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Old December 6th, 2010, 07:15 PM   #16
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Hi you guys:

Well, I've reworked the second part of this segment and am throwing it back out here for your comments. I can't tell how important your feedback is to me! It's hard to know what works and what doesn't.

After hashing out a story from Mat's prompting this part will be enveloped with hikers passing by flowers without realizing what a magical and hidden world they are walking through. That part will have to wait until next summer before I can get footage of this.

For now, I'm concentrating on the magical and hidden world the flowers are in Rocky Mtn Natl Park. My goal is to make it surreal and mystical. I've chosen to move on from the "Sugar Plum Fairy", a good move I think! :)

I think it's an improvement from the first try, but it has it's own problems. Instead of mystical and a real "fantasy", it just may end up coming across as slow and repetitive? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Only if you want to though, watch it or not! Warning in advance, it's almost 6 minutes.

Thanks!

Cat

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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #17
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Cat,

I feel it's an improvement, in more than one area, including music. I'll elaborate in a few days as I'll have some time off.

Keep at it.

BTW, I'd like to know what gear you used, camera, lenses, tripod etc and to what gear you have access to.

Al
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #18
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Hi Al:

Thanks for the watch. I understand, it takes time to do this. I find your words "keep at it" really encouraging. I'm motivated to do just that :).

My equipment is a JVC GZ-HD7U camera and a ProMaster SHD tripod.

The equipment I have access to is a JVC GZ-HD7U camera and a ProMaster SHD tripod. :)

Looking forward to your comments when you find the time.

Cat
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:59 AM   #19
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Hi Cat,

The other "equipment" you have access to is a sense of humour and enthusiasm........they may well be your greatest assets over time. ;)

Is the Promaster a camcorder one or a SLR one?

Al

Last edited by Alan Melville; December 8th, 2010 at 05:10 AM. Reason: info
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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:46 AM   #20
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Looking much, much better Cat!
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Old December 8th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #21
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Cat,

I think it is muchly improved!!! A delight to watch. I really liked the overlays/backgrounds. I liked the theme of the universe behind the closeups. Perhaps, the star was used a little heavy, But I do like the notion!!!
At 4:00 you use the orange dots before a fundementally redish flower. you coul go to color correctio and slide the color shift on them to draw them closer in color to the following subject!!

I also liked the sphersize filter around the one flower making it look almost like a fish eye tunnel!!!

I think it is awesome!!!! and it is going to be great when you get a wrap on it that is for sure!!!

It gave me some good ideas for my spring video I am working on, a great inspiration.


dale
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Old December 8th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #22
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Hi Kevin and Dale:

Thank you! High praise from the two of you. Dale, I'll keep your suggestions in mind.

I hope this is becoming an example for everyone out there. Look at how I'm improving on this movie just by chatting about it and getting feedback. To me, this is what this forum is all about :) It is a goldmine for insight, motivation and critical review. If anyone has something they are working on and would like perspective, throw it on out here! This is a year-round forum and doesn't have to go to sleep between challenges. Bring it on! :)

Cat
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Old December 8th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #23
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Hi Cat
Well done for really changing this thing up. I too think this is better for the story you were trying to get across. Hopefully you can work in the hiker/hidden flower footage and it will finish things off. Personally I'm not taken by most of the transition work on this. I think it dwells too long and brings the production quality down. I'd say take one theme only (maybe the warp or the dots) and apply it with slightly different takes, but take a less is more approach. These things become old quickly imo!

Great job at re-shaping in a new direction though, that can be hard to do!

Last edited by Mat Thompson; December 8th, 2010 at 04:43 PM.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #24
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Hi Mat!

Thanks for the watch! Your feedback is made of insight that makes a good film a great film. I have to think about this. Now the real work begins. Using one transition with "different takes" doesn't sound that easy to pull off without it too getting old quick. And at this point I'm not sure what that will end up being.. this is calling for creative ingenuity! At first I thought the long transitions were dictated by the music, but I think I can work through that easily enough.

Thanks Mat. This piece is by no means finished, but I agree with everyone so far that I like the way this version is going over the other one :)

Cat
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Old December 11th, 2010, 04:19 AM   #25
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Hi Cat,

I've got a bit of time on my hands so I thought I'd have a look at your pieces.

I'm going to comment on the second piece as I'm gathering it's the way you're going.

