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Old May 15th, 2009, 08:09 PM   #31
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Wow Cat,
This looks fantastic! I agree with what Matt has said, & can only say how lucky we are to have him around. His critique is generally spot on, & i know i am learning lots from the feedback he has given to me.
Your footage is very impressive, I just hope i too can get some footage like you have. Yes Moose would be great for this section of your film. They are something i am currently also trying to get footage of for a part of my film, but so far they have eluded me. Some more footage of other species will also help to cut down some of the footage of each individual species & make that piece more interesting.
Looks like your concept is really starting to get some polish, & i am really looking forward to seeing more. Much more!
There's never enough hours in the day!
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Old May 18th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #32
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It must be amazing to live in such a very beautiful part of the world - beautiful images. I love the snowflakes drifting down on your winter scenes - very effectively done. I also enjoyed the fast movements of the squirrels contrasting with the tranquil images of the other birds and animals.

You have done an enormous amount of work on this and it is progressing very well. The book format you described in your outline is taking shape really nicely.

Being sensitive to the fact that you are still working on this I give my suggestions rather hesitantly because you have probably had similar thoughts already:

I am not sure how set you are on the style of your book at this stage or how complete it is but, as a good part of the work I do is around designing books, obviously certain things jump out at me regarding the overall look of your book. I also understand fully as I make my suggestions that you do have to make this easily readable for the TV screen so certain compromises have to be made. I also realize you may perhaps just want to convey a broad, simple idea: ďBOOKĒ.

Here are some observations and suggestions that you may find helpful.

Bearing in mind that this is meant to be one of those classy $70.00 (I think you said) coffee table books the overall elegance and style should be improved - and this can be accomplished without much effort at all - a few very simple changes in font style and layout. My suggestion here is to take a good look at the elegant styles used in some of these expensive books and see if you can find similar fonts then experiment to see how well they can be read on the TV screen. Even using a shade of grey instead of black with a simple font would help.

The margins on the left and right of your pages (not the screen) are uncomfortably narrow and my suggestion is that you make your book a bit wider - you can certainly afford to do this without interfering with the amount of book showing or with the pages turning. You could even try going landscape rather than portrait in orientation, although square for a larny book like this would also work just fine. Landscape orientation would probably solve the white space problem as well, because by reducing the overall height you get more picture and less white space.

A couple of small things:

You have placed page numbers on the chapter title pages and that is probably the one place they shouldnít be. If you want page numbers there place them at the bottom centre and make them small. Leave out the ďpĒ.

Bear in mind when using all upper case letters - itís not as easily readable as sentence case.

The images spinning out of the book at the beginning are very effective with the fast music, but the pace was broken with the images of the elks sparring. I think it would be better to shorten that clip and keep the same fast pace throughout - it is really nice and a dynamic way of starting.

I love the way that you show your images in the shape of the map in the first chapter. I would keep it consistent throughout though and do them all in the same way as you did the season images (I found the green bits over the Longhorn a little distracting.)

As far as the wind sound goes - there is a difference between the sound of the wind and the sound of its effect on your mic. There is a section between 07:19 and 07:33 where the wind isnít as bad but there are some good sounds of the bugling. You could copy some of that and paste it over the parts where the wind noise on your mic is not so good.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 05:20 PM   #33
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Wow Marj:

Splendid! These are excellent and workable suggestions! I'm really excited, between you and Mat I've got a lot of FUN work cut out for me sprucing this up.

The font is a big item. It seemed I could hardly find one that was legible at such a small size and so I went with the boring ariel... but I will go back to the drawing board on this.

The page numbers are not on the chapter start pages, but what was confusing is at the end of the chapter I had the chapter title with the page number so the viewer gets a reminder as to what chapter they were in! I will take your suggestion and change this, as well as numbering center bottom.

Changing the book shape is a splendid idea! Now why didn't I think of that! ;-).

Thank you for liking my snow effect. It actually was snowing at the time, but didn't show up on film, so I just sort of added it back in.

You are correct about the sparring elk being too long in the intro, counter to the rest. At the time I did that, I didn't have enough material... but that's not an issue now!

Thanks Marj

And not one comment of my troubles with the tripod to boot!

