UWOL #16 - A Volcanic Journey - by Mike Beckett at DVinfo.net

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Old May 25th, 2010, 11:28 PM   #1
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UWOL #16 - A Volcanic Journey - by Mike Beckett

No, itís not that volcano in Iceland, and thereís no magma flowing round here, donít worry!

OK, so this one nearly didn't happen. I got my new camera (Panasonic HMC41) a couple of days before, and it's still a bit naked without a wide angle lens and other accessories. On Friday 21st I had no hope of doing a UWOL entry, and in two days I made it - normally it takes me three whole weeks! So I'm sure it could be better, but anyway, I had a blast.

On the face of it, this was a simple journey - a climb up a mountain. In this case, it was Slemish, an extinct volcano in the heart of County Antrim. This is somewhere I came as a child with my father, so I thought it would be interesting to take him back, nearly 30 years on, to bring back some memories.

The climb was easy on the face of it. Somewhere between a hike and a rock climb, it's not too difficult - until you have a video backpack and a 13lb tripod with you. It was a good physical workout on the hottest day of the year, I can tell you.

The view up there is fantastic, although it was a bit hazy in the distance. And I couldn't resist the gratuitous time-lapse, which I included just because I liked it.

Other points:
- Lack of wide angle lens made it hard to get a feeling for the vastness of the view
- The wind farm is a bit "flat" - but it was very hazy in the distance. I still liked the shot.
- There's probably one or two other shots not quite exposed properly. My excuse is that this was the first time I had really laid hands on the camera in anger.
- A couple of shots are a bit shaky. It was very windy, especially up the mountain.
- I used my little Lumix TZ7 for some of the shots (inside the car, some of the climbing/walking shots). The picture is OK, but not perfect, but at times it was handier to set it up on a GorillaPod for a quick "walkie" shot than setting up all the proper video gear.
- The voiceover quality is "OK". I did my best on it given the time pressure. My NTG-1 wasn't ideal for the purpose, but I did the best I could. I'll be getting a podcaster or similar mic in due course.
- I can't do anything about the hats and the bare white legs. We donít do sun very well in this country.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching my little film: http://www.uwolchallenge.com/challen...nicjourney.mp4

And now I have HD for the first time in UWOL! Only 720p because I was in a hurry.


Password: uwol16viewer
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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #2
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Wow Mike Ė you have done a very professional job here once again Ė very good shots, interesting narration, and a subject worthy of the effort. You are proving to be very good at doing this sort of documentary! Well done.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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Mike- I enjoyed the views of your lovely countryside. You managed to convey a good sense of space even without the wide angle. You made me want to climb that mountain too! I most enjoyed seeing your father and you together in the field. My dad used to accompany me but has now grown too frail. Enjoy these times while you may. I know you do. Nice video.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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This is really a great film for me because it gave me different view of the Ireland than I had ever seen before. It like the way you related it back to childhood trips up the hill, and how you used to not appreciate what you saw. Makes me want to go back to my home town, and climb the prominent hill we used to climb. Thanks for this nice tour of you home grounds.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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Hi Mike,
This was very interesting. I love hiking myself, and going up that mountain just for the spectacular view would be amazing. Nice story you have. Great to learn something new.
I don't think the lack of wide angle hurt your film at all. You managed to show us the scenery in a really good way.

Have you tried to put the tripod in a big backpack when hiking? That's what I do, so I don't have to carry it by hand like you did in the film.

Thank you for sharing.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #6
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Marj, Mike, Chris, Trond,

Thanks so much to everyone for the kind comments. It does sort of remind me of mortality, growing old too. I wonder if my dear old dad will be able to do this sort of thing for much longer? It was quite special to be up there with him.

Trond - my tripod weighs about 7kg, and being a Sachtler it is too big for normal "hooks" on backpacks. Even with the shoudler bag for it, it is cumbersome - and I have to take it in and out of the bag all the time which is frustrating. I did hook it over my shoulder a lot of the time though. I just wanted to look macho in the "walkie" sequences!

I am going to have to get a lightweight one for this sort of work, and leave the heavy one in the 4x4. I'm glad I do weightlifting every day, I can tell you.

