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


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Old October 21st, 2009, 07:27 AM   #61
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Steve this is absolutely beautiful.
Your shots are amazing - especially your birds in flight - from the spectacle of the snow geese and swans, to the birds in Alaska, to the hawk hovering in its search for prey. How do you do that? - Lots of practice I should think, or do you just have a natural talent for following a moving target in your scope?
Your story has good structure - very good idea you have of ending this film with ‘camouflage’, especially for the reasons you give.
Your skies and landscapes are breathtaking - beautiful colours and pans.
The sound that accompanies this is clear - nice balance between music and ambient sound.
Judging by these examples, you have done a very good job using the Ken Burns effect for your photographs and artworks. The pans are slow and steady.
I had to smile when I heard to your final sentence. Boy has this challenge been a learning curve - although, despite all the difficulties - one I do not regret.
I cannot wait to see your final film! Oh and that one-in-a-million shot - now I am hoping that, above all others, you’ll get that one - with all your talent I am very confident you can do it!!!!!
Well done.
Marj
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 03:23 PM   #62
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Steve,

you have a fantastic array of wildlife and your story will be awesome when finished !!!


I must chuckle about the lawn chair thing!! Here we have a specticle of 1 to 1.5 million geese coming off a bit of water a few miles from here. In the fall on nice evenings sheila and I have often gone out, pulled the folding chairs out and watched the geese go out ofr the evening feed, or watched them return the odd time if the sunset was going to be awesome. The sound of fall geese is music for the soul, I shoot hours of video of them every fall.

Looking forward to next month.
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Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 03:26 PM   #63
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Dale,
You're lucky to have them so close to home. How's your leg?

Steve
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 03:49 PM   #64
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Steve,

I am without cane and hobbling around. I have to more or less walk on flatter surfaces. Tried a hillside yesterday, mistake! I still have to take pain killers to sleep at night, its been three weeks today. I may not get what i need to finish the longform or uwol 15, I am trying however. I need a helper and may have found someone to help this next week.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 04:09 PM   #65
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FAB !

I think your Phase 4 piece explaining your overall structure is interesting in itself so I'm think the actual piece should be fab indeed!

I like the idea for the structuring and I really like the historical 'human back story' as the onlookers to these events. Great footage, nice story and some good cutting! Get this right and I think your going to have a great finished piece of work fella! - One point I know has been raised previously some of the flight has too higher shutter and is very snappy.

:-)
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 04:18 PM   #66
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Mat,
I have been trying for the longest time to reduce what you call "snappiness" in my footage. The bottom line is that I can't do it. The common wisdom seems to be that the defect comes from too high a shutter speed. Let's dissect that hypothesis for a moment.
At a shutter speed of 1/60th sec, the camera lets the eye see the moving wing for a long time. Granted, it's blurry, but the eye doesn't seem to mind. At higher speeds (1/300th or more) the camera lets the eye in on smaller amounts of motion that the eye normally cannot sense. These little packages of motion are individually presented to us by the camera only 30 times a second. 1/300th second of movement shown every 1/30th of a second. The eye can handle that. It can see the packets, but our brains can't interpret them, so what we perceive is extra wings. I think this is what you are calling "snap". By viewing frame by frame, it is evident that these wings are not ghosting artifacts. Each frame shows a bird with only two sharply focused wings. Here are the solutions I have come up with and why each of them is not wholly satisfactory.
1. Shoot at 1/100th or below. When run at real-time speeds, you still see extra wings.
This also requires increasing the f-stop, which with Canon lenses seriously compromises sharp focus. Per Johan has noticed the same problem. And what if you need to export a still?
2. Add ND filters instead of changing f-stop. Extra glass also affects the image, adds spots to pans, decreases ability to be ready for rapid changes in lighting, etc.
3. Edit everything into slow motion. This usually works, but do you really want everything to be in slo-mo. What ever happened to leaving nature as it is?
So the bottom line is that my footage is going to have snap. Next time you see a black bird flying away from you against a blue sky, look carefully. You will see four wings.
Snap is not unnatural.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 05:48 PM   #67
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Hi Steve
You seem like you've tested and looked at this a lot but I'll try and respond anyway.

"At higher speeds (1/300th or more) the camera lets the eye in on smaller amounts of motion that the eye normally cannot sense."

IMO - If the frame rate is the same you won't see any more detail in the motion you will simply get less motion blur. In fast flight 25/30 fps is simply not enough too catch enough wing beats so we rely on the motion blur to blend the frames into nice movement. In my experience shooting a bird flight at 1/50th (25fps) gets very mushy but cranked up beyond 120th you get snapping/stobing (whatever you want to call it). I have found around 1/80-1/100 to be good if I'm not slowing down although if slowing down and using frame blending this can be pushed further.

Are you shooting true progressive. Examples of this issue seem to be worse with interlaced source !?
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Old October 24th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #68
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Mat,
Yes, I've tried everything. You bring up a fact that I didn't recognise as a potential problem. Indeed, the Canon XLH-1 does not offer real progressive mode, but something they call "30F" which is "almost indistinguishable from 30P". Frame blend in Adobe Premiere
creates visible ghosts that make the footage even worse. I always disable it.
I often have to export a still, and if it comes down to "mushy" vs "snappy", I'll have to err on the side of snap.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 12:58 AM   #69
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Steve.... your entry could almost be called a "making of" and it was delightfully mesmerizing. I really like your voice for narrating as well as your choice of words... Very pleasant to listen to and the pacing is slow and easy.

I know exactly how you feel about using photographs and attempting to do what Ken Burns has done so well - making them more than a slide show - I discovered it is not always quite so easy. I think you and I probably have advanced that section of our skillsets mutually.

As I watch yours, and more or less the rest of the entries as we work towards the submission deadline, I realize that I probably jumped in the deep end of the pool when I had more wading yet to do, but the process of making my own, and especially watching others, such as yourself, and seeing the results has been better than any film school could have been for me.

Magnificent work. Thanks for the continuing education.

Chris
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Old October 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #70
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Hi Chris,
You're not alone in the deep end of the learning pool. Just yesterday I figured out some details about exporting by watching Mat's video that caused me to have to reassemble the whole piece. It will take a week, which is all the time I have. We're all in this learning thing together.
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Old October 25th, 2009, 07:11 PM   #71
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Steve, what a beautifuly narrated piece. You voice is fantastic and the story line is so moving. You are a natural born storyteller. I especially liked one of the opening shots where you tracked the geese through the mist. Also, I liked the way you incorporated the stills. I have done that in a lot of the stuff I shoot and really like the effect. However, I must say that my stills never came out as well as yours. Ithe panning and zooming on them was very well done. I pity whoever has to judge these entriers. Again, great job. Bob
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