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Old December 1st, 2015, 06:10 PM   #1
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Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

What a journey this round has been. Usually it's not having enough footage and plenty of time to edit. This time it was more footage than I could possibly need but due to import issues, no time to edit.

Plan A was a much more diverse narrated piece showing the results of weather in two distinctly different parts of the country.

Without knowing what I would be able to film in Montana, I put off starting my edit until after I returned from Montana, which turned out to be 4AM on November 29th. Had no clue that I would spend the majority of the 29th trying to import footage over and over again.

Finally discovered that it was a hard drive issue of some sort and when I switched to a Thunderbolt RAID hard drive to import to, things went fine.

Just the footage from the Montana trip was 973GB. Add all the Iowa footage and I knew I was in trouble at 12:30 in the morning of the 30th. So what to do?

I skipped my Plan B and C while trying to piece it together at work and knew I had to put something together. So what you see here is something way down the plan alphabet.

I'm stoked that I avoided the Shark Tank but so disappointed because so much great footage was left on the editing floor.

Up until Tuesday in Montana, the weather was near 60F Tuesday evening a snow storm rolled in and the temps took a nose dive. By Thanksgiving the lows were around -16F and the highs were failing to hit even 20F.

With Plan A, there was no worries about having footage without snow, but now with Plan L or whatever letter I was on, all that non snow footage couldn't be used. I did use two wolf shots before the snow flew.
it looked to me as if the alpha male was looking to the rest of the pack to take shelter from the pending storm and they came running for shelter. Hey, it worked in my mind! :)

Have you seen photographer Jim Brandenburg's photo of a wolf peeking out from behind the tree? I got the same thing but mine was with a grizzly bear. But it was in the high 50's with everything in sight brown from the grasses and ground to the bear itself. Not too useable for a piece about snow. I guess if I had time to do some narration I could have worked it in and explained it but for this it wasn't going to work. I'll post a frame grab from it in another post.

There were a lot of other things that happened to slow me down including a trip to the doctor in Livingston but I still came home with some of the best footage I've ever shot, I'm just sad that a lot of it isn't in this piece.

All in all, I don't think it's a bad piece but when held up to what I envisioned, it certainly fell short.

Feel free to rip away, I'm guessing there's nothing you can find that I haven't already found. I see plenty of shots held too long or not long enough but this late in the game I wasn't going to go back and fix them and have something else go wrong with the editing software. :)

My two favorite shots are maybe shots that you wouldn't think would be my favorite.

First up is the aerial shot at 1:50. I love this one because the little pine tree is in a small clearing that you can only discover from above. But what I love about this shot is pulling back while tilting the camera up. I love the look it gives.

The other shot is at 2:08. If you look on the left side of the tree branch you can actually see the snowflake structure. That blew me away when I saw it! I couldn't wait to make it back to base camp and show my friends!

Course, their favorite two shots were the sunset shot pulling back from the Bridger Mountain range and of course, the wolf howling. That little point is the one spot you can see down into the valley below.


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Old December 1st, 2015, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

My Brandenburg moment. :)
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Old December 1st, 2015, 06:20 PM   #3
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

The most often question I get asked when filming wildlife is how close were you?

Here's a frame grab of the bighorn sheep that is the next to last shot in the film.

A camera with a lot of reach can work miracles! :)

The sheep is near the center of the ridge if you can't see him right off the bat. :)
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Last edited by Kevin Railsback; December 1st, 2015 at 09:38 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 09:07 PM   #4
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

I really enjoyed your video. You have set the bar pretty high. The wildlife and aerial scenes were mesmerizing.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Thanks Mark!

You shoot all the stuff that I love to film.
Wildcat Creek is one of the mesmerizing, meditative examples.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 10:32 PM   #6
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Ok, i'm sitting in front of my keyboard, not really knowing what to write. I am quite speechless!! What a beautiful film Kevin!!! Sounds like you had some issues putting things together, but what you came up with in the end, was truly spectacular!! There were so many shots i loved, i think it will be much easier if i just highlight all the ones i didn't really love, so here we go.
The shot at 4:01. What the heck's with that? All black? Where did all the beautiful shots go? I could have kept watching shots like all the others for another few hours!!! Actually, i think the whole film sucks. How you can tease us all with just 4 minutes of that i just don't know. In fact, bugger it, I'm done with all this feedback BS, i'm going to go & watch it again, and again, and ..........
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 02:56 AM   #7
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Kevin I had to watch yours first after all the teases and well I'm not sure if I could handle your plan A !! All I can really say is wow. You really did have a great trip.and got some beautiful footage. With the burns how big of an area do they burn at a time?
Thanks for sharing.

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Old December 2nd, 2015, 03:55 AM   #8
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Hi Kevin,

You have a very strong film here! Since you were on plan L or something, I wonder how plan A would have turned out. Would have left us all in the shadows, perhaps.

The colorful shot at 1:10 was amazing, and of the animals, the wolf shot at 2:23 were my favorites.
You say some shots were held too long, or too short. Well, after watching this several times, I disagree.
I like it the way it is.

Have to agree with the others here, Amazing!
I'm glad you were able to submit.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 04:44 AM   #9
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Bryce,

You had me in a panic there for a moment thinking a shot didn't get rendered out or something! :) I thought I had looked carefully for any compression glitches before I uploaded! :)

The film is only as good as it is because you and the rest of the UWOL family ignited my passion again for something that I love but felt I didn't have the time needed to do it justice. So hats off to you and the rest of the UWOL gang for making this film possible.

