UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old April 4th, 2015, 07:25 AM   #16
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marge, lovely well exposed footage that really shows off the African savannah's magic light at it best. You have certainly brought back lovely memories for me of my many times filming in Africa (Kenya). I personally would have liked to have seen the odd cutaway of may be a hot air balloon or the odd vehicle with people enjoying scenery and wildlife for the morning segment and for the evening maybe a group of people sitting around a fire with a sundowner looking out at a sunset to show how much we humans enjoy natures wonders. I would have liked the music to have had an African style to it in order for me to have have been totally transported there in my mind. My only other point is the transition between the morning and evening was I felt a bit harsh for the tranquil mood you had set, something wiggly with soft edges maybe. These points are only of a minor nature and my personal view, and certainly did not take away any of the enjoyment I had watching your entry.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 08:19 AM   #17
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marge

Great subject matter and scenery you've captured in limited time. There were lots of tranquil shots making the film. I think that would be strengthened by some slower transitions between shots in general, not just the morning and afternoon divide (it seemed like the transition called attention to itself which detracted from the flow and feel). I think it would blend with the music and overall feel, and really convey the tranquility that was there the rest of the time.

On one hand it was great to see the diversity of wildlife there, but on the other hand it seems like, time permitting, you could easily focus on one animal (or group of) for the duration of the piece. I'm guessing that was plan A? Lots of potential stories in there, and I'd love to see more of these large mammals.

The absence of the VO, for me diminished the story a little. Whilst the shots were arranged in a way that had a progression and conveyed the changing lighting, I felt I wanted more. I guess we all have a bias about preferred style (I tend to like details), and it's certainly worth experimenting and trying new formats.

Thanks for sharing this slice of South Africa. I enjoyed watching it, and am looking forward to seeing your next creation.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 08:58 AM   #18
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marj,

The title of Tranquility for me simply took away the VO from this film making one less element to hear and more calm feel to observe, just my view .

Footage wise i like the shots used, the darters are interesting, on the fall of events i may not use the darter drying up first and then swimming, i liked the swimming shot and then when the tussle to get up the perch to get dried up.
Light is so nicely captured all over the footage , i simply love it.

For some of the big game i would have liked a close up or 2 for a small moment at least, would have made it more engaging,

Some of the transitions have been pointed out.

I think you have been to this place quite a few times as you knew where to make your shots in that small time .

The music works nicely for me with the chosen sequences.

Another amazing video from you.

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Old April 6th, 2015, 09:25 PM   #19
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marge,

I wish I had some great tips for you, but at this level, I am only a student! One thing, maybe it is time to move to Africa! I am not sure if that would help my work, but at least my jumpy videos would be of more interesting topics!

Yes, the bird names could have been revealed better and for longer periods. The Elephant bath was worth the whole show for me!
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Old April 7th, 2015, 12:28 AM   #20
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marj.
You provide - once again.
This time you have omitted the narrator, in favor of the music, background audio (and perhaps Foleys?).
I go straight to the point and I do not mean to offend in any way.
As it says in the criticism scale (Rule No. 9 for judging), and I quote:
"1 = let me have it! Be ruthless! I wanna produce professional wildlife cinematography at the highest levels."
Well, I have not at all intend to be ruthless. I do not think it is the way to go, when to give criticism. I would rather call it to be honest, as well as make an attempt to analyze the film, the best way I can.
I think your film is almost perfectly put together. The images are clear, colors are great and creatures are super nice to look at. Not to mention the superb light you captured. Fantastic work!
Still, I found something that is not completely fallen in my taste.
The text with the names of the birds could been a little longer, just to mention.
I am very unsure of the choice of music. For me it is simply too monotonous and electronically, in contrast to the wild creature and tranquility found in nature.
Nevertheless, although the music is electronic (also known as cold music) there is a certain warmth in the sound of the notes, which compensates.
Yet, what I miss most is the narrator.
I think I've mentioned before that it can sometimes be a lot of information in your films.
In this it is the opposite, although I can find some information in the background sound and composition of the images.
A narrator, which says something about the time, the mood, the creatures, the light and not the least; tranquility one finds at the water hole.
When you still have chosen to go for music, I'd gone for a warmer music that brings several moods to play with. In addition, people sitting looking out over the water and the creatures would have been lovely. People, enjoying the peace and the tranquility.
Nearly forget it, but I also give you a point plus for the text color. It is not coincidental, is it?

Thanks for sharing.
You play in May, right?
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Old April 7th, 2015, 06:58 AM   #21
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

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Originally Posted by Mike Sims View Post
. . . Is the rule that no one can get out of the vehicle if one of the Big Five or Cheetah are present on the reserve a national law?
Just to add to this. This rule applies if any dangerous animals are present - including crocodiles and hippo and hyaena etc. Hippos and crocs are responsible for killing more humans than any other species. This is because they frequent rivers and other waterways and are therefore difficult to contain inside a reserve. They are active at night. Hippos walk many kilometers from the water in search of grass and can pop up in the most unexpected places, catching people unawares.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 07:01 AM   #22
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
Hi Marge, lovely well exposed footage that really shows off the African savannah's magic light at it best. You have certainly brought back lovely memories for me of my many times filming in Africa (Kenya). I personally would have liked to have seen the odd cutaway of may be a hot air balloon or the odd vehicle with people enjoying scenery and wildlife for the morning segment and for the evening maybe a group of people sitting around a fire with a sundowner looking out at a sunset to show how much we humans enjoy natures wonders. I would have liked the music to have had an African style to it in order for me to have have been totally transported there in my mind. My only other point is the transition between the morning and evening was I felt a bit harsh for the tranquil mood you had set, something wiggly with soft edges maybe. These points are only of a minor nature and my personal view, and certainly did not take away any of the enjoyment I had watching your entry.
Hi Mick - appreciate your input.

