UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel at DVinfo.net

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Old April 1st, 2015, 06:54 AM   #1
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UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

I was lucky this time to have a number of bright sunny mornings and evenings to shoot. (We are in the dry season). Please let me know what you think of the effects I tried in this piece (such as running the sea and the sky at two different speeds, and the "green screen" ducks. Do you think the the rim-lighting shots are too dark? (Criticism level 1). I had mentioned in Wonder and Woe that I hoped to play my own music, but I couldn't learn the piece well enough, and since the licensing was $1.35!!!, it was a no-brainer.
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Old April 1st, 2015, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hey, Steve. You have another clever idea for your premise. I think the sky and sea at two different speeds worked impressively well. You did a good job controlling the exposure on those almost silhouette golden hour shots. I like the idea of a silver hour and you chose well in finding clips for that. I donít think the rim lit shots were too dark. The dark background serves almost like shallow depth of field to emphasize the subject. The establishing shot for the bronze hour could use a vibrance boost. It looks a bit flatter than the following clip. When you get time, I would like to see you experiment with that sequence at the Red-shouldered Hawk nest. Perhaps try a moving luminance matte to separate the blown out sky from the subject for separate processing. You ended with an exceptionally powerful thought about the restricted wave length range for yellows. Nice. I only had one disappointment. I was so looking forward to hearing you play. Perhaps we might get another chance?
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 08:52 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

What an excellent piece of work Steve! And a lot of excellent shots, although the shots before the bronze hour are so amazing that the shots after that seem less spectacular somehow :)
You VO is really interesting and pleasant to listen to, so is the music and the folio.
The idea of cutting your sea at the horizon and let the clouds go fast/time lapse, and the waves at normal speed is an brilliant idea, and it looks perfect.
I didn't notice the greenscreen ducks before I read your comment here, looking at it again I think looks good, but just not perfect .. they are at 0:36 right?
Anyway:
It is a real pleasure to watch!
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 08:26 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Martijn,
Thanks for the comments. Yes, those were at 36 seconds. I tried to image-stabilize the shakiness out of the birds, but since they were against a nondescript single color background, there was no reference point to stabilize from.

Mike,
I'm not familiar with a moving luminance mat. Can you describe it. I hope to go out this weekend and get some more of the hawks, whose babies should be visible now. More to come.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

I remember I wanted to capture the silhouette of a singing bird with only a colorful evening sky in the background. The time the sky was amazing I couldn't find a bird, the time a was able to shoot some bird silhouettes the sky was grey. I figured I could maybe, with masking, replace the grey sky with an exciting one .. or even a time lapse ...
Did you ever try that? Could it look natural enough or would it always look a bit fake?
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 02:53 PM   #6
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Martijn,

In theory it is possible. In practice it may be, but usually not. The reason is two fold. First, if you want to replace a background, the best way to do it is with a green screen. Hard to get a bird into a studio for that.

The other way is to take advantage of the fact that your nondescript sky is probably all one color, or close to it. You can, with any one of several video effects, remove that color and replace it. You will find, however, that your computer sees more colors than you do, and you never can replace all of it, leaving a very noticeably spotty sky. For the ducks in this program, I took advantage of the fact that I only wanted a silhouette. The ducks were flying against a blue sky. I converted everything to black and white, and increased the contrast to overwhelm any differences that the computer could notice in the sky. The increase in contrast eats up thin lines, which is why the ducks wings are so rudimentary. It worked, but just barely.

The bigger problem is that the colors in the sky background are always duplicated somewhere in the subject. So you will drill holes in your subject by removing sky color. That is why the green screen is such a garish green, not likely to be found in nature.

Finally, these color removal programs are not very good with edges, and edges of leaves, branches etc. tend to develop easily seen artifacts when they are against the sky, which is where they usually are.
Also, tiny spaces between leaves may not be removed by the program, and if you try to put a moving background in the shot, people are going to see that you didn't completely remove the background, because no movement will occur in those little spaces.

