UWOL #5 "Prairie!" by Meryem Ersoz at DVinfo.net

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Old September 25th, 2007, 12:21 PM   #1
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Location: Boulder, CO
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UWOL #5 "Prairie!" by Meryem Ersoz

my first entry where i actually played by the rules! well, most of them anyway. i was a half day late. but the footage was actually shot and edited for this Challenge.

two bits of back story: this was shot with a Canon XH A1 and a $35 plastic tripod, so some of the shots have a wobble from the wind. the tripod had a little trouble stabilizing the weight in the wind. the reason for the cheapie tripod: i had to go super-light, because i took my 6 year-old daughter and my 13-year-old dog on the shoots. my dog can't walk that far or that well, so the prairie dog was never in any danger whatsoever.

if you really want a Challenge, shoot all your footy with a young child, an old dog, and a plastic tripod.

as i mentioned in "tales of wonder and woe, most of my audio had to be sliced and diced because it sounded like this: "no no stay back. i said NO! ok be quiet you guys. violet, i said SIT!"

the deer actually appeared to me on the drive home. i wanted to shoot some llamas, so that i could add a third mammal in my video, but my gang was tired, and this pretty buck kindly appeared on the side of the road, sparing everyone from another stop along the way. so i stuck my camera out the window for a quick shot. thanks to the cooperative deer!

i'm pretty happy with it, all in all. mostly, i need to execute my rack focus faster--i'm not nuts about how difficult the focus ring is to control on the A1. it's a slippery little devil.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 01:37 AM   #2
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I really like it. Great footage. Great editing. I like how the prairie dog and the buffalo synched up perfectly with the music.

Were you using a preset, or your won custom settings on the A1? The colors were great. Did you use a DOF adapter?

It was a fun piece. It sounds like you and your production crew had a good time on location.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 03:59 AM   #3
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"some of the shots have a wobble from the wind?" If you never mentioned that I would not have noticed a thing.As it is I had to watch the movie 3 times to notice a slight wobble.Even though we have to compress these video's to upload them to the net,the colors and clarity in your video are so clear and vibrant.I can only imagine the quality of the un compressed video.Glad to see that this was not a "keep me out the shark tank entry" like the last round.Every time I watch a talented bit of work I learn more,the trick now is to remember to use what I learn.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 04:25 AM   #4
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Meryem, that $35 plastic stick must have been real reliable, couldn't observe any flaws in your footage!
Think you did great and your dog acted very well.
I'm curious about the rich color in your footage. Is this done with any preset, filter or in post?
- Per Johan
Vimeo Site and Stock Footage Library at Pond5
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Old September 26th, 2007, 07:43 AM   #5
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hey y'all thanks for the comments...

at first, i was trying to make a serious and beautiful piece about the diversity of the Colorado prairie--usually i go to the mountains for their obvious beauty, so i thought it would be interesting to try to capture the "other" Colorado. i am learning to love the prairies, since my dog has become too arthritic to climb anymore.....

but the whole process of acquisition was so comical that i ended up trying to follow the comic mood through in the post process. while shooting, i kept trying to keep my dog out of the frame, but when it came to the edit, i ended up wishing i had a few more with her in it, once i shifted from serious to silly. it's a funny process, shooting documentary footage, because you can try so hard to create something by controlling the environment--and then you wind up in post-production, using some sort of silly B-roll that works better than what you attempted to stage in the first place!

i love happy surprises like that....

once i had the mood established, i just flagrantly pumped the color saturation in post--that's not my normal style, but i was shooting for a slightly cartoon-y look. i even stuck a Nattress enhancing filter on the last frame of the prairie dog who dives into his burrow to accentuate a cartoon-ish ending. i tried it on several frames, but it was too much. if i had a little more time, i would experiment with the look a bit more. it would have been fun to try creating something unique using Final Cut "Color"....

this is a really fun contest! i should try to enter it more often! heh....

p.s. to answer questions, no DOF adapter, just using ND filters and opening the iris...also no A1 presets, just factory settings. i love the pre-sets, but if i change my mind later about the look, it's too hard to re-work the footage....
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Old September 26th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #6
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LOL....First time I have actually laughed out loud at a uwol entry....I loved it when the Prairie Dog sang along to the music....which also was a perfect choice for your piece by the way! I love Buffalo, what an impressive animal they are and such an example of human greed and lack of respect for creatures we share our environment with. Actually I shouldn’t say human really but ‘modern human’ the Indians were an example to us all of symbiotic living………..anyway I digress.

