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Old January 4th, 2011, 11:43 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Lyons, Colorado
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How about this story?

O.K. Guys:

Once again, I have another segment to this feature film I've been chipping away at, and am throwing it out here for feedback.

Rest assured that I will only do this during forum lull periods between challenges, and of course it goes without saying that there is no obligation in the least to view or comment on this.

It's just that I learn so much from your insights and I sincerely appreciate all that you have to say. You routinely help me become a better filmmaker than when I start art.

This snippet is a far cry from the other wildlife stuff, it is of our failed attempt at Longs Peak this past summer. Let me tell you, stories are easier to tell when people are involved instead of wildlife... I guess it's like finally getting to use your native language when trying to communicate :).

Unlike my spring flowers section, I'm happy with this... even though technically it is fraught with imperfections that even I can readily pick out. But, in my mind, it tells the story I set out to tell and thus I feel it is a good watch. You may beg to differ, so here is your chance :).

Thanks in advance for the review, if anyone feels like diving in. I know many of you are wrapping up your charity challenge films, so you guys are especially off the hook.


Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2011, 06:36 PM   #2
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Looking good, Cat! Iíve now seen enough various pieces of this story that I sometimes find myself rearranging them like dominoes in my sleep! It will be wonderful to see this project finished. Thanks so much for taking us along for the ride. What percentage do you estimate is remaining to be completed? I also enjoyed Jillís Doxology and am curious how you recorded the audio. Keep going, full steam ahead!
Mike Sims is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8th, 2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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Happy New Year Mike!

NO, Thank YOU for coming along for the ride! My New Year's resolution is to finish this film this year...

But I still have to get up and down that darn peak in one piece... not for the story (all the failed attempts is what is going into the story) but for the aerial views of the Park. So it's tricky.... it has to be that perfect day, not just making it to the top, but having nice enough weather to film shots from all sides.

Did you know that the top of Longs Peak is flat and the size of an NFL football field???? So getting shots from all around will take some time and moving around.

Wow... I never knew how fortunate we were over 25 years ago when we simply climbed up, without a cloud in the sky for the entire day. Shiesh!

People are giving me that look as if to be saying.... "let it go Cat... you didn't make it up the mountain, so leave it out... you got close enough...after a sprained ankle and two near misses with your life, who needs the mountain in the film?"

But I don't know... I've sort of become afraid of it which I never used to be when I was 25 years old :) It's kind of the journey, not the goal. There comes a time when, if you become afraid of something, you either face it or not. And, God willing, I'd rather choose to face it. And it's become so wrapped up in the movie, that if I finish the film without the footage from the top, then it will always be a reminder to me that I may have chosen an easier way out. But somehow this personal struggle is being threaded throughout the movie, which makes it a better piece of work that might reach people with their own personal struggles and inspire them.

Oh well, enough of THAT ramble!

Thanks for the watch Mike! You're awesome!

Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #4
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Oops! Hey Mike:

After all that I forgot to answer your question!

As far as the Doxology video.... time to give credits!!!! The audio taken in the field and the awesome "back shot" of Jill playing the flute was done by none other than our very own and loved Meryem Ersoz :) Lucky me that I get her right next door! So the audio in the first half is field audio. The second half with the harmony was done in studio and mixed. Then I had the fun of fitting the video to the audio. That's one reason why there are changing scenes, because all the different shots of Jill and the studio audio would not only go at different rates, but different and changing rates.

I'm so glad you liked it... I like it too.


For those of you who don't know what we are referring to, here it is:

Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2011, 06:00 AM   #5
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Hello Catherine,

I love that video! Can't wait to see the final project.
You are the master of AE! :)

Unfortunately the shot from about 4 minutes was a bit shaky. (Been there done that, myself)
Slower camera movement would have made it better and most likely prevented at least parts of the shakyness.

