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Old August 25th, 2011, 04:47 AM   #1
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UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

I finally managed to get a version off my computer, but I had to save it as a 720p MOV. My 1080p WMV was corrupted in some manner (Windows Media Player would not play it properly, but VLC would play it without problems). Unfortunately when I uploaded it to Vimeo there was a frozen glitch in the beginning. It seems I will never work out where the problem is with CS3....

I'm still working on the Sorenson upload. In the meantime this is an ungraded version of my entry for UWOL 21, titled "unloved"

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Old August 25th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

BTW - I will only release the password after the competition closes. I'm going to be away at the end of the month, so I am just getting all my ducks in a row!
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Old September 1st, 2011, 02:38 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Correct link is here:

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Old September 1st, 2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Beautifully done Simon. Love it. Excellent story angle, entertaining, interesting and enlightening.

I really like the way you have shown the very real down-to-earth interaction between man and wildlife in this film.

Each cameo speaks volumes about the contrasting values and attitudes to wildlife people have.

Such rich, interesting characters you managed to find and interview. How did you do that - did you ask them questions and then cut the questions afterwards?

Recognize some of those snakes – Gaboon Viper, Green Mamba and Forest Cobra – very dangerous snakes – not surprised they are unloved!

First time I’ve seen a Marabou with dreadlocks though! :)

Last edited by Marj Atkins; September 2nd, 2011 at 12:26 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old September 1st, 2011, 02:04 PM   #5
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Hi Simon,
My first thought on finishing watching it was - how did you manage to fit so much in 3 minutes?!?
Wonderful - great shots, great characters, great stories all with a central thread binding it perfectly.
Loved it!

Cheers,

Rob
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Old September 1st, 2011, 04:51 PM   #6
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Great, Simon.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

This is a masterpiece, Simon. Fresh and real, rather than so many of the slick, cookie cutter documentaries out there. I call it a documentary, yet, it almost flowed like a movie--with each new character more charming and engaging than the last (just barely, they were all wonderful), so many quotable lines, and a laugh-out-loud climax. I tell you, I nearly fell off my chair at 2:34.

Your cross-sections of landscape and culture kept me riveted, shot selections fit the dialog perfectly. I can see why you agonized over the cuts--betting you have enough great footage for at least another three minutes--but you sliced this one down to the bone and made it, in my opinion, just right.
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 03:45 AM   #8
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Simon, I loved it. I really think you did a fantastic job of showing th wildlife, the landscape and the people. Your dicision to do a interviews was perfect, you let them tell the story for you. I also agree that what you managed to do in three minutes really was a mini-documentary. A joy to watch. I guess everyone conciders some wildlife as "unloved", kind of like the buzzards in America. We always see them along roads cleaning uo natures waste, yet we all thy not to look at their uglyness. Great job. Bob
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Hi Simon. Great first entry! The first person interview is a style we havenít seen a lot of in UWOL Challenge and it is quite compelling. Especially since you do it so well. How are you getting such clean location audio? I only saw a lav in one shot. I hope you had fun and will be back next time. Iím intrigued by the surreal sequences you mentioned. Since you said that you shot much more material for this one I seriously recommend that you consider re-editing it into a much longer piece. Iíd love to watch it. Welcome Simon.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 01:52 AM   #10
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Hi Simon
That was really good! All that in 3 min, wow. Nice interviews and fresh angle. I likes it a lot! This may be the winner!!
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 02:01 AM   #11
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Hello Simon.
You have a smart approach of the theme. I feel that the video is much longer than it is in reality.
Perhaps because there is so much information? And great information that is :)
Your video is both informative and enlightening. I learned something from it too.
Making a film about animals that no one likes, is clever done.
The use of interview method works very well.
The four men are true movie stars and you get the individual character in them. Great!
The Marabou Stork fascinates me with its large beak and throat sac.
The troat sac, it is of the type that can be blown up, right?
Was that a stork with a missing leg?
I think it's great that we, all over the globe has nature reserve that takes care of the animals and provides information to residents.
Wish you good luck.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 04:06 AM   #12
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Hi. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to view and critique my film; I really appreciate it! I will try to answer some of the questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marj Atkins View Post
Such rich, interesting characters you managed to find and interview. How did you do that - did you ask them questions and then cut the questions afterwards?

Recognize some of those snakes – Gaboon Viper, Green Mamba and Forest Cobra – very dangerous snakes – not surprised they are unloved!

First time I’ve seen a Marabou with dreadlocks though! :)
Regarding the interviews: yes; exactly right. I would set up the interviews at their place of work and then ask them some general questions to get them relaxed, before directing the questions to the specific theme I was following. Each interview took from 30 to 60 minutes. Then it was a case of selecting the best bits for inclusion in the documentary. It was never my intention to have my questions in the documentary (I dont like my voice!). Sometimes when I asked them an important question I would ask them to repeat the question in the answer so that there would be context in the answer (making it easier to edit in).