The bottom line is to either be sure that the interface between your subject and the background is very simple, or try again when the conditions are to your liking.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve,

I think you were up to your usual quality standards with this one. Can't find much to put my fingers on.
The sea and clouds moving with different speed, was a brilliant idea.
As Martijn said, I didn't notice any green screen effect until I read your explanation after viewing your film. Had to go back and watch again.

Maybe you are able to play your own music next time?

I would also be interested in the moving luminance matte Mike suggested.
Is this done in After Effects?
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 06:04 PM   #8
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

You bet, Steve (and Trond). Unfortunately, I donít have time now to write you a detailed step by step so for that I am going to hand you over to a tutorial by DVInfo member Andrew Kramer on his excellent web site VideoCopilot. The one you want to watch is #42 Advanced Sky Replacement. Yes, this is a tutorial for After Effects but you can do something similar in Premier so watch it even if you are not using AE to get the basic idea (In PP you will just use a luma matte and prepare the matte to look as much like the one in the tutorial using a copy of your original footage and Curves. In practice it will be much harder and the results wonít be as good as those produced by the technique in the tutorial.) Andrew tends to go pretty fast in his tutorials and will assume you know how to actually do everything he mentions. If you are new to AE this wonít be the case. Donít worry. Watch #42 to get the basic idea and then go watch his ten part Basic Training series of tutorials which start from scratch and assume you don't know anything about AE (all of his tutorials are free) then watch #42 again. At that point it should be a breeze. Iím run off of my feet for the next few weeks but if after that you want to discuss this in more detail let me know and I will be happy to try and help. Good luck at the hawk nest. It looks like you have a great one to work at and are going to bring home some spectacular footage. Best wishes.

Gotta go make the doughnuts, er I mean go count the batsÖ
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Old April 4th, 2015, 07:14 AM   #9
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the advice. I am not an accomplished AE user, but do have some experience with it. I will try the tutorial.

Unfortunately, I learned this morning that the hawk chicks are not there any more. As you could see from the set up shot, the nest was placed in a tree not very well protected from climbing predators. There are a lot of raccoons around. I may be able to find another nest somewhere.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 03:27 AM   #10
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve. Like the way you have used clips to illustrate the effects of light on a subject. Your story was inventive, weaving in the various colour shades as well as being educational. On the finer points I would suggest you have well overexposed the raptor clips, hence a lot of CA around the tree branches. I realise why you did this to get detail in the birds. A more general exposure and a play with the Y curve in post would have raised the detail in the under exposed birds. I felt the pelican clips could have had just a tad of blue dialled out to give a more pleasing and natural look. I believe I use the same same camera as you and I have found that no matter how I white balance scenes with a lot of water in on sunny days I do get a slight blue cast. Last but not least some of the the birds in flight clips appear a bit jerky, not sure if this is because you are using a high shutter speed or its vimeo encoding problem. I have been experimenting recently filming birds in flight with the shutter off. To me this gives a more pleasing effect as well as eliminating the the rolling shutter effect on the background, particularly trees, when you pan fast. Enjoyed watching, with our grotty weather at the moment I needed that Florida sunshine fix.
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Last edited by Mick Jenner; April 5th, 2015 at 04:06 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 08:15 AM   #11
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve.
It's funny, I never really noticed the differential speeds, or the composited birds. But now that it's pointed out I can see it. The sped up clouds work, and I wouldn't have known any better if you didn't mention it. Watching the birds again, maybe the outline does suffer a little, but what stands out more is the motion tracking issue for me (looks like they drift/jitter a little unnaturally). But then I wasn't paying attention to it and didn't notice the first time.

I think highlighting 'silver' hour was good, the Sun is often at a more useful angle to give depth to your subject. The bronze shots might not have been as distinct but did serve to contrast the time of day.

