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Old February 17th, 2009, 08:13 PM   #1
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Siegel_Return of the White Birds_UWOLLongform

My segment is a fully formed video because I originally started it for UWOL 11.
I couldn't get enough cold-related material, so just went with a "white" theme, and finished it off. Each of the other three segments will be a story in itself, too. One will deal with migrating songbirds, another with seabirds, and another with plumage adaptations. My biggest problem will be to weave the whole into a cohesive story. I haven't decided whether to make this a sort of travelogue of wildlife refuges, or to try to add a historical perspective, which would be a lot more fun. Please comment on this piece, especially the audio, which in the past has been a concern in my UWOL entries. No criticism is too small, so please point out any errors you see, or thoughts on how to improve this.

Return of the White Birds on Exposure Room

Return of the White Birds Version 1.1 By steven siegel On ExposureRoom
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Hey Steve,
I loved the story! I can't wait to see how you put all your ideas together for your final piece. I thought the sound was really good, only one small thing, & it may well have been my little speakers on the laptop, but when all the geese took off at once towards the end, the sound to my ears was a little distorted. Again, this could be due to the speakers i was listening to it on, but if not, you may need to look at being ready to turn the mic down a bit when they take off to avoid that clipping.
Good luck with the rest of the project,
Bryce
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:30 AM   #3
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Steve, wow that was some stunning footage! I have never seen that amount of birds anytime, 60 000 snow gees is a huge crowd!

Your sound seem ok to me. You got a good narrating voice. Maybe in a short sequence at 0:29 - 0:35 the ambient sound was a little bit to load compared to your narrating.

Your frame blending starting at 3:40 of the flying snow gees was nice.

I have some technical comments though: It seems that you record in interlaced mode and that you have some serious issues (interlaced interference) in the compression for web delivery. It's very noticeable in some of your pans and flying scenes. It might be an issue how Exposure Room compress it for the web. How does it look at your place when you export it from your NLE?
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:56 AM   #4
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Hi Steve.
Great footage and I like your topic.
In fact we have one thing in common, the sea birds :)
The other three segments will it be from the same area?
Is this a special wetland area?
Looking forward to see more.

All the best.
Geir Inge
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:16 AM   #5
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What a scenery!
You have already a very good film.
Many enviable shots, well edited, good narrating and choice of music (not too much).
I will be waiting with interest for the continuation.

Finn-Erik
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments, everybody. I really need the input.

Per,
Yes, I saw the interlace interference in several of the shots (like the first crow, and the leaves floating by in the stream). These were shot with a little hand-held camcorder where progressive mode isn't an option. I may have forgotten to deinterlace the scenes. The artifact only shows with compression for the Internet. Thanks.

Bryce, I purposely amped up the sound for the take off. Overdid it I guess.

Geir, Seabirds are really neat. They seem to have removed everything non-esssential from their lives, and concentrate just on what's important. I will be shooting in June on the Pribilof Islands, which are off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. There are colonies of Crested Auklets, Paroquet Auklets, both Kittiwakes, etc. as well as fur seals. The other segments will be done in the Carolina mountains (about a 6 hr drive from where the geese were shot), and here in Florida.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:59 AM   #7
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I liked it, no I loved it all the way. Your scripts get better all the time and this one has some real gems ... "tomorrow will be different ..." and "tundra swans just warming up" and "frost on next year's pumpkins"; audio and visual links are strong all through and there was no moment without delight. For continuity I'd say 5 out of 5. and the facts and data were very neatly packaged from 1.35.

Downsides
The water mark was a nuisance (as it's meant to be)
The bird audio volume increase at 3.19 with the voice "and then" was very effective but was slightly impaired by the uncertainty created when the audio jerked momentarily at 3.02
One zoom-in to a close-up would help me to fall in love with the birds (to a good still image or 2?)
I would really like to see it in original quality.

Last edited by Brendan Marnell; February 22nd, 2009 at 03:00 AM. Reason: misspelling
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:21 AM   #8
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Brendan,
Thanks for the comments. It's amazing how much the audio affects the viewers enjoyment of a video. It's got to be perfect. I can't take credit for the "frost on the pumpkin" line. It's from a poem by John Whitcomb Riley.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:24 AM   #9
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Oh yes, one more thing. The watermark, a necessary nuisance, really is necessary. I have already found some of my stuff on some kid's Facebook page. Who knows where else all of our videos are going to.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:16 AM   #10
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Steve... that was a very satisfying piece and visually compelling. You have an excellent VO narration voice and it adds to the piece as well. I heard some of the things others noted on the audio, but it was good... and close to excellent with those exceptions. I liked the background music and the VO mix was well executed.

I did notice some things on the flight sequences though and I was curious if you used a high shutter speed for some of that. Some of the wing movements appeared to have been filmed at a high speed and then when played back at the films final speed gave the effect of a strobed movement - or was that some other issue?

As a completed first part it was beautiful and I very much enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the next sequences.

Chris Swanberg

ps. What it must have been like to actually be there with that many large birds in flight!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:22 AM   #11
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Hi again Steve.
Just have to ask:
You say Pribilof Islands, is that the islands located north of the Aleutian Chain?
If so you have quite a journey ahead of you :)
Also a great chance to get some great birds on tape, like the Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins and the Parakeet Auklet.

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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:16 AM   #12
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Chris, I think I was shooting at about 1/1000 sec. However in order to get this file small enough to play without stuttering, I exported it at 15 fps, which eliminates every other frame. I think that is the source of what you are seeing. If you are talking about the way the blue sky seems to change shades in the swan part, I have no idea. The original is that way too.

Geir, That's the place.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 05:40 PM   #13
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Steve,

first, you have some great footage!! The Swans were awesome! some of the geese footage just as nice, particularly the close up on the ground.

I think you will have a terrific video here!!!

I personally really dislike wing flicker in flying birds as it is unnatural for how we perceive things. To me there was to much of that with the snow geese. Perhaps you did that on purpose for an effect.

Look forward to the entire show!!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 08:55 PM   #14
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Dale,
You aren't the first to comment on the unnatural look of the wing movements in these birds. I'm afraid that I have looked at this video so many times that it all looks normal to me. Would you mind explaining just what it is that you are seeing, so I can try to get rid of it. I am shooting 30 fps, progressive mode (my camcorder doesn't have 60p). I put the speed at 50% in post. I have played around with shooting at 60i then setting that at 50%, but you then have to deinterlace, and lose so much information that the result is worse than starting at 30p. On top of that I cut the frame rate to 15fps to reduce the file size for upload. Maybe one of these maneuvers created the flicker?

Thanks for your input.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:54 AM   #15
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Steve,

shooting in 30F or P is a good idea for wing movement. If you shoot at to fast of a shutter speed it captures individual sharp edged frames and the as the wings beat smoothly you will see wing flicker.
you can of course time stretch to slow the wing beat down, this works but to fast a shutter still causes issues.

I would recommend shooting 1/60 to 1/100 and no faster, then when you time stretch you do not have to go so far and the wings will smooth out and appear as we would see them.

If you like I could post some examples for you.

You can also shoot in 60 i, deinterlace through interpolation, then select your clip and then change the rate of play (because now you are seeing 60 frames/sec) and set by % or by frame. I thought this would allow me to shoot faster shutter speeds and get nicer wing movement, but alas "NO" you still have to shoot with slower shutter as far as I have been able to devine!!
some programes like Adobe time stretch by adding frames, others like Vegas time stretch by interpolation which I feel gives a better effect ( I have both programs).

I recently shot a gyrfalcon flying at 180/sec and it looks like I wasted the shoot because of this issue. I should have stuck to what I know works.
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