UWOL #2: "On the flower-strewn meadow" by Grant Sherman at DVinfo.net

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Old March 24th, 2007, 01:46 AM   #1
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UWOL #2: "On the flower-strewn meadow" by Grant Sherman


Theme and plan: a tricky one this time. I had two plans - Goat kids playing, or seal pup sleeping. I'd managed to get footage of both of these in the week before UWOL #2 was announced. Then we had two weeks of gales and the seal pup learnt to swim and the goats kept hiding. A real introduction to the joys of wildlife filming! Fortunately the weather improved and goats like chewing the cud. Most of this footage was obtained on the day that I broke my camera :( So the end result was "goats resting" - not really recreation but close enough.

Editing: I am not very happy with this; all just fade out to black / fade in. The compression doesn't like this form of editing / very blocky. I need to learn a lot more about wildlife editing. Any suggestions?

Music: As with the first challenge, I used a Creative Commons file from Wikipedia.
Everyone knows the first movement of Spring but this was more restful, and more in keeping with the (in)action. After I'd finished editing it, I noticed that Vivaldi had written sonnets to go with each season.

E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme 'l Caprar col fido can' lato.

On the flower-strewn meadow,
with leafy branches rustling overhead,
the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

That gave me my title!

Two down, four to go. I look forward to seeing your work. Maybe I can pick-up some ideas about editing while watching them.

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Old March 24th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #2
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That was a heck of an opening zoom!
I thought it was a nice opening scene before the zoom even started. Had no idea there was a goat out there. :)

The goat kids sure are cute. :)

Instead of fade ins and outs, why not try some cross dissolves? You still get some artifacting but not as bad as a fade in and out.

I think the fade in and outs kind of made the film seem disjointed. It was a common subject but it felt like they were separate little snippets and not one cohesive piece.

I also think after the opening shot I would have changed the shot order a bit to a scene that had some of the goat kids playing. Your establishing shot was of a bedded down goat then your next shot was of a goat cleaning itself. Something with some movement might have worked a little better.

Something else you may want to play around with and see how it looks to you is to chop that opening zoom into three segments, shorten each one and then put cross dissolves between them. It cuts down the length of the zoom and it adds a little something extra to it besides just the zoom. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Allot of times I break up a long shot by doing that.

The trouble with shooting so far away is often you have to shoot through so much air, you get a low contrast look since you're going through so much atmosphere. Maybe try saturating the colors a little more and bumping up some contrast in post and see how that looks.

The goats were in some beautiful settings, I hope you go back and film them again.

Good job on getting it done!
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Old March 24th, 2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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That is a gorgeous setting, to film wildlife in. I agree with Kevin on most counts, most notably the loooong zoom. Somebody posted recently somewhere, 'our eyes don't zoom, so use zoom selectively'. I believe the zoom was well suited to the shot, however it's just too extreme. You must have gone the whole range of the lens.

Nice work. Hope you get your lens back soon. BTW, was it all 20x, or were you also using EOS adapter plus ??
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
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Old March 25th, 2007, 01:09 AM   #4
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Some specatacular footage of wildlife !! Goat kids were so cute !!
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old March 25th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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Hi Grant

Some really nice shots in your piece. I like the ram standing on the rock with the ocean behind him best....and what a zoom! Blimey Is this on Lundy? I've been wanting to come out there in years, looks like a beautiful place for sure!

I would have liked to see a little more change in pace with the editing and cutting to tell a more of a story or give more character. A couple of head close ups would have really added to your levels of detail too.

I wasn't a fan of the music, too servere fun a animal like this and especially considering your title.

Hope this helps. Nice subject, nice piece .
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Old March 25th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #6
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I thought some of this footage was incredbily spectacular, really made me want to be there. I think some shots, including the zoom, were probably held a bit long. And the footage of the goat kids could have been possibly turned into more of a story rather than just a series of shots. But I really enjoyed watching it.

