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Old November 26th, 2010, 02:45 PM   #1
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O.K. Guys, what can be done with this?

Hey all:

Now that the bulk of viewing and commenting on this most excellent round of UWOL 18 films is drawing to a close and I still have all of you lurking about on the site while we anticipate the weighing in from our most esteemed judge, I thought I'd ask for some feedback on this piece.

If you don't know already, I'm chipping away at a feature film on the wildlife in Rocky Mtn National Park that I started during the UWOL long form film challenge.

This section is of spring in the Park, most notably it's wildflowers. The first minute of the piece some of you may recognize from the long form challenge. The remainder 5 minutes is a new work.

My personal assessment (concentrating on the last 5 minutes) is that it is static, linear, predictable and safe. Meryem has recently introduced me to a slider while filming for something else for the movie and I really wish I had it for this (even though I agree with Mike, a slider is really difficult to master!).

I can't go out a re-take this footage. The feedback I'm looking for is what could I do post processing to make this piece more passionate, interesting, mystical, surreal...whatever! What, if anything, could "lift this up a level" as Mat likes to say.

Feedback welcome but not obligatory. Watch it or not. Warning in advance: it's a little over 6 minutes so beware.

Cat

P.S. I was thrilled with the feedback you all gave me on my other piece, Solitary Secrets. I'm waiting (saving up for) a GoPro to rework it a bit. Thank you, thank you!

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Old November 26th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #2
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Cat,

I love a lot of it!! The sugar plum fairey doesn't do it for me music wise, defintiely to long but i suspect you placed it in there for now and it is not necessarily what you will use.

the first part is really fast and snappy, but there were shots I would have liked a better look at .

You have some shots of light colored flowers that are somewhat burnt and look like you might increase the gamma on them. off the top of my head two were at apx 1:52 and 3:13, a couple more late in the film. If you want to send me a screen grab of them I would love to see what I could do with them.

now, down the road what is your plan for naration?

You could add some movement and detail by using pan and crop, say drawing in on pisilids or such.

an example you might pull in on the elk grazing the transition to the vegitation by itself.

Just a couple thoughts after only one viewing. I will watch again tomarrow.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 04:06 PM   #3
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Cat,

On some of the brighter shots I'd crush the blacks to give them more umph.

Do you have any wiggle room that you can shift some of the images a bit so everything isn't so much centered?

One "trick" I like to do is to edit my full sized footage in a 720p project. It scales the footage down to say 67%. Then I can zoom in pan across etc to give me a little movement. So if I want to make something more prominent, I can zoom the image to 100% and then shift it around until I get a good composition.

If you're going to put it on a DVD it's going to be down converted to SD anyway so you're not losing anything.

I think if you crush your blacks and punch up the saturation a bit you'll see an improvement. If you can get some of your subjects more off center you'll see even more.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #4
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oooooh, I like these ideas!!!

Dale, I will take you up on your offer and send you some stills to see what you come up with in the gamma department. I had to laugh at your sugar plumb fairy comment.... my husband couldn't get passed that one either :) I think I'm ready to re-think the music, I'm 0 for 2 on that. It was in fact what I was going to use in the final. I'm the kind of person who has the music in place first and then I phrase the footage to it. Doing it any other way would undo me I think. I so appreciate your time and input.

Kevin, wow! yeah. That is indeed a valid "trick" to have in the old tool box, working in 720p with high def footage. That would certainly give you space and opportunity to do lots of things. The intended destination for this is a film festival and perhaps others depending on how it does or if it's accepted. I just assumed the submission version would be high def on a Blue Ray. You've submitted before, what was your format?

Even if I need to stick with the 1920p format, your suggestions have sparked some ideas for me on how I can make this off center, more dynamic and magical (if I can pull it off). Awesome!

I knew putting up this thread wouldn't disappoint!

Much appreciated.

Cat
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Old November 26th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Cat,

None of the festivals I've entered required a Blu-Ray DVD. Maybe some of the bigger ones might but most will accept a standard DVD.
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Old November 26th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #6
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Hi Cat. You’ve got some good advice from Dale and Kevin. I like the music. I think it goes well with both your subject in this sequence and the rest of the music from the project. If you change music definitely re-edit the sequence from scratch to match. If you put the 1080 clips in a 720 comp in AE, besides recomposing the shot, don’t forget you can also animate the position and scale to do pans and zooms within the footage. While you are in AE you should look into Color Finesse for grading some of those clips. It has been too long since the sequence was posted to Vimeo for Vimeo to allow me to download the source (60 days limit I think). If you want, repost it so we can download and I’ll be glad to process a bit of it and post so you can judge whether this is something you want to pursue.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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Cat,
I have watched your film several times and will set the focus on the music.
The choice of pictures and transitions in the “sugar plum fairy” section is cleverly done.
I really love this. Flowers, insects collecting nectar, gentle use of editing effects and perfectly made transitions fit the music well.

The first part has an intense rhythmical music. The scenes need to be short and switch in the rhythm of the music. It is also well done.
I think you can shorten or maybe drop the crossover when the transition is exactly on the beat. Then you will get even more of the rhythmical intensity in the film.
The three in one pictures (0.40) are pretty good.
I would like to see shorter cuts in the ending to follow the music “out of breath”. This will also make a good contrast to the “sugar plum fairy” section.
Maybe the geese scene could start at the last beat. Then the spectator will get a bit relaxed before the last section.

