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Old May 26th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #1
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UWOL 13 - In the rain

My original idea was to film the chaos of the tides and wind at the south end of Ramsey Sound, a chaos that is turned into an orderly current through the Sound. It's going to be tapped for tidal power and I'm doing the bird surveys to make sure nothing is likely to be harmed by the generator. Unfortunately, I was hampered by sea mist, thick fog, and rain. So I managed to film only a part of what I wanted. Annoyingly I managed to film some more this morning, but even some of that was ruined by too much wind.

With rain is playing havoc with my work schedule, I thought I'd make use of it and do some filming from the house. There is something calming about just watching birds (and other animals) going about their day to day business, which at this time of year gives priority to collecting food for youngsters.

I'm not sure the film fills the rules, as I didn't film it specifically for the competition, but rather because I couldn't film what I wanted. It did make some sort of order for my chaotic mind, though.

And I really wanted to prove to myself that I could get something posted in time! It's also on http://vimeo.com/4830865
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Last edited by Annie Haycock; May 26th, 2009 at 11:29 AM. Reason: addition
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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Gotta love British weather. I do miss it.

The light is so even, great for video and photography.

I enjoyed being able to hear the raindrops, as I am hoping to be able to get some of the same sounds, in July, when I take the family camping, in Algonquin Park.
We really don't want it to rain, the week that we are there, but just in case it does, I hope I can get it to sound similar to yours.

Were you using the onboard mic, or an external mic? I am trying to come up with a small raincoat, for my external mic, any ideas?, but still be able to get the great sound of the drops, on the leaves/trees/tent.

My wife, being British, has transformed our back garden, into an English garden, this past year, so hopefully, we will get more birds and other favourable creatures in, that we can video and photograph.

The video with the raindrops, actually being seen was nice, what shutter speed was the camera set for. Again, I would like to be able to capture it, as you did.

For me to capture and experiment with my camera and settings, I would have to have it with me when it rains. I guess now that the shed is finished, with a roof on it, I can wait for the rain, and shoot from inside of it, somewhat of a hide as well, as see what I can get.

Okay, I am rambling on, so I will quit now.

One last question Annie, how did the DVMP Basic software, workout for you, did you get the Pro version, and is it any better?

Sam
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Old May 26th, 2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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Annie, you did great, even if you didn't get what you planned! Your filming is great, very sharp and colorful pictures from your Canon XH A1 (I believe it's the camcorder you use?).
As a birdwatcher like myself it's was very intersting to watch.

There was some hard cuts, in the beginning, which you could easly solved by adding a dissolve filter between the cuts or variated with a wide and closeup shot instead!
Some sequences at the nesting box was a bit long. But overall a interesting piece with some very nice closeup shoots of the birds.
Ambient sound was good too, did you use some kind of external microphones?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #4
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I did want to mention adding disolves between some of the cuts, as Per did, but I am a newbie here, so do not quite know my place, when it comes to making comments like these.

You are all one big happy family, hopefully I will be part of one day.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #5
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Ah, that wonderful British weather!! The best light is often during or just after rain, and video makes better use of it than stills - at least, for anything that needs a fast shutter speed. I used the VIVIDRGB preset on the Canon XH-A1. It really brings out the colours nicely, so long as there is nothing red in the picture, because then it is too red. I really must remember to find time to download something else for birds such as chaffinches and robins that have some red feathers.

The sound of the raindrops was more by luck than anything. I was using the on-board mic and not really expecting anything of the sound as I was in the kitchen and the washing machine was running. In fact, I had to replace the sound almost entirely because of the sounds from the washing machine. However, there is a tarpaulin covering some building materials just outside the window, and that accentuated the sound of the rain. I cut sections of sound without the washing machine, and used them. Also, when I was filming the great tits, it was from a window further from the tarpaulin, so the rain was much quieter and needed replacing there too.

The shutter speed was set on 1/50, gain -3db, and ND 1/6 because I wanted to blur the background (full ND was too dark). It was filmed in 25p (this is PAL land). I think if you are going to film in the rain, it is better to show (with vision or sound) that it really is raining.

Algonquin? I remember fleeing the place after a couple of hours (30 years ago) because the mosquitos were driving me to distraction!

DVMP software - the basic version provided some fascinating insights into some old SD footage, but I haven't got around to downloading the pro version for HD yet. Thanks for the reminder, I'm still getting used to this Vista computer and haven't had time yet to load all the programmes onto it.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #6
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Per Johan

That's nice to know my filming is great, very sharp and colorful pictures , thank you.

My choice of viewpoints was very limited, so the close-ups I would have liked were not possible. I did spend a lot of time trying to film the great tits coming through the hedge and moving along to the nest box, but was not very successful - they move too fast, and were not using a consistent path. When the building work on the house is complete, and I have a garden again, I hope to build some better feeding stations in more convenient places for filming. And also to put the nest boxes closer to the house for next year - last year - no, the year before - I did manage to film the blue-tits fledging from a box just outside the window.

