UWOL #8: Spring Takes Wing by Ruth Happel at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > DV Info Net Community Contests > The UWOL Challenge

The UWOL Challenge
An organized competition for Under Water, Over Land videographers!


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 22nd, 2008, 10:53 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Black Mountain, NC
Posts: 488
UWOL #8: Spring Takes Wing by Ruth Happel

This is a different type of UWOL film for me than usual, since Robin was too busy this month to help with the video. She is having standardized testing for two weeks in school, and wanted to spend her free time on her own projects. Given my theme was the transformation of spring, a "robin" would have been appropriate :)

Without her help, I focused on gathering footage that showed the transition from winter to spring, and had the opportunity of shooting on both coasts, since we went for Robin's spring break to North Carolina. I shot there, here at home, and even a bit in between. Within the larger theme of the way seasons transform the natural world, I also played with the idea of time, slowing down active animals to see them more clearly, and speeding up some melting snow.

For the technical details, the slow motion footage was shot with my new toy/birthday present- the Casio EX-F1, at 600fps. I have seen things with this camera I never saw before in many years of looking at wildlife- it is a fascinating tool for observing nature. I used music by Opuzz, and added most of the nature sounds in post.

Here is a link to my video- http://revver.com/video/831517/spring-takes-wing/
__________________
http://rockfowl.com/
Ruth Happel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 10:59 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Vero Beach
Posts: 392
Ruth

You should always leave the good in a review to last but I can help but say I am stunned. An absolutely gorgeous piece. The playing off the conflict of time was especially appealing. I would however, here is the first part, pay some attention to your nature sounds, some needed to be subdued a little.

A brilliant effort.

Jim
Jim Montgomery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:21 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kent UK
Posts: 1,397
Hi Ruth

Its funny, as soon as I saw the first bit of slow mo, I was like uuhhhh, now how the hell has she pulled that off! 600fps huh.....very nice indeed, new technology comes to uwol! I have been looking at a new Samsung model for some shots for my short this year but this looks great too....mmmmm :-) .

Anyway to your film

It was gobsmackingly beautiful and very interesting to watch. The butterfly taking off was just superb. Its amazing seeing the detail in the movement at these sorts of speeds. My one BIG gripe though is the back bar and text....for me it just really brought down the footage. The motion is so subtle and I think you needed an equally subtle way of delivery for this content, VO or maybe faded in and overlaid text would have been way better imo. Overall I thought the premise/story was a little loose and the shots were a little random.....but wow what shots some of them were !

Great stuff
Mat Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:41 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 3,004
Ruth,


WOW!!! what else can I really say!!!

some of the best slo mo video I think I have ever seen. Tell me about it!!!!!!

I loved it.

How did you get the Otter!!!!! Is it a domestic one??? just fabulous!!!!


this is in the top of my list!!!


I think this far out does anything you have done!!!!!!!
__________________
DATS ALL FOLKS
Dale W. Guthormsen
Dale Guthormsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 02:25 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838
Ruth: You are a contender on this one ! I absolutely loved this film.... great job, and slow mo was fanastic. Music was great. I think the text was distracting. Your subperb shots would were more than able to tell our story !
__________________
Chris J. Barcellos
Chris Barcellos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 05:47 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Carol Stream, IL
Posts: 541
Ruth,

I really can't add much to what has been said....outstanding footage.
The slowmo stuff is great....(maybe I do need a new camera)

Put together real well......Nice!

I will agree with the others that the black bar needs to go....your shots are too good to cover.

Bob
__________________
Bob T.
Bob Thieda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:00 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 2,863
Ruth, again you deliver really good video. No question about that!
Seeing that butterfly takeoff from that flower was my favorite!
It is an impressive new toy you got for your birthday.

One detail about using that black bar:
I think that if you use a big black bar to cover all the lower area, it should have been there all the time, instead of only having it when you have some text. Now it felt like the bottom of the picture was kinda jumping up and down. And your quality video deserve better than that.
When that is said, I'm used to such black bars at the bottom of the screen from tv here in Norway, so I don't mind seeing it.
When using text, I feel it would be better just to have some black background to the text only. (Maybe like I was doing for my UC7, but that was not perfect either).