First of all, overall your highlights are blown out way too far, resulting in loss of colour saturation. I noticed this all the way through the piece. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you're shooting in auto. I think you need to forget about auto on that camera of yours and start shooting in manual. Pay close attention to the White Balance, WB. Obtain and carry a piece of bleached A4, matte paper, matte is better than gloss as it doesn't cause reflections. When in the field and turning the camera on and off, conduct a WB. It may hold the setting, if so, you only need to do it on initial power up. If you move from sunshine to shadow, rebalance.

I strongly suggest you make yourself a reflector, use a piece of white linen, say an old bed sheet, get your hubby to scrounge up a length of fencing wire [ I know you've got some laying around because I watched your 30 minute epic, Rocky Mountain National Park: Psalms From On High, right through to the end !!!! ] Form a circle ~ 2 Ft in Dia then cover it with one layer of the linen, keeping it taut. If you don't get enough reflection out of it, scrunchle up a piece of aluminum foil then flatten it out and spread it over your linen. "Scrunchling" is important for two reasons, 1] You don't get an intense light. 2] You're not out to cook your flower.......... Now, I've often wondered, but never experimented, with the same colour linen as the flower, would that give me better colour control......

I'll explain the use for this as we go.

Opening, cut the first 10 seconds off both music and image, there's not enough in it to hold one's attention. From 0:10 is good.

Your fade from the first to second scene is too long, 10 seconds, back it off to ~3 seconds, 5 at the outside.

The flower in the scene at 0:38, [scientific name; Blue Flower...;) ] is washed out to hell, enter the reflector!!! Light is streaming in from the left hand side, at what looks to be an angle of 10 o'clock so get your new reflector and hold it in a position so it bounces light down onto the flower, normally this is at an angle of 180 degrees to the incoming natural light,[4 o'clock in this instance] depending on the effect you're chasing. In this case though, you may get better results by holding the reflector at the 2 o'clock position. Don't get it in the frame naturally..... Now, you should find your colour will deepen down, because your highlights have dropped off, this is being done whilst shooting in manual remember, [the downside, this simple 2 minute take just blew out to 10 minutes, the upside, you have a ripper take on your hands....no brainer really ;) ] OK, so shooting in manual you now want to close the iris down as much as is practically possible, this will mean you have to drop the shutter speed. Why?,to increase your Depth of Field, [ DoP ] which in turn will mean your critical focus point isn't so critical....the advantage of this is, the little flowers that have minds of their own, and wander all over the place, at the whim of a breeze, won't be moving in and out of focus, the downside is that same movement becomes a bit blurred, therefore, you need to find a balance between the two points. You'll have to be careful that you don't stop down too far as you'll introduce 'noise' [often recognized by 'banding' or a colour 'wash' over the image] into your image...not wanted..... :( Another advantage is colour saturation, if you can lay your hands on a simple colour chart and then hold it beside the flower, you'd be amazed at the difference iris / speed combo's make.

OK, with your camera, it may be you have an issue in manual i.e. getting the exposure correct. Do you know if you have 'Zebra' stripes or some other form of over exposure warning? If so, great, if not.......try and save up for a spot meter, Minolta and Pentax both make them. Look on Ebay. Make sure it's good for video.

Where you transit at 3:26, I would have full colour by the time the bug is standing on the tip of the flower looking into the camera. It's an excellent shot. The focus seems to soften up as it moves down the flower. Focus through out the clip is a bit soft. Could be that iris / aperture combo......??????

The take with the bee on the purple flower, have you blown out the purple on purpose?

Not sure about the length of time you use the 'bubble transition' for, I think it's too long. Not sure about the 'bubbles' on the whole. I think, pick one transition theme, keep them short and stay with only that one.
You've got three in there. I think the clouds are the most appropriate.

Flower at 4:12 is very static, I know you don't have a slider so how about trying a hand held pan moving from the 430pm to the 730 pm position. If you did that, get rid off that wild oat or whatever it is on the left hand side, actually, get rid of it anyway, just bend it out of the way because the flower is the primary point of attention. Second option is to use focus shift. So, center the flower, focus on the background, roll film and pull the focus back to the flower. Maybe offsetting the flower for the shift would work better.

Try and experiment with push pull telephoto, wide shots on stationary subjects, not million mile an hour transitions but slow effects, for instance, on the take at 4:39 start zoomed in on the water and pull to wide for the finished shot. Sometimes, based on content, it's better to start wide and zoom in. Using this technique often means you don't have to use a layer to fade over on takes.

