UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel at DVinfo.net

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Old January 5th, 2015, 07:07 AM   #1
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UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

First, I must apologize for the watermark on this video. I originally posted a clean copy, but the file was so big that it stuttered constantly. UWOL 32 happened at the same time we visited family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bosque del Apache is 90 minutes away, and I went there three times. Each time was different. On one visit I overheard some photographers talking about how bad water management and a poor corn crop were hurting the birds. Thus the tenor of this video. Although water and air are obviously important in this piece, the driving force in New Mexico is the Earth. The desert dominates everything, even the mountains. And as the title says, in the half-light of morning, the constant flow of rising geese does indeed seem to be emerging from a pit hidden in the ground.

Please put me in the "I want all the critical comments" category.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 03:45 PM   #2
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Here is my video without the watermark.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 06:46 PM   #3
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Steve, having just returned from filming at Bosque del Apache I really enjoyed your video. Nice work.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 03:38 AM   #4
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Hey Steve.
Nice video about birds and it shows that the elements or the environment,
is important to preserve a biodiversity.
Rhythm of the editing is good and fits nicely to both narrator and foley sound.
Bird Sounds, can at times be noisy and a tip might be to tone down and instead put on some calm music.
With the right mix you can have both a narrator, foley's and music.
Just a suggestion and personal opinion.

I like it very much, thank you for sharing.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 05:56 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

An interesting story you tell, and I enjoyed watching.
To me it is good that you choose to have such a "high volume" of the ambient and bird sounds. Was easy to hear and understand what you said, even though birds are loud.
But Geir Inge's suggestion of having some background music (at the more quiet parts of your film), is a good idea too.

The sequence beginning at 2:26:
I like seeing this as it appears to be total chaos, and still it seems like the birds are fully able to avoid collisions in mid air. But some people might react to this visually, as it after a short while becomes a "strobe light effect".
Something to be aware of. (not sure, but maybe consider cut this clip a little bit shorter?)

Keep up your good work!
Well done!
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Old January 7th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Steve,

I am a fan of bird shots so there is no doubt that i loved the video.

For me there are things i loved the most
1) The snow geese formations when the come in (nicely done)
2) the over all sequence of them getting to the water , footage is amazingly captured, if it was a bit shorter may be even a few seconds it would be more crisp and catchy.
3) the sky colours very lovely.
4) The first 30 seconds of establishing shots when you set the scene with the VO is pretty impressive.

The first shot of the cranes is a bit too long may be a few seconds less may work too. Also the chaos take off of the geese may be a few second less. However this is my opinion and me being a real novice my be completely wrong about it.

I really like the mix of VO with surrounds sound, works well.

cheers
vishal
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Old January 7th, 2015, 08:50 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

The blast off of geese in the morning exerts a sort of visceral reaction when you are there to experience it which I think is captured nicely in Steve's video. In person, it's loud and intense.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Thanks for all the comments. It seems that the main issue is that some of the clips are a bit too long. Certainly easy enough to fix. The noise was necessary to try to convey the blast of 40,000 geese taking off at once. The air vibrates with it. My heart was still racing half an hour later.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

Liked the film very much. Not sure what happened during the upload as some of the clips look quite jaggy.
A good storyline. Like Trond I found the mass take off had a bit of a strobe effect, understand what you were trying to achieve, not sure it worked though, or again this effect could be down to bad encoding.
By coincidence I was filming mass take off's of stock doves from a stubble field today, only 500 or so, but they made a terrific noise, so I can imagine what a din your lot made. Thanks for entering.

Mick.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 01:47 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

I enjoyed the film, but have the same comments - The sound mix could have been a bit more varied to emphasise the points you are making (with the shots) - maybe a discreet sound recorder closer to the source would have given a nice effect. The goose liftoff scene would be greatly improved had you been able to cut to some different angles to add to the experience.

Thanks!
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Old January 8th, 2015, 01:35 AM   #11
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Steve - It would be something to be there. As Paul mentioned it would help if you could get some different angles on the take off. Interesting video. Thanks.

Gordon
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Old January 9th, 2015, 07:23 AM   #12
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Solid story there Steve. Unique and interesting.