Some nice shots Meryem although I wish the Prairie dog would have kept time all the way through….not very musical obviously !

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Old September 26th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #7
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Meryem, it's great that you finally got a chance to make something specifically for this challenge.
And you really delivered!
Colorado has a great landscape. Very nice to see such animals we don't have here. Maybe I should visit Colorado someday, to experience it myself.

As others have mentioned, I did not notice any wobbling effects from the tripod.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old September 26th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #8
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Hi Meryem!

Boy, after crying over Chris' film I sure needed this one! How uplifting! I never noticed shakes in the footage at all. The music selection was perfect and the prairie dog chirping in time to the music was the clincher!

I'm happy with this one too. You can tell we are fellow Boulderites (even though I live outside of Lyons), the familiar landscapes and mammal choices.

I even feel vindicated that you too included shots of a non-mammal dragonfly in your clip as I included our non-mammal feathered friends in mine.

Thanks for the uplift!

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Old September 26th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #9
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A very neat and entertaining film. I enjoyed it thoroughly and got a kick out of your dog "ambling" in the general direction of the other critter.

Like the others, I didn't see any indication of support instability and could find nothing distracting.

Great camera work, great editing and music.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #10
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Enjoyed the upbeat feel, of this film. Great shots, under the conditions you report, and great editing to match the music.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old September 26th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #11
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Hi Meryem,

"as i mentioned in "tales of wonder and woe, most of my audio had to be sliced and diced because it sounded like this: "no no stay back. i said NO! ok be quiet you guys. violet, i said SIT!"

Would have loved to have watched the unedited version - it sounds like it would have been a lot of fun to watch - with all of us parents being able to relate to the situation you describe very well.

Gee, it's amazing the wildlife you can see whilst walking the dog! What a fantastic place in which to live!

I really enjoyed the comical nature of your film (my boys are tugging at my jumper to say that they enjoyed it too) - particulary the prairie dog. Also very impressed with the quality of the $35 tripods they sell in the US - as your shots were rock solid. Great colour in the opening shot of the prairie dog and an excellent choice of music - which you edited to very nicely.

Also like your establishing shots - which set the scene nicely.

Great entry Meryem - particularly in light of the other distractions off camera.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #12
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here's a link to my tripod, for laughs:


it's actually a $27.95 tripod. i think they reduced the price since my purchase....

i'm glad to hear that i managed to edit most of the wobble out of my shots...one of the reasons my rack focuses are so slow is that every touch seemed to affect the camera with this little unit. the desktop tripod did help me to get down to prairie dog level. good for macro stuff, with an HV10, too...

thank you all for your comments. i'm always happy, david, when kids like my work.

mat, i even gave some thought to dummying those four chirps which hit the beat of the music, so that all of the sound was synched to the prairie dog singing, but it seemed a leetle over the top! maybe that's the push i should have given it though....or dropped it in over some buffalo images maybe, just for more laughs....
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Old September 28th, 2007, 12:41 PM   #13
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Hi Meryem,

This was a fun entry. In some ways I couldn't help but see the prairie dog as an enthusiastic nature host, though who knows what he was saying :)

The music enhanced the mood, and you had a really nice variety of shots to give us an overview of the prairie. I liked the rack focus shots, and am amazed by the quality given your described struggles with the tripod. A fun film to watch.

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Old September 29th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #14
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Hi Meryem.
I love this one you have some great editing skills and it shows in the way you put together each clip.
My favorite is at 00.24 I think where you can see the "water in the leaves". thats a beautiful clip. Also admire your technique focusing in and out, I never got that right, but yours are steady and fine.
Your choice of mammal is great and it fit the title how you put it all together.
The prairy is something I've always been longing to see. When I was a kid the grownups always made fun of me asking; "What will you be when you grow up Geir Inge". My answer was always the same; "I will be an idian and I will be the last of the Mohicans". Of caurse they laughed at me :)
Ok, I'm not sure about the dog walking in at 00.37 but I guess you had to struggle as he wasn't tied up?
Sad you're not in the competitioen, it's in the top, your film I mean.

Best wishes.
Geir Inge
Geir Inge B. Brekke
Visit me at: www.gibbfilm.no
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