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed watching it.
Haven't watched all the videos yet, but you are on my top list.
Trond Saetre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2008, 06:54 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Woodridge Illinois
Posts: 237
Hi Ruth,

That was a very lovely film. How did you get those slow-motion shots of those incects? Incredible. I loved the way your film moved along and transitioned. I'm learning.

Oliver Pahlow
Oliver Pahlow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:03 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Black Mountain, NC
Posts: 488
Thanks for the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to watch and make suggestions on the film. Here are some responses to questions and comments:

Jim- I am glad you liked it. My background is in nature sounds (I did environmental albums and sound installations at zoos, museums, etc. before getting into video), so at times my videos end up being more images to go with my sounds than vice versa. I will try to tame the wild sounds :)

Mat- I really am enjoying this camera, just seeing all the details it is impossible to see in "real time". The butterfly required a lot of patience- it just sat for over half an hour, and I kept erasing and starting over to save room on the cartridge. Finally when I was about to give up, it flew (I added the wingbeats for dramatic effect). As for the bars, without Robin's help I was reluctant to do a voiceover. And I didn't want to overlay the images with text. I should have resized the two types of video (HD had one aspect ratio, the Casio had another) and left some space around both. My story wasn't as much a narrative as usual for me, but for me spring tells its own story every year, in its own way, and this video was just a rough translation of that.

Dale- I am glad you liked the video- it's good to know you think it's my best, so I am improving. There are actually two otters in the film- both domestic. One was shot at the western North Carolina Nature Center, the other at the Seattle Aquarium. They were my favorite shots of this video- I had thought of just doing all otters, but liked the other images as well. The Casio has both good and bad points. The good is the frame rate- from 30-1200 fps. At the lower frame rates it shoots in full HD, at the highest, you end up with a video the size of a postage stamp. So I compromised and shot at 600fps, which correlated in quality to roughly the UWOL output size. I imagine in a year or two (maybe sooner, depending on the Scarlet) there will be high resolution high speed video. But even now, for slo mo of this speed, you need to get a specialized scientific camera with not much more resolution but a much higher price. To get the otters, I shot some footage earlier, and went back later in the trip (in NC) or the day (here in WA) to get the right light. They swam so fast I prefocused on where I observed they would be swimming, and shot a number of takes to get it framed just right.

Chris- I am glad you liked the video. I guess I should have just let the images speak for themselves. I had seen some UWOL movies with text I enjoyed and thought I would try the technique, since Robin wasn't involved this time. I guess part of the contest is to try new things, and see what works- it has been a learning process for me the past year plus here on UWOL.

Bob- Thanks for the comments. As noted, the black bar was because the two types of footage were different aspect ratios. I used that to fill in the text, but based on feedback, perhaps it would have been better to run the footage without text.

Trond- Thanks for your feedback. Having footage with different aspect ratios created the thought that text would help to fill the extra space. I don't think there is a perfect solution. I could have tried to enlarge the Casio footage, but it has lower resolution than HD. I could have reduced the HD footage, but then both would have been smaller than the UWOL size. If I put the text as you did for UC7, I was concerned about covering up some images. In future, I am going to experiment with having multiple slow motion segments in a single frame, but that would be for playback at a size larger than the UWOL limit. I've only had the camera a couple weeks, so both shooting with it and displaying it are a challenge. But fun :)

Oliver- Thanks for your comments. The slow motion insects (and otter, water, and snow) were shot at 600fps, and this high speed allows for a slo mo effect on playback. The resolution isn't great, but good enough to see an amazing view of the world.

Thanks again for all your comments.

