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The UWOL Challenge (our newest contest)
An organized competition for Under Water, Over Land videographers!

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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:27 PM   #1
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uwol #4- "and the winner is...."

Hello everyone. First, thank you all for the welcomes. I wasn’t able to log in as a member until well after your hospitality thread had run its course.

But enough about me- you all are impressive. Over-all the video shorts that I watched were complex, thoughtful, charming and visually stunning. They have been an inspiration. How to pick a winner?

I have 4 top entries that rotated for top position in a given moment.

In this moment the best of show is Jeff Hendrick with "Touching Generations." I was won over by the care you took with the theme and the complexity of the production. The editing, the acting, the music, the camera work were all pro. I think what really stands out for me is how good the acting is, including the voice-over. Directing and cutting for performance is one of the hardest things to do and, not only did I not cringe, I enjoyed your actors, especially the boy.


Kevin Railback is my runner-up. I was moved. You open with natural sound and that draws us into the emotion that the piano evokes. And I am interested in what the movement of the water is saying- the ways it talks back to the music. You do such a great job of capturing the motion of water. (As I write this I am almost ready to declare you the winner, that is how close it is for me.) You also do a nice job of moving us from the clouds and storm to the sea and back into the clouds. And the images are beautiful. It would not have worked without your skill in making such pretty pictures. But I would not call this eye candy. You do have a story and it was well concieved, no matter how long it took you to put together.

So those are my top two and I have to say I am surprised. Generally, images cut to music and voice over are not what I gravitate toward but you both did such a nice job with those devices that I am reminded as to why people use them.

I also want to give special mention to:

Per Johan Naesje

Your video blew me away. This one is weak on the theme, but in every way is lovely. Take that title out of the opening, it detracts from the shot of the bear. This is more about bears than water- so what, it is still great. What more can an outdoors videographer hope for but to skillfully capture moments like these. Also, as I mention below, this is in my top two for sound. Thank you.

And Geir Inge-

Great job. A compelling video diary. The sound is one of the best in show. The editing is well conceived, the shots playful, personal, and pretty. Your narration is charming and your accent is lovely, especially when you say 'babies'. In fact you almost won based on the way you say "babies on a cliff' alone. But really, you've done everything well. As with any of the top four, I could have declared you the winner easily.

What I think can be improved on in general-

Sound. For me the two winners of the sound category are Per and Geir. The natural sound in Per’s was perfect. I mean the visuals were beautiful, but imagine the damage if he had set them to music. I loved the simplicity of the bears and my heart jumped with the sound of their arguement. It shows how marvelous being in the right place can be if you let the moments come to you both in shooting and editing. And Pier, the singing was inspired. One of the best musical interludes I have experienced. Music can be a crutch or after thought but your piece actually brought me deeper into the experiece with it. I think every one can think about sound design more. Think about the way sound served these two stories. Cutting to music is fine, but sometimes it is like putting a k-mart frame around a classic oil painting. I actually watched a few videos in this competition with the music turned off because I felt it so detracted from the potential of your images. There is a moment at the end of Vidar Vedaa that is silent. That is one of the most interesting moments of the competition because the meaning of it is not being muffled by music or being determined with voice over. It would be interesting to see/hear what you would come up with if you all worked with only natural sound-no voice over, no music. You could do whatever you want with natural sound in post, but start with what you get in the world through your mics. Just an idea.

Titles and text- Don’t let them interfere with your images. Don’t let them over-compensate. And choose nice colors and fonts that compliment the image they are sharing the screen with. I am a fan of simple and readable. I think for short pieces, a title at the end only can let the story unfold.

Vidar, I think more work with sound could have transformed your work and made it more compelling. It was strongest when you dipped below the surface and focused on the creatures. I really loved watching them. I think a shorter piece that plays with sound, particularly when you are underwater would draw the creatures out in interesting ways.

David Gemmell- I loved your images and that you tried to bring attention to the drought in Australia, which I did not know about. I don’t think the short format served you because you presented the problem then solved it too quickly. The pacing, the music and the scrolling text made the issue seem contrived. I think this piece would have been better with natural sound (surprise, surprise) only. And if you want to tell the story of drought, which the opening image starts to do, maybe news-like titling with simple rainfall statistics and dates. Trust your viewers to draw conclusions and follow a more subtle lead. Again, the images are beautiful, and I like that you tried something very complicated.