So many birds, and the sheer chaos. It gets a bit intense when you literally can't make head or tail of the bird flock, but that kind of works for it. I don't think the codec knows what to do with so much counter motion. You get a sense of it, but I can only imagine there's no substitute for being there. Can't really add anything beyond the other comments / suggestions.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old January 10th, 2015, 11:30 AM   #13
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Wow Steve – what a video. You have managed to capture something really special. Judging by what you have presented here - the din and clamor of thousands of raucous geese and the exciting but confusing effect created by thousands of wings beating furiously as they rise - I can only imagine the impact that something like this would have on one when seeing it in real life. You have introduced and captured the atmosphere of this event pretty well. To me, the ‘strobing’ effect that has resulted in your footage visually enhances the overwhelming feeling of confusion even if it was an unexpected side effect*. The moving wings almost look like static noise. Most impressive was the close-up shot of the geese coming in to land at 1:46. You are truly a master at following birds in flight.

I personally think this is one of your best videos. I was particularly impressed with your story and narration this time round. You did a fantastic job of tying what is essentially a bird video into the theme of ‘Elements’ - your three questions at the end finally putting the elements in this to bed.

The story is well planned and engaging, and there is a huge amount here to grab attention and give it impact. My opinion only, but I disagree that some clips should be made shorter.

As far as your camerawork goes – you make good use of a variety of camera moves; the use of close-up shots when the birds begin rising contributes to the overall feeling of confusion. Nice shot of the birds returning after feeding - seems like you found a higher vantage point for that. Why did you decide to reverse the shot at 3:05 ? – the geese are swimming backwards!

I personally like the use of VO and natural sound without music for the body of this –I think music would have detracted from the ambience of the location and especially where you captured the chaos of birds and noise. BTW- natural sound is obvious by its absence in the clip showing the geese returning from feeding. (round 2:13). I also suggest that at the end you could have re-started the music sooner -at 3:08 -when you began summing up. The questions you ask at the end intimate clearly that the future of these birds is pretty tenuous. Hope not – would love to see that one day.

Just a small observation: the map should have indicated the names of the different states – it should not be assumed that everyone knows where places are – in this case S. New Mexico – the USA is a very large place.

*Question time (I would love to establish what caused the pixellation.) I understand that super-rapid, simultaneous changes of many small parts of an image will inevitably cause havoc with encoding but what I would really like to find out is whether it was the compression of the image we see in your entry that caused (or aggravated) it or if it was also present in your original footage?
My second question is – if it was in your footage what shutter speed were you using?

Well done.
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Old January 10th, 2015, 03:52 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Marj,

Thanks for your extensive review, and the kind words. I will try to answer your questions in order.

1. You noticed the geese swimming backwards. I had hoped to slip that one by, as I didn't notice it
myself until I was uploading! The scene was shot panning from the photographer to the right. But the narrative made me want to end with the human in the scene, so I ran it to pan backwards. I didn't think that such a move would make all the motion backwards. Duhhh!

2. There is audio of the geese returning from feeding, but the distance makes it faint. Maybe I let it be too faint.

3. Originally I had the states visible in a middle clip while zooming into the refuge. But the 4 minute time constraint caused me to remove it. Also a zoom from the full USA down to the refuge would have taken too long, or it would have looked rushed.

4. The pixellation is courtesy of Vimeo. The original has no such thing. I used to export with h264 using the Vimeo HD presets to get a 1280 x720 HD image. In this case, such an export gave awful pixellation. So I sent Vimeo a full scale video, which was a gigabyte, to let them do what they will with it. Too much stutter. I finally compromised with a 477 mb file. Still pixellates. I think that this scene is just too busy for most systems to handle. The solution for this is to run it in slow motion. That does not pixellate, but I only thought of it after everyone's comments. Next time.

5. I shot all the flight scenes at 720p 60 fps for slow motion viewing. Shutter speed was probably 1/500th for these white birds. Unlike what you may see in print, using a fast shutter in video does not cause jerky motion.
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Old January 11th, 2015, 10:16 AM   #15
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Re: UWOL #32 When Birds Sprang From The Earth by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve - thanks for your reply and the info regarding the pixellation.

1. :) Yeh - that kind of thing can happen so easily – especially when it is a last-minute change you’ve made and you have not had a chance to go over the final edit thoroughly. Actually I didn’t notice it the first time I watched your film. I only noticed it when I was focusing on your camerawork.

3. Okay – that explains it.

4/5. Somehow I am so relieved to hear that it was not on the original footage – that scene is amazing.
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