Yes, some of the nest box sequences were long, particularly where the bird disappeared inside for a while. I realised this morning that perhaps I should have put in a caption there about how many times the bird brings food to the nest, or some other information. Or even done a cutaway to me talking about the birds (heaven forbid I should actually appear in one of my films!!)

Editing is not my strong point, though usually I do put in a lot more dissolves. I just didn't think about it this time. Perhaps because I was using Premiere elements 7 for the first time and finding out the differences from PE4, and was not concentrating on all other aspects.

I'm looking forward to watching all the other entries at the weekend and commenting on them. But for now, I must get back to work.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #7
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Annie,

I can't add much to what was said, except that I love watching bird videos and I know how hard they are to catch doing something interesting up close.
So, nicely done.

I also thought the sound of the rain made a great soundtrack, but I would have like it if you had added a little voice over, let me know what kind of birds they were.

Again, good job. The editing gets better with practice. (And I'm not saying I'm any kind of expert. I'm not)

Bob
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #8
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I'm guilty of filming what I enjoy watching, and I like accuracy so I tend to leave in things like it taking several seconds for the great tit to come out of the nest box instead of filling the gap with something to keep the viewer interested. A few years ago I was trying to use a clip of a grebe diving and and resurfacing, but it wasn't working until I realised I needed to do the grebe surfacing and then diving - so there was something to watch on the water. I didn't have time to do a voice-over - or rather, I couldnt' think of anything sensible to say in a hurry.

The birds - the black and grey birds were the jackdaws, the black and white ones were black-billed magpies, and the small ones in the nest box were great tits.

As for editing - I've been on a couple of courses, so I know the basics, but actually finding time to practice is the problem.

Thanks for commenting.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #9
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Annie, well done!

Even in the rain, you still manage to get some great shots, and the sound of the rain just added a cool effect to it. :)

Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your next one.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #10
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annie,

some nice birds there. Was the black one a rook?

I liked the audio

Sense I do not have Attention deficit syndrome, i did not mind waiting for the great Tit!!! Joking aside, i did not even notice the time frame on it!!

Was waiting for a chorous of Rain drops keep falling on my head. LOL

nice job.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #11
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Trond, Dale

Glad you liked it. I am surprised at the reaction to the audio. As I said earlier, it was more a matter of luck than anything. But I have now made an audio file of the rain for future productions!

The black birds with grey faces were jackdaws, and they nest in our chimney - there seems to be room for three pairs, and their chicks are quite noisy at present with the calls echoing down the chimney to our old kitchen (will be a new dining room) below.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #12
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Annie,

You had me going with the washing machine, I had my volume up high and I thought there was a train coming through or something!

I like the greens... I'm jealous, I come from the Emerald Isle and my videos look like there's been a drought, despite it having rained almost all month. I need to do something about my encoding.

I love magpies. A lot of people round here hate them, because they take young birds from nests, but I look on it all as part of nature's rich tapestry, it's so much better than a cat getting them, that's man's interference.

I see your Great Tits have a regular perch before they head to the nest box! That is a great trick for getting a well framed shot. My Blue Tits last year did the same, I got some lovely shots on my old VX2100, I could leave it a running a couple of feet from the perch and get wonderful closeups.

I found the film very relaxing, there's nothing better than just watching birds. Nice one!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #13
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Hi Annie,
Jackdaws in the chimney? Konrad Lorenz would be proud! I would have never guessed that it was all shot through window glass- you shouldn’t have told. I also like longer shots showing the natural timing of behaviors. It gives it more of a feel of bird watching. As Mike pointed out- there’s little as pleasant as watching birds (unless it’s watching crocodiles, or fruit bats, or shrews, or…)
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #14
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One of our neighbours has Jackdaws in the chimney, and they are a real delight to watch - especially after the young have fledged and they all try to get back into the chimney at the same time, what a riot. You can hear the noise echoing up the chimney like an amplifier when they're all in there.

It's a semi-detached house, and they're now in both adjacent chimneys. Jackdaws in stereo!
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Old May 29th, 2009, 01:29 AM   #15
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Greens look really good here on a cloudy day, and that is probably enhanced by the in-camera preset, I'm not (yet) into doing anything more in post than I have to - and that includes messing around with the encoding.

We like watching the magpies too, they are pretty quick to respond whenever we put food out - this morning they have a burnt pizza for breakfast - we haven't got used to the settings on our new oven yet, so the birds are getting extra benefit. The cats are pretty quick on the food too - they seem to have claimed our garden as their own, probably trying to get away from all the dogs in their own garden. My infra-red badger video clips show the cats scent-marking here at night.

The great tits may come regularly through the hedge, but unfortunately not via a regular perch. I chucked out a lot of clips where they came through too high, or too low, or too close to the edge on the closer shots. The chicks fledged two days ago, leaving one dead in the nest-box.

This is a semi-detached house too, all the flues come out of the same stack, and the jackdaws make the most of the heat. I'd like to film them, especially at fledging time, but that needs both time (on my part) and blue skies, as they won't look good against the clouds.
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