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Old May 31st, 2002, 07:01 AM   #1
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Request for critique

Okay, weeks of preparation, buying, education, and frustration have culminated in my first edited clip.

Please have a look. This is for broadband users, as the file is 16meg, and it is on Apple's cheesy looking homepage server temporarily.

Comments on camera work, editing, and QT compression are welcome.

http://homepage.mac.com/farmach/iMovieTheater4.html


Other comments:

Shot with XL-1
Edited with iMovie on 14" iBook.
Sorensen 3 compression with bit rate of 128
320 by 240
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Old May 31st, 2002, 10:59 AM   #2
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This looks pretty good to me, even if the file is a little large for downloading.
What happens when you reduce the bite rate?

Also, I though it was nicely lit. What was your lighting set-up?
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Old May 31st, 2002, 12:28 PM   #3
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I can't take a look now since I am currently on a dialup connection,
but I will check next week. Thanks in the mean time for sharing!
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Old May 31st, 2002, 03:41 PM   #4
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Answer to Peter Wiley

Peter, thanks for your comments.

My lighting is sort of a hodge-podge. I have three 600 watt halogens that came with my camera in a second-hand (e-Bay) deal. They are an off brand that apparently is no longer available, so I had to get creative on accessories. I am softening two of them with umbrellas from my old still photo set-up and using them for the background lights. I hung them from the ceiling using Lowel’s scissor clamps. I put a dimmer on the third and am using it as a backlight. I added some modern lights, too. I got a 250 watt Lowel Pro-Light that I am using as my key and a 550 watt Lowel Rifa softbox for my fill.

Even though it is all supposed to be 3200K, the incandescent setting on my XL-1 provided some funky color shifts. I did a manual white balance and everything appears pretty true. My hands look a little pink in the compressed file, but not so in the full quality QT file.

Being a middle-aged victim of presbyopia, I hate small image download files, and my customers are my age or older for the most part. We have plenty of time to wait for downloads, as long as we can see them when the files are done…at least that is the theory I am working under for now. The 320 x 240 is sort of my minimum acceptable, though when I put them on my site I am going to offer both 320 x 240 and a smaller, more compressed file for dial-up folks. The 320 x 240 at a lower bit rate appeared awfully jumpy to me. The 128 seemed to smooth out the movements, but keep the file size somewhat within reason.
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Old May 31st, 2002, 04:02 PM   #5
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I thought that it was very well done. The only thing I would have done, would be to bounce some white light in from the sides. That would have added a little more detail on the tools, and diminished the shadows. The color and detail was very nice, and it downloaded and played great.
Good show
Keith
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Old July 13th, 2002, 07:30 PM   #6
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I know this reply is about a month an a half late (in coming), but I have a couple of questions for you. How long did it take you to shoot that clip and how did you search (what params) for your light kit on eBay?

Thanks,

Paul

BTW - The download time with a cable modem was very quick.
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Old July 14th, 2002, 08:09 AM   #7
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The beauty of this board is that it is never too late to reply to a thread...

It took me three weeks to research and buy the gear, a couple of days to set up the studio, I shot it in a couple of hours after we closed at five and had it edited with iMovie by midnight. Since that post I have completed the second two segments and added them to my website. You can see the final results at http://www.sharptoolsusa.com. Follow the pitiful link in the lower left corner to "new video demo" The one thing I trusted to someone else was to do the graphics on my home page. They're about to be fired.

The lights I got from eBay were part of some stuff added to my camera. I didn't find them specifically, sorry. If I were looking, I would search for one of the brand names (lowel or arri, e.g.). When the list comes up, it will have its classification, which you can then follow back to the full list.
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Old July 16th, 2002, 05:48 PM   #8
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Re: The beauty of this board is that it is never too late to reply to a thread...

<<<-- The one thing I trusted to someone else was to do the graphics on my home page. They're about to be fired.
-->>>

I've seen your website previously. It's plain. But the link to the people who did your site goes to one that is a lot better. Did you not pay them enough or was it a freebie? It looks like a freebie.
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Old July 16th, 2002, 10:46 PM   #9
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Not hardly a "freebie"

At this point it is a mess. The first company I used had a pretty good program of cookie cutter websites, put together for a reasonable price with good IM (that's idiot management) features. I could take care of it without bothering them or learning how it really works. Unfortunately, they went belly up. I guess they didn't learn how to capitalize their paper clip funds like some telecoms I won't mention.

The new outfit caught the scent of blood in the water and approached everyone who had a website with Impressa. At that point I was scared to death that their servers were going to be unplugged any day, so I said, "Copy as much as you can, throw together a shopping cart and get it up." They took 8 weeks to copy a site that Impressa built in 3. I told them that as soon as they got the site up, I wanted to talk to someone about getting a quote on a complete redesign. Nada. nothing. Not one hint of a contact when they know what I paid Impressa to build the site in the first place, and it wasn't cheap. I am currently in the market for a new developer and a new host. I may have found the host, but I am always open to suggestions.

Thanks for asking and thanks for letting me vent.
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Old July 17th, 2002, 10:05 AM   #10
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Unfortunately, to get your money's worth on your site you pretty much have to learn how to maintain it. All these 'template' and idiot-admin programs are no substitute for learning elementary FTPing and HTML. It is NOT hard. Two days tops. For people here who have already learned sophisticated DV cameras? It should take anyone here no more than that to learn at least how to update text information and upload it to their space.

When I develop sites for someone I try to incentivize the client to learn how to maintain it themselves by charging them per hour for updating. They learn pretty fast that it's usually not worth their time to pay $50/hr just so I can convert to HTML and upload a page they themselves wrote. (Unless they are a problem client, then I treat it with glee). And, of course, this doesn't apply to any more intensive updating like changing graphics or site structure.

With only a couple days of learning you could have learned to copy your own site to another server of your own choosing without relying on these 'sharks' to waste your time.
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Old July 31st, 2002, 09:59 PM   #11
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Another late reply. I have not been on the board for awhile but I liked the video. Its a bit high in file size but great quality and not a problem for my bandwidth. Also I liked that your voice came in nice and clear even while grinding.

I dont bother encoding for dialups though. 320 x 240 is small enough.

cheers,

jp
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Old August 1st, 2002, 08:04 AM   #12
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Wow, very cool video - voice sounds awesome.
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 10:33 AM   #13
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Another late reply... Jeff, for a good online development company with a solid track record (they've done work for Whole Foods), check with my buddies at Polycot in Austin, Texas. www.polycot.com -- hope this helps,
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 01:06 PM   #14
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The thing that people still miss about Web design is that the coding/technical end is not nearly as important as the content design part. Coding and design are NOT the same thing at all, although many who taught themselves HTML think that it is, as do many in the market for a Web site.

A good Web designer is going to be focused on content first: what's the message of the site? what are the goals? what is/are the audience(s) for the site? how will it be integrated into the work exisiting business or organization? what will be the plan for maintaining the site? (which, in the end, is the largest cost in money and staff time) etc. If your designer does not start with these questions, look out. The real value-added in Web design is the analysis implied by the foregoing questions.
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 07:57 PM   #15
 
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Jeff,

Just saw your demo video--looked GREAT! The only thing I would have done differently would have been to move in closer after the opening/establishing shot (where you had the quick fade). There was never any real motivation to move back out so wide, especially with the small, viewing screen on the web (but that would hold true on a television, too). People will want to see what's going on and how the equipment works. After all, the Tormek is the "star," not Jeff Farris.
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