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Old December 7th, 2016, 10:19 AM   #1
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A Couple Thoughts

Hello Friends,

While I have not been around much for some time. I loved watching the last round of videos.
For those that recall my sons brain tumor taking up 20% of his brain being removed fighting cvancer , not walking for 2.5 years, I am here to tell you he is doing great and living life well and even has a significant other in his life and has moved to the nearest city and is on his own. So thanks to all all the friends for prayers and support. I now feel almost free!!

that aside:

It would be really nice to have a challange or two where the theme is just the season, like summer, but the competitors can use any footage they have personally shot. that way all of the films will be summer for example. The footage can be of the highest quality a person can put up and that would make for some amazing videos. one challenge each year opened ended like this, but to the given theme, would be a blast. also I think we might have more succerssful completion by competitors,myself included.

When is the next challenge?
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Old December 7th, 2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Dale it's good to hear your son is doing well.
I believe Trond said the sign up for the next challenge would be after the middle of this month.
All the best.

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Old December 7th, 2016, 07:04 PM   #3
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Dale,

Such great news about your son!!

Next challenge is January so Trond will be putting up a signup soon.

A give us your best stuff challenge would be great to see what everyone has been doing. No excuse for not submitting a film since you've already shot the footage! :)
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:03 PM   #4
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Hi Dale

That is great news about your son's progress! I have only one issue with your proposal, the southern hemisphere / northern hemisphere difference of seasons may make it hard for some to get extra footage if they find in the edit that they have a missing element.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 06:16 AM   #5
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Yep, next fun begins January 1st.

Sign up will be posted later this weekend or early next week.

"Seasons" have never been a theme because the seasons never is the same in north and south. In addition we have always required the footage to be filmed specifically for the challenge. It is important that every theme can be filmed regardless of where in the world you are.
I do not plan to change this.
When that's said, once in a while I break the rules and have the "fun shoots". Then Dale's suggestion or other ideas could be used.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 08:32 AM   #6
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Hi, Dale! Itís so good to hear from you (especially with your good news). I look forward to your next video.

I donít want to hijack the thread, but with a subject line like ďA Couple of ThoughtsĒ I am going to add a couple of my own.

First, the last round left a very sour taste in my mouth. I felt, and still feel, pretty bad about the outcome. (Not the results. No problem there. I only wish I had congratulated the winners but at the time I was wondering if I would ever have anything to do with UWOL again.) Iíll admit that I completely missed the part in the 2016 rules where, in rule nine, it says ďAt any time after that, judges may send their votesÖĒ I wrote detailed feedback for all of the entries and when I came back to post them all at once (like I always do) I was greeted by a thread titled ďUWOL 40- The resultsĒ ??????? Results? How do we have results when the judging phase hasnít even started yet? OK. I get it now. Judging starts immediately. It seems premature to me but rules are rules. What I still donít understand is -when does judging end? It would be nice if we could get a notice (did I miss something?) that judging is ending hurry up and send in those votes. I felt cheated that I didnít get the chance to vote. Worse, I didnít even leave any feedback because I felt it would have been highly presumptuous of me at that point to give critiques to the winners that might have been construed as being condescending given that they had won and I obviously hadnít. Should I have modified the feedback I was going to give those videos and would that have been fair to the others? I ended up leaving no feedback at all. For that I still feel bad, as well as for not congratulating Gordon and Paul when they so obviously deserved it. Oh, well, I have been around here long enough that most of you probably realize that when I sometimes get my nose out of joint I eventually straighten up and fly right. Now water under the bridge.

Second thought. If you go back thirty-nine pages and look at the first UC post you will see that Meryem opened up sign-up for the first Challenge on December 22, 2006. (It was ten years ago today that Sgt. Ersoz taught the bandÖ Uh, sorry.) The next challenge will mark our tenth anniversary and I strongly feel we should do something to commemorate it. Perhaps the theme will reflect the anniversary? [Although Trond enjoys keeping us guessingÖ : ) ] I think this is something we should be thinking about.

Back in 2006, 48 hour video contests were all the rage (havenít even heard of one lately) and our rules rather reflect that. I think it is time we evolve. I donít think it is unreasonable that we might have over a hundred films in a round if we:

1) Revise our rules a bit to make it easier for players to make high quality films without feeling they might have to cheat a bit to do so. The short time limits and artistic themes can be very restrictive to many of us.
2) Actively promote this thing all over the internet with the goal of getting some fresh blood and new ideas in here. And-
3) With that in mind, offer real prizes. One of the reasons the DVChallenge always had so many entrants was the great prizes offered by their incredible sponsor. On the few rounds where we offered prizes we had many entrants. As the recipient of one of those prizes- thanks again Chris Hurd!- I can tell you that I was motivated to a much higher degree for that round.


