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Old May 15th, 2009, 11:20 PM   #16
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Hi Matt,
Wow you have some really great sequences under way there. I'm really looking forward to watching your final film on this subject. You picked a really good one, & there's no one better to put this together than you. I wish i could give you some constructive feedback, but i'm afraid there's nothing in this that i could add to.
There's never enough hours in the day!
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Old May 16th, 2009, 02:18 AM   #17
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Mat... I was blown away by the images dancing on my screen. I found myself asking "How'd he do that?" or "I wonder what he shot THAT with?"or "What IR lighting source did he use and what IR capable camera?"...

For me the ultimate was the extreme closeup/macro pan across the flower stamens (or were they pistils? or should that matter to anyone except a plant?) and as you panned in that macro mode you pull focused.... I had to watch that a few times. WOW. The time lapses... double WOW.

I like the concept, I like the images you are creating to tell that story, and well, heck, I can only say that I am hoping we will see the early beginnings of the "pull together" next time. You have a winner going here. I even greatly enjoyed the VO of what you had been doing over the images captured this time around.

Oh, the newts..I couldn't help but remember the piece from Monty Python where a crowd are claiming a woman is a witch and one fellow says "She turned me into a Newt!"... and they all turn and look at him, obviously NOT a Newt... and he says "Well.. I got better!".

It doesn't get better cinetographically than this. Keep it up. Staying true to your story and getting your point across will, I think, be your biggest challenge.

Chris Swanberg
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Old May 16th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #18
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Wonderful work Mat! You have some totally amazing and rare footage there - the newts particularly I found amazing, alongside that stunning shot of the dragonfly and the timelapse.
Didn't really find the slomo as effective in comparison, I always feel you need to get over 100fps to really work up a WOW effect, but I know how difficult that is to achieve in HD with the kit that most of us have available.... anyone got a spare RED knocking about? ;-)
You've weaved a lot of great techniques together, but managed to master them well - and I'm really looking forward to seeing the result....
If I can suggest a good bird to look out for, a good sequence might be to look for the relationship between gardeners and robins/blackbirds - who ALWAYS know when there's some mowing/digging going on to be on hand for some tasty morsels. Or if you want something different, I've always been amazed by green woodpeckers eating ants on lawns!!

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Old May 17th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #19
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I really love the way you get down into the mould that is Nature. Your shots all exude the secrets that are hidden under leaves and behind fallen branches. Great stuff. Can you answer one question? I thought that to create an image, infrared took advantage of the temperature differences in a scene. If that is so, then how do the newt's spots show up? Surely the skin is all the same temperature.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 06:29 AM   #20
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Cat - Many thanks for your kind words. Yes I have to say this is going to have a more UK/N.European focus, but hopefully some of the ideas and features will translate to any garden or privately managed land.

Bryce - Many thanks.

Chris - lol, I don't remember the Newts from Monty Python, but I may have to go and look at youtube now :-) . Many thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you like and understand the concept and yes my plan is to start pulling these sequences into the correct running order along with the relevant interviews for the next stage! IR cam is a little Sony HC1 - great little camera I picked up for this and underwater use.

Rob - Thanks, I agree with your view on frame rates, and hopefully I will be doing something 'extra' lets say on this point! - I think you are right about the Robin, it has a great back story and should be easy to get footage of. I have a pair that usual knock around but I think are off bringing up young at the moment. I would love to feature the Green woodpecker and I did get one visiting to eat the ants under the Apple trees during the Winter. Its a very difficult bird to shoot though, very shy and flighty. I guess because its a ground feeder and vulnerable.

Steve - Many thanks Steve, yes I can spend hours looking at the simplest of creatures...always have done. IR - No you are thinking of thermal imaging. IR is simply a light spectrum that we cannot see. All our cameras have the capacity to 'see' this light but are shielded to improve normal light performance. A few cameras allow you to remove this shield and then by lighting a scene in IR you can see the creatures through the camera but they are unaware you are there. I use an LED security floodlight powered by a 12v motorbike battery to light the scene.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #21
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Well, what shall I say - I'm speechless Mat! This is so fantastic well made. How on earth are you getting those camcorders - the IR and the slow motion...
...I'm very jealous what you have done so far Mat... ...did I say I'm very jealous...

Ok, as Cat says, I think it a bit too early to pick it to pieces, the concept you're showing us here is very strong and with your capability you certainly have a winner piece here Mat!

