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Old September 22nd, 2010, 01:48 PM   #1
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UWOL 17: Solitary Secrets

Hi all:

If you haven't viewed all the legitimate UWOL 17 entries yet, save this for later.

Otherwise, I'm looking for feedback on this. This clip is almost 7 min long, so warning in advance. This is the clip where I use all daytime footage (except for the legitimate moon shots) and turn them into night scenes. I'm sure most of you have viewed the discussion in the earlier post where I ask for input on the ethics of doing this so I don't need to go into all of that here.

What I'm wondering is whether this is enjoyable, beautiful even captivating to watch. That would be a real coup if it is. This has the potential of being hokey and distracting. This is also a real challenge because it's "nighttime" at Rocky Mountain National Park and so the music is slow, soft and the scene changes are likewise. So HOW to keep people captivated while easing them into their own dream state without actually having them fall asleep? This is not so easy to do!

I felt this clip fit very well with the theme "Renewal" because there is nothing more refreshing for the daytime than a nighttime of blissful quiet.

I'm not trying to pass this off as real, just hoping it's enjoyable. The raccoons are my own personal comic relief.

Rip away, guys!


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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:19 PM   #2
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This reminds me of those cd's named Tapestries, easy listening, just one also gets your beautiful visuals along with the easy listening.

I think it is beautifully done and I would love some detail on how you did the layers, etc at some point in time.

I am not an attention deficit viewer needing fast short clips to be kept interested; however, I do think it needs a little more variability in it. A change in tempo at times wouldl be uplifting. I know how hard it is to get copy right free music that will fit what one wants to accomplish!! It is a huge challenge to myself. I had the thought that it would be really nice if one had a piece of poetry to be read with the music in the back ground. Of course that might not be what you are striving for either!!

I am sure others will give you some useful ideas and feed back!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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You are there! This piece is by far the best thing you have put on UWOL and is true artistry. As they say in Brooklyn, Mazel Tov. I was totally impressed by the softness of everything, which just says "moonlight" and goes perfectly with the Sonata. In many of your scenes, although shot during the day, you have made the moonlight look very convincing. My favorite scene is the waterfall with crescent moon at 4:48. This shot is timeless and primevil, and I gasped when it came on. The solid moon with a halo is also very effective. In addition you are one of a very few people who have good video of a Long-eared Owl. Congratulations again.
However you did want criticism, and since I am a detail freak when it come to astronomical photos, here goes. Many of your moon shots are of a setting full moon (the jumping buffalo). The cliffs at 30 sec and the glacier at 1:15 are being lit by the rising sun, and a totally full moon would not be that high at sunrise. All the other shots are perfect. I don't think the program is soporific at all... I watched it twice. But if you did want to shorten it, eliminating the sunset shots at the end would not detract at all. This is really, really good, Cat. Keep it up.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 09:00 PM   #4
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really pretty stuff...you seem to have your personal voice and style with this piece, a bit of artistry you can call your own...a signature. your effects work and shooting are as integrated as I've ever seen them in this piece, like they are, together, pulling you in a new direction, instead of working against each other (artifice versus nature). really nice.

my big criticism would be to add more movement to the shots. it feels like a series of very pretty landscape paintings, and the movement is all on the part of the animals, not the camera. in one sense, I like the stillness, but in another sense, I think a broader mix of camera motions would move it along. so I'm of two minds, but I definitely noticed the stationary camera. more than the pacing, which I didn't mind, was the fixed camera....a little less "stills" and a little more action. maybe some timelapse.

really, though, you are amping up your whole game in terms of artistry - great to see where you are taking this entire experience.

thanks, as always, my friend, for keeping the UWOL spirit alive.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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I thought it was beautiful and magical. It easily took me to a place filled with serenity.

I'm not going to comment on any of the shots cause after that koi fiasco I'm not saying nuthin! :)

But this is something that you can be extremely proud of.

Really, really beautiful Cat!
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 11:18 AM   #6
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Thank you all so very much for your time and comments. I am honored!

Dale: First, you make me smile. It never occurred to me that Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata fell in the category of easy listening... but I guess when you think about it, it does. I do think that if you had the sense that the music choice didn't fit what I was trying to accomplish then the segment has in some ways failed to deliver and I really need to take a critical look at things. Your insight on perhaps mixing up the pace is in line with Meryem's input and is great food for thought. Thank you friend! I appreciate the time it took to review this and give comments.

Steve: Ah! Thank you for the encouragement and the insight. But here, I must hang my head with a disclaimer! The owls and the raccoons were not shot in the wild but at two different wildlife rehab centers. This is the fist time I have not taken footage of wild animals actually in the wild and it is not sitting well with me. If you missed it, all this is hashed out a bit on my thread asking for feedback on the ethics of this piece. At the time I filmed these beautiful creatures I didn't think I would feel this way. They were representative of RMNP, they were going to be used in a clip where very little was based in reality and the rehab centers were to be given credit with links to their websites for more information about them. But now that I have actually put this piece together, I can't help but feel like I'm deliberately trying to deceive people into believing I have talents I don't actually have. Especially when the audience happens to be wildlife filmmakers who do have these talents to seek out and film birds in the wild! I would love to hear your input on this. I just didn't know this piece would give me so much anxiety, it's all supposed to be make-believe!

