UWOL #7 "Impact" - Marj Atkins at DVinfo.net

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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:49 AM   #1
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UWOL #7 "Impact" - Marj Atkins

This was an adventure for me in many ways - if an adventure is going out into the somewhat risky unknown - first UWOL, first completed documentary, first VO (the absolute worst but unavoidable!), first aerial videography and first micro light flight.

The micro light adventure was such a fun experience that I know it will not be my last. The aerial footage was another story altogether.

Due to total inexperience I fell into every trap along the way and on top of it, I had to hand-hold my camera. My camera and tripod are usually firmly welded together - so much so that in all the excitement I actually clean forgot about my image stabilizer - I could have found it really helpful up there!!!

I won’t go into the rest of the obstacles encountered along the way - suffice it to say that I am all the wiser now and will definitely be better prepared for all the difficulties the next time round.

I kept my subject very simple for this first challenge (a meteorite impact crater) and concentrated more on the adventure of capturing it from a microlight. Ever since I first visited Tswaing I have been fascinated by the geology and history of the site. (Two or three sentences certainly do it no justice.)

Co-ordinates for Tswaing are 25 o 24’ 30’ S 28o 4’ 56” E - for anyone who may like to look it up on Google Earth.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #2
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whoa! that was amazing! this is your first entry?? looking forward to UWOL #14, at this rate, to see where you go from here.

the aerial footage was very nice--you can get some really smooth shots from those ultra-lights. i will have to keep that in mind. i did an aerial piece where getting smooth shots was a little bit challenging.

one of the things about this piece is that i can feel how much fun you had doing it...i really enjoyed that.

i'd say that you could be slightly more ruthless about cutting away when your exposure is shifting, but that's about it--(besides, i should talk...i'm sure my own entry is laden with the exact same issue, since i threw up a fast and dirty edit job...). ruthless editing is a good thing!

a great story, a great subject, some very nice individual shots to open it...you already have the complete package....and a very cooperative husband, i would say!
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Old February 24th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #3
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That was awesome! Where have you been hiding? :)

That was a wonderfully crafted film.

Loved the rich saturated colors, thought your VO was great. Not sure why you thought it was the absolute worst.

For not having the image stabilizer on your camera I thought your shots very very steady.

I don't think we have to wait until UWOl #14, you're already there!
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Old February 24th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #4
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Wow!...Informative and visually stunning.

I also thought your voice over was outstanding....very clear and easy to understand.

Loved the ballons...
Bob T.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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Very awesome, informative, excellently narrated and visually stunning. Your piece just didn't reflect the points you have made in your thread about traps, challenges and I'll know better next time comments! This was smooth and very enjoyable to watch. Welcome to UWOL Marj! What a great contribution for us to feast on!

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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:10 AM   #6
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WOW… really nice aerial photos… stabile and beautiful. This is a good film, good VO and a good topic. Maybe you could hade turned the music down a bit, sometimes it was hard to hear you.
I’ll be waiting on you next films.

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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:19 AM   #7
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Hi Marj,
This was certainly an adventure! - the VO, content, shots all came together to make a really fun, informative and watchable piece. Good stuff!
The only thing I felt was a little out of place was the music - it felt a bit "acid munch rave from 1995" which, don't get me wrong I love, but to me didn't quite match the feel of the visuals.

Good first UWOL piece - look forward to your next one!!!

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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:29 AM   #8
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I must say I sitting here quite taken aback by your positive and constructive responses. Thank you for your encouragement. I think that I have become so familiar with my movie that it irks me - to use Kevin’s phrase - besides you people have set such a high standard.

I did my VO so many times I was really irritated by my own voice. It started out sounding like I was talking down a long hollow, tinny tunnel. When I tried to sound excited and adventurous it sounded awful to say the least. My darling son told me quite straight that it was dreadful and suggested that I set up a tent made of blankets, climb inside with my camera and use the camera mic to do it. That came with its own set of problems but it did help to eliminate the hollow sound. I still got my words all mixed up. The ad hoc construction collapsed on me a couple times and by the time I had done it a dozen times I was so frazzled I packed it in. The next day I came to the realization that if I didn’t do something fast, I was going into the shark tank. So I pulled myself together, reconstructed my tent using some big pieces of polystyrene and some blankets and redid the whole thing as calmly as possible. I was convinced it sounded rather dead but I decided it would just have to do. So there you have it - that is why I said my VO was the worst. It was certainly the worst and most difficult part of the whole excercise.