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Old March 25th, 2007, 02:43 PM   #7
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"That was a heck of an opening zoom!
I thought it was a nice opening scene before the zoom even started. Had no idea there was a goat out there. :)"

Haha, I totally Agree! That is what I was thinking exactly!

Nice scenery. I was a little lost though as far story goes....

I am very impressed that you can get steady and stable shots out there! Between it being a steep slope and right along the ocean(?), it was very impressive.

I loved the music, I think it was a nice fit.

Keep doing what you are doing, but maybe work on editing a little bit more. There is lots of people here that can edit really nice, I am not one of them so I can not really give you much advice! lol. I would just say practice with what you got until you find workarounds and find ways to make things look the way you want them to.

I wish you luck!
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Old March 26th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #8
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You've got comments on your video, so I just want to part with saying I liked your video. Those goat kids sure look kute.
I also liked the scenery, very beautiful.
it also shows how clever the goats are, climbing the heavy ground.
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old March 26th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #9
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I enjoyed the film the scenery is wonderful. I do have a question are they wild or owned by someone and just put out for grazing? That may seem like a stupid question but hey....my brain is frozen.

At first I couldn't find the theme but now realize that your recreation is watching and filming.

Well done.....Brian
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Old March 26th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #10
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Nice video you made!
The best part was the goat standing on the rock with the ocean in the background.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #11
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Wow, lovely shots and a great opening. That's quite a story behind the camera too!
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Old March 26th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #12
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you got a gorgeous scenery in your film, liked that very much!
I think Kevin has commented most of it. I don't know if it would have been possible, but if you could move around a little bit more, shooting from different positions and with different extracts. In that way you are able cut and edit more seamless in post, without using so much dissolves.

Vivaldi is one of my favorites, and it did supplementing your footage very well.

Well done!
- Per Johan
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Old March 26th, 2007, 04:26 PM   #13
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Hi Grant:

Well done with fabulous scenery. What can I say! Another movie with goats... who would have known! Nice to see these beautiful animals in a more sophisticated light than the genre of my movie. Thank you. We are kindred spirits in passion for these animals. Ours are Nubians, some mixed with Saanan or Boer breeds. I enjoyed watching these mountain goats, and in their natural setting. Wonderful!

Cat Russell
Spike Productions
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Old March 30th, 2007, 04:08 AM   #14
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Hi folks,

Thanks for all the comments. Sorry that I've taken so long to reply, I was back on the mainland until a couple of days ago. And then I've been downloading your excellent films. I've still got a lot to learn.

Thanks for the editing tips. I'll have a play with those ideas on my next day off.

I like the idea of cutting the looong zoom into sections. It was the full range of the 20x zoom. All the shots were with that lens. I've had an estimate for the repair - just have to get the paperwork off to the insurance company on the next boat.

I now have a EF adaptor and a Sigma 70-300mm APO lens. I could have done with this lens for the challenge - I agree that some close-ups would have been good.

The theme was meant to be the goats relaxing (the goats' recreation). It would have been better with more shots of the kids playing around - but I just didn't get the footage. A narrative might have helped to explain my meaning.

The goats are feral goats. They've been living wild on Lundy for over a hundred years. We do control their numbers (they end up in the game stew). Keith Allen from Exeter University says "The coat colours of the Lundy goats indicate a complete mixture of the Alpine breeds Saaren and Toggenberg, and the Nubian goat of the Middle East. This mixture is generally known as the 'English' goat Capra hircus hircus". Both billies and nannies have horns. The one standing on the rock with the sea behind her is a nanny!

The music was part of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. This was the slow movement from 'Spring'. If i'd got more shots of the kids playing then I would have attempted to mix in some of the faster movements. The words for the title were written by Vivaldi.

I'm very lucky to be living on an island with spectacular scenery. The opening shot had the 'Devil's Limekiln" in the background. A 300ft blowhole. I'll post some more scenery soon. And you'll probably get some more views in the next UWOL challenges
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