As far as the unrealistic moon shots over the glacier and over the Diamond on Longs Peak, do you think having the moon closer to the terrain in these cases might make it more plausible? Remember that in this clip, nothing is plausible... so I'm getting myself confused as to why I'm trying so hard to make it that way. Thanks for the review Steve! I sincerely appreciate the time you took to review this for me! Oh yeah, thanks also for the new word "soporific".... had to go look it up. That it doesn't apply in this case is quite a compliment!

Hey Meryem: Your insight is well taken and I knew you would push me to reach just a bit more on this one! I think your suggestion of time laps is a good one, and as I have not actually ever done this, it's about time I get out there and try. How much exposure time do you need for about 10 sec of time laps? Thanks for the input! Thanks for the positive feedback on the artistry, in the end that's all this clip was supposed to be... artistic. Thanks friend! I have a feeling you're going to keep pushing all of us regardless of actually managing this site or not.

Hi Kevin: Damn that koi! ;-) Okay friend, you're off the hook this time. You have the technical insights to rip this up but instead you have chosen grace. I certainly respect this and appreciate the encouragement.

Bless you guys! This one is a tough one for me on several levels. I sincerely appreciate the input.

Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 23rd, 2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Wow, Catherine, thats really nice! I hope that you are keeping in mind that when this is finished Id like to purchase a copy of the DVD. The project seems to be moving along well. To answer the questions you asked, I thought the day-for-night looks great and I found the cameos of the captive birds entirely appropriate. I especially liked the raccoon composition and the moon reflection on the water with trout. I hope you let the shot with the full moon setting behind the pass run. Id like to see that one sped up. What focal length were you using there? Keep up the good work and keep sharing your progress with us as you go. Thanks!
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 06:30 PM   #8
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Lowering the moon in the sky would pretty much put it out of the scene. Better would be to shoot the moon 1 or 2 days past full, when the elevation would be just right.
As far as the animals, I think most people would let the racoons pass because they are common critters doing their usual thing. For something rare or difficult like the owls, it is a simple matter to mention in the credits that they were shot in a zoo. Then even the purists would be satisfied.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 08:41 PM   #9
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O.K. Good tip about the moon footage. I can do that.

About the owls, they weren't filmed in a zoo. These are wild birds that have been injured and are being rehabilitated to be re-entered back in the wild when they are healed. Same with the coons for that matter. Different facilities, all wildlife rehab. I'm hoping the credits will give them a nice plug for their work.

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Old September 23rd, 2010, 09:34 PM   #10
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I watched this one a couple of times and I'm sure I'll watch it again. My wife also loved it. Beautiful footage all around. I could set and watch those coons all day long. I hope they're all rehabilitated and able to be released back into the wild.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #11
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Hi Catherine,

This film is a typical Catherine production, and I love it!
Very nice effects, and you have balanced the effects with real shots very well.
If I only was as skilled as you with after effects... :))
You improve your skills for each film you make. As Meryem, I would have liked a little more motion in the shots, but it's not a big deal.

Nice music too. It fits the mood well.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #12
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Well Cat, as the old saying goes, "you've come a long way babe" It was so beautiful and relaxing. I just sat here watching and listening. Your video work is by far the best I have seen you produce. And, the editing and use of effects was outstanding. You are a prime example of how these UWOL challenges have make us grow into better storytellers, videographers and editors. A pleasure to watch. Thank you. Bob
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Old September 24th, 2010, 12:41 PM   #13
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Hi Mike, Trond and Bob;

Thanks for the kind words you guys. I sincerely appreciate the watch and knowing you liked it simply for what it is. Trond and Bob, I think I'll package up your encouragement and carrying it around with me all day today!

Mike, I enjoy the coons too and the very ones you saw in the clip are due to be released in a few weeks! At the rehab center that film footage was taken of those three babies "practicing" how to play and feel the water. I think they are naturals at it don't you think? I think that was the first time they experienced an actual running creek. These particular coons weren't injured but had been abandoned/orphaned at a really young age. This facility has a different approach to wildlife nurturing where infants are handled and brought through all the experiences that mom would normally teach them. After they grow up, they change in temperament and won't have anything to do with humans which is what they want of course. Wildlife coon care for adults is very different from infants and are ultimately released with skill sets and a distrust of humans needed to have a second chance in the wild.

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Old September 24th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #14
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Outstanding. Some great shots at 1:50,3:50,4:00,4:25,5:40. Too many to name. I watched it twice and am amazed at how you got some of those moon and lake shots, and the clouds forming over the snow capped mountains. I was wondering how it would play with Sinatra or Emerson Lake and Palmer in the background. However the music you chose fits extremely well. A truly magical experience.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #15
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Great! I got ya! I'm hoping you didn't read the intro to this thread, or my other "anxiety" thread asking for feedback and simply enjoyed it for the experience. Wondering how I got some of the moon and lake shots? That's just it, I never did. This entire piece is smoke and mirrors. Nothing is real. Well okay, all the footage is real but not together in any one scene. Every shot except the moons were day shots and were turned into night. Cut, paste, mask, layer, shade .... and voila, no more day only night scenes that I would not have the talent to achieve with a camera at night. Hope you don't think less of me, I'm a bit anxious about the deception of it all. I just hope in the end people enjoy it for the arts sake.

Your thought on the music is food for thought. Thanks for watching.

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