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Old September 15th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Okay UWOLers, input now would be GREAT!

Hi everyone:

Here is my situation:

This round, I would like to submit a clip that will not be judged because it uses film footage that I have taken outside of the 3-week challenge period, but I would love serious input on it. It fits the theme, and I have put it together during the challenge period but it will actually be the 3-minute section of a longer 7-minute clip.

I am still working on my feature film I started over a year ago (Rocky Mountain National Park: Psalms From On High) with aspirations to submit a revamped and longer piece at a film festival in a year. This section could be one "chapter" in this feature film.

Here is where I start getting nervous....

This clip uses all of my own material, it is completely dedicated to wildlife, nature and the Park but...
it is a creative work where it is very altered and stitched together to create new visuals, and turns day shots into night shots.

Are you guys willing to take a look and give me critical feedback? Is this offensive to anyone? This is a wildlife film forum and this clip sort of opens up some ethical food for thought, doesn't it? I mean, are we all purists in our filming or how far can we "alter" our work before it crosses some sort of boundary? I'd love to know what you guys think is acceptable in our portrayal of wildlife in it's natural setting.

What I'm trying to do in this clip is NOT pass it off as real, but rather I'm asking for feedback on whether the effects are real enough to be enjoyable and beautiful to watch, or are they laughably hokey? I'm like Keven this round in the sense that I'm pushing myself here and don't know if I can actually pull it off and would love to have your input.

SO! Are you all okay with me submitting this "ethical food for thought clip" to this forum for input? If this blows up, I also have another clip that is really safe.... wildflowers, that are actually wildflowers!

Thanks guys. I'm looking forward to what you have to say about your opinions on ethical boundaries in wildlife film. I wanted to run this clip by my "family" first before considering including this in my feature film.

Cat
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Old September 15th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #2
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Ethical boundaries in wildlife film making? Hmmm... Didn't even know there was such a thing.
I'm no expert, but I do enjoy seeing new aspects of life, so I say go for it.
Here's a quote to consider:

"Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect; they mark our limitations and our bounds. Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries."
- Jose Ortega y Gasset



EDIT: One ethical boundary I would not cross is the harming of a living creature for a film, but it doesn't sound like this is the case here.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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Cat,

Here's my two cents...

First of all, I'd love be able to watch your film and give you some feedback.

I don't see any issue with what you want to do because I think you're not representing the shots as fact.
I think if you were doing a documentary on bears and you shot some footage at a zoo and represented it as shot in the wild then I think you have ethical issues.

But we all color correct, we all compose shots to include or exclude things to make our compositions suit our needs.

So doing a day for night shot to me at least is no big deal.

I'm contemplating doing a special effect in my UWOL film. I don't think anything about crossing any line. It moves my story forward, it conveys the feeling that I'm trying to capture and I don't think it crosses any lines for a UWOL film.

My only issue is if it is too much of a cliche and will be thought too corny. So I think I'll do two versions one with it and one without and show some friends or family and which ever one gets the best response i'll enter.

So, no worries about what you wan to do. It's not like your Disney Films flipping lemmings off a turntable to drown in the sea. :)
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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Thank you Bill and Kevin!

Bill, I promise! No harming animals for a film. Good heavens! Ask Meryem, she's been to my house! I can't hurt a fly and our farm reflects this. My husband calls our farm Assisted Living for Geriatric Animals. I currently have a chicken who has crippled feet.... so now lives with me in my office *sigh*.

Kevin: Okay now I am confessing all, because I really want to dig into this to fully understand what I am doing.

This clip is 7 minutes of day shots turned into night. So it's not just one shot! Also, I have 2 scenes of owls and 1 scene of raccoon footage I took at wildlife rehab centers. They were filmed outside in a normal setting. They are representative of Rocky Mtn Natl Park but were not filmed in the wild there.

So here is the context: The feature film is a book on the Park divided into chapters. All chapters but this one in question is actual footage of wild animals, plants and lands filmed in the park (with one exception and that is I ran into wild Bighorn Rams in the area but outside of the Park). Now this one chapter is a creative diversion that I think most people will see it as such, and in the credits for that chapter I am obligated to thank the two rehab centers and give links to their websites for more info about them. But in the "chapter" I am passing off the owls and the raccoons as if they are in the wild! But it's all smoke and mirrors and in the case of the raccoons, I think people might even chuckle at the setting!

So now what do you think? When I did this I was having so much fun with the creativity of it all, I wasn't thinking about how other people might read into it and think I am trying to forge something as true and giving a false boost to my cinematography skills.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Cato
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #5
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I still think you're fine. :)
You're not doing a documentary or anything that could have issues with artistic license.
I look at what I've seen of your film so far asa celebration of the park. I don't see how anyone could call you out by using day for night shots in this situation.

