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Old August 31st, 2011, 05:30 AM   #1
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UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

At then end of July I was on a bike ride with my son, Arran ( 2 1/2 ). We we looking at the combine harvester working on the field adjacent to my house when I noticed a numbered roofing felt square on a grassy bank.
Underneath were lizards and slow worms, clearly a survey in progress. As we began to explore, we found about 40 such mats spread out, nearly all hosting slow worms, lizards and in a few cases grass snakes.
Arran was completely fascinated by them (ok, me too!), so I started to explain how the slow worms weren't snakes, but in fact legless lizards, and a process of adaptation to their environment - evolution - had changed them. Pretty deep concept for a toddler - but he seemed to pick up on the idea quite well.

When the UWOL theme was announced I realised I already had my script, location, subjects and human interest done for me!!

It's been a time and technological challenge ( PC w/ old premiere doesn't edit DSLR files well ) so it's quite rough around the edges, please excuse those bits!

The art for the slowworms was drawn in a very quick time by Zita Newcome, a friend of ours and super illustrator!!! The anim section is a very important part of the story so I'm very thankful for the help.

Tech wise shot on Canon 550d with a mix of 100mm F2.8 Macro, Tokina 11-16 F2.8 and Canon 17-40 F4

I think this is the first UWOL i have submitted since the long form, and boy, it's good to be back :-)
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Old September 1st, 2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Great fun!
I could genuinely see this documentary as one of the video segments on the Teletubbies show (as you have a young kid I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). The narration is clearly aimed at a younger audience and has a happy upbeat tone that really hits the mark (not an easy thing to do, by the way, without sounding condescending to children).
I showed this to my 3 year old boy, his verdict: 2 thumbs up!

(Incidentally I really enjoyed it too, and the camerawork was delightful; perfectly capturing the English Summer. I've never seen these slow-worms; a very fascinating find).
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Interesting! It looked like a snake to me--thank you for introducing us (who didn't know) to slow worms.

I'm reading a book by a scientist named Francis Collins that attempts to reconcile evolution with creationist views. Reading entire chapters devoted to DNA and genomes is fascinating and revealing, but sometimes makes me feel like my head is going to burst. So watching this brought a smile to my face as I considered how we run the gamut when offering explanations. As Simon noted, you kept it simple while still bridging the gap between narration for children and older folks.

Adding your little one's curiousity made this extra charming, and I'm sure other young viewers would be eager to follow along on this virtual field trip. Loved the mirror scene at the end. Well done, Rob!
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Delightful!
The introduction and the shortened review in the finale make a fine framing to the film. It is cleverly done.
Your voiceover is brilliant and easy to understand for a Norwegian.
I am not a child, but I absolutely enjoyed your short educating story.
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 04:50 PM   #5
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Hi Rob! Another great video from you. I liked the animated title and the shrinking lizard legs- well done. My absolute favorite, though, is the precious expression on Arranís face at 0:49. What a great shot! It might have been nice to have different camera angles the second times the insects, spider and very patient dog were shown but you canít have everything. Strong ending and, as always, superb delivery on the voice-over. Sure is a pleasure to have you back!
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Fascination creatures. How lucky you were to find them just before the challenge was announced. I really liked the way you used the animation to illustrate the evolutionary loss of the legs. As I told Mike, we are all becoming educators as well as videographers. I never knew a snake couldn't blink, not that I would get close enough to see if it is blinking or not. Question, I noticed at the end that the felt mat was numbered. Are these research stations? Great job. Bob
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 01:14 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Rob! Well done!!!
Realy nice story... I have always liked your films and this one was smooth and nice. I liked the animation and the text.
I would have liked to know what the black mats was for?
You got some nice close ups and all was stable. I was thinking about the VO about Darwin, for me the word "introduced" sounds like he was the one that "made it happened". For me the word "explained" would fit better. But what do I know :) I probably put the wrong explanation in the wording.

Anyhow, I loved it!
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 03:23 AM   #8
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Hi Rob.
I wonder, are you a teacher?
If not, you should have been:)
This was a very good video, perfect for children, but also grown-ups.
For children - to learn something about nature.
For grown-ups: to learn how to act with children in nature.
To bring children out into nature, is something I appreciate, as a family. Good exercise, it is also:)
In Norway we have a type of slow-worms, Anguis fragilis.
Many are killed because people think it's adder, which is toxic.
All Norwegian worms and snakes are protected, thanks and praise, so it's illegal to kill them.
You have a well thought out story, good mix of images and a charmer as a movie star.
The animation was clever, and supporting facts.
The black mats, who have put them there and why? I saw that the mat had a number?
Is this a nature reserve?
This is a great video that I also learned something from.
Wish you good luck and thanks for sharing.
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Old September 4th, 2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Hi all, thanks for the kind words and insight.

I should probably have stated form the outset that this was a film intended for young kids.

Simon, as I was editing this I thinking subconciously that I have been influenced by the teletubbies style of segment. Glad your three year old liked it - Arran asked to watch it about 10 times in a row -mind you, he is in it!

Linda, the thought that possibly this would clash with creationist views has crossed my mind. I collected fossils since I was knee high to a grasshopper and on learning about darwins theories it seemed to tie together everything I'd witnessed within the pages of stone I had been reading - I haven't come across any idea since that offers me a better explanation.

Mike, it's nice to be back, sir! I'd originally planned a few extra shots ( and a whole section on the tail losing process with further anims ) but just ran out of time. And dogwalkers to harass :-)

Markus, yes that line about darwin bugged me too, it refers to the "idea" that he introduced, but i have made it sound like he invented evolution in 1859 !!! More proof reading needed :-)

Markus, Bob & Geir Inge - I have been doing some research in why the mats are there - yes they are part of a survey, and they are not being carried out by a conservation group (that i know of). The only suggestion would seem to be that it is a developer running surveys before applying to build on the site.
Now a few years ago there was a plan, but it had been blocked - the site is "green belt" which means it is very well protected, but I am concerned that the present government is to reduce protection for this catergory of land, making it higher risk for development. All UK reptiles are protected species, so maybe the survey will help to block any action, along with other rich biodiverse areas in the vicinty. Perhaps a future UWOL film may be needed to address this. I hope not.

Geir Inge, Anguis fragilis is the same species here, the fragilis referring to the fact it's tail will fall off is attacked. I like the concept of showing adults how to introduce nature to their children, In a way I didn't see that when making, because this is the way I have been brought up myself. I'm not a teacher, but have often thought it would be a good career swap!
As for the star of the show - well he may look like he's wearing a halo when the sun bounces off his curly hair, but i can assure you there's plenty of times when that halo is tinged with flames :-)

Cheers,

Rob
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Old September 4th, 2011, 04:34 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Evans View Post
....the thought that possibly this would clash with creationist views has crossed my mind. I collected fossils since I was knee high to a grasshopper and on learning about darwins theories it seemed to tie together everything I'd witnessed within the pages of stone I had been reading - I haven't come across any idea since that offers me a better explanation.
Yes, sorry if I made it sound like I had a problem with your view. On the contrary, the author of the book I'm reading is making an interesting case for both...no clash necessary. :)
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Old September 4th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

No offence taken at all:-)
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Old September 5th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #12
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Re: UWOL21 - "Legless!" - Rob Evans

Great story Rob, very nice camera work with your actors, and the close-ups of the critters. Well rounded and thought provoking production.
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