Very nice audio in the "Jill" video too. You and Meryem have done a good job there.
Trond Saetre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2011, 08:59 AM   #6
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Location: Kent UK
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Hi Cat

Good to see some from your film and well done for keeping going on this project and throwing it all up for critique. This is a great way to learn. I sat with a producer from the BBC before Christmas and watched Hudson's Monarch with him. He thrashed it, but I know the if I re-cut it now I can really lift it another level !

I like the 3d landscape elements, they work well although I think you over use them. Also you should add some subtle sky detail imo.

I like the Charlies Angels type split screen approach. Its odd but I think it has a quirkyness to it that does work but again you over use it and why are you introducing the characters at the beginning (with no names) then again 2/3rd the way through (with names). I'd just intro them up front and be done with it.

Story wise. While I get whats going on you don't bring me along for the ride well. You've drenched it in music, wheres the natural sound ? A call of a raptor, the wind blowing you around or the rattle of climbing rig. Also you don't give me any idea of the toil involved. Wheres the shots of the climbers wiping there sweating brows, having to stop to catch a breath or shouting reassurance/climbing commands to each other ? All this stuff would bring me along with you on your climb!


Ok, a nice shot 0:54 - You see the characters and then reveal what they are about to do...great ! However all your 'travelling' shots seem to be mids/wides with the walkers walking through shot. Wheres the details, unusual camera angles and close ups?

What your last shots are doing I really don't know. It has no focus, no direction (3:46 onward). Ok your shooting hand held, but move the camera with purpose, to me these feel very 'lost'.

Mat Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #7
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Hi Trond and Mat!


Thanks for the watch :) No kidding there are shots that are shaky... all of it was hand-held shooting except for a few times! I don't know if this obvious flaw adds to the realness of the story or if it simply interferes and detracts...

I'll be venturing over to the charity challenge soon to see what you have come up with over there! Good luck!


Hello master Mat! Nice to have you back in town for a stint :) It's always so refreshing to get a solid thrashing from you, it shows you really care! :)

Now to work:

Let's focus on the 'lost' section first, since that's the most problematic. The intent here was to document the weather that had sprung up so quickly and forced our retreat. It was to bring visuals to the narration that in the end, we didn't make it and the mountain (like all high peaks) is unpredictable, dangerous and not easily attained with success.

How do you suggest I lift this part up and communicate this better? I'm glad that you weren't too bothered by the hand-held camera work at the end (or was that simply grace?). I thought in an odd way it added to the disappointment of our defeat and the long somber journey back down that day(?).

As far as the other insights... good comments. Most of them I can implement and improve on them in version 2. That being said, like my other stuff... these are the shots that I have to work with and I have to do the best I can with what I've got.

Now I'm not defending myself here, (but!) what has surfaced is my lack of experience filming an adventure climb. What I mean is that one has to be constantly on the go. It's a race before weather can potentially set in. I was with a party who were unsympathetic to me attempting to "direct", take time for tripod setups or ask them to "redo" something on my behalf. As it was, if I got any shots at all it was by lagging behind to film them and then having to run to catch them up. The only time I was able to set up a tripod was during a quick rest break. Next time around, I need to be prepared for this and have strategy in mind before heading out. Either that, or just be more insistent that they have to cooperate with my direction if they are to be in a film. But since quick ascent time is so very import, being more prepared with a strategy for dealing with this type of shooting is the better way to go.

Much obliged Mat! By the way, I actually heard the word "Gobsmacked" in an Antiques Road Show broadcast from Florida. It was oddly gratifying that I was already prepped and "in the know" ! ;-).

Catherine Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #8
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In general, your handheld shots do not bother me. I believe that sometimes (but far from always), handheld camera work and the resulting un-steady footage can add a bit to the film if done with caution.
As you know, I do a lot of handheld shooting myself, also for uwol. The challenge is to keep the camera steady enough.

Unfortunately, as Mat also commented, the last sequence was way too shaky and became a distraction instead. I suggest you cut away this part.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #9
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Hmmmm! Serious food for thought Trond! Thank you!
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