the UWOL forum sometime and join forces with our dear Canadian contributor, Dale Guthormsen!

Cat Russell
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Old January 13th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #9
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Hello Alan,

Great feedback you got already, so I'll just chime in and say I agree with what has been said.
It's cool when we can learn something new from participating in these challenges. Well done!
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Old January 13th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your comments and encouraging words.

I must admit to being unsure of what the reactions would be like, especially when I was trying several new things at the same time. The green screen work is fiddly and not always intuitively obvious what is wrong. If there is any advice I can offer from this learning experience, it is to have smooth even lighting on the green screen at about the same intensity as the rest of the scene. Initially I stupidly wore a green sweater (a different green, but close enough to cause problems). Needless to say I had to change that! With a cloned actor, the midline became a critical factor, so I had to make the split screen track from side-to-side when a hand crossed the mid line. When there is only one layer of green screen you can arbitrarily have one person in front of the rest of the scene, but not when there is a clone as well. I did learn a great deal and can use these new skills in some of my other projects. It is difficult to look at myself acting though and not wish I had remembered this line better or tidied up that gesture a bit more....

I appreciate and agree with the comment that the script didn't quite allow for an agreement on the reality of global warming -- I was going for the question of what to do about it (human-caused or natural).

The topic itself was interesting and difficult. In my lifetime, the loss of biodiversity has been dramatic. Biodiversity is a kind of summation of physical effects on animal and plant life and relationships. The evidence for human-caused global warming is growing but still pretty subtle for most people. Also it's not like the earth was never warm before, so there are perfectly natural causes for global warming. The first script attempted to add the idea that the average person only reacts to a problem when it is easy to see and feel, but I realized that will have to wait for a new project. As Cat points out, when you are standing waist deep in snow at -40C/F it is not easy to believe in global warming.

The term "Climate Change" was coined by Frank Luntz, who wrote in 2002 for the Bush election campaign speeches: [Climate change is less frightening than "global warming".] The intent of the term is for political perspective strategy, not better nomenclature.

We do live in intersting times. I thank you all for your encouragement.

Cat, I will try a UWOL project in the future, but as a new recruit to the world of being an independent filmmaker a couple of years ago, I did not feel competent. Your words of encouragement suggest perhaps I have learned enough to try my hand there.

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Old January 13th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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Hey Alan, I must join the chorus and congratulate you on the green screen. When you watch those online tutorials about keying, it always looks so smooth and easy; when you try it yourself...not so much! With all the compositing and keying, this project must have been a HUGE amount of work. And don't underestimate your acting talent, either; I laughed out loud when your doubting alter ego sneered and made jestures when the concerned you was talking. Excellent job.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #12
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In Colorado, so many of the glaciers which were fixtures around here for many years, are just completely gone. Vanished - and they have been for years. It seems that every year, there is some place in Colorado struggling over the water supply. People who think global climate change is a boondoggle don't actually spend much time in tune with their planet.

Off my soapbox...a witty and enjoyable treatment of your subject, and I always like to see filmmakers using these challenges as a means of stretching their skill set. You are always a Challenge winner when you learn something new. Nice work, Alan.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #13
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Hi Pete and Meryem,

Pete, there certainly was a lot of work in experimenting with the various aspects of the project to learn how to make it work -- and yes the tutorials definitely make it look easier than it really is especially if you want it to look convincing! Thank you for the support on my acting abilities. I will take that as encouragment to try to improve.

Meryem, the parts of the world where the differences between the past and present make a visibly apparent difference (the Arctic and some low-lying islands) tend to be where people do not have much of a voice, so it is important that places like Colorado be beacons. I am glad you found it witty and enjoyable. When I thought about a serious treatment for even a few moments I knew it would be BORING! So I am really pleased this worked. My grandson characterized the gestures to invoke the charts as "cheezy, in a hilariously awesome way."

Once again thanks to everyone for the supportive comments.

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Old January 19th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #14
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What an ambitious undertaking!! I think you did really well and I enjoyed it very much. You kind of remind me of the professor on 3rd rock from the sun!!!

I have had thoughts of doing some of this kind of work and now I am rather inspired!!!

thank you for taking all the time and effort to produce this and share your work with us!!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old January 20th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #15
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Hey Dale,

Yup, he does look a bit like me, even his hairline recedes like mine! Maybe that position is still open.... Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I don't have some of his other famous attributes!

CO2 concentration is a tricky one for sure. The highest was in the Cambrian (7,000ppm) and lowest in the Carboniferus and Permian (about 200 to 400 ppm just like today). In the Mesozoic it averaged around 2,000ppm, tailing off as recent time approached. I was going to try to deal with this too, but the 5 minute time-limit scampered away.

Have to admit, once I got past the notion that I could never pull it off it was fun to do and to learn all the new techniques. You should try it.

Many thanks for the encouragement.

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