UWOL #2: "Tennis" by Steven Gotz at DVinfo.net

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Old March 23rd, 2007, 06:59 PM   #1
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UWOL #2: "Tennis" by Steven Gotz

Well, to start off with, this should probably have been named "Topspin" because it is a tennis lesson on the What, Why and How of using Topspin in tennis. I know, I know... Most of these people are making art and I submit something utilitarian. I am much more a technician than an artist.

When I first heard "recreation" I tried to figure out what animals I could shoot movies of that "play". Then I realized it could be people.

Well, I run the tennis website for our community here in Florida. I am not a good tennis player, nor a particularly good web site designer, but it is something I can contribute. I want people to come to the site, so I thought original content would help keep them coming and they would see the calendar, etc.....

I also wanted to help out the tennis pro with a free ad. I have been putting off getting a video done for him, but once I realized I could get two things done with one video, all of a sudden I had a reason to get off my duff and get something done.

So, thanks to the organizers of this contest, I got it done, the web site has a tutorial, and I have an entry.

I did the best I could with the audio. The courts were crowded that day and the ladies playing on the court behind us made a lot of noise. And the trucks seemed to decide that it would be a good time to roll by en masse on the road right behind the courts. I wanted to have him do it again, only without natural sound (and without his lips moving). But, you get what you get sometimes. He had a lesson to give so all I got was a few minutes of his time!

The music is SmartSound and the animation was done in After Effects. Editing was done with Premiere Pro 2.0. I exported a DV AVI, and used Quicktime Pro to convert to 720X480, then ran it through again to get 320X240. I shot it widescreen HDV with the Sony FX1 but it didn't really demand the wide aspect, so I figured I would get a better quality by keeping the frame size smaller.

I hope you enjoy the tennis lesson.
Steven Gotz
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 07:15 PM   #2
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Great points Steven! Recreation is a WIDE subject and I think the reason we all have something totally unique.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 07:41 PM   #3
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I think this video shows the commerce side of video very well and works in with the theme just fine! The video is more or less a video to spec I suppose in that you had a defined topic and a number of items to cover within the video. I'm not a tennis player but the video kept me watching to see what topspin was all about. No...the video was not artsy but it was certainly technically proficient and informative.

Good stuff!

James Hooey
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 08:29 PM   #4
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I thought this video was really well shot, and between the footage and your animation, certainly made a very clear point. Glad you could do two things at once!

My only comment would be, toward the beginning, once when the pro was demonstrating with the ball, you cut off part of his face, showing only the ball and his mouth. If you had tilted the camera slightly to show his face at the same time, I think it would have been better.

Great job, effective concept.

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Old March 23rd, 2007, 09:02 PM   #5
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I think you did a good job for this guy. Compositions looked good to me in that they all served the purpose without any distracting elements. You mentioned unwanted sounds in the audio but to me they just added the right amount of location ambiance (the players we could hear). The vehicle passing by didn't drown out any instruction so it didn't bother me.

It produce training videos so could relate to what you did here.

Bruce Foreman
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 09:19 PM   #6
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To be honest, I just didn't see that issue. It wasn't a camera shot. It was done in post.

I shot this in HDV (1080i) but edited it in 720X480 since I knew that I would never be showing it in HD. It is just for the contest and the web site, but instead of editing at 320X240 which I often do, I thought I might eventually show it in SD on the TV in the clubhouse. That is, if I ever get around to doing more, and putting it on a DVD.

So, anyway, that was as far as I could zoom in without losing quality, which is in reality, merely a scale back up to 100%. I guess I was just looking at the ball and I never noticed him at all in that shot. Whoops.


Yes, the topic was pretty well defined. He used to be a high school tennis coach so he had probably given that speech every year for many years. Just never in front of a camera. I had to cut out some of the interesting technical parts where he says how high-speed cameras have determined how long a ball is actually in contact with the racquet, etc.


Thanks. He went off on vacation, so I don't know how he feels about it. I would like to make it into a series and release it on DVD even if it has a limited distribution to people in our area.


Yes, a very wide topic. And a great variety of movies were submitted. Very cool contest.
Steven Gotz
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Old March 24th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #7
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Great job Steven. Even thought I knew what top spin you kept my attention all the way to the end.

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Old March 25th, 2007, 01:52 AM   #8
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Great insturction video on top spin in tennis. Always heard people talking about it, but this made it clear as a bell.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old March 25th, 2007, 05:08 AM   #9
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Good informative instructional video.

It might have been nice to have fun with the angles and liven up the presentation but it wouldnt be as good at whats its meant for then.

Well, next time I venture on the court watch out :)
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Old March 25th, 2007, 10:39 AM   #10
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Yes, the instructional nature of the clip limited the amount of artistic license I could take and get all of the information into 3 minutes.

I really could have used an extra two minutes to tell a story, but then again, a story was not the point. He talked about how high speed cameras have made it obvious that turning the racquet while hitting the ball is not effective due to the few milliseconds that the ball is actually in contact with the racquet. And he mentioned the initial use of topspin and how it changed the game. But, since three minutes was the limit, and none of that is really necessary to explaining topspin, I probably got a better video out of it than if I had the extra time.

This video was a HUGE stretch for me. I am usually much more inclined to do nature videos like Per Johan. Not as good as his probably, but in that style. Actually using talent and recording the voice was a challenge for me. There is no way I could ever win the DV Challenge #8 without getting really lucky, but the wireless mic set that is the grand prize would surely have been of great use, and would probably open up my options quite a bit.

I might not have been as quick to dig in and get this entry done in time if it had not been something that I needed to do for other reasons. So getting a contest entry and a donation, of sorts, to the local community out of the one video really made a difference.

It also helped that I didn't have to write a story or even come up with the topic. I came up with "tennis lesson" and he came up with the "topspin" idea, and he provided all of the verbiage with no input from me other than a little direction and "could you say that again only this time try it...."

All I can say is that this type of contest is a lot of fun, and I will certainly participate in more of them. And my thanks go out to the organizers.
Steven Gotz
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Old March 25th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #11
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Good idea in getting a two in one! I can relate to being more on the technical side then the art side. I think it was a nice change in the challenge.

Great job on editing, and it sounds like you have got everything figured out.

Keep on making those films!
Gabriel Photography
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Old March 25th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #12
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That's what the challenge is all about. You went into uncharted territory and you still came out with a really good film.

I could totally see this playing in between programming on ESPN or something!

Good job! Now I understand what all those pros are doing when they're hitting the ball!
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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:17 AM   #13
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Steven, it was a very good instruction video, and you followed the theme at the same time!
The animation, framing... I liked it all.
Now I learned something new about tennis too.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #14
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Your video was the last I picked to look at, maybe it's because I don't play tennis. But you gave me a lesson to learn from, so now I just have to try it out for myself.
A well done and educational video.
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old March 26th, 2007, 12:51 PM   #15
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Hi Steve:

Very informational, effective at clearly covering a topic in a short amount of time. That's important in an instructional interview. Cutting to the chase. That has been the basic critisism of my own film... taking too long in the intro and not cutting to the action quicker.

Good animation as well. All in all a very educational piece and a real change from all of the other entries. I didn't find the ladies' voices at the other court distracting to the lesson.

Good clip.

Cat Russell
Spike Productions
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