Meryem, the ride is reasonably smooth - just very windy. I think that, with the camera in more experienced hands, you could get some very nice footage from the micro light. I believe there is a lot of potential there.

and. . .‘Co-operative’ isn’t quite the right word. Understanding and caring, interested and encouraging are probably better words to describe Tom’s involvement - and some.

Cat I really had a big battle up there. The space was very cramped and I could not see the EVF properly. I literally did not know if it was in focus. I did my best to set the focus on infinity and trusted that it would come out okay because I only had one shot at it. I pointed the camera more or less in the right direction and hoped it was level. I worked a lot in post to sort out the other things.

Just an apology up front - I was hoping to do all my comments this last weekend but the movies weren’t available in time. Unfortunately I have a hectic deadline to meet work-wise and won’t be able to put my comments on your movies up for a few days - but I will do so.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #9
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Great first film. As Kevin said, it feels very well crafted and complete. It takes you on an informative, interesting and beautiful journey. Its on topic and was shot really well, your editing was very nice and the VO sat really well and added to journey where it needed too. I really liked the use of the second camera to give give the ground perspective making things nicely multi-dimensional. I'd have thrown in a couple more detail cut aways in your intro and maybe tried a reveal of focus pull in there, just to add a little more variation and pull of into the feel of the place. Other than that I'd say your music was slightly to punchy in places and you needed to dip for the VO's but did fit well with the piece.

For me your up there in the running Marj, so very well done and many thanks for your story....great stuff!
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Old February 25th, 2008, 10:58 AM   #10
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Hey Marj,

I have been waiting and looking forward to see your film, and learn more about your area since you first talked about joining the uwol family.
And wow, you sure deliver quality film!
One of my favorites!

Your voice over is easy to understand, and the story you tell is very interesting.
The only detail I would suggest you change, is lowering the music level when you speak. That way it would be even easier to hear and understand you.
Now I felt that there were a few times where your voice had to compete with the music about the attention.

Thank you for teaching me about South Africa.
I can't wait to watch more of your films.

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Old February 25th, 2008, 11:16 AM   #11
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this is a great micro documetary!! I am ready to watch the full length version. A meteorite that big might set the planet slightly off axis!!

Great story. liked the ariel view!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old February 25th, 2008, 02:58 PM   #12
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Marj, where have you been since the start of uwol-1!? Your work was so stunning and interesting to watch. I can't believe that this is your first of everything you're saying!
Second what have been said. And welcome to our community Marj. It seems that you will be one of the high class shooters!
- Per Johan
Vimeo Site and Stock Footage Library at Pond5
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Old February 25th, 2008, 11:23 PM   #13
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Hi Marj,
Well that was a joy to watch and really FEEL the adventure about to take place.
Like others, I though your VO was wonderful. It was clear, and the whole descriptive and educational content was very informative. You also didn't need any image stabiliser as your shots were very smooth and steady. Your panning was very smooth and the disolves suited the footage well. I especially liked your explanation of what we could expect as the journey progressed.
I think you are very talented with the camera and should be very proud of this first entry.
Congratulations and welcome aboard. I am looking forward to seeing your future entries.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:42 AM   #14
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As someone who has messed up on VO work before in the past, I'll have to say this is pretty solid VO. Other than the music masking some of your words and that's easy to fix!

Great job, this felt like one of the more well thought ones in this run.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #15
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Howzit Marj
Great video for a first entry.I am sure we are going to see a lot of stunning images comming from your camera.Did you have the camera mounted in some way on the flight,or was it all hand held? The images were very steady on the flight.Loved the one size fits all flight gear
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