Birds of the Esk Valleys - editing begins at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 14th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
Birds of the Esk Valleys - editing begins

For several years now I have given talks to local societies, birding clubs and conservation groups about birds in my local area - the Esk Valleys in Midlothian, Scotland. The talks have been given to give the public an appreciation of the wildlife that's on the doorstep, if only we take the time to look. My background is photography although I've made a couple of short films and posted about them on DVInfo previously.

As of this week the editing begins on my magnum opus, Birds of the Esk Valleys in HD. The target audience is the same, and the film has to appeal to the general public and to knowledgeable birders alike. I have broken some rules with this project and this may work for or against me. For two years I have done a combination of planned and opportunistic shoots of birds (and other wildlife) in my local area, but I haven't worked to a shooting schedule, nor has the film worked through a script. The project has developed according to the ebb and flow of birds into the area through the seasons. The truth is I didn't know whether I would get the shots I wanted for some of the bird species - some planned shoots have worked out well and others haven;t produced a second of useful material. And some species I never imagined capturing well have appeared at the most unexpected moments. This spring has largely been spent re-acquiring footage on species for which last year's efforts were less than good. I've lost count of the number of days spent in the last two years on this project - but it has been immensely enjoyable acquiring the footage.

Now the narration script has to be written, and the editing will begin for what will be a 30 minute documentary. I am very inexperienced compared with most on this forum and for me videography is for enjoyment and a vehicle to share my interest in birds and wildlife; it's not my profession.

As the editing and narration process evolves I hope to post some material for critique and hope other forum members will be willing to assist with comments and criticism. For now I will link a few clips which aren't necessarily the best from my collection, but which give an idea of the species and habitats which will feature in the film.

YouTube - The Old Glen Road (1080)
YouTube - Spring Diary June 2010
YouTube - Redstart

I look forward to learning from your expertise as the project develops.

Cheers,

Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 14th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 340
Neil,

Some great footage, wishing you success with the project.

Which model camera have you been using, particularily the Redstart closeup shots.

Bob
Bob Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
I used a Canon XL H1A with EF adapter and a 100-400mm Canon lens at 300mm for the close shot. One of the difficulties that day was fluctuating lighting conditions- bright sunshine but patchy cloud, windy, so light levels rising and falling rapidly. Some shots are relatively flat in contrast, others more punchy such as the close-up. I will have to pay attention in the edit to avoid discontinuity.

I think all the sequences here were XL H1A but I do have a Canon 7D which was used for opportunistic shots -more portable.

Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 03:03 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: West Sussex England
Posts: 696
Neil,

Lovely clips. You should have an interesting project when completed.

Well done

Mick
__________________
www.nature-on-film.co.uk
Mick Jenner is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 03:57 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wales
Posts: 2,130
One thing to bear in mind is to be aware that the attention span of your general audience will be a lot shorter than yours when it comes to watching birds! This means that while for example you and I might happily watch a locked-off shot of a peregrine feeding its chicks for 5 minutes solid, most people wouldn't.
What I'm trying to say is that you need to keep the story moving, be constantly making points with the pictures and narration, and keep things changing.
Just my thoughts, best of luck.
Steve
Steve Phillipps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 05:24 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New Delhi, India
Posts: 485
I agree with Steve about the attention span. I am sure, you would edit and keep small portions of each.

I always feel odd when the video is zoomed in and out. It gives a jerky feel. So I try to avoid zooming. Thanks for sharing the clip. All the best.

Cheers,
Sabyasachi
__________________
Wild Tiger Productions
http://www.indiawilds.com/about.htm
Sabyasachi Patra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 340
Neil,

I also agree with what Steve has said, in editing it important to keep the story moving along and definitely try not to zoom.

How have you found the Canon 7D compared to the XL H1A, any problem cutting between shots. I have a 7D which I use for bird stills but have not had the chance to use any footage in a doco yet.

Bob
Bob Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 12:02 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
Thanks everyone for the helpful advice.

Steve, I agree with your comment about attention span. I learned a certain amount about keeping the story moving along through my lectures, in which projected still photographs were used as media. I have followed several species throughout an entire season and plan to take the audience through the year chronologically. I have to achieve a balance between keeping the story moving, and not making the movie too piecemeal. But I don't intend to have long sequences within the movie such as with the starlings or peregrines shown in the sample footage for the very reasons you have cited. Altogether I have footage on more than 20 species of bird, and in addition other wildlife, wildflowers etc, so it should be possible to pace the movie correctly.

Sabyasachi, I agree the zoom is irritating in the starling footage. This was quickly cobbled together for a couple of girls I met when I was filming the starling roost! The footage shows me hunting a bit, both with zoom and pan. I will only include smooth and non zoomy clips in the final movie (for this segment, I have nice footage of a small starling roost in my local area, but I will cut away to the Gretna footage for a few seconds simply to illustrate how massive these colonies can become).

Bob, Re the 7D, I'm still getting used to it. I did acquire some redstart footage with it the same day I filmed them with the XL-H1A. The main difference I noticed is that colours were more saturated and the footage more contrasty with the 7D. Perhaps more visual impact but a less true-to-life look, I thought. I'll see if I can post some footage side by side for you to look at this weekend.


Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 9th, 2010, 09:45 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sanibel Florida
Posts: 99
Where do you want to show your film? Should you find out how long it should be for TV? Also which is the best way to get your project to the masses?

If you come to Florida drop me a line.

Ken.
Kenneth Burgener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2010, 06:08 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Southport, England
Posts: 621
Neil,

The Redstart was really nice. What camera set up did you use? Given 1080p on youtube I guessed your Canon SLR but then the close up so?


Ron
Ronald Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2nd, 2010, 12:55 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
The redstart was filmed using the XL-H1A; close up shot was very fortunate as I was not in a hide at that point and the bird landed very close by, in good light. I did take some shots using the 7D but having inspected them I messed up on exposure and blew the white highlights on the male bird. That's the problem with no zebra stripes!

Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2nd, 2010, 01:04 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth Burgener View Post
Where do you want to show your film? Should you find out how long it should be for TV? Also which is the best way to get your project to the masses?

If you come to Florida drop me a line.

Ken.
Hi Ken and sorry for the slow reply. I intend initially to show my film at meetings of local wildlife and conservation groups, it's not being done for profit. A true 'amateur' film - in the sense of being done for the love of it - if you like. But I do not want a correspondingly amateur look.

I have several talks lined up in which I will show the film once complete - two RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - the UK's largest conservation group) branch meetings, the 75th anniversary meeting of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, Fife (Scotland) Bird Club, and a public science meeting at the Museum of Communication in Fife. My film may be offered to the Esk Valley Trust (the film is about birds in the Esk Valleys) if it helps raise funds for this charitable cause. Also the film will be entered into the annual competition of the Scottish Association of Moviemakers - an amateur organisation.

[I would love an excuse to come to Florida, I believe it's a fabulous place for birds. And I would love to visit the Kennedy Space Center......? :) ]

Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
Progress

Progress is good in this, my first full length documentary, considering this is being done in spare time (I work as a physician). I obtained some good footage to replace some slightly substandard shots of grasshopper warbler and whinchat, so I'm happy with the quality of the shots now. I have now put together a rough cut in sequence and it seems to flow quite well. I hadn't appreciated that often the clip lengths have to be modified to tie in with music and narration script, but only minor modifications needed here. I'm glad I read up and took plenty of lead-in and lead-out footage for each clip and plenty of cut-away footage. With end credits the movie will be approx 27 minutes.

Music had been a big bugbear for me, I wasn't happy with a lot of the royalty free music available online and felt it didn't really fit the moods of my documentary. However, through my local film-making society (the Edinburgh Cine and Video Society) I made contact with a composer called Dmytro Morykit and he is fabulous to work with. He has written a short piano score for my movie and I was astonished at how he could adapt a melody and theme to the different sections of the film, creating different feels while maintaining a thread of continuity. So I'm quite excited about the project now. I am hoping everything will be complete by the end of January.

I have several invitations to show the film next year, the most high profile of which is the 75th anniversary Scottish Birdwatcher's Conference, where my film will be show to close the conference.

Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 14th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: No Fixed Address :) Western Australia
Posts: 269
Neil,

Progress sounds good.

Good luck and don't forget to remember us all when you're super famous!!!!!!............ :) lol

Al

Last edited by Alan Melville; November 14th, 2010 at 06:10 PM. Reason: added word
Alan Melville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 23rd, 2011, 03:40 AM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Roslin, Scotland
Posts: 65
Final steps

Oasis is almost complete now. Since last posting I have been through several steps:

(i) Narration script. This went through five iterations before I have happy that it meshed with the timing and flow of the footage.
(ii) Narration recording. I recorded each of 20 narration segments three times. I found it very difficult to be consistent with pitch and tone. Several segments took 8 or 9 takes!
(iii) Hard drive rescue and PC repair, triggered by incompatibility between Encore CS5 / Win 7 Pro 64 bit and my old LG blu-ray writer. This problem has been detailed elsewhere in DVInfo but the consequences were extreme. In brief Encore hangs on startup and the PC cannot be shut down as Task Manager is inaccessible. The PC has to be powered off. On the third reboot the boot sector of my RAID array was corrupted (startup could not be fixed using Startup Repair from DVD). A quick plug for User2 Computers in Edinburgh - a very rapid turnaround for rescuing my data, reconfiguring to mirror RAID from striped (safety rather than speed being my priority) and reinstalling everything. I did have backups but would have lost a solid week of work. Lesson learned!
(iii) Test Blu-Ray authoring. I found transcoding with Adobe Media Encoder in h264 Blu-Ray produced results very close to the quality of the original footage.
(iv) I am now combing through the footage on the TV / audio system. How different it looks to the PC edit! A series of changes needed to sound levels, denoising a couple of segements etc and it will all be done.
(v) I need to re-edit a version of 20 minutes or less for my local film-making club's annual compeition. As tge movie is in segments this shouldn't be too difficult and a shorter film may appeal more to a general audience rather than my usual birding audiences.

Opening sequence is on this link; I'm not sure whether it's possible to host the full movie on Vimeo or YouTube at acceptable quality.


Neil
Neil Grubb is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:42 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network