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Old October 13th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #46
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Hey Mike:

What do you mean, some will be disappointed at your vulture POV... I thought it was fabulous! How creative is that? Can you get some parts of the wing in the picture too? That was a hoot. You have him flying pretty fast by the way the ground is moving. I think you are on track to a really fun and creative transition to hold your segments together. The effect is coming across very well. The eyes blinking as it surveys the ground below. How are you doing this? May I ask?

You are really accumulating quite a repertoire of creatures in the wild high desert, and you have a wealth of interesting information to go along with it. I had no idea the horny toad could shoot blood from its eye (?).

Some shots were shaky, but no worries you explained all that. This is really good stuff Mike. Looking forward to the final.

Best,

Cat
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Old October 13th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #47
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Mike... well done. You truly do have an extensive library of desert life and your editing and sound was terrific and tied the storyline togather very professionally. I too liked the idea of the vulture's eye view moving us from one part of the desert to another. Bravo.

Chris
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Old October 20th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #48
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Chris- Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. So far, since November, Iíve spent almost 200 nights in a tent putting this together. Itís nice to see light at the end of the tunnel. Iím already thinking about the next big project. I have an ideaÖ
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Old October 20th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #49
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Catherine- Thank-you for the nice comment. I wish my image quality were as good as yours! Here is how I did the vulture clip:

The clip is an AfterEffects composition. The base layer is the polecam shot. I put the little AVCHD camera on a twenty foot pole (an extension handle for a paint roller used by house painters). The pole was tied to the center post (between the front and rear seat windows) on the passenger side of an SUV using ratcheting cargo straps. The camera faced the rear at about 60 degrees from midline. I then idled down the shoulder of the road. Speed was almost 20mph. Going slower with my foot on the brake produced results too jerky to use. In editing, the smoother bits were played backwards and slowed down. I tried time remapping in AE but a 15 sec clip took over 30 hours and I had a setting wrong. I donít have that kind of time to invest right now, so I just slowed it down in PP2. I couldnít get below 60% without tearing. For me, itís too fast.
The top layer is a Lightwave9 animation. The wire frame model has a photo of a Turkey Vulture UV mapped to itís surface. I just watched the base clip and tried to produce movement to suit. I have added wings, but I had problems getting the UV maps to mesh. I think Iíve figured out the problem and if I have time Iíll go back for another try.
The eye blinks were rotoscoped. I painted on the individual frames of the final composition using Photoshop.

Iím sure using an animation will offend the sensibilities of some purists. Like most of us, I come from the mentality of the Lone Wolf Cameraman. This is forcing me to transition to the mindset of the content producer. Instead of asking myself questions about camera settings and image quality Iím now asking questions like ďIs the shot availableĒ and ďDoes it work to convey what I need it to convey at this point in the story?Ē
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Old October 20th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #50
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Mike,

I grew up in the SW and really enjoyed you efforts so far. I think you have most of the more emminent species!! The editing is pretty well done to be certain. there was one road runer scene I thought was not up to the quality of the rest adn it exit seemed erratic, at least compared to the rest. I reckon you are going to do some final color correcting as well to get all the clips a little more uniform.

it is pretty awesome!!
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Old October 20th, 2009, 04:33 PM   #51
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Hi Mike:

I've posted on my thread some before and after pics of my attempt at some color correction. Would you mind having a look and seeing what you think? I so appreciate the advice!

Your explanation of how you are doing the flying vulture effect is mind boggling! It's really cool though.

Cat
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Old October 21st, 2009, 03:17 PM   #52
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Mike,
I have enjoyed your film. You have a variety of good scenes of different animals.
The opening scene is interesting. I am happy for the documentation of your technique (much work). It struck me that most of us have a job to do with the color correction (me included!).
I am looking forward to your final video.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 08:18 AM   #53
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Thanks Finn-Erik and Dale. For me, color grading is the next to last step in editing (right before final audio mix down). When I changed my entry at the last moment I had to send it up without those steps. It could really benefit from both. Best of luck, guys. I hope to see you both here next month.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 01:12 PM   #54
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Hi Mike

For some reason I can't view your videos. The site comes up but it is a blank page that does nothing. (This happened to me with your first round as well if you remember.) I will have to wait for Mat to upload the films onto the uwol site and then view your film from there.

Marj
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Old October 24th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #55
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Marj- Sorry you werenít able to download from my server again. Mat moved the files a couple of days ago. Let me know if you are unable to download off the UWOL server also.
Index of /longform
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Old October 24th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #56
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Hi Mike - didn't think to look here. The Uwol Challenge site itself does not have them up yet. Will try this. Thanks.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 12:43 AM   #57
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Hi Mike - managed to download your film via the link you provided - thanks again.

You are busy painting such an interesting and comprehensive picture of the dessert biome. What an amazing collection of plants, animals and birds you have - seems like you have been working very steadily this year!

Your turkey vulture POV was a bit short to appreciate fully - but looks like there is potential there. You could use a couple of aerial shots quite effectively without the tv in it as well I should think.
I canít comment on the quality of the video itself as I have viewed a small file, but in general I would say this is shaping up to be a very good film.

Marj
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Old November 1st, 2009, 05:09 PM   #58
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Marj- Thanks for taking the time to make another attempt to watch! Suffice to say that the image quality is not as good as yours. I purposely kept the vulture animation brief to let viewers take it in but not have time to analyze it. I only use it three times in the whole story for the same reason.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #59
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Iím back from what was supposed to be my last shooting trip for this project. I had to revise the ending because I have failed to get two shots crucial to the story as originally conceived. The revision left me missing some shots that would be easier to get (I thought). Wrong! It didnít help that I got out there to find my blind vandalized. Iím going to do what I can to ďfakeĒ the shots and go ahead and finish as soon as possible. If I can get through with a day or two to spare I might give it another go.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 10:30 AM   #60
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OTM- Final

Here are my final files:


For final thoughts, here is the back-story.
Late Indian Summer before last, I was camped alone in the habitat referred to in the video as the High Desert (there are other schemes for naming the Chihuahuan Desert habitats). It had been a very dark night until 3AM when a full moon rose that was so bright that the thin tent nylon did little to filter it. I was full awake when a male Great Horned Owl landed on the ridge pole of the tent. I watched him in perfect silhouette at arm’s reach. He began to call back and forth with a female Great Horned Owl which was perched in the nearest large tree (in this habitat it was a five foot tall Mesquite about 200 feet away). You can tell the sex of these owls from the pitch of their calls. Over the next couple of hours, as he carried on a conversation with his girlfriend that was quite over my head, I managed to drift off to sleep. I awoke with a start at sunrise, the half-remembered remains of a story about a Turkey Vulture evaporating from my dreams.

When Meryem announced the UWOL Long Form Challenge a few weeks later, I knew immediately what story I would attempt. Now, over a year later I’m struck by how eerily reminiscent the resulting video is to that gift dream from an owl…

Last edited by Meryem Ersoz; November 23rd, 2009 at 08:35 AM.
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