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Old May 14th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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Current project

Good Afternoon,

My spring video project has been under way for a few years, it has been difficult to say the least with all the turbulent weather we have had over the last few years.
The following video is some footage I got this last week. Normally Crocus are out for 10 days in mid april, often ruined by snow, winds, etc. It has been so cold this year that the crocus mostly do not open up to their full glory, if they do it is mid to late day and the light is poor.

the video is a selection of clips, more or less roughly cut.

any suggestions on how to make the Flora more interesting as I move on to the summer blooming of most prairie flowers would be wlecome.



The second link was shot just recently and a few clips from this will likly go into the final video.



Thanl you for taking the time.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #2
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Re: Current project

Hello Dale,

I have only had time to see the first video so far, and no speakers available at the moment, so I can't comment on any sound or VO if there is any...

Anyway, I particular like the close up sequence starting at 1:28. I like how all the small details come out when you film as close as this.

In "almost" all the nature tv shows I have seen, there has been one or more timelapses of flowers opening up. This would add motion to your flowers, and I believe such things would be a little improvement to your video. Videos of flowers and any non-motion subjects can become "boring" after a short while, unless there is a great story to back up the visuals.


Keep up your good work!
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:21 AM   #3
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Re: Current project

Hi Dale!

Apologies for not catching this sooner. Submitting work "off UWOL season" is exactly what I hope this forum will become... a year-round forum for feedback on independent works in progress.

I enjoyed both of your entries. The crocus bloom segment had some really big moments. I thought your selection of music really set the tone of the piece and complimented wonderfully the footage. You had exceptional micro and you used your lighting very well. The only insights I have is that even though it is a piece about crocus bloom, breaking it up with some of the duck footage and birds in flight would actually enhance the focus on the crocuses. I think you mentioned you were intending to do this already.

I loved in the beginning your use of movement with sliders and pans that gave it a "Ken Burns" effect and made you feel the expanse of the landscape. But the same effect can be overused so that one can grow tired of it by the end. You mixed things up here pretty well, but I think even more could lift the experience. Same with the ladybug. This was spectacular! But you might want to consider breaking it up as well so that spectacular footage doesn't grow tiresome by the time you leave it. Use all of the ladybug material you have, but just distribute it throughout the piece instead of having it all in one place.

This is nicely done Dale! I just think breaking it up more.... from pans to steady camera work, from flowers to ducks and birds in flight, from macro to landscape etc will keep the viewer interested more than you already have them.

Finally, I thought the crocus purple juxtaposed against the bright reds of the lichens on the rocks was awesome.

Keep it up Dale. And thanks for submitting "off season". It's what we all should be doing!

Cat
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #4
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Re: Current project

Hi Dale,
I liked this. The music really fit. You asked for suggestions, so here is my two cents, for whatever it may be worth.

1. Don't zoom so much, especially zooming in.
2. One way to make flowers more interesting is to have your flower in focus in the foreground and angle
the camera so that other flowers of the same and a complimentary color are out of focus in the background. This may require some judicious flower arranging.
3. Another trick, if the flowers are in direct sun, is to put a dark screen behind them, far enough away to be out of focus. This makes them really pop.
4. A short pan from something hard (like those amazing red lichens) to the soft flower might be useful too.

Enjoy your spring.

Steve
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #5
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Re: Current project

Good evening,

thank you all for taking the time to check out the clips and offer the suggestions. I will not be using all the clips, only a hand full of them as they will be a part of a 30 minute piece of "spring in the prairie grass lands".

While the crocus' are finished for this year I will use some of your suggestions as other wild flowers emerge as our warmer weather manifests itself!! I do hope to get more closeups with various insects that make their lives among the flowers. Wishing I had a canon E-65 1-5x closeup lens.

I am going to try and build a turret to add some rotational dimension to viewing them as well. Definitely open to ideas on this !!!!

Today I was shooting some migrant passerines (goldfinches and tennessee warblers) to add between the floral shots.

thank you again.

dale
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Old May 20th, 2011, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: Current project

That turret sounds interesting. Maybe you can use this when filming the wildlife (insects) who live in or near the flowers?

