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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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Liberia medical mission

Working on a doc for a church medical mission I took part in Nov-Dec of last year. Working on putting together a few sequences this month to show the church and to start fleshing out the planned larger project.

So everything I have is rough cut - no CC, no liberal application of smoothcam, no audio sweetening, no effects or graphics aside from some simple titling.

I'd love to hear some opinions as I move forward and develop this project.

Thanks

YouTube - Effort Liberia Foya Medical Mission

YouTube - Effort Liberia Medical Mission 2009 - week 2 review
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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some of the production details (what few there are)

Shot on an HV30 @ 30f, had a cheap Sima quasi-shotgun mic and a Sennheiser EV100 wireless system. Some candid and secondary shots (like the beginning of the wk2 vid) were with a communal Sony DVD103 handycam.

This was my first time using the HV30 in anything other than locked-down scientific videography, so as you'll see, I thoroughly learned what "rolling shutter problems" were all about :D
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Old March 19th, 2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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I'd really like some, or any, constructive criticism of the first link.

Here's that sequence on Vimeo, if you prefer that.


Thanks.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 06:40 AM   #4
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I'm about to head back into working on this project and was looking for anybody who'd like to rip this apart.

After sitting away from it for a few months, I can already see the problems a bit more clearly, but I'd still be highly thankful for some other folks' opinions.

Please feel free to tell me how much the audio sucks, how annoying the basket weaver birds are during the exterior interview, how you like that I hired Michael J. Fox to shoot on many scenes... anything to help me improve it. Thanks.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #5
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Not to be a jerk, but is there anything special I have to do to get any feedback here?

Huge advanced thanks to anybody that can say anything at all, positive or negative
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Old August 16th, 2010, 07:40 PM   #6
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I like the video

Wow, what an opportunity to tell your story from a place few of us in the US know anything about. I liked your video and can only imagine the difficulty in working with few resources in such a place. Your framing was good and your interviews portrayed the people well and some of the camera movements added an aire of professionalism. I particularly liked the grassy field clip near the beginning.

As far as criticism goes, (it's MY opinion only and you, or someone else, may dissagree). Personally, I don't like most outdoor interviews of "the locals" with audio from a lav mic. It just sounds too much like a news reporter and dramitically reduces, or elliminates amibient sound that I think adds to the enviromental feel. It also seams to imply "rehearsed" or "wedding vows" rather than an honest spur of the moment response.

Your interviews with the shotgun mic were much more pleasing, in my opinion, and added a sense of "being there". And, the audio levels are much more consistent throughout your shotgun clips as opposed to the lav shots. Going from one type of sound and back to the other from clip-to-clip is a bit distracting.

But, maybe conditions or equipment limitations (eg: lack of a blimpy or dead cat or boom pole) precluded the shotgun mic....And getting the shot in the camera is our foremost concern..Asthetics, in my opinion, are secondary.

The only other thing, and again it's MY opinion, is that I didn't really start to figure out what your whole point was until about 5 minutes into it. I first thought it had something to do with the beauty of a hidden place in some foreign country and then I thought maybe we were learning of a community's struggle with infrastructure.....And when we're introduced to the sick people I thought it was just another busy medical facility with a lot of sick people - nothing much different than watching the local broadcast news in many areas of the US these days.

What if you added some narration (or text - but you'd risk asking the audience to exert an effort to read) at the beginning to describe the hardships we're about to see and hear about with some background information to establish interest. And then maybe give some insight about your story that's about to unfold before our very eyes...with a beginning, support, and a conclusion or teaser for the next eppisode.

Overall, your video was interesting to me. I watched it all and felt like I learned something - well worth the time from my perspective.

I hope your subesequent trip works out well for your purpose and look forward to seeing your next video.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #7
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I like the video

Wow, what an opportunity to tell your story from a place few of us in the US know anything about. I liked your video and can only imagine the difficulty in working with few resources in such a place. Your framing was good and your interviews portrayed the people well and some of the camera movements added an aire of professionalism. I particularly liked the grassy field clip near the beginning.

As far as criticism goes, (it's MY opinion only and you, or someone else, may dissagree). Personally, I don't like most outdoor interviews of "the locals" with audio from a lav mic. It just sounds too much like a news reporter and dramitically reduces, or elliminates amibient sound that I think adds to the enviromental feel. It also seams to imply "rehearsed" or "wedding vows" rather than an honest spur of the moment response.

