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Old July 2nd, 2014, 10:32 AM   #1
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Reed Warblers

Well here goes. Not sure if I have fulfilled the brief in as much as showing how I captured my footage, but at least you get to look at some lovely youngsters. Although the reed warbler comes under the bird watchers term of LBJ's (little brown jobbies) they are never the less interesting birds to watch. I enjoy long lens work and can spend hours just filming natural animal behaviour close up from a distance. The reed warbler is on of the favorite nests used by cuckoo's to lay their egg in, but none were recorded along this section of the canal this year. Recording pieces to camera is not really my forte and therefore a good challenge for me, probably need a bit more practice lol.

Anyway hope you enjoy watching

Mick

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Last edited by Mick Jenner; July 2nd, 2014 at 10:34 AM. Reason: spelling!
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: Reed Warblers

Mick,

I enjoyed watching your Reed Warblers, and especially your easy, relaxed way of narrating the film. I have always been self-conscious about putting myself in my videos, but you seem to have a good way of fitting right in. I would like to make two small suggestions. One is very trivial, namely to cut the last half-second off of the running bunny, where camera motion is obvious. The other is to decrease the volume of the music, or eliminate it altogether. The songs of British countryside birds are renowned worldwide, and foreigners like me would love to hear them as they are. I look forward to your next entry.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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Re: Reed Warblers

Thanks, Mick- I really enjoyed this one. Reed Warbler is one of the birds I read a lot about in my university studies and this is the best footage I have seen of them. As usual, you gave us a nice mix of focal lengths and camera angles. Good use of cut-away too. The pace of the editing makes it feel like we are out there with you watching the birds. Finding small birds moving in reeds or cane can be so difficult because of the parallax problem. You make it look so easy. Are you using some kind of finder to help line up the long telephoto shots? I would have liked to see some shots of you behind the camera. It isnít clear to me if you were working from an exposed position or using some sort of portable hide. Your on camera presence is very compelling. I would suggest you think about doing more of that because it is really very good. Perhaps a cross dissolve at 00:22 would soften the jump cut. I think this is one of the outstanding UWOL films and I know I will watch it many times. It really contrasts with the poor performance so many of us made of UC30. Congratulations and well done!
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Mick,

Impressive! This must be one of your strongest films so far!
I really enjoyed the close up shots of the birds. May I ask how far from the birds you were, and if you used a hide or blind? Often when I try to film birds, they get scared before I get close enough to get such real close ups.

You made a good and natural appearance in front of the camera too. Your way of telling the story reminded me a bit of David Attenborough's shows. Do not be afraid of repeating that.

I agree with Steve's and Mike's suggestions.

Thank you for sharing!
---------
By the way, your video link here in your feedback thread doesn't work. Due to embedding settings - Embedding isn't allowed in your settings.
Is this one from your private vimeo page? The other link works fine.
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 02:41 PM   #5
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Re: Reed Warblers

Thanks for watching and commenting.

Steve - Many thanks for your kind comments and observations. I thought long and hard about adding music, as like you I would rather not use it all and rely on natural sound and VO's. I felt on this occasion it warranted it as the close ups in themselves did not tell a story, but I do take on board you observation re the sound balance.

Mike and Trond - Pleased you enjoyed watching. This distance from the bird was the width of the canal. I did not use a blind but positioned myself precariously half way down the bank behind the reeds. I spent several days there arriving just before sunrise, so that the birds became used to my presence, also the the path at the top of the bank is well used by bird watchers and dog walkers. I found two families approx 30 metres apart. They had not long fledged and I presume were fairly close their nests (although I could not see them), they were initially well hidden in the reeds and did not wander far from where I originally sighted them. They soon became used to my presence and after a couple of days the parents were feeding the young in the more open reeds close to the waters edge. They tended to have favorite feeding spots so it was a matter of pre focusing on a particular reed or area and hoped they moved onto it or into the area when the parent returned.
As far as footage of me filming is concerned! Thats a big disappointment as my second camera failed to work ( now with repairers) My wife and I were staying locally to where I was filming and not in a position to return home for another. The good or maybe bad outcome to this is you have more pieces of me to camera than I originally intended!

Trond, the link is from my vimeo page.

Mick
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 04:31 PM   #6
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Re: Reed Warblers

Very nice work!
It must have been difficult to get the bird-shots from across the canal with all the seaweed in the way, and a quick moving target. Thats when having a good tripod with a dampened videohead really comes in handy! Nice steady shots. Love the way you represent things with being in the shots just like BBC and Sir David Attenborough. Thats definitely the way to go, and i bet you almost everybody here wished they spoke perfect english and could do the same you just did!