There are several others in which I see a lot of potential and/or that were very good. Actually, there was something in every one of the videos that I liked and if anyone that I did not give feedback to would like it just let me know. I see you are giving each other great feedback and I may or may not have something to add.

So thank you all. It has been an honor to play judge with such skilled and ambitious artists. I can't wait to see what you come up with next time- without the pressure of declaring a winner.

dj zupancic
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:32 PM   #2
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Way to go Jeff: I was glad to see the "human interest" aspect of the this outdoor theme played up a bit by many of the entries (I actually jetisoned a standard water scenic at the last moment), and it was clear that Jeffs was great, and produced a positive message about our interdependencies !!
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:35 PM   #3
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Congrats to everyone who took part,I dont think we can argue about the winner.Glad to have been part of this
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:37 PM   #4
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I must say that I agree with the winning entry. The moment I saw it I knew. All I could say was "Damn! That one is the winner."
Steven Gotz
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:46 PM   #5
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Congrats Jeff! And to everyone who completed on entry!!

Sorry I have not gotten around to commenting on all the videos yet, this week has been swamped for me.. I will try to get to it soon!

Can't wait for the next one!
Gabriel Photography
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:54 PM   #6
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Hey Jeff, congrats on that, my wife and I were blown away totally by your entry when we watched it ;-)

Well done to the runners up -i had you all tagged ;-)
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Old July 31st, 2007, 03:21 PM   #7
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Congrats Jeff,
And tanks to all chellenger this was realy facinating.

vidar vedaa.

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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:03 PM   #8
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Congratulations Jeff!
And to everyone: Well done! I liked all the videos.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:16 PM   #9
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Congratulations Jeff,
And also to all others - a great effor by everyone.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:42 PM   #10
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Jeff, Kevin and of course Per and Geir, well done. What a great job you all did. And, I must say all entries were interesting, well edited, and most of all thought out. Lets always keep the spirit of these challenges going. Again, congradulations. Bob
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Old July 31st, 2007, 08:57 PM   #11
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My heartfelt and enthusiastic congratulations to all four of you on the top.

It is a pleasure and pure fun to "play" with folks of your calibre and talent.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 09:21 PM   #12
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Great job and a great time had by all.

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Old July 31st, 2007, 09:27 PM   #13
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i'm glad i'm only the first-round judge and don't have to pick THE entry! i woulda had a hard time with this one.

congratulations to all of the top contenders. and to all the finishers.

putting together the complete package on any given challenge is so very hard, given the field of talent. thanks for pushing us all to improve our craft and for being such an awesome community.

oh, and jeff--time to collect your booty! e-mail me your shipping info at uwol@comcast.net.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 12:49 AM   #14
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Congratulations Jeff, god job!

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Old August 1st, 2007, 12:54 AM   #15
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I got home from an incredibly beautiful camping trip just outside of Yosemite NP yesterday (well it will be yesterday in half an hour) and realized that my film had won UWOL #4. So in an excited panic I told my wife, my friends, my actors, Murph from the band Slipstream, I even told my mom and dad…

But I struggled at what I would say in acceptance of this honor. So I will just say thanks…


Mereym for putting together a unique film contest that quickly connects filmmakers from around the world and knits us into a tight community, or perhaps even a family, and it motivates and encourages us to get out and make movies and share them in a supportive environment. I feel very privileged to be a part of it.

Mat for the superb work on the website, sorting files and getting them all online…dude, that is a work of art in itself.

D.J for the difficult job of being the lone judge with 30 people waiting anxiously at your whim…oh yeah…thanks for writing and sending the decision before you could go back to choosing Kevin’s film :)... Great job Kevin by the way and congrats.

To the community of UWOL#4 and the dvinfo.net community, I consider it an honor to call myself a colleague.

To my wife Norma, and my children for the support and love, without you the film would never have been made…I love you

To the cast of the film…Todd and Ryan thanks for putting up with my insane directions and for the amazing acting you both demonstrated. Todd you looked great and sounded even better…thank you. Ryan you are a natural.

And of course to Slipstream for the use of their song “Waterbound” which, in my opinion, added a succinct richness to the film that no other song could have done. I love you guys and your music…They are out of Boulder Colorado, Meryem, check them out if you get a chance.

And congratulations to all of the entrants for their unique and beautiful films, this was a fun and exciting go around…looking forward to next time.

See ya,

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