UWOL #15 - Elephants of California by Rich Ryan - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old November 2nd, 2009, 03:42 PM   #16
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Bob - no color correction -- except the opening and closing sequences use Magic Bullet Quick Looks. The rest of the clips have some curves applied - mostly very gentle; almost straight.
Same here with the 150. I use one of the presets that I like, F3, and a very gentle curve...
Plus some level corrections...

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How are you managing the learning curve on your HMC150?
I bought Barry Greens book on the 150.
That and practice, practice, practice...
I moved up from a GL2, which had a lot of manual controls, but not like the 150.
Learning to work, and trust, the waveform monitor was big...along with learning to focus properly using the focus assist...

I do wish it had a longer lens though...sure miss the one on the GL2...
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 07:37 PM   #17
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That was great, I wish I could do mine over again and interject smooth narrative information as you did. Weighing up to 5,000 pounds (which is more than my Tacoma truck) with a 2 foot long nose, swimming 60 miles a day, and diving over 1,000 feet deep. Those are some wild animals. I also noticed the fingernails as one was scratching it's head, which is what my seal also was doing. Nothing like a good scratch.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 08:36 PM   #18
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Bill, thanks for the comments. Yes it seems that there are several mannerisms in common between your Monk Seal and my Northern Elephant Seal -- I guess that is to be expected. They are certainly easy to humanize when the do something like scratching their heads.

Bob, what to you think of Barry's HMC150 book. I am contemplating buying it since there is so much in common (of course there are some substantial differences to). Barry has indicated that he might write an HMC40 specific book in the future (but there are no guarantees and it might be quite some time).

Last edited by Rich Ryan; November 2nd, 2009 at 09:59 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 09:54 PM   #19
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Barry's books are the bible of these cameras. When I got my HVX-200 in 2006, I never even read the manual. I just read Barry's book and I was good to go. :)
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM   #20
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Bob, what to you think of Barry's HMC150 book.
Like Kevin said above, Barry's books are the bible for any camera...

I learned more in the week I read it, than I did in the previous 4-5 months using it.

I can't tell you how much will apply to your 40 model though...
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Old November 6th, 2009, 04:20 AM   #21
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Hi Rich.

Iíve been watching your Vimeo video and I think itís a fine contribution to this rounds theme.
Your open shot is great, but: Is it the coastal wind, shaking the camera, or is it a bad tripod?
I guess you have the same problem as me when it comes to coastal winds. They do not care if youíre filming :) Also the video seems a bit bluish? Can it be something to do with setting the white balance? I always set this manually on my Canon XLH1. Your VO is fine and informative, I like that in a wildlife video and you do it well :) I wonder, is it original sound from the location or is it Foley? Maybe just a tiny bit higher volume on your voice would do?
Those waves washing the shore can make some painful noise at times :)
When it comes to the seals:
A scene like when the seal is scratching its head, starting at 00.29, is giving wildlife videos a personal touch. At least I think so. I donít say itís easy to get these kinds of shots, but it sure does lighten up a video :) In these kinds of shots itís easy to put in sidesteps in a story, giving the animal some character I think. I guess itís difficult to ask the seal to pose for different kinds of shots, but still I would have liked to see a close up of the seal when it shuffles sand over its back :)

Again I like your video and think youíve done a nice job on this one.
Wish you all the best and good luck.
Geir Inge
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:35 AM   #22
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Geir Inge,

Thank for your comments. The opening shot was handheld. I was looking for an establishing shot and noticed this view of the Pedras Blancas Lighthouse as I was driving to to rookery. I pulled over to the side of the road for the shot.

The opening and closing shots are "highly" color corrected. I was not too concerned about realistic colors in those shots - more of a stylistic choice. The other shots were all done with fixed white balance.

Sounds were all natural. I was certainly trying to balance the natural sounds, the music track and my voice over. There we some instances where I bumped the natural sounds because I was trying to enhance the sounds the seals make. Balancing multiple audio tracks is definitely something I need to work on.

I really had not problem with rule #11 while filming. The seals exhibit a great set of personality traits. I was very fortunate that the one little seal was a willing actor.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 03:22 AM   #23
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Considering my remarks about the music on some other entries, I hardly noticed it on yours except on the closing credits. But seeing that others commented, I watched it again. And yes, for the last minute or so, the music is too much, especially competing with your voice. I think I did not notice it the first time because I have spent some years studying the Atlantic Grey Seals that live around our coast, and so I was concentrating on your commentary to learn about the similarities and differences. Your elephant seals make our grey ones look like wimps!

ok, so you have explained the tripod problem, and that you had better views from the north viewpoint. The latter explains the very contrasty picture which is something I would try to avoid when possible. The video certainly looked better in HD because of that contrast. The two young bulls at 2:23 were shot from the sunny (south?) side and there is so much more detail to be seen there.

I wonder why you sped up the scene behind the closing credits?
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Old November 26th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #24
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Annie - thanks for the comments. As a new videographer this type of commentary is particularly helpful.

As noted by others I have a ways to go to get my audio balanced. I was trying to balance the natural sounds, the music and my voice over. No one particularly mentioned it, but I switched music in the middle: a more peaceful bit opening and during the female oriented part of the video and a more dramatic peace for the males. That last piece was clearly too overpowering in some places.

The contrast is probably my fault (of course I was using an HD image to work from - actually shot in 1080 so even the Vimeo version is down sampled. I used curves to adjust most scenes and may have gotten a bit carried away. This was exacerbated by shooting mid-day.

The last scene was a timelapse. It was mostly to show how lethargic the seal are. The time lapse was about 30 minutes of real time and you can see how little some of the seals move. I couldn't work that into the narrative so I just decided to include it as a back ground for the closing credits. I also used the Magic Bullets Tilt-Shift effect on that scene to give it a bit of a surreal look.

Thanks again for your comments. I am already looking forward to the next challenge. Hope to see you there.
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Old November 27th, 2009, 08:27 AM   #25
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Changes in music, even in a short video, are not uncommon. So long as they fit with the video, no-one is likely to comment at the changes.

No-one ever recommends shooting in the middle of the day, except when the sun is not shining (or in high latitudes in winter when the sun doesn't get far above the horizon anyway). However, many of your shots were just slightly against the sun, which made the situation worse.

There was nothing to explain the time lapse at the end, the colours and tilt just seemed to be a bit wierd as well, so to me it just looked as though it had been thrown in to make up the time.
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