I realize that making changes like this might possibly (likely) mean that I never win anything again. Thatís OK. I feel honored to have ever won at all. I just canít help feeling that if we donít grow, if we only become an ever diminishing clique that we will be betraying Mereymís wonderful vision that started us off and seriously failing the real Challenge that she set for us all.

This is my opinion. I realize you each have your own.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 09:18 AM   #7
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Hey Mike,
I'm on my phone so won't type much as it's a PITA but I'll try to come back and leave a lengthier response.
I know Trond does let us know when judging will wrap each round.
I'm sure he'll cover that in more detail.

Just like I like the critiques on my entries to focus on what I can do better, I really appreciate your feedback on UWOL. It's how we grow and make it better.

I've seen a decline in filmmaking challenges/events whatever you want to call them everywhere. The fact that we are still going is amazing to me.
DVC hasn't done anything in a long time.
The tests over at DVXUser are dead.
The 405 Challenge is dead.
It seems what dominates now is single clips on YouTube and no one really puts together films for things like this anymore.

We are in a small niche so I think our numbers will never be high but they certainly need to be higher

I think we were at our best when we had 3rd party judges.

I've been guilty of missing way too many challenges.
I decided a challenge or two ago to rededicate myself into getting entries done.

I'm. It sure what the solution is to try and revive UWOL and get back to 30'entries a challenge but I think that's where we all would love it to be.
We just need to open up some conversations and see if we can figure it out
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Old December 8th, 2016, 10:41 AM   #8
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Thanks, Kevin. I figured I had probably just missed something and over reacted again. I would have just e-mailed Trond but I think the rest of you deserve to know why I was upset and shamefully absent at the crucial time.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 01:03 PM   #9
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

The info about judging process and deadlines for judging is always specified at the top/beginning in the same post/ thread as I publish the submitted films every challenge. Been like that for years.
I figured that writing the info there, everyone would notice. Maybe a separate thread could be made in addition to this.
I usually try to give about a week, and include at least one weekend, before judging deadline.

Feedback commence immediately after the films are released. Same procedure since the beginning of UWOL.

Earlier this year we used one challenge to try out an alternative judging and feedback procedure, which didn't work out well for various reasons. We then went back to the same system we have used since we began voting ourselves instead of using professional film makers as judges.

I know Meryem used a lot of time and effort to get the professional judges, and she has the network to get in touch with them. Unfortunately I don't. Anyway, it was a valid and well thought through reason to change from professional judges to let the players do the judging, even though that probably is part of the reason why we see fewer participants now than before.
Kevin's comments also touch this subject and other aspects of it.

As far as I know, UWOL has never had any sponsors for prizes to the winners, like the DVC had.
The few times we had anything for the winners, it was paid by Meryem herself.
(Maybe DVInfo.net has sponsored us a couple times, but that's all)

Yes, the numbers are very low these days, and that's pretty sad.
But as always, I am of course open to any ideas and thought about how we can improve UWOL Challenge. This thread could be one place to discuss ideas for our future.

In general, if anyone has any questions, never be afraid to ask!
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Old December 8th, 2016, 07:23 PM   #10
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Yes, it has been sad to see the numbers of entries, and the numbers of comments per entry go down over the past couple of years. Less interest overall. But that has been the trend in general with, at least, nature-type videos. There used to be lots more contests. National Geographic held one called "Wild To Inspire" with the prize a chance to go to Africa and film with a Nat Geo crew. What a prize! But it only lasted 3 years, and frankly, the entries in the last year were anything but inspiring.

When we started, amateur video was primitive. Tape. 4:3. Lousy color. First generation editing software. Audio like in a tin can. By taking what was there into the realm of Nature, we did some pretty cool stuff...sort of like what the pros did. But the equipment got better, and cheaper, and soon everyone was doing it. I remember when Trond (or was it Geir Inge) first put up a time-lapse. I watched it 3 times, overwhelmed. Now it's everywhere. It's boring. Today when a theme is announced, I go through my repertoire of favorite techniques, and subjects I enjoy and think "I filmed that once before. Do I really want to do it again, so four people will watch it?" I wonder if others of us get the same feeling.