The VideoCopilot tutorials are well worth watching to learn AE (not that I use it much), but he does rush through some steps to keep them shorter.
Good luck with following up on the hawks - finding some less vulnerable ones.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 10:12 AM   #12
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Steve,

I simply loved the opening shot with the VO starting explaining the Golden hour, makes the viewer so rightly oriented .
You have a amazing array of shots combined to make this film, very nicely captured.
The raptor nest shots are nice, which is the raptor ?

Harrier sequence is nice and the return of the golden light makes it soothing to watch.

On the ending piece though i think the take of of the bird, its too right for my liking makes the viewer wanting it to be more to the left, sorry but it made my process of going through the video a bit abrupt when i saw it.

Otherwise a very neatly made video, choice of music is nice.

vishal
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Old April 6th, 2015, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

I enjoyed watching your entry Steve. The concepts of your stories are always different and intriguing yet at the same time being simple and straightforward. This was no exception. The story flows nicely from dawn to dusk with some really beautiful shots in there – the Great Egret and the Dowagers come to mind. Your last observation about the colour yellow seems a bit arbitrary in this story I felt.

You asked a couple of questions. First changing the speed of the water and the clouds was really a fantastic idea. I didn’t even notice until I read your post. (I thought the wind was blowing which would have pushed the clouds along faster being lighter than water and created a similar effect.) I have a question in return. How come the sun stayed in one place? I would have thought it would have moved as fast as the clouds if you had cut it at the horizon? Almost looks like the cut is through the middle of the sun although that could conceivably be the effect of a cloud in the way. Did you perhaps use an 6-point garbage matte to keep the sun from moving quickly?

As regards the shots of the birds with rim lighting I did not find the birds too dark because I was focusing on the ‘water stars’ but had I viewed this without the narration I would have said the pelicans were too dark. The Great Egret shots were stunning. A minor thing, but I personally would have cut the first tilt out of the Egret shot (1.29 – 1.32) and had a hard cut there because it seems a little clumsy with the tilt.
One shot I found strange in colour was the shot of the Ibis with ‘dirty yellow’ tips to its feathers.

BTW - How is this for messing things up?Yellow is a mixture of red and green light. :| Our eyes only have red and green and blue sensitive cones.
I wonder why is the sky never green - or is it green sometimes? (Rhetorical question - No need to answer.)
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Old April 6th, 2015, 02:02 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Marj,

To answer your question, I only sped up the sky 2x, and it only ran for a few seconds. Not enough time to see the sun move.

As for the yellow, we perceive yellow as such when our brain processes the red, green and blue that our cones see. This is reflected light. However a beam of photic energy at 580 nm (as you might be able to produce with a spectroscope) is yellow...no red, green, or blue about it. The peak of yellow color runs from about 570 nm to 590 nm (1 std deviation). This is very narrow, compared to red, say which in a few different shades is much wider. If you look at a spectrum you notice that the pure yellow seems to be a narrower band than any of the other colors. Because of this "underdog" status, I have a special love for yellow, and so put it in at the end. Strictly my bias.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 07:53 AM   #15
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Re: UWOL #33-Gold, Silver, Bronze by Steve Siegel

Hi Steve

I have no argument with what you say. But it all comes down to our eye-brain system in the end.

EM waves of about 590 activate both the red and green cones on the retina and the brain interprets that as yellow. However it is equally true that a mixture of wavelengths of about 700 nm and 530 nm reaching the retina together is also interpreted as yellow Ė each is activating the red and green cones separately. The brain has no means of distinguishing between the two physical situations.

My cheeky spanner in the works was simply this - which EM waves are we seeing during the golden hour (bearing in mind that the length of wave, refraction, Raleigh scattering, the size and quantity of the atmospheric particles present and our eye-brain response system amongst other factors all play a part)?

But never mind, I do concede that all this is totally irrelevant in light of the fact that you simply have a special love for the colour yellow or more accurately the EM waves parked between 577nm to 597nm in the EM spectrum. :)

Thanks for answering my question re the sun not moving in your clip.
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