I also set my camera up amongst of bed of nettles for the timelapse. Which was nice. I am still rubbing Savlon into the stings.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #7
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Very nice Mike. Great voice over, and I really liked the silky smooth pan of the countryside at the end of the film. We have a volcanic mountain here that looks very similar in shape. Ahh, the Emerald Isle.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #8
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Mike.... first I am a sucker for a nice Irish accent everytime.... the scenery you put on "film" was very much like being there with you. I liked the addition of your Dad... maybe because I was the "Dad" in Chris B's film and can empathize <g>.

It was a nice "slice" of the Irish landscape we rarely see and I enjoyed every second of it.... especially as through your eyes over a lifetime.

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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
Trond - my tripod weighs about 7kg, and being a Sachtler it is too big for normal "hooks" on backpacks. Even with the shoudler bag for it, it is cumbersome - and I have to take it in and out of the bag all the time which is frustrating. I did hook it over my shoulder a lot of the time though. I just wanted to look macho in the "walkie" sequences!
Have you tried to put the tripod IN the backpack instead of strapping it to the outside hooks? That's what I do.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #10
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Mike,

Another great video about Perspective!! Isn't amazing how we miss the things around us, perhaps go 30 years with out touching base again!!!

I think you did a nice job of putting that forth.

I loved the scenery. Hate to be ignorant but is that Northern Ireland?? For some reason I always Imagined it more rugged like Scottland. Beautiful country!!!

A very nice and pleasant view, much enjoyed.

I thought the naration was awesome. You have a nice smooth voice for that kind of thing!!


Look forward to more of your work!
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #11
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Bill, Chris, Thanks for the kind words.

Chris - yes, dads are great for UWOL journeys. My only complaint is that you weren't wearing the obligatory "dad hat"!

Dale,

Yes, that is Northern Ireland. It's a land of contrasts; the part I was in for the film is pretty much in the middle of the lowlands which surround the Lough, where a lot of the the farming is focused. Slemish is basically a hill out on its own.

There's plenty of mountains - North East of Slemish and you are in the famous Glens of Antrim, glacial valleys that lead down into the north channel of the Irish Sea, and very spectacular. West and you arrive at the Sperrins, a huge range of mountains that span half of the western part of the country. Head north and you arrive at Fair Head, Ballycastle and the Giant's Causeway, all surrounded by cliffs and mountains. Further south and you are in another mountain range, the Mournes (sweeping down to the sea, as the song says).

We're lucky to have such contrast in such a small area. Most places of interest are really within an hour's drive, and even 15 minutes in the car and you can be in a totally different environment.

The scenery is great - all I wish for are a few more exciting wild animals!
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:45 AM   #12
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Lovely appreciation, and showing off, of the countryside. Many things that haven't haven't changed for hundreds (farming) or thousands (the volcano) of years, yet there are small things like human attitudes that change during a lifetime (rushing up and down the hill v taking time to stop and appreciate nature and the view) and, on a small timescale, the use of mobile phones.

An interesting journey, well executed on film, and with a lovely narration.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 06:12 AM   #13
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Thanks for the kind words Annie, I'm glad you enjoyed my efforts.

Standing up on top there, you can't help but wonder what it all looked like 100,000s of years ago when the volcano was active. We are but a mere blink of an eye in history by comparison.

I don't know if that is fantastic or scary!
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Old June 5th, 2010, 03:30 AM   #14
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Mike, what a view from the top of vulcano!

Even if you did this in a "hurry" and with a brand new camcorder, you did very well!

The edit is very good, giving the viewer a feeling of being with you and your father on this hike. Nice with the cut-ins of details in the landscape. VO very nice and comfortable to listen to.

As Trond suggested about carrying your tripod, I have another tips: When hiking I always use a packpack to carry all my gear, food, water etc. Then on my chest I put my big tripod (weight of nearly 22 lb), connected to the harness of the packpack with two elastic band. I try to find a picture of my set-up later on.
This is a very good way of carrying the equipment. And by some practice it is quite fast to release and get the gear ready.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 05:18 AM   #15
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Per,

Thank you for the kind words!

I just feel puny now, your gear weighs several times what mine does and you don't complain! I will try your suggestion and see how it goes.

And maybe spend some more time in the gym...
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