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Old July 8th, 2014, 08:31 AM   #1
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Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Now that UWOL 30 is over and the winner crowned, I would also like to submit a non-entry for comment. I made this film in May on a trip to the Great Salt Lake in the State of Utah. The western US drought has reduced much of this legendary site to a huge mudflat, but some locations, like the wildlife refuge at the northern end are still nicely wet. Please let me know what you think, and I mean criticism. Any little thing you don't like. No offense will be taken, and I really do appreciate any remarks that will improve my ability to make videos.

Here is a Vimeo link:

Here is a smaller file:
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Old July 8th, 2014, 05:29 PM   #2
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hey, Steve. Iím glad to see you are getting around so well after the knee surgery. Thanks for sharing the great imagery. I do have a couple of questions about the audio. How did you record the field audio? Also, did you change the EQ on the voice-over this time? See you next time.
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Old July 8th, 2014, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hey Mike,
Yeah the surgery went well. Rehab of sorts tends to be a life-long thing, however. I use a Rode NTG-1 shotgun mike and a dead cat mounted on the camcorder. All automatic settings. I pass pretty much all audio files through Izotope RX to get rid of hum and steady background noise, and more often than not apply a highpass filter at 300-500 hz. Part of the splashing feet was foley in my bathroom sink.

I noticed a change in the voice over too. Instead of doing it in a room with furniture, draperies a large piece of egg crate foam and the mic surrounded by pillows, I did it by putting the mic in a 14 inch square box lined with foam, and a pop filter. No equalization. Does it need it?
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Old July 8th, 2014, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

No, I wouldnít say that. It sounds good. I just thought I heard a difference and wondered if you had been experimenting with new settings. Iíll give Izotope RX a look, thanks! By the way, the foley was very good- fooled me completely.
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Old July 8th, 2014, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Izotope has this wonder feature in in it's noise reduction section. The screen shows a sonogram. You isolate a small section of it where only the unwanted noise occurs. You push "train" to teach the system what is unwanted, then select the whole piece and push "apply" and the noise is removed. If the noise is not too loud, there is no artifact left over.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 03:30 AM   #6
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Steve, I have tried to watch both files but being out and about I don't have a fast broadband, but what I have seen stuttering so far looks good. Back home in a few days so will have a proper look then. Just one question Did you film this with the pmw 300, if so would love to know your thought on it over the ex3.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #7
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Mick,
I'm sorry you have trouble watching the video. I will try to put up a REALLY small file of it for people trying to see it on laptops, wifi hotspots, phones, etc. I sort of thought Vimeo magically did that for you. Thanks for the input.

I like the PMW 300. But I liked my EX3, too, which was stolen. The PMW 300 is bigger and heavier. The viewfinder has a lot more joints and mirrors in it. I initially thought it would break, but it is sturdy enough. You can use the SDHC cards like the EX3, or more expensive XQD cards at 50 mbps. Not much difference in quality. I do think the images from the 300 are marginally sharper than the EX3, but maybe it's because it's new. Lenses are the same. Maximum fps is still 60 at 720p. Would I have bought the 300 if my EX3 had not been stolen? No.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Thanks for updating me with your on views on the 300!

Mick
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Old July 9th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Steve

I loved this. Absolutely stunning shots. As usual your tracking of birds in flight and in this case also the Grebes' rush is amazing. I enjoyed your story albeit simple. The bird calls are crystal clear and your Foley sounds flawless. Well done Steve - I will watch this many times.

Marj
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Old July 9th, 2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

Very enjoyable short, as usual - I applaud your ability to get the tight shots so well, tracking the subjects, but as a constructive comment, I would have like a few more wider shots to build a sequence before some of the extreme close ups.

For example at 3.20 you have a very close shot of feet, followed by a wider shot at 3.29 - I would have reversed those, so the viewer has an idea of where they are, before the detail.

I like some sort of establishing shot so I can see the birds in context, before I see the detail, as it adds to the storytelling, and can also help with the VO, as you did explain in the beginning.

Not criticism. hopefully a different point of view!
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Old July 10th, 2014, 11:50 PM   #11
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

This was really nice to watch. I like how you are able to follow the motion of the birds and still keep your camera so steady with smooth panning, especially with the shot of the birds running on the water.

As Paul mentioned, I would also like to see some more establishing / wide shots of the area, but I enjoyed it as it is now also.

Thanks for the info about your audio workflow. I'll try the highpass filter and see if that can improve my audio too.
I use the noise reduction filter in Adobe Audition, and I believe that is the same as you do in Izotope. Really helping a lot with the background noise/hum.

Can't comment on your question for the need of EQ, because I only have access to a computer with some "low end" speakers at the moment. Audio quality sounds good to me.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 06:56 AM   #12
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. I will certain figure out how to work more wide shots into the story line next video. It must be a real problem, because a documentary producer I know says "You bird people only want to shoot close-ups. Where are your wide shots!"
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Old July 12th, 2014, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Hi Steve, now managed to watch the full hd version and enjoyed very much. My only question is about the slomo bits. Were they overcranked in camera, or in post either way very effective.

Mick
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Old July 12th, 2014, 08:52 PM   #14
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Mick,

They were shot at 720 p60 non-interlaced, and slowed down to 25% of full speed in post.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 03:05 AM   #15
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Re: Dances With Grebes (non-contest entry) Steve Siegel

Thanks for that Steve, forgot to add that you did a great job with the Foley sounds.

Mick
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