UWOL 18- σκορπιός- Mike Sims at DVinfo.net

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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UWOL 18- σκορπιός- Mike Sims

This was very much a rush job and it really shows. I made two embarrassing mistakes. Most of the footage was shot in very low light. I manually adjusted the gain on the XL H1 and then somehow switched it to auto gain. The footage came out with somewhat more noise than expected. Worse, the 550D was still set to SD from a previous project and the better looking footage was shot at 640x480. I resized both to 720x480 for editing and the downrezzed footage looked substantially worse for it. Compressing definitely didn’t help matters. The uprezzed footage faired pretty well, except for the shots where I obviously missed the focus. I didn’t get the missing establishing shots because of time constraints. No larger version at this time. Here it is, like it or not, watch it or don’t. Any comments or critique will be carefully considered. Thanks.

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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On the contrary, Mike,

I really enjoyed this, and learned a lot about scorpions. You have captured the flavor of intimate detail better than any film I have watched so far. When you are shooting macro and for an Internet audience, does HD or SD really matter that much. Perhaps not. One question. How does a mother scorpion distinguish her departed offspring from someone else's. Do the siblings also treat each other with the same deference?
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 08:24 AM   #3
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Hi Mike... sorry ti hear about you camera miss ups, but I really enjoyed your film.. The shots of the female with the kids was sweet. I leard some new things with this film!
about the film... I would have liked some more wider shots... not just closeups and macro.,.. that would have been nice to se the animal move around on the ground.

nice one

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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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Hi Mike,

Thank you for teaching me about scorpions. Very nice to learn something new while watching the uwol films.
You have some real good close ups there. Well done!!
Is that blue one it's natural color?
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:38 AM   #5
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Whoops! I know the feeling of dropping klangers like this when you get the camera in a rush. It's a good learning experience on the positive side :-)

I liked your film a lot and I think you covered a lot of the most interesting aspects of Scorpions. They are indeed an amazing part of mother natures design! The mother/baby aspect of your film produced some nice shots although on the whole I think you needed more variation in your set up and the angle, variation of your shots. I also think while you had lots of juicey facts you lacked story. The mother/babies aspect would have been perfect to add this. Something to show how a 'scary' creature such as this can also be a caring mother! I think that story element running throughout would have raised your piece a lot.

Really nice stuff though and I think with a better story and some more shot variation you'd have a winner here!

Last edited by Mat Thompson; November 23rd, 2010 at 10:40 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:52 AM   #6
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Hi Mike,

Very informative, learnt a lot about these creatures. Thought you did a good job with the filming and editing.

Enjoyed watching

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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for the biology lesson!! So graphicly displayed too!!! I loved the shot of the mother carrying her babies on her back. I think you should make a 30 minute film on them!!! Intersting stuff!

thanks for sharing.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 05:11 PM   #8
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Thanks for watching and for the helpful comments. I’ll try to answer some questions.

Steve- What an excellent question! Short answer- I don’t know, I don’t think anyone really does. Just a guess, it’s probably some form of chemoreception. Once the babies disperse on their own they won’t tolerate each other. That’s probably for inbreeding prevention.

Markus- I probably would have done some kind of establishing shot if I’d had the time, but in retrospect that probably wouldn’t have been fair. This species is from West Africa. To do it right I’d have had to build a set, get appropriate plants and make it look like the proper habitat- a bit much for this video. Just plopping them down on the ground in Texas and getting a shot really would have amounted to nature faking.

Trond- That really is their color, provided they are under an ultraviolet lamp! The different species fluoresce at different wave lengths but they are all a bluish-green color.

Mat- Well, I can only hope it was a learning experience. You know what they say about old dogs. Agreed about telling a story. Point taken and filed away. I think because I was in a hurry I fell back on giving a biology lecture because that is a comfortable thing for me to do. The reason so many people fall asleep in biology lectures is that many people find them boring (and I don’t mean like the urchins!).

Mick and Dale- Thanks guys.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:06 PM   #9
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Hi Mike:

I am thrilled you stuck to it and got an entry in. Well done, friend!

Where was the filming done, in an aquarium? And she just happened to have young with her at the time? Fabulous! I learn so much from your entries, what an extraordinary teacher you are. I would be very interested in the background to this film. Intimate detail on a female scorpion with her young is not something we get to witness every day. I sincerely appreciate the entry, and the effort.

Concerning the actual film, you are your best critic Mike. Honestly, I didn't notice the focus and lighting concerns you spelled out in the introduction to your thread. You dealt with these problems well in your post production. I liked the incorporation of the constellation in your narrative, and time permitting it would have been helpful to overlay a graphic to help us pick out the Scorpius constellation more easily. Your shots of the scorpion alone, and with her babies were quite frankly, stunning. It would have been nice to be able to step back and be able to breath from the continual macro emphasis, even if she wasn't in her natural setting.