Your interviews with the shotgun mic were much more pleasing, in my opinion, and added a sense of "being there". And, the audio levels are much more consistent throughout your shotgun clips as opposed to the lav shots. Going from one type of sound and back to the other from clip-to-clip is a bit distracting.

But, maybe conditions or equipment limitations (eg: lack of a blimpy or dead cat or boom pole) precluded the shotgun mic....And getting the shot in the camera is our foremost concern..Asthetics, in my opinion, are secondary.

The only other thing, and again it's MY opinion, is that I didn't really start to figure out what your whole point was until about 5 minutes into it. I first thought it had something to do with the beauty of a hidden place in some foreign country and then I thought maybe we were learning of a community's struggle with infrastructure.....And when we're introduced to the sick people I thought it was just another busy medical facility with a lot of sick people - nothing much different than watching the local broadcast news in many areas of the US these days.

What if you added some narration (or text - but you'd risk asking the audience to exert an effort to read) at the beginning to describe the hardships we're about to see and hear about with some background information to establish interest. And then maybe give some insight about your story that's about to unfold before our very eyes...with a beginning, support, and a conclusion or teaser for the next eppisode.

Overall, your video was interesting to me. I watched it all and felt like I learned something - well worth the time from my perspective.

I hope your subesequent trip works out well for your purpose and look forward to seeing your next video.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #8
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Scott, thanks a ton...

Interested to hear that you actually preferred the interviews that were just recorded on the HV30's onboard mic. Granted, I blew out and flubbed the lav stuff, but still...
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Old August 25th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #9
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Kevin,

This is not a glossy, western short film, therefore don't be too critical of yourself.

A critic on your first shoot.

A couple of small tech details, try to pan smoother and slower than you do. Don't pan from one face to another when interviewing a person. Keep your frame on the interviewee. If they falter with an answer, don't stray, stay focused.

Your capture of background noise, whether it be intentional or not, adds credence to this production. In fact, I would consider this of paramount importance as that will invoke the reality of the situation.

Learn to pay attention to your back light, it's very important and quite critical when shooting Black people. Always try to shoot them with the light behind you, i.e. on their face, you need to put a twinkle in their eye. This is important for anyone you shoot. (Scene dependent of course....not quite as critical in a horror movie..!!..)

I'd have strung it together a little differently, after 1:05 I'd have dropped to 2:48 through to 4:08 then cut back in at 1:05 run through to 2:48 then cut back in at 4:09 and run through from there.

Your audio cut at 5:58 is way too early for your subject, try and keep them in sync.Your subject at this point doesn't have an audio friendly voice, (don't tell her I told you that!!!! I enjoy my life!!!!) coerce her into speaking up, also try to get her to look into the camera, chide her gently with visual cues when she doesn't. Explain to her prior to the interview it's important for the final product. Your use of light is good both here and at 6:31, (twinkle twinkle little eye!!) your subject at 6:31 is ideal. In the scene at 7:33, frame size, so when your going to interview individuals in a group who are going to give their separate accounts, frame so only each individuals bust fits the frame, this will stop the audiences eyes from wandering. Explain to the group you want one individual to finish prior to another opening up. If your looking for a forum discussion, pull back on the frame so you don't have to dart around from face to face to capture everyone.

At 7:49 your up to your old tricks of shooting against the light. If this is unavoidable carry a reflective umbrella with you, enlist a volunteer to follow you and when required have them open the umbrella whilst standing behind and off to one side of you to bounce the light from the window onto your subjects face. This method is unobtrusive and produces soft light.

8:12, your up to your old tricks of bouncing that camera around. You, believe it or not, must control the interview, as I said, explain your needs prior. Oh yea, buy yourself a monopod, you'll be amazed at the improvement........

9:00 excellent effect, look for more of that out of the ordinary thing.

9:21 segment, turn your subject around, the sun needs to light his face (twinkle twinkle...) and you'd be shooting against a green background as opposed to the light of the sky.

So, in short, buy a monopod, a reflective umbrella, watch your lighting position and pan and zoom slowly.

Don't forget to add happiness to your shorts, those people can laugh a lot of it in spite of their situation.

Personally, I think your on the road to getting some good material. What is your final ambition for this material you're collecting?

OK, I've just watched the 2nd one 'Week 2 review' There was a lot of good stuff in that, story line wasn't so important, your up to your tricks of super pans and zooms!!!!!! See if you can teach yourself to hold a smooth shot whilst walking and sitting in the car. Otherwise not bad.

Al

Last edited by Alan Melville; August 25th, 2010 at 06:34 AM. Reason: typo
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