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Old May 19th, 2009, 09:27 AM   #34
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Cat - one word BRAVO!!!!!
This was just an amazing piece of work! There's some improvement you should think about. First your VO seem a bit strange, like you was standing in a cathedral or something.
Second, the pace was a bit slow in the beginning with the graphics. You have to speed it, to keep interest.
But overall you have something real big here to show us in the end. I'm very much looking forward to your next round and of course your finished film, which I believe will be amazing to watch!
- Per Johan
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Old May 19th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #35
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Thank you Per and Bryce

I so appreciate the watch and the comments. Thank you!

Per, from other's feedback there will be some real changes... lots of work to be done! You were spot on with your comments about the first chapter and the VO (yes it DID sound like I was in a cathedral, or perhaps a bathroom or something!) That will be reworked. Glad you are still with us, you gave us a scare that you weren't submitting this round and were out! And goodness.... a "bravo"? I'm speechless!

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Old May 20th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #36
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You seemed to have made a lot of progress since your last submission. Good work! The graphics are fantastic. The only thing I can add to what others have said, is that it takes too long to actually "start the book". In other words, I think the intro is a little too long. Almost two and half minutes have gone before it gets going. Maybe try cutting it a bit quicker?

It's a unique idea and the elk shots were lovely.

Nicely done.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:53 PM   #37
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Hi Cat,
A great innovation with the book, and very effective. I agree that the image could be larger, and please take the Continental Divide off of the elk and sheep. Your usual playfulness shows in the chipmunk and Steller's Jay clips. Two simple things that may help.
Doing your voice overs in a bedroom with the mike sandwiched between two pillows and pointing down eliminates a lot of the echo. Doing a highpass at about 400HZ will eliminate most of the wind noise. A very inexpensive sound editing program like Goldwave is good at it.
Can't wait to see what is next.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #38
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Impressive! What are you using to do the graphics? I know that some people have mentioned the slow intro but I found it interesting (however I am a map geek and a sucker for such things). The images and graphics were really nice, well thought out and it is obvious you put a lot of time into this. It looks very pro. I would say that you should consider re-doing the audio because that echo is a little distracting. I have done some audio in my car before and it ended up pretty good so you might consider that (a mobile sound booth). Very well done, with the typical Cat spiritual nature to it...just thought of have a very unique style...a your films, the spiritual aspect of your films makes each one of your entries stand out. In other words we can watch a movie and automatically know it is a ďCatĒ piece...that is a very good thing in my opinion.

Nice job
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Old June 1st, 2009, 12:00 PM   #39
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Cat- Every member of my family has visited RMNP more than once- except me! Iíve never been. Your submission this round has done more to convince me of the error of my ways than anything any of them has said over the years. Thanks. Your round two has more of a finished feel than most of the others. It looks good. Iím only going to offer some suggestions for polishing it a bit. I havenít had a chance yet to read what the others have written, so this may be redundant. I like the Press Release anim at the start. Very creative touch in an already creative project. At the beginning when the book is opening I found the red cover a little distracting. We all like a little saturation in video, but with CG imagery it can become your enemy fast. It was most noticeable on the inside front cover which looked like a big red patch. You might think about adding some procedural texture. A nice pebble grained leather texture might help. I realize it may already have some texture which is being overwhelmed by the compression for the web. If thatís the case try increasing the scale of the texture and see if that helps. You could also drop some paper texture on the white pages, but they look good without. I like the shadows at the edges of the already turned pages. It gets better as more pages are turned. The edges of the first few pages disappear into each other. I think itís OK. Consider having the text at the chapter headings read by a narrator with a contrasting voice to the main narrator. I think that might be very effective. Itís too bad about the wind rumble in that nice clip of the elk sparring. The location sound in the non-windy parts is interesting. Since the vocalizations and antler sounds donít have to be too tightly synced you might try cutting out the rumbling bits and replace with audio from sections where it isnít bad. Your project is really starting to come together and look good. Iím already ready to see more, please!Ö
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Old June 1st, 2009, 01:57 PM   #40
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Thank you so awesomely much for your insights and comments. I am taken aback at how you all have given me so much information to improve this entry! It's going for a grand overhaul and I'm really excited to sink my teeth into it all again.