Regarding length of video, i might have misunderstood the rules, but i thought the entire video should be 4 minutes including subtitles. If i had known i might have squezed a few more seconds out of my entry as well. It really doesnt matter to me, your entry was very nice.
If I had to put a comment on anything in your video that could be improved next time, it would be the colours!
You could have colorgraded things a bit more to get the shots to stand out a bit.
Look forward to your next one allready. Keep it up!
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 07:17 PM   #7
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Re: Reed Warblers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegard Paulsen View Post
Regarding length of video, i might have misunderstood the rules, but i thought the entire video should be 4 minutes including subtitles. If i had known i might have squezed a few more seconds out of my entry as well. It really doesnt matter to me, your entry was very nice.
End-credits are excluded from the 4 minute limit, but keep them short (within reason).
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Old July 4th, 2014, 02:06 AM   #8
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Re: Reed Warblers

Noted! Imagine all those shots i could have squeezed in on 9 seconds extra ;)
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Old July 5th, 2014, 01:09 AM   #9
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Vegard, many thanks for you kind comments. Your comment re colour grading is interesting and something thats coming more important especially now you have so much more latitude with hi end and 4k cameras. I see from your your reply to Mike that you use Davinci Resolve. I do have the light (free) version downloaded but have yet to get my head around it. I went to a demonstration of the blackmagic 4k cine camera/ Davinci Resolve and was amazed how the flat colours that are recorded with the cameras standard settings can be brought to life when graded, "wow" goes now way to describing the results. The dark mystic art of colour grading is maybe something to challenge my grey cells in the future. My footage was recorded with a sony ex3 at 35mb/s with Alan Roberts BBC settings slightly tweaked, 80-400mm nikon lens for the Warblers and the standard lens for the pieces to camera. Edited in Edius 7.3
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Old July 5th, 2014, 03:56 AM   #10
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Re: Reed Warblers

A quicksearh on youtube "edius color correction" gave me this. Definitely recommended to get used to tweaking your shots inside your editing suite as a start. This usually fixes wrong white balance, exposure, and contrast in a hurry! No need for going outside your edius to fix that. When you start shooting in raw, things get a bit more complicated and you might be better off with davinci, but stick to the easy fixes first!


Dontbe afraid of using the tools at your disposal! They are there to help you getting the shots better :) good luck!
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Old July 5th, 2014, 05:24 AM   #11
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Vergard, thanks for that. I am aware and use Edius colour correctors etc as I have used the Edius since version1. I tend to try and portray a more natural colour as opposed to over vibrancy and correct to that appearance if necessary in edit, although I am probably of the old school and try to get the colour right in the camera. The point I was making about Davinci is that with so much Data now available from raw sauce material, colour grading has become a very skillful Art. As you are no a doubt aware colour grading is an industry in itself.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:57 AM   #12
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Mick

I really enjoyed your film.

The first thing that struck me about your film is the crisp quality of the images.

The opening scene is welcoming and well-framed. My feeling is that the lighting is a bit flat though - could do with better lighting from the front, especially with the diffused light behind you.

I do agree with what most folk have said here about your easy, relaxed style as presenter and also encourage you to do that more. I like the way you changed your position and location while doing the presentation, rather than limiting yourself to one spot and angle. – doing that gave us a lot of extra background information.

I am really sorry your second camera let you down. I think that appreciation of the challenge you faced to film those birds was actually lost to the viewer because of it. I doubt many people appreciate just how difficult it is to find some birds and film their behaviour. It requires utmost patience and knowledge. At first I wondered why you didn’t set up a hide on the pathway but I quickly realized that, to get the correct angle on the bird you had to get down to their level – I hate to think how uncomfortable you must have been perched in amongst those reeds for hours! My hat off to you - Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers are amongst the most difficult birds to see never mind film because of their propensity to move through the reeds rather than come out into the open, especially when there are people around. I also don’t think there could have been a more difficult place to locate and film these Reed Warblers than this.

Possibly a good compromise, in order to show your challenge, would have been to film yourself showing us where you were intending to set up the camera and why and then show yourself moving down to that position in amongst the reeds so we could appreciate the difficulty - even if you did not have the camera with you. You could also perhaps also have explained how you managed to see through the reeds in front of you. In a way your relaxed style was a slight disadvantage for this particular theme because it came across as if this was a breeze rather than a challenge.

I have a question – how did you propose to find and film the nest and nestlings had they not fledged? I really am interested because that would have been pretty difficult, especially so as not to disturb things.

A polished submission for sure with excellent footage of the Warblers!
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:25 PM   #13
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Mick,

I have to agree with Trond that this is your best film yet!

I enjoyed the BTS parts as well, and won't add to the comments made by others, but your confidence on camera certainly added value to the piece. Well done for your patience in getting the footage, and putting together a very nice work.

I hadn't really noticed anything about the color the first time I watched it, but having read Vegard's comments, I could see the benefit of a bit of exposure/contrast adjustment in some of the shots to improve them.

The only other thing is a bit of advice I got from Den Lennie - sleep on your final edit - I am as guilty as all in never finishing an edit, but I do find if I come back to a project the day after finishing it, I always spot some small issues I had missed, like jump cuts etc.

Many thanks for your film!
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Old July 8th, 2014, 08:41 AM   #14
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Marge, thanks for watching and giving constructive critique that I very much appreciate. Normally to film bird at the nest is a necessary long drawn out process of slow introduction etc to avoid any disturbance and stress to the birds. If they are classed as scheduled 1 birds then a licence from Natural England is required in order to do this a limited number of licences are issued each year. Reed Warblers are not S1 birds. On this occasion I had hoped to find a nesting pair where you could get glimpses of birds at the nest from the river bank when the wind was blowing the reeds, watching the parents would have enabled me to find it, this was to be part of the "man verses wild" But as they had fledged I was unable to locate any nests so had to change my plans accordingly.
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Old July 8th, 2014, 08:45 AM   #15
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Re: Reed Warblers

Hi Paul, thanks watching and commenting, your words of wisdom are appreciated.
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