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Old January 21st, 2011, 03:37 PM   #1
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New showreel

Hi everybody
i've just edited a new short reel with some images from my recent encounters with wildlife. Shooted with XLH1 with 100-400 and 500 Canon lenses. Of course any comment or criticism will be very wellcomed...
Best regards

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Old January 23rd, 2011, 02:09 AM   #2
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Hi Fernando,

You have some great shots in there and I enjoyed your showreel.

For more impact I would shorten it by around 30 seconds if that doesn't spoil it with respect to the music. There were a couple of clips in there which I would remove - the coots and the great spotted woodpecker shots were quite soft compared with the rest of the footage. At the start of the showreel I liked the shot of the lone deer, but I would just show the wide angle shot then the close shot, both for a little longer, rather than 3 levels of zoom in steps. I made this mistake in my latest bird film and it looks rather labored.

Are you making a movie out of your footage ? I do hope so, because you have captured a good variety of wildlife there!

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Old January 24th, 2011, 01:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for your suggestions Neil, is good to have some feedback and advises. I think you're right with your comments (Short is always better... but not easy to do).
The shots are a sample of some of my recent wildlife clips with more accion, but they are not part of a future film. I am working in some documentary projects (one about a restored wetland, one about Cantabrian forest...and some others) in wich this shots will appear, but my main problem is the lack of time. I hope I could finish some of them in this year.

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Old January 24th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #4
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Your Show reel

Shallow depth of field. I am struggling with this same issue. In nature, I am developing the opinion that shallow DOF it is usually out of place. Nature subjects are constantly in motion and with todays cameras it is very difficult to follow focus. The wrong part of a subject in focus is distracting and confusing. You have some very spectacular scenes that in my opinion are not what they could be if the DOF was greater.

I liked the editing. Short is better? It is only 2:30 now. At the end I was looking for more.

The wildlife is unusual for those of us in North America. Where was this shot?

Keep up the good work.

Thank you for sharing

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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #5
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Kent, I don't know if i understand well your point about DOF. I agree with the difficulty of maintaining focus in wildlife filming, specially if the animal is moving and you must follow it with your camera. I have usually many opportunities to film with perfect focus with motionless subjects (an animal eating or waiting...) but also i have lost some good shots with moving animals because of bad focusing. I have no experience with follow focus or similar.
Moreover, in the field, is impossible to have precise control over the light conditions, so DOF is not always easy to manage.

All the wildlife in the reel is from north of Spain, there are chamois, roedeer, capercaillie, brown bear, bearded vulture and some more species.

Thanks for watching and commenting
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #6
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I really like the reel, but agree with the comment about the coots, and the three levels of zoom on the deer. The woodpecker is maybe a little soft, but if also seems a bit short to include. I can hardly judge the sharpness before it flies away.

Keeping moving subjects in focus with the big telephotos and EF adapter is very difficult for me, and Ioverall you did an excellent job of maintaining focus. One is always dealing with a shallow depth of field with the big lenses unless they are shooting at very long range and even there critical focus is important so I don't see how anyone can work around it. If one stops the lenses down too much to try to gain more depth then they run into the diffraction issue and even at that, the depth of field is still shallow. I especially have issues with something flying or running directly toward me or away from me. I can't see as there is any choice. If one wants a deep depth of field then they cannot use the big telephotos and have the dramatic close-up shots, but must settle for "animal in their natural environment" type of shots. I use more of these than I used to, but I still like a lot of the dramatic close shots and I think you handled the depth of field issues quite well.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Hey Fernando
Great job on this and what a selection of material you have. I agree that in its current format I'd cut maybe 20% of it.

However I recently managed to get a lenghty critique from non other than Doug Allen on not only my Film Hudson's monarch but also the showreel I know you saw. Along with a few other people he has changed my notion of a wildlife reel. What we should really be aiming at is to show maybe only 3-4 subjects but show them in with a great range of shots, behaviours, details, actions etc.

This is what I'm now going to be working torwards and is certainly the advice I would give. That said I ceratinly think there is nothing wrong with having two reels. One with a more geenral approach.

