UWOL 18 - Close To Home by Rich Ryan at DVinfo.net

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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UWOL 18 - Close To Home by Rich Ryan

Well here's my meager entry for this round. I was determined not to swim with the fishes. I had several aborted ideas. Originally I wanted birds and flying insects (macro), but I don't have a long enough lens to get the bird shots I needed. I finally settled on a theme based on looking for things close to where I (we) live. I would have liked to find some more insects, but its getting a bit late for a good selection. I was fortunate to find a lone male tarantula; it's getting a bit late for their mating season -- unfortunately I had did not have an ideal lens mounted and did not have time to change lens or even consider a tripod (he was in a hurry).

This is my first entry shot on my new Canon 60D it takes some getting used to, but I really like the flexibility of being able to change lenses. Shot in 1920 x 1080 24p using a Sigma 17-50mm; Canon 55-250mm and mostly a Canon 100mm Macro. I had a lot of fun with the macro lens - I will be using it in some future challenges I am sure.

I've uploaded a version to Vimeo that is a little easier on the eyes:


As always comments and criticisms are appreciated.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 04:59 AM   #2
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Hi Rich,

Liked the variety of clips, but felt would have been better with a VO rather than titles.
Well done

Mick
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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Hi Rich... I think the same as Mick, a VO would have been nice... It feels a bit tricky in the beginning but after you recorded a few VO it feels more natural.
How do you feel about the 60D? I think the screen is nice with that camera... back to the film... some shots looks blow out, a bit over exposed, and some a bit soft (did you zoom in during post production?). the shot of the flowers with the 100 macro look good, I love that lens.

well done... next time try a VO

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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:28 AM   #4
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Hi Rich,

A cool video you have made. I like the crisp colors of the flowers in the beginning.
I don't mind the text, but VO would probably be better, as the others already have said.
The sequence with the spider at 1:00 was really too shaky. But other than that, well done!!
Keep up your good work.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 08:38 PM   #5
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Rich, some nice shots there. 2:13 & 2:18 was a little too shallow DOF for me and I wanted to see what was really there. Most of the other shots were crisp. Really liked the woodpecker and the sound of the beak tapping the wood. The tarantula and the whole CA foothills scenes brought out an old memory when my parents went on vacation there and came back with tales of thousands of tarantulas crossing the road in the fall of '65.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 09:42 PM   #6
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Rich:

Welcome to DSLR nature shooting.

One thing many don't realize is that we lose some of the telephoto capability, enjoyed by those shooting with a 20x zoom on a standard video camera. You did well on your first shoot this way, and I can see the benefit of the articulating lcd would have come in very handy doing a lot of the shots you got.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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I considered a voice over, but I'm always trying new approaches. Maybe next time I'll combine a VO with the lower thirds.

Trond - yes the tarantula is too shaky. Unfortunately I had an unstabilized lens mounted when he showed up. There was no time to change lenses and a tripod was out of the question (he would have been long gone). I almost did not use the clip, but I had so little wildlife that I wanted something.

Bill - thanks for the comments. The macro shots of the flowers are at close to 1X magnification with the 100mm Macro lens. At that magnification the front of the lens is only about 6 inches from the subject. I was shooting at f/16 so the DOF is about as deep as you can get. That's one of the downsides of shooting macro. Most macro photographers will shoot many pictures of a subject at different focal planes and then use focus stacking software to combine them; unfortunately there's no way to do that with video.

Chris - thanks. I'm going to really enjoy the DSLR. I had a lot of fun with it. But is sure is a learning curve. I have my eye on a longer lens; I'm hoping Santa will drop it off under the tree this year.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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Rich,

First getting the shot of a hagard peregrine falcon is not an every day shot at this time of year!!! It did seem a bit soft, but you did not keep it so long it was abusive to the eyes!! While everyone wants the dead steady almost static footage, sometimes for a story it is necessary to put a shot in that has a degree of movement. these are moving pictures, not slide shows (just look at the direction movies have gone!). I am glad you put the trantulla in the video. I lived in the souther deserts for 26 years and never saw a wild trantulla, just jilla Monsters and scorpions and tortises. So in that regard thats a great shot to have and share.

I really like Macro shooting and you had some really nice shots. You chris and Per have shown me the advantage of a DSLR. I have the lenses, perhaps I may think of a 7d body!!


Thank you for taking the time to participate and share your work!!

I agree a VO would have been an asset.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #9
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Rich, what continent are you living at. First Mike with a Scorpion and you with a Tarantula. I´m happy living in a country far away from scary creatures like that ;-)

Lots have already been said about your film, no VO, shakiness etc.
Did you zoom any in to the Falcon in post, due to the softness compared to the other sequences?

Your editing is good and choice of music did this to a relaxed piece. Looks like a great place to live if you have all of this in you backyard?