I'm sure their are purists out there that would say if you move a twig to get a better shot of a flower you're altering the scene and that is wrong. But I'm not one of those people. :)

I think you're just fine doing a chapter based on "night" even though it was shot during the day because it's a representation of how it would be in the park if you were able to see that.

No worries. :)
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:24 PM   #6
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Now if you were doing something like putting a little koi fish in a tiny fountain and making it look like a huge koi pond, oh yeah, I'd be calling you out big time! :)
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #7
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Oh, the koi incident!

So now we're digging up the past, are we? Just because you were fooled, you still carry that around eh? ;-)

Thanks Kevin! I'm feeling better already. I was getting paranoid there for a minute! Now after all of this, viewing the clip will be a let down :)

Anyone else want to weigh in, feel free. I still have my wildflower video I could submit!

Cat
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:38 PM   #8
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Hey Cat,

I am in the same boat as you. My entry will also violate the 3 week filming rule and the whole thing is dependent on using a special effect. Like you, I just want UWOL opinions as to if it works or not. No need to be apologetic. UWOL is all about experimentation and trying something new.

Go for it, girl.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #9
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Hey Steve:

How wonderful to hear from you too! Also, how cool is this that this forum is a way to push the envelop and step out a bit, beyond what we normally do and in a supportive environment.

I am sooooo looking forward to what everyone is doing. You guys inspire!

Cat
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Old September 16th, 2010, 03:51 AM   #10
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Cat, go for it. I would love to see your clip. Bob
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Old September 16th, 2010, 09:36 PM   #11
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Hello Bob:

It is really nice to hear from you too. Thanks for the vote to submit a clip I feel really vulnerable about...

so much safer and easier to submit those wildflowers, but with all of the encouragement, that submittal isn't in the cards. Looking forward to your feedback.

Cat
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Old September 17th, 2010, 04:07 AM   #12
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Catherine, go for it! Isn't "shooting day for night" pretty common in the film business anyway? I believe I have heard about it in documentaries before.

And as the others, I'm more than happy to have a look at your film and give you feedback.
That's what you have (uwol) friends for!!
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Old September 17th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #13
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Cat,

I think you are fine!! There really are no rules, just watch professional TV wildlife shows, most are pretty abismal.

From what you say yours will be far more palatable and as always pleasurable to watch!!

I look forward to seeing it!!!


Dale
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Old September 17th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #14
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Hi Cat! Sorry for the late reply, Iíve been busy. Everyone has their own set of ethics. Best advice- donít violate yours, donít worry about otherís. For what itís worth, day-for-night and cameos of captive animals have been standard techniques for a very long time. I personally feel the line is crossed when you show atypical behaviour of a captive animal and portray it as normal behaviour in the wild. Any time you deal with wildlife you subject yourself to multiple ethical considerations. It can be a double-edged sword. Many people espouse- never interact or interfere (although one of the main tenants of ethology- the study of animal behaviour in context- is that by merely observing we are interacting!). Normally I would agree, but consider this: You are in the middle of a project. You have spent a good deal of time getting an animal to trust your presence. Suddenly, because of something you did, the animal is about to be predated right in front of you. It will end your project and youíll have to start over. Do you intervene? Case in point. On two occasions, while working from a blind at bird nests, predators (a raccoon and a coyote) investigating the blind have found the nest. Both times I intervened. Now I use synthetic skunk odor as a cover scent (Yes, Iíll be the first to admit- sometimes Iím a real stinker!). For those who donít live with skunks the smell is similar to polecat but ten to a hundred times stronger. The only time a nest I was working failed it is because birders spotted the blind, found the nest, told some friends who told some friendsÖ My fault and ten years later it is still on my mind.

Iím glad youíre still working on your long-form and look forward to seeing more. Iíd also like to see the wildflowers. How about posting a link to that footage in the regular UWOL forum?
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Old September 18th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #15
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Hey Trond, Dale and Mike:

I am amazed at the great insights and the overwhelming support. This forum really is unique in all the wonderful ways.

Mike, I'm also taken aback that you are also interested in the wildflower clip! You guys are really dedicated to bringing me up and into the fold of filmmakers! Your scenario about the discovery of your blind leading to the discovery of your subject is an interesting one... especially that the outcome is still on your mind ten years later!

I know one thing about myself... I could never stand there and not intervene if an animal were in distress. I just don't have the fiber for that, so I know I will never be a true wildlife document-er. I'm happy to work on the creative side, with wildlife as the subject.

I'll post both clips once the deadline is up.

Thanks you guys! I'm in such a great family!

Cat
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