UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda at DVinfo.net

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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:57 AM   #1
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UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

First off, I had fun!
My wife and I decided to go to the zoo on a chilly, (40ºF), yet sunny day a couple weeks ago. I had an idea that worked with the zoo, so I brought my camera and monopod.
We had a great day...Animals were very active and the visitors were few.

To the film...I learned a lot working on this challenge.
First, I learned that working with the small frame Panasonic GH2 was considerably different than a full size video camera. I love it, but most of my footage was unusable. To make it worse, I shot in 1080/24p, when I usually work with 720/60p, which also caused me issues.
Most important, I learned not to dwell on what I didn't have to tell the story and tell the story with what I had.

I almost went to the shark tank in frustration, but my friend Oliver Pahlow, (also in this challenge), convinced me Monday that I had enough to work with, and enough time. So Monday night I stitched this together and I am rather happy with it.

This is the 720p version off my Vimeo page...If you wish to see the 1080p version, go to the UWOL Vimeo page.


As always...comments, advice and useful ideas are greatly appreciated.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Hi Bob,

Thanks for sharing your video and I'm glad you got it done against the odds!

The message is clear and pertinent; I think everyone must have conflicting feelings about zoos, but yet they continue to thrive and they have evolved over the years from simple cages to simulated habitats.
I agree with your thoughts about children; I only ever go to zoos because of my kids, and they learn something new every time. But so do I, too!

I guess your zoo has a 'no tripod policy' (or at least they make you pay a commercial fee if you bring one in? Handheld shooting can be a trial, but you pulled it off well enough. Were you using a fisheye lens (or a gopro) for some of the shots? How do you like using the monopod?

Well done; now I'm going to have a look at some of your motorbike videos (Im also a biker). I see you're a Motorrader; I love those Beemers!
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Old April 4th, 2013, 10:05 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Hi Bob,

Thanks for yet another good film from you.
You tell a strong story, and the debate of the zoo is a never ending issue.
Good to see there is more room for the animals in your local zoo, than those I have visited.

I like how you mix close ups and the wide shots. (Like the penguin swimming and then a wide shot after)

Thank you for sharing.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Bob,

A really nicely done video, the story was strong and the video was as excellent as expected. I personally feel this is your best film to date!!!

I very much enjoyed it and your explanations in the narative were clear, concise and to the point, an A+ in my english class, wait a minute I don't teach anymore. James Louis Borges would be impressed!!

Thanks for taking the time!!!


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Old April 5th, 2013, 12:58 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

The triple layer of audio worked well, I noticed that right off the bat. One point where the music dropped a little suddenly but overall it adds a lot to the whole picture. There was another film made a few rounds ago about zoos that runs along the same theme I recall. Nice pacing, drawing us in. This is a really good one.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 04:10 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Well done Bob
yes… how should we feel about zoo’s… indeed that do teach us something, but I try to only visit the ones that run some kind of programs for endangered species. We got a few good ones in Sweden, but also some really bad one. It was big news last year from one of them… horrible story, hidden dead animals in cooling dumpsters.
strong story, we all need to think of.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Hi Bob.

You are asking a very important question that evokes a dilemma regarding zoos.
On one hand, we want the animals to be free, on the other hand,
zoos can be good learning for our youngest future lovers of Mother Nature.
Many children grow up with zoos as the only opportunity to become familiar with wild animals and nature. While not a fan of zoos, I think they have their mission in this work.
Like your film very well and you have a good mix of commentary, background sounds and music.

Well done and thanks for sharing.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 12:17 PM   #8
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Thanks everyone for taking the time to give me your thoughts...I am very glad the message I was trying to send was clear to one and all.

Simon - Tripods are welcome at that zoo, but my good tripod is much to large and heavy for this little 3 pound camera, (and tough to carry all day), and my other is a very lightweight, small one I have for packing on the bike. I should get something better for this camera, but I really like using a monopod when I can. Perhaps more practice.
I hope you enjoyed the motorbike videos...And the BMW is one great bike, probably the favorite of my three.

Trond, Dale - Thank you for you kind words!

Bill - Thank you. You are correct about the audio drop. There were a few audio and video transistions I am unhappy with. Normally I let the video sit for a day and watch it a few times and make any minor, final corrections, but I was up against the clock with this one.

Markus, Geir - Yes, zoos are an interesting dilemma, aren't they. I feel better knowing that this particular zoo works very hard to promote conservation and education.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Bob,

I just watched your film for the third time - this time with my eyes closed!

The story was excellent - yes, zoos are something we all know and have experienced, and have our own opinions on, but your message came through clearly.

I wont comment on the technical aspects, because you already know how to make it better next time - the important thing is the timing and the content of the story was excellent.

Thanks!
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Old April 5th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

I too liked the content of the story and the message. I also appreciated the concerns you had with working with a new camera.... seems like a popular theme this go round. I like the quality of the images though, and the free feel hand holding the camera gives your film. If you get into a real jerky scene that is otherwise good, consider using a steady shot plugin. 24p can be a bit jerky, especially if you have to shoot it at high shutter speeds. I rarely take it over 1/48 (or as close to that as I can.) That way, motion blur will help with the stucatto effect.

As far as 24p goes in general, I have been shooting in nothing but that for a long time now, and when I inadvertantly shoot is something else, I have problems. So question to you is do you like the look of 24p. If you do, working around its issues will become second nature.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 01:27 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Hi, Bob. This is a video after my own heart. I have shot for a couple of UWOLs at the zoo myself. I used a monopod for stills years ago but have never tried one for video. I may have to do so. You say you discarded many of your shots due to getting used to the new camera. I can’t help but wonder what gems we missed. What you showed us is very good. Much of what we know about many animals in the wild was first discovered in zoos and research is an important function they serve, but I think you are right that educating our insolated young is the most important one. Good show.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Bob, I like your film. It is a fine composition.
The thought-through words fit so well to the pictures.
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Old April 7th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Your welcome Bob!
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Old April 7th, 2013, 01:30 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Paul - Thanks for the kind words.

Chris - Thanks for the compliments. I kept the shutter speed at 1/50th for all the shots. I was using an adjustable ND filter to maintain the f-stop I wanted. Most of the video I've done has involved motorcycles and racing, and 60p worked better for the fast moving stuff. It also helped keep the rolling shutter effect to a minimum. But I intend to do more 24p work in the future.

Mike, Finn-Eric - Thank you both for the nice comments.

Oliver - Back at ya, friend.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 02:40 PM   #15
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Re: UWOL 25 - Why A Zoo? - By Bob Thieda

Hi Bob
There are so many different takes on the theme this time round making the films really interesting to watch. You came up with another very different subject here – showing the hugely negative side of zoos as well as their positive educational value.

That is quite some zoo you have there – at least some creative effort has been put into making the cages for the animals appear as natural as possible. But, as you so succinctly put it, “Even the nicest cage is still a cage if you’re a bird!”

What captured my attention were the shots showing the reaction of the children upon seeing the different animals – you certainly proved a point. One or two of the extreme shots looked like they were shot with the GoPro. A few bumpy shots but actually they did not detract too much.

Your narration is clear and easy to follow. I like your music!

Your film contrasts clearly the absolute boredom and stress of the animals with the excitement of the children upon encountering new creatures. It definitely highlights the dilemma people face concerning zoos. Well done; a good watch.
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