Thank you for confirming I got the exposure right for this part of the world - I really wanted to accomplish that if nothing else. This was for me the critical part of this theme – trying to capture the light correctly.

Re the music - Where possible I try to use music with an African style but I found most of the music I listened to was too fast and I wanted something restful so I eventually decided on this piece. I would definitely have preferred African style music for this too. I have found that making these short films is a compromise all the way down the line. If it’s not the weather we have to accommodate, it’s the budget; if it’s not the time available it’s the equipment to hand; if it’s not the music it’s the limitations of your creativity.

Funny you mentioned hot air balloons. That was on my shot list but unfortunately none were to be seen on the days I was at the reserve.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 07:13 AM   #23
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hood View Post
Hi Marge

. . . I think that would be strengthened by some slower transitions between shots in general, not just the morning and afternoon divide (it seemed like the transition called attention to itself which detracted from the flow and feel). I think it would blend with the music and overall feel, and really convey the tranquility that was there the rest of the time. . .
Thanks for your comments and observations, Andrew.

The dissolve transitions gave me hassles all down the line – to the point that I was going to (and may still) put a post on the Adobe sub-forum. Anyway I agree fully they bugged me too. The transition between morning and afternoon however, did not bug me at all - which is the reason I appreciate this forum - get to see your work through eyes of others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hood View Post
Hi Marge

. . . The absence of the VO, for me diminished the story a little. Whilst the shots were arranged in a way that had a progression and conveyed the changing lighting, I felt I wanted more. I guess we all have a bias about preferred style (I tend to like details), and it's certainly worth experimenting and trying new formats. .
.
Totally agree - always better to include a narration but I had a mission here and without big changes to the video a VO here simply did not work. :)
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Old April 7th, 2015, 07:22 AM   #24
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Thanks Vishal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vishal Jadhav View Post

. . . Footage wise i like the shots used, the darters are interesting, on the fall of events i may not use the darter drying up first and then swimming, i liked the swimming shot and then when the tussle to get up the perch to get dried up. . .
Just one problem - the light was very different between those two scenes so I had to present it chronologically otherwise it would not have made sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vishal Jadhav View Post

. . . I think you have been to this place quite a few times as you knew where to make your shots in that small time .
The location where I filmed my sunrise is a place I visit very regularly and last year this time I got beautiful shots at sunrise with the Barn Swallows gathering for their migration. I was a bit disappointed not to find them this year but finding the mist on the water at this time made up for it. It is usually a phenomenon I am used to seeing there in winter. The folk at the reserve have recently dragged some branches into the water at the spot where I filmed and the Darter’s have obviously taken to it as it is an ideal spot for catching the sunlight at daybreak. I was very surprised to see the Hippos at the same spot – they are usually found wallowing in another Dam at the back of the reserve.

The waterhole featured in my film was a brand new discovery for me as I was in a reserve with which I am not familiar at all. I will certainly be visiting it again in future as it seems a good spot to pick up animal activity.

At another waterhole in the same reserve we watched lions chasing waterbuck. They cornered one waterbuck but no problem – it just took to the water and swam out of danger onto a little island. That was really exciting but it didn’t take place at dawn or dusk so I did not include it.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 08:07 AM   #25
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Geir

Thanks so much for the time you spent to give me your very thorough input - really appreciate the points you make about where I got it right and in particular where I should focus to improve!! Always appreciate the level 1 critique from you. (I had braced myself for harsher critique from everyone because I did not include a narration this time. Most folk were gentle on me.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geir Inge View Post
. . . This time you have omitted the narrator, in favor of the music, background audio (and perhaps Foleys?).

. . . Yet, what I miss most is the narrator.
I think I've mentioned before that it can sometimes be a lot of information in your films.
In this it is the opposite, although I can find some information in the background sound and composition of the images.
A narrator, which says something about the time, the mood, the creatures, the light and not the least; tranquility one finds at the water hole . . .
Because I appreciate the importance of a narration I tried to include a story very much along those lines but it did not work so I decided to remove it - first because it seemed superfluous - you could see most of it without my having to say a word - and secondly it disturbed the tranquil mood that I was trying to create which at the time somehow seemed more important than a V.O. - third I have a mission to accomplish and it didn't work this time. :)

What is definitely irrelevant for the viewer but is very relevant for me is what I set out to achieve here.
I am trying to get some things right before I continue trotting out any more educational videos – which is my chosen genre.

One of the things I set out to do here was to see if I could get my images to tell a story without too much explanation from me. (You may be interested to know that this is a direct response to your valuable critique that I pack too much information into my videos.)

I am looking forward to the point where I can achieve a balance - where I can narrate but say less by consciously shooting and including images that speak for themselves.

I don’t think my story is particularly strong but I was hoping the antics of the wildlife would be sufficient enough to engage viewers and keep them watching to the end. Judging by some responses it seems like it worked to a degree.

The second aim was to see if I could produce adequate Foley sounds to support my images. Other than you, no one has mentioned the ambient sound in my film so maybe that means it worked well enough to go unnoticed. The entire elephant scene was accompanied by my first home-made Foley sound. (The wind wiped out all the natural sound although I did rescue the matriarch’s trumpet at the right spot. I overlaid some of the ambient bird and cricket sounds that I picked up at the same spot the day before when there was no wind.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geir Inge View Post
Nearly forget it, but I also give you a point plus for the text color. It is not coincidental, is it?
Nope not coincidental - all text colour was very deliberate and for a purpose – as you guessed.

Last edited by Marj Atkins; April 7th, 2015 at 08:40 AM.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 08:11 AM   #26
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Thanks for your input Tim. Agree - absolutely lovely to watch those elephants bathing - just very happy I had the opportunity to record it.
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