Ruth
__________________
http://rockfowl.com/
Ruth Happel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:56 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 2,863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth Happel View Post
Trond- Thanks for your feedback. Having footage with different aspect ratios created the thought that text would help to fill the extra space. I don't think there is a perfect solution. I could have tried to enlarge the Casio footage, but it has lower resolution than HD. I could have reduced the HD footage, but then both would have been smaller than the UWOL size. If I put the text as you did for UC7, I was concerned about covering up some images. In future, I am going to experiment with having multiple slow motion segments in a single frame, but that would be for playback at a size larger than the UWOL limit. I've only had the camera a couple weeks, so both shooting with it and displaying it are a challenge. But fun :)
For battling with different aspect ratios, you did great! Been there, done that myself previous. Not exactly a cool task. And text covering the image is always a concern. Thought about that too when I made the text.
But don't worry too much about it. It's just a detail.
I'm looking forward to see the results of the slow motion experiments you plan to do.
Trond Saetre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:59 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rossland, British Columbia
Posts: 966
Hi Ruth,
Well, i gotta say, that was brilliant. I found it so much different from what we normally see from you, & i loved it. You must love that new toy of yours, you have captured some truly beautiful shots with it. Your story worked well, with all the animals transforming in their behaviours with the spring thaw.

Loved it,

Bryce

P.S. On a constructive note, I too found the black background to the text a bit odd. Maybe you could have simply added a black shadow to your text.
__________________
There's never enough hours in the day!
Bryce Comer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:10 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 390
Wow!

I feel like this is the complete reverse of the timelapse stuff - incredibly captivating, I watched it about 5 times in a row. The choice of subject and the angles you've chosen really work.
Not 100% sure about the titling, as there was quite a time between one line to the next, and my brain was trying to compute the beauty of the video at the same time.. ( or is that just symptomatic of being male huh? ;-) )
But really, the whole thing was gorgeous, and the use of sfx helped to build it up. Fave shots were the bird taking off and the swan drinking - who would have thought that such simple things could look so different?

Nice new tool - good application - amazing outcome.. :-)
Rob Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:25 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lyons, Colorado
Posts: 1,178
Ruth:

I am deeply moved and impressed, words cannot describe... I am speechless. This is a remarkable piece, breathtaking, beyond comprehension. I am late coming to the contest so late last night I selected this one to view as the very first and only film I have seen yet.... and I was simply floored.

Thanks for the blessing.

Cat
Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:53 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Clermont, FL
Posts: 1,520
Remarkable is an understatement. I can't even imagine how you got some of those shots, and that new camera is a keeper. Phenomenal.
__________________
Steven Gotz
http://www.stevengotz.com
Steven Gotz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 23rd, 2008, 01:02 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Black Mountain, NC
Posts: 488
Thanks for the comments.

Trond- I will definitely be using this camera more and experimenting with aspect ratios, and integrating with regular HD footage. There was no easy compromise in presenting this in the UWOL format, with such a small screen anyway. The text fading in and out seemed the best use of the extra space, and a way to help draw the story along. With larger screen real estate, I want to experiment with multiple slow motion images simultaneously.

Bryce- I usually have Robin to do the VO or announcing on camera, so without her, I will need to evaluate how to move a story along. Hopefully there is not any more major testing for the rest of the school year and I will have her back again soon :)

Rob- I think you and I are both fascinated by expressing time in video- I was totally captivated by your timelapse film last challenge, and played with that as well as the slow motion in this piece. It is great when technology allows you to see previous hidden views of nature. The amazing part for me is when shooting something like the bird flying or swan drinking, it happens so fast you aren't even sure you have it. I was moving the camera around wildly anticipating the shots most of the time, and all I saw at the time was a blur- and could only hope it was going to look as it did. After a day or two of experimenting, when I started shooting for the challenge, I knew what to expect, and had an idea how best to anticpate motion that would look good on film. But it was impossible to actually see the details of what was happening as I filmed. So reviewing the footage was exciting for me, to see what I had only half imagined at the time of shooting. After a couple weeks now playing with it, I am learning to predict what to shoot, and how, but it is still a challenge- but a fun one!

Cat and Steven- Glad you liked the video, and thanks for commenting.


Ruth
__________________
http://rockfowl.com/
Ruth Happel is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > DV Info Net Community Contests > The UWOL Challenge

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:26 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network