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Old April 8th, 2008, 01:12 AM   #1
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New wildflower film: California Poppies

I have added another wildflower film to http://www.parkfilms.com/sandblossoms08.html. This one is about California Poppies and other flowers that are now blooming in the Antelope Valley (yes, once upon a time this was major Pronghorn Antelope habitat).

The opening pan isnít quite as smooth as I would prefer, but with strong winds and a telephoto thatís how it worked out. Hope you enjoy the film, anyway. There is a map posted on the web page for how to find the Reserve. If you go, be prepared for the wind; itís a fact of life out there.
Best,
Peter Rhalter
www.parkfilms.com
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Old April 8th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #2
 
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Nice images, but I really hate the wind noise. I would suggest you replace that wind a library wind sound.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 12:14 PM   #3
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I agree with Jay. Loose the wind noise. I know there is a tendency by some nature filmers not to alter the orginal ambiance but you have a really good piece of work here that would be even better w/o the wind noise.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 03:01 PM   #4
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I like the wind in this particular piece. I think it gives power to the images of the wildflowers standing up to the strength and continual stress they go thru in their short lives.
Normally I would agree with the others about losing the background---but not on that particular piece!
(So now I'm feeling 'empathy' with flowers......I must be depressed or something)
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Old April 8th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #5
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Intriguing question about the wind. At the moment I'm partial to keeping it - maybe because I'm being considered for an assignment by someone who likes my use of ambient. Not everyone agrees, obviously; is it just this particular wind, or what would you replace it with? It is the sound I recorded there that day and helps makes the scene feel real for me.

It is astounding how tough those little flowers are to the wind. When the wind gets too strong they just curl up and reduce their outer surface. By the way, the poppy petals make cool squeegee-like noises in the wind if you mike them close enough; very interesting sounds.

Best wishes,
Peter
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Old April 9th, 2008, 07:47 AM   #6
 
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Pete, the problem is that no one earth hears the "sound" of wind the way a microphone does. What you have there is "noise" not "sound". There's a big difference between the two. That's why every (Hollywood) movie and TV show you've ever seen replaces the wind "noise" with the "sound" of wind.

Do what you will, it's your film. But I guarantee if you artfully replace the wind "noise" with the appropriate "sound" of wind, it will elevate the production value of the project considerably. Also, and perhaps more importantly, it will make you look (and sound) like you know what you're doing. I don't say that to be cruel, but if you're looking for work from your videos (maybe someone would like to hire you to shoot B-camera), this doesn't instill confidence in your work from a professional audio point of view.

Like I said, it's your film. You have the right to do as you see fit, and I support that right. But you need to understand your choice may have an adverse affect on those perceptions that others have of your abilities.

Just my two cents.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:19 PM   #7
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Jay,

Your kind advice and perspective is appreciated but I think we are talking about two different markets. I really have no Hollywood intentions with these pieces. The assignment I mentioned is for a nature-oriented organization that wouldnít be at all happy with generic sound. Beyond that, I plan to use these pieces as building blocks for a larger film that will be submitted to film festivals, which so far have been pretty tolerant of my approach to sound and images.

That is not to say that there may not be much better ways to mix the ambient sound than I have done here, or better ways to record it. I would be really happy to learn how I can improve on that, as well as get a sense of whether people enjoy watching the piece. Thanks again for making the effort to respond; it is appreciated and I will certainly keep your suggestions in mind.

Best wishes,
Peter
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Old April 9th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #8
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The first time I watched it, I was just gobsmacked at the sight - wildflower fields that go on forever or so it seems!

The second time, I had to listen hard for the wind noise that others talked about, though I do see what they mean by wind noise as opposed to the sound of wind.

The opening pan seems to me to be rather long. The later ones, where you kind of layer them, are much easier on the eye. The opening one also seems to have a bit of judder - was the OIS on? Or was it a matter of you fighting the wind? Either way I don't think it would have been so noticeable with shorter pans.

And thanks for putting the map etc on the website. That makes another few sites for my list if I ever get to California again. Do I take it that the blooms are a bit later than usual this year?

I look forward to seeing some more of your wildflowers.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #9
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Annie,

The California Poppies might be a little later this year than usual, but not a lot. There's a week or two of variation that depends, I think, on the timing of the rainfall. Thanks for the observation about the opening panóit is long and I was fighting the wind; I hardly ever use the stabilizer. I put it in for such a long time to establish the breadth of the flower fields. I'll definitely give some thought to trimming it if people find it boring, but it's there to help convey some of the magic of a desert Spring.

I wonder if some of the "noise" people are talking about comes from the plants rustling and rubbing together. Because of the high winds there was a great deal of this rustling of dry sticks and plant stalks going on that day; made it very unusual audio-wise and maybe not what people "expect" for wind. I'm trying to figure this out because it does relate to a sense of place; this isn't just anywhere.

I should have another little film up in a week or so. Glad you found this one interesting.

Best wishes,
Peter
www.parkfilms.com
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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You may be right about the sound being the rustling of the vegetation - to me it wasn't loud enough to be distinctive. A lot of the problem with natural sound is that if we are there experiencing it, it is easy to filter out noises as soon as we've identified them. On your film, at the time that you showed the close-ups of flowers, where the rustling should have been more apparent, you also introduced music. The rustling sounds vanished, leaving the viewer believing that he/she was listening to the wind, which most videographers know as a problem sound in many respects.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #11
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Good point; thanks. I will revisit that.

Best wishes,
Peter
www.parkfilms.com
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Old April 9th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rhalter View Post
... I really have no Hollywood intentions with these pieces.
I understand what you're saying here, Peter, but I think you've missed my point. I wasn't referring to you, but your audience! They have grown up watching movies and TV shows made in Hollywood (and other places) that have, over time, created a standard. When any of us produce pieces that drop below those standards, it's very obvious. When we do, we're then percieved as being less than professional in our work.

As has been said so many times before, poor images with good sound are more than acceptable. However, excellent images accompanied by poor sound are always felt to be less than acceptable. Strange, but true.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #13
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Jay,

I'm going to go over my recording from that day and look for some wind with less, or none, of the rustling noise from the plants...see if I can mix that in strategically. Thanks for the input.

Best wishes,
Peter
www.parkfilms.com
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #14
 
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Pete, it's not the rustling noise from the plants that's the problem, it's the noise created by the wind rushing across the diaphragm of the microphone that's creating a noise all it's own. That's the issue.

There are ways to minimize this in the future. Depending on your mic, you can use a foam windscreen, blimp, and/or what's referred as a muff (or deadcat) to reduce or eliminate the wind noise you're getting. These items prevent the wind from coming directly in contact with the mic's diaphragm which creates the noise.

Read this: http://www.equipmentemporium.com/Art...indarticle.htm it will explain far better than I can!
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #15
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Jay,

Had a deadcat on the mic all day. Maybe I needed 2. Plus foam.

Best,
Peter
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