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Old April 14th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #1
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Nature Doc :-)

I've finally completed a 22-minute nature documentary about a nature reserve in Trinidad. It was made using the Panasonic AG-DVC30 and I used Mercalli stabilising software quite a bit (although the original footage isn't all that shaky) because I was looking for a smooth presentation. The clip I'm trying to upload is 1 minute 18 seconds, taken from the beginning of the main narrative. There are both MPEG and WMV versions and none of them will upload as an attachment. They're both well within the MB size and dimensions, but they won't upload, the progress bar is stuck at the full thing but the files won't come in. What to do??
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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:29 AM   #2
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Sounds interesting!

have you met the resolution requirement

47.68 MB 320 320

24.80 MB 640 480

?
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Old April 15th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #3
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Yes I have, Mat. In both, the screen is 320 x 240. Will try again later.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #4
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You could post it on Vimeo or another sharing site or if you have a website, put it on a page and link it. I have never been able to upload any size so i just use links, cuts down on the hassle
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestion Hugh. Here's the link Mat and Hugh:

http://www.vimeo.com/903809

I noticed Vimeo enlarged it from 320 x 240 so it's a little fuzzy. I'd like to hear some critique about it, but I wonder if it's too short in length for a proper critique. Well, I'll wait to hear the comments. Please put the comments here in the thread as opposed to the Vimeo page, thanks.

:-)
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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:15 AM   #6
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I found the effects of compression distracting, so it's difficult to give a critique. I loaded up a clip in full frame mpeg and let Vimeo do the compression, and got better quality - it is worth trying.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 04:57 AM   #7
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Hi Helen

I think this section of your film shows good shot variation giving a real 360 view of the subject. The shots on the ground are of a higher quality although the compression isn't great and may help the arial stuff somewhat. What I wasn't keen on was the writing. I found it a bit obvious/simple and repetitive at the end. The narration needed a bit more 'character' to it although the chaps voice seems fine.

It would be interesting to see some more!

Cheers
Mat

Last edited by Mat Thompson; April 16th, 2008 at 08:00 AM.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #8
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Annie, I will re-do the upload and come back and post when it's up.

Mat, I'm thinking that you mean the script needs to have more information in it, beyond the facts. What kind of info would you include if you were making a script for a nature/wildlife doc?

The aerial clips were taken through the front window of the aircraft as the pilot wouldn't allow us to open the side window and put the camera through. So the colour and clarity dropped a little. I tried to put back a little using the Video Effects in Premiere Elements.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #9
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Helen, I miss the music, does it run 22minutes without any..? Cheers.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #10
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Helen - As far as what to include I can only say whatever is necessary to move the story along. Let the pictures speak for you whenever they can, don't narrate what you can see in the image, add what you can't see...interesting facts, back story etc. - 'The atlantic coast is scenic with beaches and coconut trees' for instance...I can see all of that information so the voiceover is spoon feeding.

The bit about salt water/fresh water from 1min onward just sounded repetitive and and to be honest didn't say much. 'Wetlands are swamps' for instance... I kind of get what you were trying to say with it being a fresh water/tidal wetland but it seemed confused.

Hope this explains my thoughts a bit better. Look forward to seeing some more and hearing more about your film!
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Old April 16th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Helen, I miss the music, does it run 22minutes without any..? Cheers.
I don't really, but I know what Allan means. The pace is possibly a little slow to do without any music on that opening section partly due to the commentary, but please don't fill it up with just any old rubbish that's free/cheap. Something with local character might be a good idea - a folk song perhaps or local group (I can't see it working with a steel band in carnival mood).

As a musician, I find many films are spoiled by inappropriate music which distracts from the message of the visuals. It's interesting seeing a clip without the music. I often have to mute the sound to appreciate the video fully.

I enjoyed the extract - thanks for posting.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #12
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Mat, I understand what you mean about saying the same thing you're seeing. As the video goes along, things are explained which aren't visible, such as how much rain falls, when the peak ranfall season is, that a particular palm tree species is used locally to make baskets and twine (string) and so on. Then, there is wildlife with howler monkeys, macaws and other birds and the narration is information about them. Other wildlife too comes into the picture.

Colin, the pace is the same throughout actually. I was trying not to show images too rapidly, let them flow to show the audience what the area looks like and let them take it in. And then, just provide something informative as they are seeing the images.

Allan and Colin, I have music in part of the introduction (the part that appears before this one). The opening minute has only natural sounds recorded from the area plus an introductory narrative, then for 38 seconds I have a musical intro with quick images of the scenery and some wildlife (there is no narration here), the musical intro is to lead to the title of the video. Then, there is music and narration in the conclusion (I'll put up a clip later today).

I'd have liked to have some more music throughout but I was looking at a combination of budget and wanting to present the area with nature sounds. What do you think about 15 minutes of nature sounds, water and bird sounds, without music?
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Old April 16th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #13
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Helen, I have to agree with Mat regarding your writing. Your narration is just telling me what I see, which is unnecessary since I can see it. You aren't telling a story, explaining the interaction of the swamp with it's wildlife, or how the people who live near the swamp impact it, use it or protect it.

What you've basically said is here's a beach and some trees and some water. Is that it? Where's the food web, flora and fauna? Is there a threat or is this a pristine area protected from pollution and global warming. What's your point???
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Old April 16th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #14
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Was replacing the video with a portion from the centre of the narrative, but the Internet connection is slooow. May try another time. Thanks though for the constructive comments.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 10:05 PM   #15
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But Helen, we don't know your intended destination/audience for your show. That's important and spells out how you should approach production. For example, if it's for the Nat. Geo channel then you need an opening that'll grab your audience and you've got less than 60secs to do it. You need music and fx there for sure.

If it's for a church group then you can lay back a bit, but you still need music basically to help keep continuity and entertainment.

David Attenborough might swing it but IMO 15mins without music in your 22min show won't work. Use it to start new sequences, doesn't have to be long pieces, use it for effect.

Slip over to the Trinidad Music Society and get some solo instrumentalists, bassoon for the crabs, guitar for seals and harp for the bird sequences. Let 'em record to pix and give them a credit, they'll love it.

What I'd always suggest is, if you can, watch some similar TV progs to get ideas. Even record some and for the pictures, watch with the sound off. For the sound, turn the pix off. Hope this helps you in some way.

Cheers.
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