This is just a few thoughts from me.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #8
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Hi Cat,

I don't know if this is duplicating other suggestions, but it works for me. This is to help some of the overexposed flower shots where areas are burned to pure white. I saw in one of the posts, AE. If you are using After Effects, does that mean you use Adobe Premiere to edit? If so, apply the Fast Color Corrector effect. At the bottom is a choice for "Output" with some sliders. Slide the white triangle to the left. It will darken the whole scene but watch the color and detail appear in your white areas.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 05:10 AM   #9
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Hi Cat

Ok then. I'd have to know whether this was being narrated over before I really critiqued it but I'll try at this point.

Firstly, this really needs some camera movement, ok, so your saying you can't re-shoot. Well then it needs to feel less static and slideshow in the edit! Also watch what your doing in the edit, cutting from a mid to a close and then closer, sometimes its not really showing much more detail, or anything new and feels formulaic. If you intend to use this music, then the sequence wants to feel magical, that magic needs to come through your use of light and movement, it needs to sing and dance. Quite a few of these shots are flat and others seem digitally zoomed in, don't use them. Keep your production quality high!

Overall though, what is the sequence for, whats it trying to say, whats the story? If your answer is...well its the bursting of life and spring flowers, then you need more material or edits that spell out this change, the re-birth. So a panning shot across fallen leaves that ends in a newly emerged flower or green buds breaking in a shot thats otherwise looks like Winter. Things look a little established already to me!

That said there are some nice shots in here and I like the pace of some of your editing. Feel free to throw me an email to go through anything more of this in detail.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing your project completed :-)


Mat

Last edited by Mat Thompson; December 2nd, 2010 at 08:24 AM.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 07:48 AM   #10
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Hey guys:

Splendid! This is great feedback and very much appreciated. Let me rework this.... actually, overhaul it and throw it out to you again. You have fueled some new ideas on how to approach this and helped me with suggestions on how to color correct. Can you believe I actually don't know how to color correct (?,!), and I really need to know how to do this effectively. I'm just soaking your comments up!

You guys have asked about narration. The format of the film is that there is narration at the beginning and end of each "chapter" but the "chapter" itself is strictly visuals to music. Sort of a modern-day Fantasia. So there will be no other distraction and must move the viewer by it's own artistry... no wiggle room!

What I'm striving to do with this piece is make it magical and a bit surreal. The footage is established during the early summer, so I don't have the material or feel the need to focus on the transition from winter with flowers bursting onto the scene out of snow... but that being said I will look for this opportunity this spring.

Thank you! Thank you! I feel so motivated to learn with you guys on board :).

May I be so bold as ask you guys to comment on my Solitary Secrets piece that I offered up for review last challenge? I haven't reworked it yet from the comments given, but I have great plans for that one as well, based on the feedback I got from all of you. Only as time and motivation permit. I think Kevin, Mike and Steve have already reviewed that one, so you guys are off the hook :).
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 08:32 AM   #11
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Oppps, sorry Cat I've just corrected some sloppy typing !

Ok, so its not about the re-birth of life.

My first question would be what is the purpose of this sequence, what is it about?
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 09:27 AM   #12
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Hmm, The purpose of this sequence is to be a contrast to the fast and frenzied pace of the first 1-min sequence. The goal of the first part is to rivet the viewer with the feeling of new life of spring bursting onto the scene after a long hard winter. It is frenetic as new life is happening everywhere, it is a celebration!

Then spring matures to early summer and life settles in a bit. I desire this part to not show flowers along a path, but a magical world of delicate and beautiful art painted by God Himself. I want to show a world that is often missed, even by hikers who are right there in the midst of them. Most of this footage was taken within a mile of the trail head! I couldn't get any farther along for all the opportunity to film, and I didn't get half of what was there. But so much of this display is hidden, or at least not obvious, unless you look for it. I have the Calipso (fairy slipper) Orchid in here that took me too years to find them! They surface for only a few weeks out of the year and really vary in numbers depending on availability of moisture. While filming these, I was continually passed by many "destination" hikers that totally missed them. They had other reasons for being there. Rocky Mtn National Park hosts such an abundance of flora but none of it is displayed in the "sea of color" that occurs in some other parts of the mountains in Colorado.

So Mr. Mat Thompson, what do you suggest I do with that?

Cat
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:05 AM   #13
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EXCELLENT ! - I'm loving that little storyline! All these little treasures that are so easy to walk past and miss, every corner revealing something new and interesting. So does your sequence show us that ?

Wheres are the walkers cruising past, eyes fixed on the path in front of them?

Where are the reveals? - A camera rounding a bend or coming from behind a tree and revealing the hidden treasures? Or a shot at ground level as boots come plodding through. It then turns or focus pulls to frame a dainty flower just a few meters away.

I'm sure there are lots of little treatments that would put your premise into your images. But make me feel that I'm being introduced to them, or I'm seeing things others are missing!

As far as the first bit goes. For frenetic I'd cut it harder and faster. Add elements like simple fast paced sky timelapse and punchy fauna action. Deer gently grazing doesn't say frenetic to me! Just cut to them in a quick way and look for any quicker movements you have in the footage. The chipmunk is frenetic and personally I'd use those shots throughout this section instead of in the boxed effect edit. But more generally look back for moments of action and movement in your rushes.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:26 AM   #14
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Oooh! Work to be done!

For the second part:
Much of your input will need to be objective strategy for next season for I am sadly lacking in most of the suggested shots. Obviously, I didn't think through my story until now when you put me through the exercise: a valuable lesson there.

That being said, there is lots I can do to rework what I have (both parts) and am very inspired to do just that!

Thank you kindly Mat!

Thank you all for the support. It will by my own lack of motivation to not improve after this round of review. I am absolutely thrilled!

Cat
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:30 AM   #15
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No problem Cat. Just email me if you need any help. These are only my opinions of course, but I do think they will lift what your doing!
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