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

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Old April 1st, 2015, 11:10 AM   #1
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UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins


Unfortunately the cast for my plan A story did not pitch! To make up for it, however I did get to witness a number of animals coming down to a waterhole in the (hot) late afternoon and this ultimately determined the final shape of my film.

I decided to split my video into two scenarios – one featuring daybreak (and best time for finding birds) and one featuring late afternoon and dusk. Both scenes took around half an hour to film.

I set out specifically to capture footage that would demonstrate the effect that the early morning and late afternoon light was having on the subjects and on their surroundings while it was continually and rapidly changing through time. For this reason I focused on one or two subjects only. I was particularly enamoured by the effect the golden light was having on the mist and spray in these scenes. I also confirmed during testing and filming final footage that, contrary to what I have been led to believe, the light in this part of the world is far from soft especially in the late afternoon and I ended up with high contrast images.

My videos are normally educational in nature and packed with information but I wanted to take a break from my usual way of doing things and so this time I have deliberately not done a V.O. and hope that the footage will speak for itself. How successful I was in these endeavours is for you to judge. I would be happy to receive critique @ level 1 from anyone who would be happy to comment!

(Just to clarify: I reluctantly inserted the names of birds purely for those folk who are interested. I deliberately made them as short and inconspicuous as possible so as not to interrupt the mood of this piece.)
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Old April 1st, 2015, 12:52 PM   #2
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Although I don't like the music I think the visuals are very eye pleasing. Also the bird names and other text add to that.
These colors, the contrast, the setting is just so beautiful ...
Great job
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Old April 1st, 2015, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Another impressive job, Marj. How you can get in an afternoon what a BBC crew would spend a week on is beyond me. I have one question. You have hippos, rhinos and elephants in the range of your camera. Were you in a vehicle? Were you hidden? Looks a little dangerous.

Don't apologize for adding the bird names. People want to know. If anything they were too unobtrusive and on the screen for too short a time. I watched 3 times and didn't even see them until Martijn made a comment.
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Old April 1st, 2015, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hi Marj,

You did very well, even without your usual VO. Nice to see you try out different styles.

It is the same here, more contrasts in the afternoon than early morning. In my opinion the high contrast images worked well for you, like when the elephants walked out of the water and the sunshine was reflecting off their skin.

As Steve mentioned, the text could have been more visible and perhaps lasted 1-2 seconds longer. I barely had time to read it before it faded away.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hey Martijn

Really appreciate your encouraging comments!

(I understand from your broad comment on the music that you do not like my choice of music but maybe you meant that it should not have been included - not sure?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
Another impressive job, Marj. How you can get in an afternoon what a BBC crew would spend a week on is beyond me. I have one question. You have hippos, rhinos and elephants in the range of your camera. Were you in a vehicle? Were you hidden? Looks a little dangerous.


Thanks Steve.

To answer your question: In South Africa you may not get out of your car if there are any of the ‘Big Five’ or Cheetah in the reserve so you have to film from your vehicle or from a hide - if there are any.

I was well hidden but there was no danger here at all because the animals are relaxed and I was some distance away. (Elephant families led by a Matriarch are not generally aggressive and in this case the Ellies have their ears back – usually a sign that they are relaxed.) Actually I could not include it due to time constraints, but the adults formed a laager when the rhinos arrived and they all got ready to leave by facing in the opposite direction but they did not get aggressive at all. When they perceived that there was no danger they carried on bathing. You will notice that the Matriarch did not take a dip but kept constant watch.)

The problem with Elephants and Hippos (and probably most animals) arises when you get between the mother and the baby. A bull elephant in musthe (breeding male) especially one with flapping ears is something else altogether. He is a dangerous creature and you have to get out of the way very fast when meeting one along the way. We have reversed down dirt roads many times to avoid confrontation with one of these ill-tempered beasts. (They like to walk down the middle of the road and they make it quite clear whose boss and who has right of way!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
Don't apologize for adding the bird names. People want to know. If anything they were too unobtrusive and on the screen for too short a time. I watched 3 times and didn't even see them until Martijn made a comment.
Then I accomplished my task! :) I do not have problem adding names but when I added them it seemed to spoil the mood so I made them less conspicuous - seems like I was concerned unnecessarily judging by the comments.

Thanks Trond. Glad to hear that you also experienced high contrast. (Not shown in my final movie) but when I did my tests I found it was only in the final 10 minutes before the sun disappeared that things became soft but then the quantity of light also waned in the gloom

Once again thank you all for your comments. I intend to my feedback at the weekend.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 09:27 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

The pace and harmony fits quite well, it's the sound of the instruments (DX7?) I don't like :)
Personally I like acoustic instruments .. they have a far more "natural" tone that can work magic together with nature footage.
And again, I love your film!
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 09:55 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Thanks for your reply Martin and for clarifying exactly the issue.

Now I have a problem of course - because you are talking another language altogether! :) - I am loathe to admit it but am clueless when it comes to music terms.