How old were the babies and how long does she carry them on her back? When do they develop their hard exterior shell? Your films, because of the student/teacher nature of them, just beg the questions to start flowing!

Mike, I hope you are happy with this! External circumstances placed high premiums on your time this round but you still put out the effort to enter a film that is both consistent with the theme, true to the spirit of UWOL, extremely interesting and captivating in content!

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Old November 24th, 2010, 07:57 AM   #10
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Well for something you aren't happy with, I really enjoyed. It was informative and you got some nice shots. The florescent shot was very nice. I really liked the clips of the mother with her young. I know there a several scorpion species here in California, but I had no idea of the relationship between mother and child. How did you manage to get those shots?

I would have liked some establishing shots (but you already know that). Your voice over was well done and was well timed for the video.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #11
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I´m very happy that we don´t have creatures like this lurking around in the fallen leaves and grass in my country, when I´m crawling around trying to make some intimate shots of other wild species. That would have been a nightmare! But you maybe get used to them and how poisoned are them to humans?

I´m amazed that you got these detailed shot, particularly of the mother and babies. Like Cat I´m also curious how you got the mother and her babies?

Even if you had to rush this film, it was well made and interesting to watch. And I learned a lot about scorpions too! Your VO are very fine. Nice work Mike!
- Per Johan
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Old November 24th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #12
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Very informative. It's nice to start the day with a cup of coffee and a fact filled nature film. Impressive close up shots. I like the 3 layered sound with music - voice over - animal action scratches.
It looked like a controlled environment which is fine, otherwise I don't how you would get that thing to stay still while you filmed it with it lights.
This is another great one I can learn from.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #13
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In my childhood, I have a recollection of hiking with my brother in the foothills of the Santa Clara valley. We never had seen a live scorpion, but had seen the science fiction movies of deadly giant scorpions. Well the I sat down on a rock a looked to my side, and there on the same rock was something strange. I said to my brother, come here, look at this "centipede"... My brother, two years older than my 7 years old, said, thats not a centipede, that's a scorpion", and we both jumped up, afraid for our lives, and ran down the hill.

I have never like the looks of the things since then, and of course, movies continued to color our view of them.

Your film was very instructive and shed a lot of light on the subject form me, giving me a whole different view of the creature. The way it recognizes and cares for its young gives me a whole different view of it. Thank you for that.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old November 24th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #14
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Cat- Thank-you. The scorpions live in various terraria but were recorded on hastily constructed sets. The mother scorpion was the inspiration here. I was casting around for something to do quickly and when I was feeding her I thought- Aha. The parents are long suffering (well, I hope not truly suffering but you know what I mean) veterans of a talk I used to give for school children about “creepy-crawlies” and have been in my care for about ten years. This is their third brood. I generally raise the young until the are about an inch and a half and then give them away to enthusiasts. Are you sure your goats and chickens don’t need company? The babies are about two weeks old and will be with the mother another four weeks until their second molt. At that time their carapace will harden and darken and they will disperse (into other terraria!). I had intended to do an animation tracing the constellation, but I’m glad I didn’t try it. I ran into such problems compressing and then uploading that if I had taken the time to do it I would have been severely stressed at the end. I’m glad to learn that if pressed I can completely produce something in one day. Hopefully if I concentrate more I won’t make so many silly mistakes. I’m mostly just glad to stay out of the shark tank!

Rich- Most folks around here know that I started out terribly self conscious about the voice-overs. I’m starting to relax a little but I still have a long way to go.

Per Johan- No problem, I’ll send you some! Seriously, they are not really something to be afraid of. Only twenty of the species world-wide have stings serious enough to be life threatening to humans. The ones in the video are sweet hearts. That species is slow to sting and the sting is mild. The native ones that are most common in my area only reach 4 cm (the ones in the video are 10 cm) but they are quick to anger. I once picked up a stone and saw a scorpion clinging to it. I immediately dropped the stone and before it could fall from my hand I was stung seven times. The stings were painful but no more so than seven wasp stings.

Thanks, Bill. The animal sounds were recorded live and not Foley this time.

Chris- Thanks for sharing that story. In my “creepy-crawlies” talk I would show pictures from horror movies and then contrast the real creature to the fanciful image. I’m glad you found something to enjoy here.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 03:20 PM   #15
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Your video must be the most informative in this round. In the small scale the video looks pretty good. Maybe it would be fine with some scenes from a lower angle. Vo is clear and easy to understand. It is a good film within the subject.
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