In regards to your tripod, see if you can get someone to strip it down, smoothen off the pan base with emery or wet and dry paper and lube it up. Then practice panning until you get good at a smooth pan. It's what you've got so practice hard with it.

Lastly, I know I've only mentioned what I think could improve this piece, don't be disheartened, I like the content and I think you've got some skills that are worth building with. You live in a beautiful part of the country and I suspect capturing it on video is a pleasure to you.

Keep this in mind, using focus shifting, pull back and getting your exposure under control the following would be absolute gems; 0:20, 1:48, 1:57, 2:09, 2:27, 2:55, 3:18, 3:31, 3:45, 4:59.

Keep at it, you're on the right track. I don't normally sit down for several hours to do a critique. ;)

Al
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #26
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Thank you everyone!

Your comments and feedback have been extremely helpful. I am posting what I think is nearing the final version of this little section. I think it incorporates a lot of all of your feedback and is (I think) the best version by far.

This version goes very light on transition times and heavy-handed effects, and concentrates on the subject matter more.

You are all off the hook to watch yet again another version of these flowers. I'm posting simply to give proof that I highly respect and very much appreciate all that you have put into this on my behalf. Many thanks!

Al: I am amazed that you took such time and effort, not only to watch my long film, but to give so much critique on this particular section in question. You have given me great advice for techniques that I can improve on when I'm actually filming in the field. I will be referring to your post before I head out to film flowers next spring!

To reply to some of your comments:

1. I actually filmed the flowers in manual focus mode, but what may have been a factor is that my camera has an auto white balance default option, which I was using. Other than the auto option, it only allows for a few preset options like "cloud" "full sun" etc. So it really does lack in this department. When I am able to upgrade to a higher standard camera, I'm going to make certain that all f-stop and white balance settings can be number calculated and manually done without the limitation of presets.

2. I think my panning problem was actually not in the field but in post processing and has been corrected in this final version.

3. I agree with your comments dealing with transition length and effects and I hope these have been addressed in a more satisfactory fashion in this final version.

4. The only comment that I find a bit scary is the comment that the blue flower at 38 s is "washed out to hell". What scares me about this comment is that on my own computer system the footage looks completely fine to me. I honestly don't find, even the slightest hint, that the footage is washed out. So is there something wrong with my system settings? Is it my eyes and how I see things? This is a comment that I wouldn't know how to fix, change or attempt to correct. It makes me wonder if I'm putting material out there that looks appealing to me in my own little computer world, and everyone else can't watch without the eyes watering?

Once again, to Al and to all who shared their time and expertise with me: a sincere thank you! Look how you each improved this little clip beyond anything that started on the drawing board! How awesome is that!

Gratefully yours,

Cat

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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #27
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Cat,


Very finely done. On my computer in a few places the whites the blues and yellows seem burnt.

Whites are hard to fix, but the blue and the yellow you could use a secondary color corrector to fix the small portions that seem to bright.

I would place them on the waveform monitor and see if the ire readings are safe. It is possibler my machine could be out. I will look at it on my big screen and see: Just checked, to bright on both monitors on my workstation.

I really like the star bursts, the second one is off timing wise just a hair!!

the transitions while a bit slow for me; I think they are quite artistic and this whole piece oozes artistic flavor!!! Wish I had such creativity!!!

I can't wait to see the finale!!! it is awesome already.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #28
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Hey Dale:

You win the prize for sticking through all three versions ;-).

If you'd like, let me know a time in the clip that looks burnt (maybe at the 38 s mark where Al thought it was washed out?) and I'll e-mail a still and you can show me what can be done with it.

On a different note, this has been the year of all years for for hawks, eagles and raptors around here :). I think you would be pleased to see this, I am too. Any insights as to why this is?

Thanks again for sticking with me on this film.

Cat
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Old December 15th, 2010, 04:04 PM   #29
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Hi Catherine,

Sorry I haven't had time to comment on this before.
You already have some good feedback, so I'll just chime in and say I like the latest versjon you posted best. (only watched the 2nd and 3rd version you posted). Will try to find time to watch the first version later.
I think you are a very skilled film maker!
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Old December 15th, 2010, 06:37 PM   #30
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Hi Trond:

No worries about watching the first video, and thanks for sticking it out and watching the other two :). I'll do the same for your Charity Challenge video... good luck!

Thanks for the kind words. Let's just say I'm as skilled as all of you are helping me become. When it comes to generous time-giving in critical feedback, this is the place to be :).

Always good to hear from you friend!

Cat
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