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Old January 28th, 2011, 02:00 AM   #8
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Would love to buy a blue ray disc of this Fernando if you ever get round to making an extended film.
Did I see four Vultures, Bearded, Black, Griffon and Egyptian? Some pretty rare birds.

HDV as well. Some "standard" zoom lens shots I assume.

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Old January 28th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #9
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Hi Fernando,

I did enjoy watching this, a good selection of clips well cut to the music.
As far as a show reel is concerned I think it is down to what you are trying to achieve with it. If you are wishing to show off your skills a wildlife cameraman then, like Mat has said, you need to show more variety of behaviour of individual animal's in order illustrate your camera skills and your ability to understand animal behaviour and able to film it in various ways. All the clips need to be spot on.
If editing and cutting to the beat plus adding sound are skills you are promoting, then yes, this show reel is very good.

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Old January 28th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #10
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Thanks everybody for your kind words and useful comments

Willard, i think there are some choices with focusing moving wildlife. For me, as a biologist and not a pro cameraman, is easier to think about ways to approach wildlife and use shorter lens (use of hides, study of behaviour, knowledge of the animal and the area, use of automatic cameras...). Other strategy for me is trying to obtain plentiful of shots of one interesting species; so, i can have some well focused shots together with a lot of unusable ones (is a question of number of posibilities...), but of course there are some limitations. By the way, i find the "animal in its environment" shots very interesting and a good subject for working with lights, colour, focus, composition... trying to obtain some beautiful and special escenes.

Mat, very interesting advise about wildlife reels. I think that mine is not a real professional reel but a personal combination of some of my preferred recent shots, a whim. The idea of concentrating in a few species and showing different angles, behaviours, kind of shots... is really interesting and perhaps i will try it in the future. Nevertheless i don't see much possibilities of obtaining work or funds with a wildlife reel here in Spain... (Is possible to see your Hudson Monarch film in the net or somewhere? I've seen some scenes and seems a fantastic work, congratulations with your success with it)

Ronald, i am working in some projects, one about bears and forest here in north spain, and perhaps in the future i could make a film and some blurays. I have worked with black vulture, but in the reel i have only shots of bearded, griffon and egyptian (a young). The only standard lens shot is the one at the begining.

Mick, you're right with the reel concept, perhaps i should'nt have called it a showreel!. Besides, i don't feel as a very good editor, my skills are very limited and i'm still learning... but if you enjoy the video i feel much better...

Best regards
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Old February 1st, 2011, 02:57 AM   #11
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Great footage, Fernando.

But I do not like the music. Quit the drumming and add something more calm - if you are absolutly sure you want music.

I never hear music when I am in the forest or in the mountains.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #12
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Hi Fernando,
Absolutely blown away by your beautiful shots and unusual footage. Now I want to go there and do the same for sure.

I watch and film wildlife for peace, art, beauty and to share our natural world with other caring people using a 7D mostly with 100-400 lens. I have a 500mm but found it just too big. If I had to produce this I would have soothing wildlife sounds and not drumming, just my kindly meant opinion.

I sometimes video wildlife even if the footage is not good just to get the sound. Then I remove traffic noise and create my own library of sounds such as bird calls, frogs, cicadas etc. Then pull these up to try to match the ambiance of what I felt in the woods or near the lake.

Hope this helps and keep us the great work, I'd love to see more as I learn from you.

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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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Thanks Sverker and Doug for your kind words.
In previous reels i have used more gentle music letting more space for nature sounds (you can see them in my page in vimeo). I usually record nature sounds in location and use it in editing, and i like very much videos with sequences only with natural sound even some like wind in the leaves, water rumour and similar.
I must confess that in this video I tried something different, looking for some training in editing. So I searched for a more dramatic music and when i found this piece of Kevin McLeod (a fantastic composer) I was tempted to edite it with some of my wildlife action shots. It was a kind of personal choice in this moment...
I think that music is a very important part of a documentary, and nature documentaries are not an exception. Different kind of musics can contribute to the feelings in different parts of a story.
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