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Old September 17th, 2015, 03:40 AM   #1
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UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Recently there has only been a handful entries for the UWOL challenges.
Maybe the themes have been too difficult, too specific, too little specific... It can be many reasons.

Earlier we have had some "UWOL Fun shoots" in between the official challenges. Basically it has been "shoot whatever you want, just for the fun of it".
Maybe it is time to try this out again.

The following has been copied from the feedback thread of Mick Jenner's "unofficial entry for the August challenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
... it opens the door to perhaps moving in a little different direction. We are getting just a handful of entries each competition, and I wonder if it has to do with most of us having pretty much filmed what there is to film in our neighborhoods.

Maybe we should be posting some old and new stuff, not to compete, but to get opinions from friends who know a whole lot about wildlife filming. For myself, I could really benefit from learning from others, especially regarding what camera equipment is being used, blinds, how far away from subjects, time of year, etc. And of course, editing. These things are rarely addressed in the usual UWOL entries.

I was recently blown away by a video I saw on Vimeo, by a couple of guys named Lang Elliott and Bob McGuire. It was a difficult subject to get, and I would have loved to know how they did it. I couldn't ask, because they are basically proprietary.

I think that among ourselves, however, a lively back and forth about techniques would really be valuable
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond Saetre View Post
I'm open to any ideas or suggestions about how to attract more people and get more submitted UWOL entries. Some years ago, I ran a couple "uwol fun shoots" in between the official UWOL challenges. Maybe do that again once in a while where we open up for both new and old footage and focus more on the technical aspect, with no "winners" or judgning?

Maybe we could encourage the players to describe more of the technical aspects when we post the feedback threads as well?
Btw, never be afraid to ask those questions in the feedback threads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
We should start a new thread for fun shoots and getting more people involved and talk about it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Jenner View Post
Your (Steve's) idea of posting some old footage, and others of organising a fun round has set me thinking along similar lines to Trond
Why not designate one round as a free for all. No theme and footage can be of any age as long as you filmed it. It could announced at any time during the year at Trond's discretion. All the other rules to apply as normal. Just thinking in print lol
Maybe the next challenge should be tried out as a "fun shoot"?
Or have "fun shoots" in between the regular ones, once in a while? (This would be when we have 2 months in between the regular challenges)

Thoughts, ideas and suggestions are most welcome! Bring it on, and let's have a discussion.
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Old September 17th, 2015, 05:42 AM   #2
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

A fun shoot in between challenges would be fun.
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Old September 18th, 2015, 01:55 AM   #3
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

It may be good to have fun shoots inbetween, as we tend to shoot quite a few things when time permits and it would be a good idea to share it and exchange ideas.

I dont feel there is any issue with the topics of the UWOL challenges had fun with all my entries but in my latest one i just couldnt get the time to complete one.
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Old September 18th, 2015, 05:48 AM   #4
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

I remember we did something like this several years back and it was quite successful. I think we should do it again. Even to the point of re-editing old footage. I think it will be a fun chance to try different ideas/settings/techniques and get feedback. Those that do some professional work may also want to post some of the work they do so we can watch and learn. Bob
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Old September 18th, 2015, 08:35 AM   #5
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Hey Trond,

Its a good idea I think. I have been way too busy recently, and just can't get the time to get out into the bush to film wildlife.

How about this for an idea? Using the same theme we could have "wildcard" entries that do not necessarily feature wildlife or nature as the focus of the story? I know a lot of my previous entries have skirted around the theme, for instance when I did a film about motorcycle taxis in Kampala.

So essentially; if the filmmaker can't get any proper nature related subject, they can resort to trying to film something else (using the same theme). I'm thinking along the lines of cultural films, or extreme sports etc. Those entires would be 'wildcard' films that follow the theme, but do not feature nature as a subject.

The point of this would simply be for the filmmakers to still get out there and film & edit a story, and submit it, instead of giving up because nature won't comply.

Thoughts?
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Old September 18th, 2015, 12:38 PM   #6
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Thanks guys. I appreciate all the feedback.

Charge your batteries and get ready for some fun.
I'm launching a Fun shoot (see a separate thread), starting now.

Let the fun begin!
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Old September 18th, 2015, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

The problem this Challenge is having, is very similar to what occurred with the DV Challenge, which now appears to be defunct. Having participated initially in both challenges, I offer these observations:

1. Most of the the original shooters in the challenges moved on. In other words, these challenges provided some iniitial experience and a place to show work, but after several entries, many of the participants moved on.

2. New blood needs to be encouraged. What is left in this challenge are a few shooters who enjoy the comraderie of the on line group. The tendancy is to make others who might initially have interest to become less interested when the online group “appears” not to be accepting of newcomers. While this may not be the actual case, the appearance of not being welcoming can have the same effect.

3. Along the same lines, not all shooters are located in ideal wildlife settings, and yet the Challenge “apppears” to reward those who have easier access wildlife settings and scenic areas. While the original UWOL Challenge emphasized wild life filming, the initial themes could be interpreted by different people to produce a film that allowed the shooter to concentrate on local subject matter. Even naratives were produced. As time has passed, the rewards appeared always to go to the ones who could get to the most remote places and show more unusual imagery, The list of those in that position is very short.

As the DVChallenge neared it apparent demise, fun shoots like you are now suggesting were proposed. I believe that adding the number of events is not the answer. Rather the answer is attracting more newcomers, and acceptance of a wider range of shooters and themes.

Just my two cents.
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Old September 18th, 2015, 01:03 PM   #8
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Thanks, Chris.
I agree with that. How to newcomers and make them feel like part of the group together with the "veteran players", is the big question. Choosing the right themes of course play a big difference too.

