UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory at DVinfo.net

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Old September 1st, 2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

This one turned out pretty cool I think. I filmed all the footage the first day the theme was announced, then I picked through it to see what I had. Filming underwater is a trip, since you are in an alien environment, with a mask and limited vision and you can't really see everything that is going on. I didn't go out to film the Gregory, but the more I looked at the footage, and the more I researched that fish and the way it affects the other fish on the reef, it all became clear. I had been watching the schooling surgeonfish for a few months, and filming here and there, and now I realized why they schooled.
So I had the footage and a rough edit, then the 50 acre field behind our house burned and we've been digging out ever since, taking all my spare time for the past couple of weeks. I did the voice over yesterday afternoon and rendered and uploaded to exposureroom.com at 10PM, then it needed to compress on their website. I fell asleep waiting, and woke suddenly at 2AM and sent the link to UWOL, but alas was 2 hours late from the deadline, so I'm out of the judging... Oh well, I hope this little short film is enjoyable and educational to watch. It was fun to make.

http://exposureroom.com/members/Isla...c962351213edb/

Bill Thesken
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Old September 1st, 2011, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

I liked it a lot.
What I found unusual were the static shots. Normally in underwater documentaries the camera is moving in all dimensions; so it was refreshing to see nice compositions underwater. The static shots really highlighted the play of light on the reef, and the movement of the currents underwater (in terms of debris and fish moving in and out of frame). I would love to see this on a very big screen.
Did you have a tripod or something with you to get the static shots? What camera were you using?
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

I agree, Bill-pretty cool! You and Markus (and this time Geir Inge too!) put the UW in UWOL! Around here we are used to seeing much smaller species of damsel fishes from Indonesia in aquaria. Your Gregorys seem to get quite large and be able to take care of themselves. The slow motion is very smooth. Are you shooting at 60fps or using software to slow it down? That bit of behaviour really makes the piece. Good-luck with the aftermath of the fire and donít worry- Iím sure you are still in the judging.
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

The first time I watched this was on my phone just to quickly make sure the video played all the way through--as I do with all entries. I enjoyed the underwater beauty and the skirmish but couldn't concentrate on the narration. It's quite interesting, Bill! In particular, I liked the information regarding the Gregory's farming practices.

Would it be possible to someday get a close view of these fish tending to their patches? I think it would really help the viewer stay fully engaged in the story, and also set up the battle you captured in a more dramatic fashion.

Knowing a bit about your background I'm going to get really picky with you here: Regarding your audio, I think the very slight hiss that comes along with the voiceover recording is so minimal it would be fine for you to record a lot of the room noise and have it running through the entire piece. An alternative would be to have slow fades in and out. That way people like me aren't at all distracted from the experience. But as I said, that is nit-picking. You do great underwater work and narrate it very well!

One last thing: If none of the other players are concerned about the submission timing we won't worry about it in regard to judging. :)
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Hello Bill.
This was a very fascinating and beautiful video of a fish species that were unknown to me.
The fact that the camera is still under water and not moving gives a special atmosphere, which I like.
You have a nice mix of music and voice over, and the sharpness of the video is great.
I learned a lot from your video and to me it looks and feels professionally done.
You talk a little fast in the video and as a norwegian,
I had to watch it three times so that I got everything, and I think that English speakers do not have the same problem. It's a good english practise for me as well :)
It was quite fascinating to see the little fish attack the large, as if it said, away from my teretorium. Quite entertaining and unexpected.
Thank you for sharing this video and good luck.

PS
I forgot to ask about how managed to get such steady clips with that turbulent sea?
Not an easy task if you ask me :)
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Last edited by Geir Inge; September 3rd, 2011 at 03:47 AM.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 03:26 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Hi Bill
I liked the story and some of the fixed angles, but I also would have liked to se same motion and close ups. I didn't feel that I was there with the fish, more watching in a distant.
I always bring a tripod with me, sometimes a proper one, other times a got a home made gorillapod. Is this shot with a GoPro? If it feels unstable, maybe you can build a two hand grip, with the camera mounted in the middle.

