UWOL #8 Hidden Wonders - Marj Atkins at DVinfo.net

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Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:38 AM   #1
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UWOL #8 Hidden Wonders - Marj Atkins

When the theme “Transformation” was announced, there was absolutely no question in my mind what my subject was going to be - the life-cycle of the Acraea Horta butterfly!

The reason? I have a keen interest in butterflies; I have 24/7 access to this particular species in my garden and being multi-generational (more than one generation per year and on the wing most of the year) I have them at different stages at the same time. They are extremely distasteful to birds so they are very conspicuous in all their activities and therefore easy to find and video. What I didn’t realise at the time was just how amazing the experience would be using a Canon x100 macro lens attached to my XL2.

Wrapped into a one millimeter near-spherical package are all the ingredients for this exquisitely delicate creature with a phenomenal life process and transient existence. It is almost impossible to bend one’s mind around this wonder.

I was in two minds whether to let this be an art video and allow the pictures to speak for themselves with background music or to make this an educational documentary with commentary. My family encouraged me to do yet another V.O. so, for all its worth, here goes.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:01 AM   #2
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Hey Marj

Fab..fab...fab !!! Its funny my first question on watching your piece was HUH!, this happened in just a couple of weeks but if you have access to different stages of development....hey you had it easy ;-) !!

First and fore mostly, great photography, lovely detail, colour and compositions. Secondly what a great detailed look at one species. In fact probably the most detailed look at a single species we've had on uwol. This really pushes the right buttons for me as I like the feeling of getting to know a creature in a film and of course learning some interesting info at the same time. Nice narration too, I think you could have got away with a purely visual piece to music but the VO was well delivered and interesting!

I wasn't keen on your lead in. No credit up front and the intro credit seemed to just appear at random after I'd already got into what I was watching. I also think a slow zoom in on that first shot would have really got me ready for my journey into this trees fascinating macro world.

Top notch piece again Marj!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:28 AM   #3
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Marja what have you done here,this is in BBC level. Every thing is
perfect, unbelivebal entery.And the macros are stunning.Yes big
words but it`s greait!!!!

Best Regards
Vidar Vedaa.




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Old April 22nd, 2008, 12:50 PM   #4
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Marj,

Professional level documentary!! Great script, fabulous close ups!!

curiously, what did you shoot the close ups with???

Definitely in my top four!!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 05:11 PM   #5
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Marj....admit it....you really work for the Discovery Channel, don't you?

Outstanding....educational and outstanding.

The close ups were fantastic....as Dale asked, what did you use?

And your VO was once again, very good....

Bob T.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:09 PM   #6
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OK, Now I know winning this thing is totally out of my league. I just threw my camera into a dumpster.........

Just kidding. Wow, what great camera shots. I have somuch to learn.

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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:35 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your positive comments -its really encouraging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
Hey Marj

Its funny my first question on watching your piece was HUH!, this happened in just a couple of weeks but if you have access to different stages of development....hey you had it easy ;-) !!
Yes I had it very easy - that's why I chose this subject. If I had done this in January, however, it would have been done in three days and with a few more interesting steps included! (My Kiggelaria tree has an orange haze around it around Christmas time - an absolute delight.)

It was very convenient doing it at home, however I would have camped at a butterfly garden, where they have all stages of a butterfly on the go all the time, if I had needed to. You just need to know what you are looking for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
Hey Marj

I wasn't keen on your lead in. No credit up front and the intro credit seemed to just appear at random after I'd already got into what I was watching. I also think a slow zoom in on that first shot would have really got me ready for my journey into this trees fascinating macro world.
I concur! I wasn't sure what to do with the jolly title. I was concerned about interfering with the very quick series of shots at the beginning. I thought it would be too much to take in.
The missing zoom on the tree was a last-minute oversight! I exchanged a soft, flat shot of the tree with one done on a sunny day and when pulling in the handles to slip it into place I lost the zoom-in. I didn't notice until you pointed it out.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen View Post

curiously, what did you shoot the close ups with???
I used a Canon Macro lens EF 100mm 1:2.8 that I borrowed from a good photographer friend for the purpose because my XL2 20x lens doesn't quite have enough zoom for insects even with a 1.6x converter attached. (My little Sony handi-cam with a 1.5 converter and its macro facility gave me a very nice close-up, but nothing like this!)

I was totally amazed at the magnification it produced. I have never seen images like this and every new shot I took was another wonder to me. Needless to say I will be saving up for one of these lenses - it has opened up a whole new world.

Last edited by Marj Atkins; April 23rd, 2008 at 12:39 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 12:04 AM   #9
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Inpressing-stuf

Marj can I also ask a cuestion,are you milimerer or centimeter from
the object.This macros are werry inspereiting!!!!


VJV


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Old April 23rd, 2008, 01:05 AM   #10
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Vidar it just depends on the available light. The depth of field is minimal.
I think the closest I could get with good light was about 10cm. The close up of the caterpillar head for example was taken outside in good light from about 8-10cm away.
Some of the shots I had to do indoors at a window to get away from the wind. I found that frustrating at times because I don't have proper lighting for this sort of work as this is the first time I have used a Macro lens like this.
I had to bounce light from a reflector (car sunscreen!) to brighten some of the scenes such as those of the pupa that were in the shade.
I also had to can a lot of the early morning shots indoors because they were just too dark. Some I had to rescue in post because they were the best I could get. I must say these caterpillars could have been more considerate with their timings - most things happened first light and most times I was totally unprepared for it!
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 01:18 AM   #11
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Tanks allot Marj.

The reason I ask is that fore some year ago I do allot of photo
at the morning dew ,in the Golden morning sun, and it was magic.
So tanks Marj I think you have given alot of inspirasion here.



VJV.


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Old April 23rd, 2008, 01:49 AM   #12
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Wow!
What more can be said. Marj, i found your film awsome. Very informative, & those close ups!!! Brilliant! I don't no what more i can say.

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Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:21 AM   #13
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Hi Marj, this was really amazing - a very professionally produced piece which really held my interest throughout with wide-eyed anticipation. The choice of subject alone is inspired, I think there are few places and species in the world that would allow for this idea to work as well as it has in the time allotted. The VO was well paced and very clear, and the macro shots were stunning and perfectly framed - particularly the butterfly head - your eyes must have been popping out of your head when you filmed that!!!...

I would have also to say that the lack of intro took the shine off the start, and early on I felt that there were quite a few quick crossfades between quite similar shots - for me this didn't work too well - don't be afraid of using straight cuts in these scenarios. But really, that's a very very minor thing...

Top marks from me ;-)
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:52 AM   #14
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Hi Marj,

Wow! I was expecting high quality from you after your first uwol video, but this was top notch! My favorite so far!
I agree with the other comments that have been made already.

Thank you very much for sharing! I look forward to see more of your future films.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 04:36 AM   #15
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Thanks for your feedback Bryce, Rob and Trond - really appreciated.

[QUOTE=Rob Evans;865800]

the macro shots were stunning and perfectly framed - particularly the butterfly head - your eyes must have been popping out of your head when you filmed that!!!...

QUOTE]


Yes that was amazing but the shot that thrilled me most (alongside the one showing the transparent eggs with the caterpillar inside and the little mouth nibbling its way through) was that of the butterfly drinking.
I think it is because I caught it with my hand as it landed to drink on the blossom (I’m not sure which of us got the bigger surprise - the butterfly or myself), calmed it down in a dark box and then coaxed it to feed on the flower (indoors) by gently holding its wings closed and introducing it to the nectar. It became so absorbed in this activity that I was able to get a couple of nice shots in before it became restless again.
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