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

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Old July 1st, 2008, 11:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Boulder, CO USA
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The Finalists

The Finalists

Here are some thoughts on the films that just missed out on the winner’s circle. Congratulations to you all. These are in no particular order.

Eric Gulbransen “California Sea-Lions”
This film just missed out. Great cinematography and animal behavior. Good story but I think it would be stronger with a slight restructure. I love the curious fact that the sea-lion’s population is growing at such a rapid rate despite human caused impacts. I would have posed this question right up front and then pay it off by explaining the amazing sea-lion behaviors and adaptations that help them outcompete all other animals.

Kevin Railsback “The 500 Year Flood”
Nice emotional story…it is impossible not to feel saddened after watching it. The story is strong with lots of natural jeopardy right up front. I like the climax with the deer coping with the flood. Incredible imagery, beautifully shot. I know it would be difficult but some other shots of animals struggling with the water would add to the impact of the flood, or I think I would have followed the deer story a little closer. Also, I think by adding a human voice rather than text on screen might have really added to the emotion. You are a really talented cinematographer, and it’s a well produced film.

David Gemmell “Wetland Wonder”
Brilliant cinematography. I loved the reflections and the great detailed behavior. A slight story restructure might help. I would recommend to put yourself up front of the film to set up the drama. “Will I be able to capture the intricacies of the wetland habitat?” Maybe you set yourself a challenge like trying to film a certain species…then the audience hangs on to see if you are successful. I would have enjoyed hearing your enthusiasm throughout the film as you capture different species…which ones are a rare sighting? You really captured the atmosphere and mood of the location which was great.

Steve Siegel “Prairie Bells”
Some great cinematography, mixed occasionally with slightly shaky shots. Really nice bird songs at times but some rough patches of audio. This is normally not a big deal, but since the film revolved around the audio, I would have like really clean, crisp sound. I really enjoyed how the story followed the different sounds that make up the whole “song” of the prairie. This film had fantastic elements to it and I loved getting a real sense of ‘place’. Also some great behavior shots.

Catherine Russell “On the Wild Side”
Very entertaining film. I loved the energy and simplicity of the story. Nice strategy to keep an audience involved and guessing at what the next letter will bring. I think the shots could be a little more diverse and dynamic. It seemed like most animals were filmed from one shot size. I would have enjoyed a little more energy from the actual shot to match the music. I definitely appreciate the diversity of animal behavior you incorporated in the film…very enjoyable to watch.

Bob Thieda “Little Things”
Fantastic macrophotography. I love when a film can take you into a world you don’t normally see. Very interesting behavior. Intriguing intro and a strong story. I think the film would benefit greatly with just a little more research. At times you incorporated very interesting information, but not knowing the species or what the pavement ants were doing let the film down a little. I really enjoyed the edit and the music. All in all very close to the top.

Vidar Vedaa “Sealife”
Really nice shots…Underwater takes it to a whole new dimension. It really felt like an exploration film…but I would have liked a slightly stronger story. You created a nice atmosphere with the music and imagery. The underwater shots were nicely lit, which can sometimes be very difficult.

Markus Nord “Pipefish”
Great story structure very intriguing (will we find what we are looking for?) Nice information about pregnant fathers…I just think it could have used a stronger ending. Very good atmosphere underwater. Very well executed film.
Brant Backlund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2008, 01:05 PM   #2
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Location: Vastervik ,Sweden
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Thank you Brant for putting this thread up. I have learned so much from this and "the winner is...". Storytelling is hard and that is what we all are struggling with (I think). For me this round have giving me a lot and I got so many ideas and thought that I need to structures. Till the next round I'll be writing stories and work on my storytelling.

Cheers and se you all in UCX!

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Old July 1st, 2008, 01:25 PM   #3
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Location: Carol Stream, IL
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I have to agree with Markus...

It's wonderful of you to take the time to start these threads and help us improve our skills.
To be included as a finalist is indeed an unexpected, yet delightful, honor.

Thank you, Brant!

Bob T.
Bob T.
Bob Thieda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 1st, 2008, 04:02 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lyons, Colorado
Posts: 1,200
Wow Brant:

I went straight for "and the winner is..." thread and completely missed this one. I am stunned at how much time, energy and care you have put into judging this contest and commenting on our films. You put so much time into this and we have all benefited from your efforts. You have great insight in you critiques and your thoroughness is unmatched. Thank you for your professionalism and expertise!


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Old July 1st, 2008, 06:30 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Central Coast - NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,460
this is terrific stuff - thanks Brant. I think I'll watch them all again with this commentary in mind.

I'm sure we all appreciate your time in commenting on so many of the films - to me this is more of a workshop than anything, We all work with the same subject & restrictions and then compare our work - I get comments regarding what I did right and what I could have improved on and see the same comments for other films. It's a terrific learning experience.

congrats to all the winners - that's every one of us I think

I'm just wondering what to do till the end of July! - I think I'll try to build a better hide
Cheers - Paul M. :
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Old July 1st, 2008, 06:47 PM   #6
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Thank you Brant. The last reason I enter is to win. The first is to learn. You and not only your judging, but offering us your constructive thoughts has already had a positive impact on my learning curve. Whoever chose you to judge this round is my hero!
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Old July 1st, 2008, 07:38 PM   #7
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Angelo Texas
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Brant, I think you have WORKED harder at this judging than any other judge I've seen in any venue. Thank you for being part of this and I hope we'll see you "hang out" with us.

"Orangutan Island" is one of the most visually rich and enthralling wildlife programs I've watched.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 03:04 AM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kent UK
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Hi Brant. I always hark on about critique and its positive impacts on peoples work. This really is the appitomy of this. You have done such a good thorough job and really set a presitent for others judges moving forwards.

I think the next round will see levels higher than ever because of your comments.

Many thanks for your time and enthusiam.

Mat Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2008, 07:24 AM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
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you better watch out, Brant, they are ready to vote you in as Judge For Life!
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply

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