We do need more people. Prizes are the key. And there is one prize that everyone wants, and that won't break any budget. Recognition. Widespread recognition. 100K views on You Tube recognition. We aren't going to generate it with 4 minute videos on UWOL. Could we do it with a real movie? I know, we tried a collaborative once before, and it went nowhere. There was no story. We need a story, because we sure have the filming and editing talent to fill it up with spectacular images. Our "film crew" is already world-wide. Imagine what the BBC pays for that.

The problem with this idea, of course, is that it would take years. Does anyone want to spend years? Probably not. But wouldn't it be fun to show that a bunch of guys and gals with some cameras and some imagination could put together a nature-type film that people would want to watch?
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Old December 9th, 2016, 09:12 AM   #11
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Hi all. As I have been banging on for for sometime about the the the decline in numbers and in particular new entrants I thought I ought to add my two pennies worth to this thread.

Mike alluded to viewing and voting which is something I raised and a different system was tried for a challenge. Wasn't like by some, so we reverted after one round.

At this years Wildscreen I approached Jason Peters of https://twitter.com/Wildlife_Film who I thought might like to help promote these challenges and with his contacts have a ready supply of judges he could call upon. After some discussion I found out he was involved with BWPA (British wildlife photographers awards) They have a 1min 30sec video category award which unfortunately suffers from very few entries, although they have promoted it well etc. He was therefore reluctant to get involved with or promote UWOL for us.

This leads me the conclusion that maybe these type of changes were of their time when digital videography was in it infancy and maybe no longer relevent in thier present formats

Not sure the above helps but maybe its time to throw baby out with the bathwater and come up with a new radical way to enable our UWOL Challenge community to flourish again.

When coming up with ideas please note that the main forum also has very little traffic these days so maybe we need to think outside of the box !! Mick
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Old December 9th, 2016, 09:27 AM   #12
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Much appreciated!
I think Steve really touched it in the last part of his post. "Getting recognized!"
Question is how to make it happen.

Some uwolers have already got their name out to the industry. We have Mat Thompson who used what he learned from the challenge to get a job with wildlife filming, traveling around the world.
Vishal, in the process of getting his name and film out there. Kevin and Mick working on their films.
So it is possible to get recognized.
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Old December 9th, 2016, 09:36 AM   #13
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

An idea I received privately from one of the uwol players:

What is at the end of the year we take the five winning films and the five 2nd place films and we vote for one film and it gets submitted to a couple film festivals?
Then we have ten films to vote the best and one moves on to be submitted to a few festivals that we can decide on just by looking to see what nature and wildlife film festivals are out there.

.......
Maybe Wildscreen 2018 could be one target festival if we try this out in 2017?
Could generate more traffic to dvinfo as well, if the submitted film had advertising for uwol challenge and dvinfo.net in the credits or something like that. (A good motivation for Chris Hurd to maybe sponsor the festival fee for the winning film?)

Any thoughts?
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Old December 10th, 2016, 12:57 AM   #14
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

I think that every one of you is touching on a reason that video challenges aren't as popular as they were. With the DVC, prizes stopped bringing in people, even with the amazingly cool prizes Guy Cochran offered and with several of us promoting the challenge in every way we could muster. There is the issue of everything having a season...and that season passes.

But rather than go down the downer road, my eyes lit up at Steve Siegel's mention of a twist on collaborative efforts. I went to YouTube and watched short nature films with views in the tens to hundred thousands. They were good but lost my interest because, like Steve said, they didn't have a story.

What if you keep the number of challenges per year. Everyone has a say in a theme and story. People shoot and share footage with everyone, then each player provides, through their edit and choice of narration (or a chosen script if you want) a finished piece for competition. As the challenge year progresses, the top shooters, top editors, top storytellers, top narrators, etc. would emerge. At the end of the year, either remakes of past efforts or a fresh theme/story is produced, using the chosen footage, editor, etc. Where it would be submitted is a question, but it's way past my bedtime; I just wanted to offer a little late night snack for thought.

Edit: Also, if someone just wants to do one aspect, such as submit footage or edit without doing an entire project, I think that would be a nice way to encourage more participation.
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Old December 10th, 2016, 01:12 AM   #15
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Re: A Couple Thoughts

That's an interesting concept, Lorinda. In a way it reminds me of the collaborate project we tried, but didn't finish, a few years ago. Could be worth trying out.
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