UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins at DVinfo.net

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Old September 2nd, 2015, 05:33 AM   #1
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UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

What can I say - my minimalistic educational film on locomotion for kids.

Not exactly what I envisioned as my final product but I simply did not have time to work this properly. I did, however, learn so much by doing this.

I do apologize for my V.O. this round. I had a very real problem - I could not speak properly due to an allergic reaction that manifested itself in a persistent cough and thick throat. I took medication to try to resolve the problem but it did not work that well or that quickly. As a result I read this narration four times and selected the best bits and pieces from the four (an unexpected waste of time).


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Old September 2nd, 2015, 08:14 AM   #2
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

I know I wrote a lot here about my entry but decided to remove it as it seemed irrelevant under the circumstances.

Last edited by Marj Atkins; September 3rd, 2015 at 01:36 AM. Reason: TMI
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 06:13 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Hi Marj,

This certainly fits well to educate kids. Maybe some local schools would be interested in this one?

I wish you had focused the film to show these insects out in the wild, and then combined that with your detailed graphics.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Marj,

Great as always educational film Marj!

I love how the white setup made the slug semi-transparent to see the detail in the movement.

I get the graph paper for the titles and it fits the educational theme. Did you not go full screen with the white to keep the look of an educational discussion?

You really excel at making your films educational!
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Old September 4th, 2015, 07:20 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Hi Marge, absolutely loved it. The way in which you have removed all the peripheries to solely concentrate on animal locomotion (movement) is inspiring. A little while ago I criticised one of your your entries for relying to much on animation with very little animal footage. This entry shows how a balance can be achieved. By isolating the animal, coupled with a well researched and delivered script, you have been able to show in detail how it moves in a way that's easily understood. With this entry the saying 'less is more' definitely applies (not less skill wise, that is definitely in abundance). I wish you hadn't removed your second post as it explained so well how you achieved that effect.

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Last edited by Mick Jenner; September 4th, 2015 at 08:11 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2015, 07:50 AM   #6
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Thanks Trond - it is a good idea to combine images of the critters in the wild with these images filmed in a white box (they are not illustrations). Unfortunately not enough space on the timeline. :(

Kevin I did not think to maximize the image in my haste to get this done. That alone would have made a big improvement.

Thanks Mick - appreciate your input.
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Old September 4th, 2015, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marj Atkins View Post
...images filmed in a white box
I stand corrected. Thought it was cgi.
A suggestion: Maybe use the white box as a "green screen" and blend in with some nature footage?
Anyway, it looks. Thanks for sharing!
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Old September 4th, 2015, 04:28 PM   #8
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Well I thought it was a very nice film, as you say Marj, given the limitations of time - nicely narrated (despite your your cough) and very interesting with your insights of insect movements - I have been underneath some these crawling on me, but I always am fascinated by the mechanics.

As other have said - give it a bit more thought, and you have a very good educational film!
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Old September 5th, 2015, 09:39 AM   #9
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Hi Marj.

Great movie, fully in line with expectations.
You have a unique twist on how to take on the task.
I can probably not supply anything of value, because I think your movie is good.
VO is good, does not notice that you are sick, nor that you have cut and pasted from different recordings.
You provide a film suitable for teaching. At times it can seem a bit boring, because the bugs come and go (even with their fancy footwork) and it all may seem somewhat staccato. With some pictures of real habitats, or nature this is a winner.

Thanks for sharing and wish you all well.
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Old September 5th, 2015, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Thank you Geir for the time you have put into commenting on my film and in fact on all the films this round. Your comments are thoughtful and helpful - I value your insights.

You are a true gentleman and much appreciated here!
Marj
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Old September 5th, 2015, 06:10 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Wow! That was a great job Marj! A supplement to the one on ants. I already forwarded the link to a granddaughter who really likes gardening and also has an interest in bugs. She was helping out with the composter last weekend and observed all the critters inside doing their job turning waste into soil.

From an education standpoint your video was really educational. The concept of moving up with the number of legs was a good one. The title with “Footwork” was great. As for the white background, frankly, I think it was good because it eliminated the distraction of any kind of background so one would pay attention to the legs and how they moved. Voice: If you never wrote about your voice problem I would have never noticed. No big deal.

The colored dots on the feet was a good idea. The underside view was another act of genius.

Your topic could be easily expanded and it would be interesting to see how this could be. I’m thinking the addition of slow-motion and some close-ups of the leg action, for example. For a biology video, a family tree of where the insects/bugs fit would be interesting.

From a professional standpoint it would be interesting to see how your knowledge of critters and your videography ability can be combined with a school textbook to make supplemental videos.