(I guess I will have to start learning before the next round. This place is always presenting challenges!)
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

OK, OK. I surrender! It is possible to make a great video with only music. It has been proved more than once this round. Still, I do miss your voice-over and I have never thought that your videos convey too much information. You obviously don’t need any technical feedback from me but I will note one thing. I think we somehow do ourselves a disservice by calling it the Golden “Hour”. As you say, it can only last ten minutes or at extreme latitudes where the sun never climbs high in the sky perhaps most of the day. Season has a profound effect and weather conditions can produce similar lighting at almost any time. Why limit ourselves to thinking in terms of an hour? 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? I can see how that would be good for business but it bothers me. I have spent a good amount of time around dangerous animals that can and do kill people and I can’t help but feel that I might acquit myself well there much of the time. What I object to is losing a preciously held right- the right to be killed by an African animal! I’m sure my final thought would be that it was an appropriate death that somehow brought me closer to the thousands of generations that came and went before me. I’ll reluctantly admit that I find the mental image of my carcass being hauled up a tree and draped over a branch by a Leopard disturbingly appealing. Ah, well. Back on the bus. I hope to see you again in May, Ma’am.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 11:26 AM   #9
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Acoustic means instruments, without electronics being played by people and recorded with microphones.
Then there are electric instruments, that basically are acoustic instruments fitted with electromagnetic pickups to capture the vibration of the strings, and also have to be played by people.
And there are "digital" instruments .. the tone is produced by algorithms and/or samples (pre recorded sounds), and can be programmed.
I think acoustic music suits all nature footage better.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Sims View Post
OK, OK. I surrender! It is possible to make a great video with only music. It has been proved more than once this round. Still, I do miss your voice-over and I have never thought that your videos convey too much information. You obviously don’t need any technical feedback from me but I will note one thing. I think we somehow do ourselves a disservice by calling it the Golden “Hour”. As you say, it can only last ten minutes or at extreme latitudes where the sun never climbs high in the sky perhaps most of the day. Season has a profound effect and weather conditions can produce similar lighting at almost any time. Why limit ourselves to thinking in terms of an hour? 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? I can see how that would be good for business but it bothers me. I have spent a good amount of time around dangerous animals that can and do kill people and I can’t help but feel that I might acquit myself well there much of the time. What I object to is losing a preciously held right- the right to be killed by an African animal! I’m sure my final thought would be that it was an appropriate death that somehow brought me closer to the thousands of generations that came and went before me. I’ll reluctantly admit that I find the mental image of my carcass being hauled up a tree and draped over a branch by a Leopard disturbingly appealing. Ah, well. Back on the bus. I hope to see you again in May, Ma’am.
I am not sure if I am laughing with relief or because this is just so funny - the image this conjures up in my mind of you being hauled up a tree by a leopard with this blissful look on your face while holding a placard proclaiming your right to be eaten by an African animal . . . This was the last thing I expected!
(I had been waiting with trepidation for your post because I did a music video - I guess I was expecting a lambasting. ;) )

I am not sure if it is a national law but all the national, provicial and municiple parks do apply this rule. I must clarify however that you can go walking in the bush with an armed Game Ranger - two if it is a big group.

I am sure you would cope well in the bush but so many people come here thinking they can take a selfie standing next to a lion and end up getting chomped. I have the greatest respect for wild animals.

Thanks for your feedback Mike - much appreciated.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 12:25 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martijn Damen View Post
Acoustic means instruments, without electronics being played by people and recorded with microphones.
Then there are electric instruments, that basically are acoustic instruments fitted with electromagnetic pickups to capture the vibration of the strings, and also have to be played by people.
And there are "digital" instruments .. the tone is produced by algorithms and/or samples (pre recorded sounds), and can be programmed.
I think acoustic music suits all nature footage better.
Okay now I have learned something. Good explanation. I guess this means I can't use Garageband then!? :)
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 12:32 PM   #12
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

you got it Marj :P
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 01:25 PM   #13
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

I hope the rest of you gentle readers do realize that Marj and I have been known to kid each other on occasion! ;)
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 02:47 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Thought I'd check in on my friend Marj just for fun...am I glad I did! You know I'm one of your biggest fans, right? :)

For just a moment I felt disappointed that I couldn't listen to you narrating, but with the title Tranquility you made a perfect call. This way viewers can simply take in the captivating and tranquil scenes.

As Steve mentioned earlier, it is amazing to me that you caught such interesting antics that some of us have not seen before in such a short amount of time. Is there a special reason the African Darters (and yes, thank you for naming them) were posing with wings outstretched? Also, your footage of the elephants mostly submerged was fascinating--something I didn't know about them and haven't seen in any wildlife films.

Thank you for taking the time to let an old farm gal from the States enjoy a quick and pleasant trip to South Africa, Marj. Always a pleasure watching your work.
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Old April 4th, 2015, 07:05 AM   #15
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Re: UWOL # 33 - Tranquility by Marj Atkins

Hey Lorinda - It's soo good to hear from you and to know you are still looking in on us. It was really special to get a comment from you today!

Re the African Darter: The shot at 24 sec shows the African Darter swimming with only its head and neck showing above water - hence the common name ‘snakebird’. These birds can remain under water for quite some time often changing direction under water in search of fish which they spear with their sharp bills. (This can be pretty frustrating when you are trying to film them because it makes it difficult to anticipate where they will pop up next with their catch!)
Because their feathers do not contain any oil they are not waterproof like ducks and other water birds. While this improves their diving capabilities the feathers can become waterlogged so they need to dry their feathers in order to be able to fly and maintain heat insulation. You will typically find the African Darter out of water perched on a branch or rock with wings spread wide open as they dry their feathers in the wind and/or the sun.

Once again thanks for popping in on us and for your comments Lorinda
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