Nice to se some more UW film here...
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Hi Bill,

Nice work and a fine explanation of the farming activities of the damselfish. There are a number of damselfish species that do this. Many damselfish can be similarly aggressive when the males are guarding the nests with eggs in them. In one species in the Atlantic that builds nests in small caves, small schooling mysid shrimp take advantage of the nest-guarding as a way to be safe from their own predators. The damselfish chase just about anything away from their nests, sometimes taking a whirl at divers. In fact, I have often thought that if damselfish were the size of large groupers divers would not be safe in the water with them!

Once again a nice film well researched and told.

Alan
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 01:59 PM   #8
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Just getting on line and able to view the films. Looks like we have some great ones.
Simon- I used the GoPro and attached a small weight and placed it on the rocky bottom, making sure not to disturb any coral. Fish are not cooperative once you set up the shot, they constantly move out of the scene. So it was a challenge to anticipate their movements.
Mike- The adult Hawaiian Gregory is about 6". and I set the camera to 30fps, and used Vegas to slow some of the shots down.
Lorinda- I do have some shots of them tending their farms, but got them before the challenge, so couldn't use them. The narration is the weak point, I have a good mic but haven't spent the time getting the right setup. In the first clip I forgot to fade the voice over and it sounds bad.
Geir- Sorry for speaking so quickly. I had a script and had to trim it down quite a bit to get it under the time limit and cut out a lot of key info. That's a challenge telling a story with a time limit. I'll remember next time to slow down the narrative.
Markus- I agree with you, I need motion and closeups with the shots, but I couldn't get good shots for this one since I was snorkeling and couldn't stay stable underwater, I need to get scuba gear and some weights to equalize the buoyancy.
Alan- so true, if they were bigger they would be chasing us off the reef.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

I am shocked to hear that the camera used to shoot your big looking film was the little gopro! I thought your film had an 'epic' feel to it. I have actually recently ordered a gopro camera: do you have a flat lens system and do you use a red filter or something? I would be interested in experimenting with some underwater shots in the future; and the fact that you achieved your film with a gopro makes me confident that I made the right investment.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Thesken View Post
I do have some shots of them tending their farms, but got them before the challenge, so couldn't use them.
Ouch! You and Mike both got bit on this one this transitional round! When I floated a draft of the new rules past Meryem last week she told me that enough people had asked permission to use a few seconds of previously shot footage (in the past) that I should add this to rule #5:

Material must be original and shot for the purpose of being judged in the current contest. Previously shot footage, as long as it is just a clip or two for educational or illustrative purposes, was shot specifically for UWOL (not stock footage) and does not exceed 10% of the total is permissible. The use of effects templates from Motion and After Effects, Livetype, etc. is permissible, without limits.

You must not have been able to check in here to see the new rules. I'm sorry it worked out that way for this challenge, but I hope you will slip it in for your other uses. Trusting you'll post for us to see if you do!
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 03:47 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Here's a link to the new rules, Bill. In case you wonder what else you missed, you are a judge this round! :) http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/uwol-cha...an-i-play.html
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Old September 4th, 2011, 06:20 AM   #12
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Thank you for bringing us below the surface to get acquainted with the Hawaiian Gregory.
The waves and light movements are exciting.
The sound editing and music choice are also fine.
But, as Geir Inge mentioned, you are a fast-talking person.
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Old September 4th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL #21 - The Mighty Gregory

Hi Bill, enjoyed this a lot - I was yearning for a few closeups but realised that the movement of water across the reef would have made things quite difficult to get any sort of usable footage! I learned a lot too, I've always struggled to capture behaviour and inter-species activity in my UWOL films, it makes for the most exciting and interesting stories - and you nailed it.
Cheers,

Rob
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