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Old April 18th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #1
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Critiques sought!

Hi all,

I'd welcome your critique of the visual elements of this short corporate piece. It's a test run for a series of short clips to be shown at an exhibition later this year. Sadly, the room we were given to film this test was dull as ditchwater and we couldn't turn the aircon off so the sound is dire (I haven't spent too long trying to sort the sound out so please forgive the quality).

I'm hoping that the visual treatment I've given livens it up a bit.

Technical info: filmed using a Canon XM2 (GL2). Sound was courtesy of an AT835b and a Transtec wireless mic (although neither overcame the bloody aircon). Edited with Vegas 5 with the footage being treated with the glow and b&w effects (can't wait for nested projects which would have sped things up a bit on this project!). The brief title piece was created using Particle Illusion and treated with Pixelan's Chromawarp and then inverted (or was it the other way around?). The wipes are good old Spices. The hurriedly put together backing sounds were created in Sonar using just the FM7 synth.

Trust me, it looks much cleaner uncompressed but it weighs in at about 1.8gb so not entirely appropriate for posting on the web. This wmv version loses a lot of definition which kind of separates the head from the rest of the body.

Anyway, your constructive criticism would be warmly welcomed.

http://www.ianstark.com/vid2/New%20Look%20Comp.wmv

Thanks for taking the time to look.

Ian . . .
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Old April 18th, 2005, 06:41 PM   #2
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If you find yourself in the same situation again, a colored light against the wall would cause the man in the white shirt to stand out more. And if you use windowblinds to cause a bit of a striped background, it would be even better.
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Old April 19th, 2005, 03:32 AM   #3
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Thanks Steven, good advice.

Sadly the room had NO windows at all! I did try to bounce some light off the glass framed pictures on the wall to add some geometry to the picture but this doesn't come out very clearly in the highly compressed version I posted. Likewise, in the uncompressed version the interviewee has more definition. I think I may pull back on the glow a fraction more though.

Thanks for taking the time to look.

Cheers . . . Ian . . .

Last edited by Ian Stark; April 19th, 2005 at 03:33 AM. Reason: typo
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Old April 19th, 2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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I am not a lighting expert and I may have used the wrong words. There are things you hang in front of lights to make it look like the light is coming through windowblinds.
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Old April 19th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #5
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Sorry Steven, I'm with you now. That's a great idea - and probably something I could make myself. Funnily enough, I've been experimenting with adding a window blind effect in post. Not much success yet (the stripes don't follow the contours of the room and interviewee so they look as false as they really are).

Ian . . .
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:34 PM   #6
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the over blown look didn't bother me.. i liked it that way and found it a interesting look .... the clip i saw as a whole just doesn't work for me .. at 1st i found the figure on the right strange ( i'm not listening to the audio as my attention is on teh figure on the right ? why is it there ?) .. then the person speaking froze and the figure on right spoke ? just doesn't work for me ..perhaps there is a "set up" for this technique earlier in the project ??

i find it distracting that the person is NOT talking to/toward the viewer .. i cannot see the persons EYES .. i see very little facial expressions = it's all AUDIO = i find the live video a little distracting = takes away from the audio content.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #7
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If your lights have barn doors and you have two different color gels (i.e. a CTB and CTO), you can clip both gels on (half/half) to create a two-color gradient in the background. Make sure the hot air from the light can escape.

The window blinds is also a good idea. You can get black foamcore and cut out a window blind pattern in it. Hang it far from the light if you want a harder shadow.

If you had more preparation, you could also bring props to place in the background.

In post, you can add in fake window lights (like light is coming from a window and hitting the wall behind) and fake color gradients on the wall behind. As well, you can add fake light slashes (i.e. a slightly diagonal pillar of light on the background).
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:50 PM   #8
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Is he sitting on a mic or something? I thought I saw something trailing from his derrier.

His delivery was a bit stiff...as if trying to recite a script. Maybe a nip and tuck in the editor would help.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 03:02 AM   #9
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Thanks for some very useful feedback.

Don: I agree about the face on the right. I'll introduce it later in the clip I think, so as not to distract from the beginning. The client likes it though, so it's staying! The reason the guy is not looking at the camera is that he COULDN'T! He constantly looked down at the desk which for me gave a sense of insincerity. This was the lesser of two evils I'm afraid. In fact, that's why I originally had the other face in teh shot, to make it look as though he was having a concersation with himself. Guess that doesn't work, eh?!

Glenn: I love the blinds idea. I've been playing with adding the effect in post but so far it looks like the guy is in prison! Meanwhile, it's time to buy some foamcore.

Emre: Yep, he is indeed trailing the radio mic antenna. How annoying is that?! Sadly, it was just one of those things that got missed. In other shots the wire isn't there. This was one one-person crew (me) and it was also my first time shooting interviews like this. I have made a check list - to which I have now added "check talent's derriere". You're right about the stiff performance! It's the constant looking down that makes it look like he's reading a script - hence the angle away from camera. This guy is a real IT Manager. I'm sure he's very good at his real job . . .

Thanks again for some very valuable criticism. Much appreciated.

Ian . . .
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 03:04 AM   #10
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I should stress that this was just a taster for the client. Your advice will, I hope, go to making a much more effective end product.

BTW, the client has now given me the go ahead so next time round I will be able to afford to hire a second hand.

Ian . . .
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 06:10 AM   #11
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I liked the second face and also got the feeling you wanted that he was having a conversation with himself.

I also liked the washed out feeling you had with the plain background. It gave it a kind of heavenly feel to it.

I hated the sound.

Best Regards,

Geoff
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:35 AM   #12
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I think a $10 lav mic would have solved your audio problems. Likewise for those fancy lights, take a piece of cardboard and cut some various size and shape slices out of it. Put some gels over the slices, shine a light thru it and you have a colored background. Don't try to "make it look real" you are just painting a piece of abstract art on the wall with light to provide some contrast to the white shirt. FWIW, Elite video covers these cheapee tehcniques very well in his lighting video DVD course, which is very cheap ($49) on eBay.

I also found the dead head in front distracting. Maybe if you don't introduce it until it starts to talk the first time, it will work better?

Other issues I had are likely related to compression on file.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:45 AM   #13
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sound is BAD and if you put your actor in a space and LIGHT him you will get much more contrast and a nicer image with a black background...
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:49 AM   #14
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Thanks Geoffrey and John.

Sadly, the sound was recorded with a much more than $10 lavalier but the aircon was so loud and came from just about every part of the room that I don't think I ever had a chance of getting good audio. Strangely, I also recorded simultaneously using an AT835B shotgun and although that mic isn't very hot it seemed to filter the noide better (annoyingly, though, I used that mic to record the guy asking the questions and so it's pointed in a different direction to the speaker so it's just as unusable). I've asked the client to find a quieter room in future!

I've just invested in a 8' x 8' with 8' train chroma panel so I'm hoping that I can get a nice clean key with that then add whatever I want as a background afterwards. That's after I've had some fun putting my kids on the moon etc . . .
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 09:54 AM   #15
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Hi Obin,

Thanks for the feedback. I think we're all agreed the sound is bad!

How do you mean 'if I put the actor in a space and light him'? Not quite following what you're getting at, sorry!

To be honest, I thought that given the poor room I had available to me, I did a pretty good job of lighting to get the effect I was after. I only have a three piece redhead kit with a couple of reflectors, and I used diffusion over all but the back light, but all in all I was quite happy with the lighting.

Cheers.

Ian . . .

Last edited by Ian Stark; April 22nd, 2005 at 09:55 AM. Reason: typo
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