UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel at DVinfo.net

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Old October 3rd, 2012, 01:01 PM   #1
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UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

I triggered vertigo, which I have never had before, making a video for the DV Challenge last month, shooting and editing tiny figures, and am still not totally over it. So I almost didn't make this film, but thanks to help from my husband and daughter I managed to get it done. They did a lot of the editing, since I am trying to avoid too much of that lately.

This film shows part of the reason Robin is no longer the star of my films. She has spent most weekends the past year volunteering at this museum, featuring Miocene fossils.

This video features the preparator at the lab, discussing the importance of the site. For you Norwegian UWOLers, his family is from Norway! I didn't feel comfortable using a tripod with so many rare specimens so this was shot handheld or wedged in convenient safe locations in the lab.

As you can see from the film, there is a dedicated staff, and some impressive finds have come from the site. It is amazing to have such a world class fossil site so close to home.

Here is the video-

Interacting With the Past
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Old October 4th, 2012, 05:16 AM   #2
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth! Thatís an awesome location!
Maybe a tripod could have been used in some shot (outside, entre, etc.), just to give it a more stable start. That would have been nice to see some excavation shots, just to get a bit more understand on that part of the site.
The text in the beginning move a bit too fast for me, maybe the museum hade some picture of the animals and landscape, how they think is looked like, that you could have used and then put a VO on it.
Well done Ruth, a nice shot Doc!

/Markus
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Old October 4th, 2012, 05:32 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Hi Ruth,

I agree with Markus, this was awesome!
A very nice and interesting story which I enjoyed a lot.
Maybe you could have used a tripod for the outdoors shots, but indoors handheld was a great choice.

Is it Robin we see in the background at 1:46 - 1:55?
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Old October 5th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth,
I thought the message was brought across well, in your film - I agree with the comments on camera technique, and my thoughts were that perhaps you could have used some locked down shots in their place.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

I'm a big fan of handholding these days; its a lot more liberating and people are less self conscious and more open (I find) when you are dragging around less gear. Also, in confined spaces it takes that much longer to set up with a tripod, so you sometimes lose the spur of the moment stuff that you get when handholding.

I think in documentary work its more accepted to have moving footage, though obviously its always neat to see a nicely framed and locked down composition from time to time.

Worked well Ruth, and your interviewee looked very comfortable and at ease in front of the camera.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 10:21 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth!

This is such a departure from the DV Challenge!

I agree that that the intro titles were a little fast, but the use was effective and put me in the frame of mind for something from the past.

It was really interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes in reconstructing fossils. I never would have thought!

Good choice on speaker- he seemed at ease in front of the camera!

Toni
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Markus, thanks for the suggestions. I made a choice to keep the camera stationary only for the interview, and unlock it for the rest to create a sort of you are there news atmosphere. Since I didn't want to use a tripod indoors, i decided to match that with all the shots. I would have loved to get the excavation, but that is off limits except to researchers. The text idea was straight from Star Wars, thought up and implemented by my husband, a Star Wars (and sci-fi) fan. He deliberately had it go pretty fast, like the film that inspired it, so it was his stylistic choice.

Trond, yes that was Robin, and also the close-up of her working on a tapir.

Paul, as noted above, I chose to only have locked down shots for the interview, with everything else handheld. This was experimental for me, as almost all my nature films are shot from a tripod, so i will consider options for future films.

Simon, I agree with you that handheld can be effective, though since many of the comments so far don't seem to like it, in future I will try to figure out a good balance. I almost always shoot from a tripod, so this was a departure for me. The interviews were all shot with a stable camera, but the scenes of the lab and the field site were all handheld. I think I will continue to experiment with using both, and figure out from feedback where it is most effective.

Toni, glad you liked the film, and learned something. Yes, the speaker is really comfortable, and I chose him since he is always really happy to explain things whenever we go to drop off and pick up Robin, and apparently keeps up a running commentary for the hours she is there. The titles were developed and implemented by my husband, and he chose the pace based on his inspiration by Star Wars. I generally do everything on my videos- I have an audio background so start from that and do the shooting, editing, and titles. Because of my ongoing vertigo (I chose a person rather than tiny 2 inch actors!) I had to give up creative control, but it was fun working with my husband on the video, and I liked his title ideas.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth,

I loved the Star Wars intro, but agree with Marcus, a bit fast to read. Is the site near the Florissant fossil beds? You really caught the ambiance and excitement of a working scientific laboratory.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth, I am distressed to learn of your vertigo problems. I hope you are feeling better and will be in top form soon. Iím pleased that you did not let it stop you from making another great video this round. I liked the story and completely fell in love with the place but, for obvious reasons, I donít think it conveys the high energy level that characterizes so much of your work. I miss that. Hang in there.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth Happel View Post
Trond, yes that was Robin, and also the close-up of her working on a tapir.
Say hi to the uwol-princess from me. :)
Good to see she is doing such a cool job.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

I had no idea what fossil assembly looked like on site, and the mesh fossil head puzzle you showed was amazing. That looks like hard work. Thanks for the awesome insight!
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Old October 6th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Very interesting Ruth. Putting together puzzles. Is there a way for them to scan all the little pieces, put the data into a software program and find out where they go?
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Old October 6th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

I will not repeat what is already said, but I am not disturbed by the camera-movements.
You have achieved to get life to the pictures.
I like your approach to the task. The guide seems to be familiar with the the situation in front of camera.
Thanks for showing us interesting signs form the past.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #14
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Your video took me by surprise, Ruth.
I was expecting some of your funny voices and here you are; giving us a great video of history.
We live here and now, and often forget that we can learn from our history.
I think you are showing that history can teach us something from the past, but also about how we can shape the future. This is great interaction and I just love this video.
So different than what I'm used to from you, but who says we cannot supply different films. Nothing should be static, if you know what I mean.
I have a textbook on video telling me how to shoot. Why should we follow these movie rules to the letter?
OK, so it may be important that the horizon and oceans are shimmed (leveled?).
Nevertheless, they can be the best movies when you break a rule or two, right?
Handheld camera can make one feel that one is in the movie; I get such a feeling by watching your video.
Colors, editing and sound is good and the story kept me captive throughout the video. We are so lucky to have you on the team, Ruth.

Thank you for sharing your skills with us.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #15
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Re: UWOL#24 - "Interacting with the Past" by Ruth Happel

Ruth,

I always look forward to your videos, this one was as nice as ever. Certainly , like all the others you nailed the theme. Your narator was enjoyable to listen to and This could be a much longer full version video!! at 240 was the vieo of the head he was working on, my favorite shot really as it fully shows what is going on!!

Great Job
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