Gordon.

Plan A looked pretty good in my mind! :) Not sure if I could have pulled it off right or not but it felt "right" to me.

It depends on how the weather is and how well the prairies burn. Usually they do about 1/3 of the prairie so that it is in different stages of growth every year.

Trond,

As long as you like it then that's ok with me. :) I always tend to see what is wrong or lacking with my work instead of the parts that are good.

This was the first time I came back from a Montana trip really tickled with the footage I have. I'll have to put together something with the footage that wasn't used because some of the best isn't in this film, just would have been out of place with no snow.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 05:11 AM   #10
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Here he goes again, the Yeti teasing us with yet another future weather film. :)
Go for it, buddy!
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 07:45 AM   #11
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Hi Kevin:

It's a stunner. It is beautiful beyond words. What a joy to watch a master at his craft. I am so humbled and speechless!

The two stills you included in your successive posts were also amazing. I am amazed at how far the bighorn was from you and what your camera and lens were able to do.

What a gift you are! Can we be friends forever? :)

-------
A note to Bryce: LOL, that was the wittiest feedback I've ever read and making the spot on point that when there is nothing to say, there is nothing to say! :)
------

Kevin, another great skill you have shown here is your editing ability. You put this together in a day??? It looks like you spent weeks perfecting timing to bring out the esthetics.

Yay Kevin!
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 08:46 AM   #12
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Kevin, that was fantastic. The range of shots and animals you managed to capture was a delight. The composition and shot angle was very varied and kept me engaged throughout the film. I really loved all the close ups, but the wolf was my favourite.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 01:13 PM   #13
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

That was awesome!

If you're ever headed in my direction (Minnesota/North Dakota border area), let me know. I'd love to bug the hell out of you for a day or two. I'll bring the sandwiches.

/don't know if its appropriate, but I immediately had the idea that its too bad, for symmetry purposes, that the video didn't open with a sunrise, to match the moon set at the end. Which, by the way, was so impressive you could easily convince me it was CGI.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 03:34 PM   #14
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Cat,

You are so good for my ego! :)
I'm not sure if editing is a great skill or a huge curse. Seems so often my better work comes when I'm under the gun and when everything goes right and I have a lot of time to tweak the edit etc, it ends up less than stellar.

It was the same thing when I was taking some college writing courses. If I waited until the morning the papers were due, I'd do great. Get it done in plenty of time, yeah, not so hot. Trust me, I'd so love to be able to have an entry done a week ahead of the deadline and be able to relax and actually go to sleep before midnight! :)

Tim,

Wolves are such amazing creatures. Listening to a wolf howl in a snowstorm is the epitome of wildness.
Composition is something I try to work really hard on. I have a tendency to plop the tripod down and once I find a composition and I don't entertain the thought that there could be a better composition. So I make it a point after I shoot what I think is "the" shot, pick up and look for a different take. Usually I find something better than what I originally thought was the best shot.

So often in nature you have to stop drop and shoot because you only have seconds to get a shot in some instances. So I tend to find an angle that works and get the shot in the can which is probably where my lack one interest comes from when thinking about other angles.

If I have time, I try to get it right the first time. If I don't I get the best that I can then hop I can get a second chance to recompose.

The biggest issue I still need to work on is camera movement. A lot of my shots are to much like a slide show. I set a goal for 2015 to do more movement and I have but still not enough in my book. So 2016 is the year of movie and groovin for me! :)

Robert,

Hell yeah you can bug me and I don't require any sandwiches at all but hey, I'm not gonna turn em down if you come bearing food! :)

Your comment about the sunrise it totally appropriate and warranted. I totally agree that bookending the film with a sunrise and a sunset would be perfect.

The location I shot all the moon stuff didn't have a good view of the sunrise so I opted not to even try and instead to try and get some alpenglow which happened on the one day I wasn't ready for it and the Bridger Mountains.

I can certainly add one in that I've shot before in Montana but with the importing issues I had I didn't want to take a chance of having something going wrong again so late in the game so I didn't even go back to the well of stuff I shot last week that may have been better in fear I'd run out of time all together.

I'm looking to take a couple weeks next year to tool around Montana and Wyoming. If I take two weeks I'll probably drive so we can certainly see about meeting up and doing some shooting and brain picking. :)

I've learned something about filming nature and wildlife from every person I've met so I'm always eager to meet people and see from their perspective.

I had a friend ask me to take him out on the prairie a couple months ago. Was just a step above knowing how to turn the camera on and he found some great compositions.

I encouraged him to talk out loud what it was that he liked about a subject and then we'd drill down deeper and we'd offer suggestions back and forth and he really came away with some great footage.

It may sound really stupid to be out in nature talking to yourself but I find that if you're stuck for a composition, start talking out loud and it seems that you find a solution more often than not. Weird how that happens.

Here's another behind the scenes shot coming down Highway 89 headed towards Yellowstone with some bighorn sheep right on the road.

I knew I couldn't get a good shot without pushing them and risking that they'd jump into the road so I just took this as a documenting shot that I saw them there and let them be.

My CGI skills are about five steps below stick figure ability! :)
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 04:27 PM   #15
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Re: Fire & Ice by Kevin J Railsback - UWOL 36

Kevin,
If you don't mind, would you tell us what gear you are using? Wondering what camera, tripod, & particularly what you are using for your aerial footage (Which i thought was mindblowing!)
Thanks in advance,
Bryce
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