Regarding the snakes: all correct! There was also a house snake (in the house) and a rock python (being carried by one of the handlers).

That marabou was a special case of ugly; I spent a lot of time recording him. At the time I knew he was going to be my main focus. But in some ways they are so ugly they are beautiful, no? Like warthogs, you kind of love their ugliness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Evans View Post
My first thought on finishing watching it was - how did you manage to fit so much in 3 minutes?!?
Wonderful - great shots, great characters, great stories all with a central thread binding it perfectly.
Thanks! I used to work as a VT editor in a TV station, doing news stories. Tape-to-tape editing would teach you to work quickly doing linear assembly edits (start at the beginning, finish at the end, and never look back!). While special transitions were possible with the system you quickly learned to discard them and work with cuts only. When I am short of time I like to use jump cuts to drive a story forward (in this film the section where Simon Muhindo catches a snake in a house took nearly an hour to film - in the final film it was compressed down to 8 jump cuts at 2 seconds each!).
News editing would also teach you to sniff out 'sounbytes' quickly - I find I usually scan through interviews at nearly double speed looking for the best bits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Sims View Post
The first person interview is a style we haven’t seen a lot of in UWOL Challenge and it is quite compelling. Especially since you do it so well. How are you getting such clean location audio? I only saw a lav in one shot. I hope you had fun and will be back next time. I’m intrigued by the surreal sequences you mentioned.
The audio was a big headache for me. I wanted to do all of the interviews in the locations that the people worked in, and that was problematic in some cases.

I was able to use a Lav mic with Simon the snake handler, it worked well because he was in a sheltered gallery (open air but protected from the wind).

With Daniel the fisherman I initially set up the lav mic with him, but there was too much wind noise, so the interview became unusable. I had to drive home and pick up a shotgun mic with a blimp, one of the fishermen held it for me. However there was a lot of noise in the fishing village because there were a lot of people, plus the noise of the waves, and one guy was bailing out water from his boat in the background). I was monitoring the sound with earphones, and realized too late that the bailing noise was too intrusive, so we asked him to stop for a while and we restarted the interview. When I got back to the editing computer I realized that the second interview felt unnatural because we had already been through the questions once, so I actually used the first interview with the bailing noise. You can hear the noise if you listen with earphones (especially when Daniel is holding the fish).

With Davis the hotelier we did the interview in the garden of the guesthouse. Again there was too much wind for the lav so one of the gardeners held the blimp. There was a road behind the bushes behind him; while the car noise was very faint in real life, the noise was amplified in the microphone. So we had to work around the cars while doing the interview - if we heard a car coming we would stop and wait until it passed, and then continue.

Finally, with Herbert the safari guide; I just put the blimp in the landcruiser - the audio was a bit muffled (maybe some echo) but usable.

There were problems with the audio generally, but in the end I did not have to do any major fixes - the music covered up most of the issues!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geir Inge View Post
The Marabou Stork fascinates me with its large beak and throat sac.
The troat sac, it is of the type that can be blown up, right?
Was that a stork with a missing leg?
Yes the marabou uses the throat to stork food, until it is ready to eat it. It can also inflate the sac in its throat during 'courtship' - there is also a red sac on the back of the neck that seems to inflate as well. They sometimes also use the throat to make an unusual 'flapping' noise.
Yes the stork that was missing part of his leg is the same one mentioned above (with the 'rastas'). A lot of marabous perch on power lines, but because of their combined weight (and poor maintenance of the lines) they can cause the lines to droop, sometimes connecting with the line below. This usually results in the electrocution of a number of birds - something that I have seen a couple of times. This bird might have lost its limb in this manner (the same thing occasionally happens to monkeys that climb on power lines - when they traverse from one to the other the violent shock will often remove a section of the limb).
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 01:08 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

That was really cool in a bunch of ways. From the very first shot where the guy is saying people don't like snakes, I was thinking 'I don't either!'. It was kind of a story within a story, and the actors, music and visual all came together. Very well planned and produced.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 02:55 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Simon, you are a welcome renewing member to the UWOL family.
Your quick and brave style is fascinating.
I have watched the jump cuts in the snake sequence several times (00:27-00:36).
It suits the film and the rhythmical music so well. This is something I will try out myself.
Thanks for showing us this masterpiece
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Old September 6th, 2011, 10:20 AM   #15
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Re: UWOL 21 - "unloved" - Simon Wood

Simon, congratulations as the winner, and welcome to the UWOL family!

I really liked your film!
You had a great story! Thank you for teaching me something new.

Stay with us! I look forward to see more of your future films.
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