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Old January 2nd, 2007, 01:28 PM   #1
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Beavers at spring (video)

Hello,

I have photographed nature a few years with a dslr. At spring 2006 I bought a little Handycam and started my journey in videography. My main "targets" are beavers.

Here is the first video, it's in Quicktime format, about 28 MB, please save to disk before viewing.

http://www.riitti.net/videot/Majavakevat.mov

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 03:24 AM   #2
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Juha, welcome aboard!
I have been looking at your video. First impression is that it is a bit too long. You could have shortened it at least half without losing much.
In the other hand you got lots of nice scenes there. It looks like they where active during daytime, is that correct?

What camcorder do you use?

I did some footage of beaver here in Norway last summer (footage at my website), I had to do the recording at late night and eary morning. During daytime they where hiding inside their hut.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 07:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
Juha, welcome aboard!
It looks like they where active during daytime, is that correct?

I did some footage of beaver here in Norway last summer (footage at my website), I had to do the recording at late night and eary morning. During daytime they where hiding inside their hut.
In the spring they start to be active about one hour before sunset, during the summer about 2-4 hours before sunset and in the autumn one hour before sunset. But mostly they are nocturnal.

Last scenes in the video were shot during the summer about 3 hours before sunset, so it was quite sunny.


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Originally Posted by Per Johan
What camcorder do you use?
These scenes were recorded with SONY DCR-HC96.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 05:58 AM   #4
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Makings of a masterclass!

Juha
That makes delightful viewing ... lovely and varied images all the way through and such fun with debris and beaver gliding in opposite directions, bare trees reflected on gently rippling water ... I loved it all AND THEN up came the credits and I saw the word musik and realised that I had (again) forgotten to turn on my sound but I got the last few bars of synthetic droning and I was glad I'd forgotten ... now I'm reluctant to replay it with sound but I will, hoping to hear a Sibelius variation somewhere ...

... in case there isn't, well done for the videoing and I'd love to know how you kept the camcorder so steady and captured such clear images of beaver coat .. the moment when he/she lifts the ice when passing is amazing ... and did you do much "slowing-down" in post-production ??? What software do you use in post? Did you use any compression at all? Per Johan put me on the Sorenson Squeeze which is a great Mb saver .. I wonder how much your footage would have been degraded by compression ... let me know if you're thinking of asking Per Johan for editing lessons ... what he reveals with Muskox footage in seconds is truly wonderful and i'd travel to Oslo for a few days lessons if he was giving them. I'm not sure how much would have been gained/lost by leaving out any of your clips which did introduce a wide variety of beautiful images from the same environment and it would be a masterclass to see what Per Johan would do with your clips ... how about it?
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Old January 4th, 2007, 07:52 AM   #5
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Welcome aboard, Juha!

I'd have to agree with Per on this one - way too long, and a much shorter version with the best image clips from the long sequence would make it far more powerful.

Brendan is also partially correct, in that the long unchanging music wasn't quite right. Yes, it set the mood, but it would need background narrative to maintain interest or at least have a more variable melody. Try to also match the music length with the video sequence. The music should not end abruptly as it does 3/4 way through the sequence - always fade it both in and out or else it will jar the viewer.

You've got some lovely clips of the beaver, so a tighter edit would I'm sure improve it a lot.

On another note, it looks like you have metered for the water in most of the footage and this is OK when partial sunlight hits the fur, but otherwise it tends to underexpose the beaver fur too much when most of the background is highly reflective bright grey-tone water. Silhouette imagery of the beaver looks nice in some clips, but it is too much to watch a dark underexposed main character throughout.

One final note - it looks like you had the camera set on full 'Auto' because at various stages through the footage the scene changes dark to light due to the iris/aperture or speed fluctuating. When you are working around water (or pan across a differently exposed foreground subject that briefly crosses in front of the lens) it is wise to keep the Exposure-Lock button locked on the main background exposure.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
... in case there isn't, well done for the videoing and I'd love to know how you kept the camcorder so steady and captured such clear images of beaver coat .. and did you do much "slowing-down" in post-production ??? What software do you use in post?
Camcorder was on tripod. No slow motion. Video was edited with Final Cut Express, compression for web with Quicktime H.264 codec, multi-pass, keyframes:automatic, interlacing removed, 25 fps, sound in AAC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
I'm not sure how much would have been gained/lost by leaving out any of your clips which did introduce a wide variety of beautiful images from the same environment and ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick
You've got some lovely clips of the beaver, so a tighter edit would I'm sure improve it a lot.
The video is a little too long, next one will be shorter. My editing and especially sound editing need much more polishing, unfortunately I don't like editing. But I guess I have to start practising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick
Silhouette imagery of the beaver looks nice in some clips, but it is too much to watch a dark underexposed main character throughout.

One final note - it looks like you had the camera set on full 'Auto' because at various stages through the footage the scene changes dark to light due to the iris/aperture or speed fluctuating.
Camera was in auto-mode, it's only practical way to shoot with that little cam, because all controls are in a touch display and manual adjusting during the shooting is too difficult. With my DSLR I never use full auto-mode.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 08:58 PM   #7
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Juha, what is the bitrate of the video posted on your website? It looks great!
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Old January 4th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #8
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Wow Juha! That was incredible footage! Its amazing how fast they can chew through wood!

Thanks for sharing this! I cant wait to see more of your footage.
~Gabriel
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Old January 5th, 2007, 12:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas
Juha, what is the bitrate of the video posted on your website? It looks great!
Picture 512 kb/s and sound 64 or 96 kb/s.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #10
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Juha,

I really enjoyed your piece. You have some really nice shots in there and I can tell you did still photography before. I agree that it is a bit too long. You could tighten it up a bit by not holding shots for as long and just losing a few redundant ones, but you have a great start. Some of your shots reminded me of Terrance Mallick's film New World. You should check out the cinematography in that film. Keep up the good work.

David
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Old April 27th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #11
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I, for one, do not think it is too long. I could watch this stuff all day long. I am one of the few that thinks Malick should have even less diallogue and more nature shots . . . . but that is just me.
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