If you got the budget try to get a Canon 300mm f/4.0 L lens. I use it most of the time to get close-ups at my hide. I also use it with a 1.4x extender (model Kenko) without any noticeable softness and you got a focal length of 670mm included the 1.6x crop factor!
If I remember right the sequences at 0:47 and 0:43 are shot with the 300mm + 1.4 extender in the HIDDEN PERIL.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Ryan View Post
Trond - yes the tarantula is too shaky. Unfortunately I had an unstabilized lens mounted when he showed up. There was no time to change lenses and a tripod was out of the question (he would have been long gone). I almost did not use the clip, but I had so little wildlife that I wanted something.
I often film handheld (parts of my entries for uwol, uncluding this round, are handheld), and a tip is to move in closer to the subject, so you can shoot wider. This will prevent some of the shaky images.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Ryan View Post

Chris - thanks. I'm going to really enjoy the DSLR. I had a lot of fun with it. But is sure is a learning curve. I have my eye on a longer lens; I'm hoping Santa will drop it off under the tree this year.
Rich: Don't ignore Nikon, Pentax and other adaptable lenses. Its all manual (which I believe to be a big plus), and they are great lenses adaptable with very cheap adapters. On Ebay, while you are at taking a risk, I have filled my lense needs from zooms to wides this way.

And don't ignore the 2x teleextender adapter from Nikon either. It works well at least in our lower resolution video needs.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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Howdy Rich. You sure found a nice assortment of subjects close to home. I’ve shot roving male tarantulas and I know what difficult targets they can be. They don’t slow down for anything. They’re really pretty docile and you can usually pick them up and reposition them a few times before they get too angry to work with. I’ve never found the bite to be very painful. I liked the other spider shot too. What was the white background? The spider was well exposed but the blown out background makes it look a little washed out itself. I think you could prepare a moving matte to protect the spider and then tone down the gamma of the background and the spider will really pop. Just a thought. I didn’t mind the lack of a voice-over. I do think the moving graphic behind the titles made them a little hard to read. I hope we’ll get to see more from you and the new 60D next time!
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Old November 24th, 2010, 10:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bill Thesken View Post
The tarantula and the whole CA foothills scenes brought out an old memory when my parents went on vacation there and came back with tales of thousands of tarantulas crossing the road in the fall of '65.
Really? That would have been amazing to see... perhaps a bit creepy, but utterly amazing.

Rich, I don't think this is anywhere near a "meager" entry. A lot of effort has gone into this film. I don't mind the sub titles or the moving background behind, it sets a particular mood that fits well with the smooth transitions, composition and flute music. If you are going to test out new equipment, this is the place to do it and I'm glad you did. I'm particularly impressed when participants push into new realms of expertise and take the uwol challenge as an opportunity to experiment. That IS the UWOL spirit. Keep it up.

Best,

Cat
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Old November 26th, 2010, 12:28 PM   #14
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Hi Rich

It’s interesting to see what one can find close to home even at the end of a dry season when everything is drab and past its best.

Two of my favourite shots were at .25 – moving past the trees and at 2.13 the fine texture of the blue salvia that can only be seen when really studied close up. How did you do the trees? It almost looks like a dolly shot.

Story-wise it is a simple story that leads us along from one thing to another although it does seem to drift from one object to another a bit randomly. I believe you could have achieved a stronger structure simply by making a few slight modifications.

Just one idea as an example:

Your intro mentioned the end of the summer and need for rain; perhaps your concluding statement could have tied in with that rather than alluding to a ‘cycle’ which wasn’t really introduced as such before then.

You started your film wide showing the dry countryside; it would have been quite effective to have gone wide at the end of your film again to show the same countryside during or after the rain. In this way you would have created an introduction and conclusion that bookmarked the middle. In between you could have had your detailed close-ups, but, in addition, you could have introduced details showing the rain starting and drops landing on the different things – the ground, plants, the flower you filmed etc. (There are lots of ways to create drops of rain without getting your camera wet.)

One other small thing – the font size of your title is a bit large and bold. (I say that, but I am guilty of doing the exact opposite in my film. :)
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Old November 27th, 2010, 08:03 AM   #15
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Hi Rich

Well done and welcome to the uwol 'finishers' family :-) !!

Some nice shots in your film. It's not easy to handle a DSLR for video and in some respects you did very well. I think from a production value point of view you will be aware of what was an issue. (Varied quality of sharpness/exposure/camera movement etc) . The trick is to try and bring all your material up to level of your best shots in this piece for uwol 19, then you'll be golden !

Also try and consider story a little more. Try and bring out a theme/storyline and character/characters and think about the delivery of your information in a way that makes you want to keep watching to see what happens next.

Great little film and well done for finishing, I look forward to seeing more of those tarantulas in the next round !
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