BTW, did I say I'm very jealous what you got so far, Mat!
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Old May 18th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #22
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Beautiful footage so far. The variety is wonderful - night shots, slow mo, time lapse, jib - you have a good collection of different equipment for your video crafting and you use it all with expertise.

Your time-lapses worked out really nicely with the use of an SLR. and your night shots of the newts are both clear and interesting.

I love your little field mouse -when I saw it I couldn’t help wondering how many dear ladies wouldn’t run for the mouse trap on seeing that “vermin” rather than see it as part of the natural environment they are meant to conserve. (I almost think that insecticides and rat poison are more of a threat to these poor, little creatures than the new trends in garden designs. You are certainly dealing with very set perceptions in this arena.)

Very nice so far Mat - look forward to seeing how you put it all together with the story now.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #23
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Lovely shots here Mat. You are indeed very luck to have those newts and that sequence was my favourite. Loved the time lapses too.

I liked your narration over it and along with you notes, your aim for this film is very clear to me. It really seems to have gathered pace and I think you have a great story here.

Am looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. Not sure if you can get hold of a mini-cam or lipstick cam, but you would get some very cool shots. Would work well for invertebrates?

Great work.

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Old May 19th, 2009, 06:03 AM   #24
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Though I couldn't participate in the long form since I am in the middle of a cross country move, I am peeking in on progress, and am really impressed with what you have done. Your use of such a variety of techniques really brings the garden to life, and makes it feel like the exotic place it really is if only you truly take the time to look. The newt footage was amazing, a glimpse of a hidden world. The mouse was amazing- really felt like you were right there with him. The time lapse and slow motion were well done, tilting perspective and adding an air of mystery. I am looking forward to seeing more. This makes me feel I should get out and discover the hidden secrets just waiting all around me. Thanks for sharing these amazing views of your garden.

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Old May 30th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #25
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You are the master of the "trick" shots. The low light shooting in infrared, the time lapse stuff...I admire your work. Thanks for coming up with such an interesting subject, even though I live in a much drier and different climate than yours I will still take the information and use it in my own garden (actually I will share the information to my wife because she is the real gardener around my house). Nice close-up photography, I found the Newts to be particularly interesting and I liked the short shot of the spider too...

Looking forward to learning more from you

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Old July 21st, 2009, 01:55 AM   #26
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Hi Mat.

Most have been said, so I'll just pop in and say I've seen your film and I love it all ready.
Great salamander shots :)

All the best.
Geir Inge
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Old August 14th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #27
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Long form - stage 3

Hey guys

Well heres my third stage long form footage (A couple of days over as agreed by Master Jedi Ersoz) - I was planning on a rough out edit of the doc at this point but other things have meant its just sequence material again. That said I'm quite pleased with a lot of the material I have. Now most of what I need is establishing and location stuff as well as illustrative shots for my sections on - What is the countryside ? and Childhood connections with wildlife. - I have these planned for the next 2-3 weeks hopefully. I am hoping for 3 interviews at least in this piece and I have to cover 2 more main species in detail and then quite a few on a more general level.


Last edited by Mat Thompson; August 14th, 2009 at 10:21 AM.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #28
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Mat- Nice macro indeed! Beautiful hawk moth. I can’t wait to see the high speed stuff. Over here that family is often called hummingbird moths because people mistake them for the birds when they hover and drink nectar. I’m sorry to hear that the hedgehogs are so endangered- I’ve always liked them. What gear do you use for the infra-red work?

I apologize that in dealing with my hectic schedule earlier, I neglected to comment on your round two submission. Two shots still stand out in my mind. The infra-red newt sequence (superb!) and the moving macro of the terrestrial isopods (wood louse?).

It looks to me as though you may have two WildScreen entries next time…
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Old August 15th, 2009, 08:25 AM   #29
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It is a pleasure to watch your clear and almost perfect exposed images.
The macro footages are impressing. The beetle is frightening. The shot of the beetle in backlight is fantastic.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #30
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Congratulations on your filming excellence and future WildScreen entries. I am looking forward to a more finished project so I can sink my teeth into where all this is going. There is no doubt a masterpiece is in the making, but for now the tease is simply exceptional technical filming and stunning macro work to keep us on our toes yet unsatisfied!

Here's to round 4.

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