Maybe you could use railroad tracks for model trains as the base (for a dolly) for the turret?
These are available in different sizes, and don't cost much.
Please keep us updated!
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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #7
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Re: Current project

Dale, looking good. I really enjoyed the shots with the insects, especially the lady bug. I agree with the others, the music was beautiful. I would concider not zooming so much, after awhile it got distracting. I think Cat had a great suggestion of breaking it up with other wildlife shots, Also, do you have any shots of early crocus with maybe a dusting of snow on them to transition into spring. Don't you love shooting just for the fun of shooting. Bob
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Old May 27th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #8
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Re: Current project

Bob,

I totally prefer to shoot for my own pleasure. I still shoot Weddings (and as much as it disgusts me, I am a heck of a lot better at that than the stuff I really enjoy) and other events.

Yes, there is a lot of zoom in this clip and I will only be using a few of these clips in the larger project.

I have taken to heart Cats ideas and am looking for useful footage to cut to and from.

I am currently shooting nesting behavior of some robins which should be useful.
I also got the temporary return of the gold finches, a grosbeak (first ever seen here), pine ciskins and a couple others to blend into the spring theme.

we have had loads of rain, a few inches in the last few days, and this had prevented me getting out to shoot more. Some of the native shrubery is starting to blossom so next good day i will be back out.

I have no crocus footage as when it snows it usually totally burried kills it off and is rather ugly. It is a terrific idea and i will definitely go after some footage like that next spring.

Every year offers different challenges!! this year it was so cold and overcast the flowers never really opened up before they died, but I did not get snowed out for the first time in 3 years!!

thanks for taking the time to watch and comment!!
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Old May 27th, 2011, 05:45 PM   #9
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Re: Current project

Dale,

We have been having a drought all spring here in Southeast Alaska. I'm sure glad that all the crappy weather has gone into Canada this year!

I love the Crocus shots with the Rock Lichen. Our Lichen is yellow. Is your really red? Playing with color correction? Either way, I like it.

When shooting any kind of fauna close-ups. I take a spray bottle with me. Slightly misting a flower, berry, or other fauna before shooting, really brings the natural colors out. Misting even works for insect close-ups.

However, with over 120 inches of rainfall in Sitka, I usually need a blow dryer.

Dave Rice
Sitka, Alaska
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Old May 28th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #10
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Re: Current project

David,

Yes the lichen here are most often red, but we also get light green and the odd yellow bunch. The saturation was increasese 1.2% and gamma dropped to .95. I do this for almost any shots that are taken outside the golden hour or two. Image is very close to actual appearance!

thanks for taking the time.

Still raining and supposed to continue!!!!!

The other morning I got up to put the dogs out and when I went out breathing the air humidity, mist, and dampness and even the visual appearence reminded me of being in the monsoons in south east Asia!!! A weird sensation!

Drought, whats that?
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Old May 29th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: Current project

Hi Dale.
You have a way with cathcing birds in flight :)
I think you deliver some beatifull scenes in this one.
If I'm to come with some constructive criticism it have to be on the sequence length and sound.
Though I don't know how long the final product is gonnna be?
If you're gonna have some VO it all depends on the mix of VO and each scene, the story.
But I think in both clips you share with us here, they both seem a bit too long.
VO can bring the story into it and make more sense to the viewer.
I like the close up of the flowers, and the other clips could need a little bit more color (?).
When looking at wild life films I prefer clean cuts, mixed with a disolve now and then and not so much zooming in and out. But that's just my personal taste :)
Maybe lower the sound of the frogs (background sound) in the birds video and put some duck sound into it? I think if one can do a pritty mix of VO, sound & music together with beatifull pictures, it will make the video more interesting. I know, it's meticulous work, but it will pay off in the end.
As I said I'm not sure about the final products length and the main purpose of the film.
So this is what I could come up with, hope it can be of helpfull use.
Keep up the good work my friend and best wishes.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Current project

Geir,

The full video is a video glorifying spring/summer in the prairies. It will be a 27 minute video destined for broadcast. First I intend to assemble it without voice over. I will then build a voice over version as well and then decide which one actucally has better production value (to use Matts term). I have three months more of shooting to get some footage I have not managed the last three springs.

Today I managed to find a fresh Fox Den with three Kits bouncing around it so I will be out for that tomarrow morning. I still need to get new born antelope Kids and a couple spotted deer fawns as well as a number of native flowers blossoming. I am hoping to get a rap on this this year.

thank you Geir for your ideas!! I will not use to much zoom in the final rendition, these are only a few clips from this year. Zoom is only optimum when you pull a person's attention to smaller details.

thanks again!!
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