From your collective insights, I have new ideas for the book shape and format, how to improve my audio as well as improve the wind noise in the sparring elk segment, how to better show the "range information" that doesn't clash with the film of the animal, how to be more dynamic in my book intro.... the list is endless. I am so very thankful to you all.

Mike: THANKS for the input on my beginning animation of the press release! You are the only one to mention this detail. I'm sure everyone else picked up on this too and then got lost in comments on the rest of the film. I sincerely appreciate the notice though!

Jeff: My pieces have a signature spiritual feel to them? Awe, my friend... I think it takes one to know one in that area ;-).

Thanks again everyone, in my book you guys are tops.

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Old June 4th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #41
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Cat.... after my visit with otherwise very polite and nice folks in the Administration in Glacier NP on the permit/insurance issue, I was wondering if you were encountering similar problems there. I decided to be "up front" about my being there, and in retrospect that may have been an error. They were more than willing to work with me on making the permit affordable (like $200 for the summer) but the insurance was problematic, and they seemed to think that even this contest required a permit to shoot for.

I am trying to give a little breathing room and trying a little phone diplomacy.

The other people in the Park (employees etc) with whom I shared this problem with were astounded. The new Canon 5D MkII enables one to put a pretty fine point on the problem. It goes like this:

So, if I am in the backcountry carrying my 5D and shooting stills, even commercially, I do not need a permit? "No". And I don't need insurance either? "No." But if I happen to push the button that enables it to record movies, I need a permit? "Yes." And I also need a million dollar insurance policy? "Yes." What causes the increased risk to the USPS that necessitates the insurance when I push that button? (sound of crickets).

My advice. Keep away from Park HQ. on this issue. Nice folks, "following" ridiculous rules, cuz that is their job.

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Old June 22nd, 2009, 12:23 PM   #42
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Wow Chris!

Sorry to hear about this. I've experienced no such problems with RMNP. It cost me $35.00 for an annual pass, unlimited. I also was up front about what I was doing and people directed me to the higher ups because they didn't know if I needed a permit to do this. It turns out I didn't require one, and they simply wished me the best.

What they are requiring for you doesn't sound legal...

Keep me posted, and if there is anything I can do let me know.

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Old July 7th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #43
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Hi Catherine "The great".
Love the way you do magic in your films :)
I think your ULF film will be great.
Love the scene at 7.05. Is it mountain caribou?
And that great sound as they fight - super :)
There are a few trick to keep the viewer interested in a film.
One of them is to ask questions to be asweared later in the film.
Also the way we ask them is important, to make it more exciting, to give the film more drama. Can't wait for the next chapter :)

Geir Inge
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old August 13th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #44
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Hi Geir!

There you are! I missed your feedback. As far as I know, I don't have any Russian heritage, but I'll take the compliment anyway! ;-).

Those sparring were actually bull elks not caribou, but I share your passion for these beautiful and powerful animals. I couldn't believe it, but that was actually my first film-stint in the Park. Actually the full drama was that it was dusk in the winter and I kid you not, my car had just completely broken down! But I just couldn't be bothered with that minor detail when these guys were going at it like that! What I didn't get on film though, was that just around the bend there were hundreds of females bedding down for the night!! By the time I saw them I was getting a ride out of the Park and was just thankful for the assistance and didn't ask if they would stop while I filmed all the cow elks! I have gone back many times since then, same place and time, never to see that again. Oh well!

As far as your suggestion about posing a question to hold people's interest... I have seen this done in other films and it most definitely works very well. But I'm not certain how to do this in my entry. Would you mind watching my next version and help me with ideas about this?

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Old August 13th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #45
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Hi All:

I guess Vimeo posted my video 13 hours ago and I never knew about it! The link is:

UWOL Longform Challenge works in progress #3 on Vimeo

Let me just say that I took all of your comments very, very seriously and I hope all of you will recognize this in this update. I think you have all made this film much, much better. Thanks.

Now that I have seen this film in it's entirety after all that rendering, minor corrections have already been noted and corrected for next round. I do fully apologize that you might hear secondary audio like something is playing on an A.M. radio in another room during some of the "page turn transitions". My bad. It has been corrected.

Thanks for the watch. Keep the comments and critique coming.... You have made this film so worthwhile.

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