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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:27 AM   #1
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Battle of the Oleander Caterpillars

I am still learning basic "how-to" and hope to improve significantly. This sequence was shot with an XL H1s so is derived from HDV and presented in SD here The Battle of the Oleander Caterpillars on Vimeo.

I would be delighted to receive comments and suggestions for improvement. The concept is to document real-life events in nature and to present them in a fashion that is partly story-telling without distorting the facts, but giving then a human feel so it is easier for the viewer to identify with the characters and their situation. The added sounds are not from the caterpillars.

Truthful -- yes and no. Scientific -- not quite. Acceptable as a "documentary? -- I don't really know. What do you think?
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Old July 11th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #2
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I love this. It's really fun. Your focus is right on all the time, a difficult feat in macro.
A couple of suggestions. It could be shorter. The middle without any narrative might be a good place to edit. Since the tip of the leaf is never seen, you might try fastening it to keep the leaf still, and keep the caterpillars in the center. They spend too much time in the upper left hand corner. This is a wonderful way to show what really interesting stuff happens, unnoticed, right under our noses. I hope some kids get to see it.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #3
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I like this. Macro looks good to me and what an interesting behaviour. I agree with Steve regarding the composition and keeping the leaf still somehow. The whole clip can be a bit shorter to maintain the impact IMO. Looks great - keep it up!
Cheers,
Ofer
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Old July 12th, 2009, 06:09 AM   #4
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I don't think there is any problem with giving the caterpillars, or any other animals, names that go with a physical characteristic. Calling them Tom, Dick or Harry would be meaningless.

The comments about composition and length have already been made. Slim's hammer hits tend to start just off the frame when there is plenty of empty space on the right hand side. The ending could have been improved by Curly actually moving away or falling off the leaf, or even of Slim there on his own again. Just saying that he moved to another leaf doesn't have much impact when he is still there - the viewer is waiting for some visual confirmation of the end of the fight.

But overall it's a pretty good effort, and if you have the time and the eye to find subjects like that - keep up the good work.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:18 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your suggestions and especially for your encouragement. I like the idea of fastening the leaf in place. I must admit, a huge proportion of the material was unacceptable because of the leaf moving -- even mild motion looks like a hurricane at this magnification. Having a steady platform for the subjects will make composition a great deal easier.

I especially like the suggestions for improving the impact and story by shortening the whole thing, improving the composition on the critically important points, and demonstrating Curly's loss by showing him moving away to a different leaf.

It was definitely a fun project with behaviour I would never have expected of caterpillars!

Thanks again,
Alan
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:59 AM   #6
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Hi Alan,

Others here have given constructive comments on the videography element of your clip, I felt the sound track needed a better balance to it . The use of foley sound was a good idea, I just felt it needed to be equalised better with the voice over.
Hope this is of help

Regards

Mick
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:01 AM   #7
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Alan,

I've nothing to add technically (others have already mentioned the sound and the length), but what a super little film. Brilliant macro work, and the colours are outstanding.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #8
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Alan,

I have watched this 3-4 times. Nice, entertaining presentation.

Jerry
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Old July 17th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #9
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I really appreciate all the helpful and supportive comments.

I will try a re-edit to incorporate all of your ideas and suggestions. I am still learning After Effects, but I believe there is a way to use it to stabilize the leaf and perhaps zoom in a bit for better composition. Not sure if there is exactly the right shot to create a better ending, but I will look for it. And I will have another go at the sound balance.

Not exactly sure when I can get to it, but as soon as I do, I will re-post it.

Many thanks,
Alan
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 09:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
I felt the sound track needed a better balance to it . The use of foley sound was a good idea, I just felt it needed to be equalised better with the voice over.
Very cool video. I agree with Mick. The sounds effects are too loud in comparison to the voice over. They were popping and cracking on my laptops speakers while the voice over was a bit soft.
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