(The fun shoots will not be regular events. More like once in a while)
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Old September 18th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #9
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

We're really a pretty small niche compared to say horror filmmakers.
Here in Iowa you throw a corn cob and you'll hit two dozen horror filmmakers.

I have yet to see anyone else shooting video here in Iowa of nature.

In Yellowstone I've maybe seen two or three and they were bigger productions.

Sure a lot of people shoot video with their DSLR's now but they are still mainly photographers, not filmmakers.

We're just a really small niche which makes it hard to get new people involved.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 03:45 AM   #10
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
As the DVChallenge neared it apparent demise, fun shoots like you are now suggesting were proposed. I believe that adding the number of events is not the answer. Rather the answer is attracting more newcomers, and acceptance of a wider range of shooters and themes.
I think Chris summed up the situation quite well, and the above quote is probably the most pertinent point that needs action.

I am wondering if anyone has had time to digest this and come up with some ideas?
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 08:50 PM   #11
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

I agree, too, with Chris about attracting newcomers. I do not agree with his suggestion for a "wider range of shooters and themes". I assume he means non-nature, or nature-peripheral shooters.

We are such a small group, in need of expertise and comment from people who know how to shoot critters and are interested in nature. The last thing we need is for UWOL to turn into a forum for anyone shooting out of doors, from train buffs to sports professionals to a family at the beach.

Our identifying feature is that humans are usually absent in our productions (or play minor roles). This means that our clips tend to be shorter and our focal lengths longer (except shooting macro). It means that we can control neither the lighting nor the talent, and don't care to. It means that we grab what we can and script it into a piece afterward, exactly the opposite of what most shooters do.

In both acquisition and editing these things cause problems unique to wildlife shooters. I have attended courses on videography, and stood around being bored with discussions of where to place lights, and green screens, and why you need a super 35 chip to get a shallow depth of field. But for most videographers, this is where the action is. This is where the entries would come from and this is where any comments would gravitate. Or so I think.

I suspect that professional wildlife videographers of the BBC and Nat Geo ilk may be a bit protective of what they do, and are not interested in joining UWOL. That's too bad. But I think that if we got our thickest skins on, and told each other what we really think, it would be a real opportunity to learn. If you think my scene is too long, or my transition was put in the wrong place, or my music is too loud, or voice too soft. If you see that I cut the highlights too much, or boosted the color too much, and can tell, and have a better way to do it. If you fell asleep, or just get tired of seeing birds all the time (sorry, not going to change that), I really want to know, and assume that others do too.

Like many, however, I hesitate to say anything to a shooter who I know is better than me, for fear of sounding foolish, and to one who I feel is not better than me for fear of pontificating or offending, because I surely make the same errors I see in the work of others. This is the problem with an Internet forum. It would never be an issue in a classroom.

Frankly, I think the biggest loss to UWOL was when we stopped having guest judges. The advice I got from them was so valuable. Too bad we don't have funds to hire some. That's just my 2 cents.

Last edited by Steve Siegel; September 23rd, 2015 at 08:52 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 11:34 PM   #12
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

The original UWOL covered a spectrum of outdoor activities. Thus the name UWOL (Under Water Over Land.) This covered a lot of ground. As time went on, it seems things like human outdoor activities were deemphasized at UWOL, and a strictly natural spin rose in contests. Of course this is the general way things are going these days, with mankind being deemed a blight on nature by many purists. The result of that movement is that a select few are in a position to shoot pure nature video. If that's what you want to keep UWOL going, that's fine. I am only commenting on why many stopped participating in these contests.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 05:43 AM   #13
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Some of it could just be life getting in the way too.

Since my divorce so much has changed that I don't get out much to shoot even when there's not a challenge going on.

I always sign up in case I can manage to get out but having a roof over my head is my top priority now.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 10:26 AM   #14
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Chris,

You certainly are correct about the original UWOL, and you may be also right about future viability. As in everything, compromise may be the only way.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 02:13 PM   #15
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Re: UWOL Fun shoots - thoughts and ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
I think that if we got our thickest skins on, and told each other what we really think, it would be a real opportunity to learn. If you think my scene is too long, or my transition was put in the wrong place, or my music is too loud, or voice too soft. If you see that I cut the highlights too much, or boosted the color too much, and can tell, and have a better way to do it. If you fell asleep, or just get tired of seeing birds all the time (sorry, not going to change that), I really want to know, and assume that others do too.
This has been addressed with the "Level 1, 2 and 3" feedback. Still a work in progress. Hope more will notice this and specify the requested feedback, and for everyone to give the "brutal honest feedback" several of us prefer to receive.
It is a great way to learn and improve our own skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
Like many, however, I hesitate to say anything to a shooter who I know is better than me, for fear of sounding foolish, and to one who I feel is not better than me for fear of pontificating or offending, because I surely make the same errors I see in the work of others. This is the problem with an Internet forum. It would never be an issue in a classroom.
Never be afraid to comment, regardless of the receiver's previous experience or skill level.
You might have seen something that noone else have noticed. :)


UWOL is certainly not limited to only filming wild animals.
As a personal example: I have filmed myself out in the wild. My films have always focused on the outdoors, even though I have included myself.

Most players these days focus on the wildlife in their entries, but UWOL itself has never limited the entries to wild animals if you want a chance to score in the voting.

I agree that after we stopped using "hired judges", the number of players gradually decreased.
We also see this in the recent years voting processes where we hardly ever get a vote from anyone else but those who submitted a film.
Not sure how we could do anything about this. I do not know anyone else than you guys who is remotely interested or have knowledge about film(ing), but if anyone of you have any connections...
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