As an aside, last month I came across a National Geographic article about mites that was interesting. For one thing, they’re related to spiders. For another, it had some pictures of Mites taken with, I think, and electron microscope, and hand colored (because the originals were in black and white (gross!). According to my ophthalmologist, he said that a persons eyelashes and eyebrows are the ‘dirtiest’ places on the body because of the mites that live there. His assistant said she washes the eyelashes and eyebrows and after reading the National Geo article I think that’s a good idea.

It’s been said that we know more about the outer universe than the inner one. I could say more but I’ll keep it at that.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 11:31 AM   #12
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Thank you John for such a comprehensive critique of my entry!

"..As for the white background, frankly, I think it was good because it eliminated the distraction of any kind of background so one would pay attention to the legs and how they moved..."


I would like to thank both you and Mick for confirming that what I set out to do actually worked. I am a huge fan of images isolated on a (white) background in designs. I believe they focus the attention of the viewer where it belongs without a distracting background interfering. As I intimated in my second post – which I removed - it is one thing to photograph something in front of a white bg or to cut out images from photographs for this purpose – it is quite another to film uncooperative, constantly moving, critters scrambling over its surface. I had to work out a way of doing this. Lighting is critical.

After doing some research I eventually decided to construct a small aquarium using 2mm glass and marine silicone. I lined it with paper along three sides and bottom to form a white box. I also wanted it to use it as an aquarium (sans paper inner) for filming water larvae and insects – hoping to lay my hands on them. (I had an additional piece of glass to place inside the aquarium quite close to the front to restrict the swimming insects to a distance that would remain in focus.) Unfortunately it’s way too early in the season for finding mosquito larvae or water insects so I used stock footage that I filmed for the theme ‘ Little Things’ as proxy for my only water representative.

If you have ever filmed insects you will know that they are almost impossible to film in their natural environment. Many live underground, under rocks or in crevices or flit off the minute you get near them! If you manage to dig them out they immediately attempt to return. It is also not so easy to see fine details with soil, leaf litter and other things in the way.

Hence this solution - film them indoors. I carefully removed them and placed them in the white box covered with black fabric to calm them down. Many obviously reacted to the lights the second I turned them on and I had to have both cameras rolling to capture movement before removing the covering and before they scurried up the sides or attempted to dig their way under the paper base to escape. I had to film quickly and return them home and I had to keep some moist too.

This glass box worked very well. I was able to contain the insects that had Houdini-type tendencies – spiders being the quickest and slickest and the slug being the most adept – yet still be able to film them through the glass. Those that could not escape easily I could film from the top as well. I had an opportunity to film the underside when some of the invertebrates tried walking up the glass wall.

Tom found the tiny inchworm – just 6mm long!! - dangling on its silk thread. As it turned out, most of the insects I filmed were juveniles due to the season. The caterpillar was the exception. I did not get good footage, but when I went back to find it (having put it back) in order to try again I found it had pupated overnight!

"...Your topic could be easily expanded and it would be interesting to see how this could be. I’m thinking the addition of slow-motion and some close-ups of the leg action, for example. For a biology video, a family tree of where the insects/bugs fit would be interesting. .."

Good ideas John! I had intended to do slo mo but my super-fast card did not arrive on time. I enjoyed this project so much I will definitely expand it and I think the various suggestions here will help a lot. The grid will likely disappear.

I would like to point out two errors in my film which I only noticed after posting my entry. I inadvertently referred to the centipede as an insect which I know full well it isn’t and last-minute shifting placed my cricket nymph in with the adult insects. An adult cricket has wings.

P.S. Mick - as you can see, due to your comment, I have put most of the info from my removed post back. :)
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Old September 7th, 2015, 09:49 AM   #13
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Hi Marj

You definitely achieved an informative educational video, as many of yours are. The white isolation worked really well to support this. I do want to agree with Trond that some more natural footage would be good, I guess I wanted to see more of the outdoors being UWOL, but what you shot worked for the video to really isolate the insects and help explain how they move. The animations complemented and supported the video and the theme was incorporated by focusing primarily on movement as the central idea.

Sounds like a few hurdles during this round, but you finished a great little video. with scope to expand upon it in the future.
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Old September 7th, 2015, 12:56 PM   #14
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Re: UWOL #35 Fancy Footwork - Marj Atkins

Thank you for your constructive input Andrew.

I will definitely have to think carefully how I am going to incorporate this type of footage into a project because it is not quite what I want at the moment. My particular challenge this round was to see if I could get this particular white box technique right. Next step is to see how I can use it meaningfully in a project. One thing I am aware of is that kids love things to be dynamic - I have to grab their attention and keep it - so that is what I will be aiming to sort out.

I am going to have to solicit the help of some little people I think!
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