UWOL#3 - "The wild point" by Mat Thompson at DVinfo.net

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Old May 22nd, 2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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UWOL#3 - "The wild point" by Mat Thompson

This film was by far the biggest challenge of my entries so far. So many variables to take into consideration. The tide times, the wind (Oh this ruined so much footage), the weather in general, the WALK, yes a 10 mile round trip walk for each visit which as you know has left me hobbling around.

The film was meant to be more heavily built around the large males fighting but unfortunatley the wind bounce was just too great and killed about 3x as much as went into the final 'big fight' !

The seals of Blakeney point are such great fun and very inquisitive so I just had to end the film with my favourite who I saw repeatadly over a couple of visits and in this shot came out of the water only 3-4 Metres away to see what I was up to.

Anyway guys I hope you enjoy the result....and rip it up !!!?????

Edit:Oh and these are Common and Grey seals by the way. Britain has 50% of all the worlds Grays!

Shot with Canon XL2 - Sigma 100-300 F4 / edited with P-pro - All shot at Blakeney point, Norfolk, UK.

Last edited by Mat Thompson; May 22nd, 2007 at 04:29 PM.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 01:45 PM   #2
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OK, I am not normally a jealous person. I can watch videos of birds and think "Yes, I have seen pretty birds", and I can watch other videos and think "I have seen such things.". But your footage is the first in a long time that made me think about making vacation plans specifically for getting footage like that.

Wow! Very cool.

Now that is the point of making nature videos!
Steven Gotz
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 02:58 PM   #3
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Some great shots of the seals, Mat.
Is it harbour seal?
I can feel the wind blowing, when I see the sand, blowing away.
Over at my place they got babys now in june, so I hope to get it on tape.
Great composition and the music and the voice of the seal and gulls, it fits.
I reckon you're using tripod and the little shivering is caused by the wind?
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 03:32 PM   #4
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I really liked the film, great footage of the seals, and a real feeling for the windswept shore where they lived. As Geir said, the music was very organic especially the way the seal voices blended seamlessly with the composition. Sorry about the consequences of your shoot, but it was worth it!

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Old May 22nd, 2007, 05:41 PM   #5
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Great video Mat!
You got nice shots of those seals.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 05:52 PM   #6
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Very nice. And you got the nice closeups that I envied in this project !! How'd you keep the camera out of the salt spray and sand with that wind howling like it was ??
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 05:58 PM   #7
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For what you went through you sure put up a fantastic film. Congratulations! From the recent dialog of your frustrations I wasn't expecting anything like this! I also thought you had amazing good luck and timing with the crab being washed away. All around exceptional work.

Now I have two questions. First, are you out of the hospital yet? Feeling better? I hope so! Second. I am seeing often in everyone's filming the fading in and out of yourselves walking in the picture. May I ask how you are doing this? I could make an educated guess if the background wasn't moving, but you had waves in the background and lots of movement. Can you share your secret?

Thanks for putting so much into your film, and quality work.

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Old May 22nd, 2007, 07:46 PM   #8
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Hey Mat,

Well we talked about critique earlier today so I'm gonna tell it like it is.

I have one major problem with your film and that is "The Fisher King."

I still feel it is probably the best film I've seen come out of any of the UWOL challenges.

I think that film was so good that unless you had an alien spacecraft land among the seals it would be damn near impossible to top that.

The title screen looked great. It set the tone for the rest of the film right out of the gate.

Where'd you get that disappearing act from? If I didn't know any better I'd think you lifted it from a Geocaching film. :)

For me something was kind of missing in the set up leading up to the first shot of the seals. Out of all of them, I liked the wave washing away the crab the best. To me that looked the most like a Mat Thompson shot.

I like how you could see the seals way off in the distance and their vocalizations came into play before we actually get a chance to see them

The first shot of the seals is killer. Little bit of wind shake but not so much that it takes away from the subjects. For me, that was the shot. The windswept sand, the vocalizations, the subtle background score. That's where the film started for me.

Your seal footage was fantastic. But again, I wouldn't expect any less from you.

Even though your goal was to show two males battling it out for dominance, I think you made a greater statement about seals by not focusing so much on the fighting.

Not only is it a good film but it's an enjoyable one. Sometimes you don't have both. A film can be technically good but be agonizing to watch.

Your films are always one of the first ones I download. I have to say, I've never been dissapointed.

You managed to make something out of very daunting conditions. I doubt most of us could have done as well in the best of conditions.

Great job as always!
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:38 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the kind words.

Geir - Common and Grey seals fella - Yeah I wanted to capture 'the wild' I went out there on one of the days and they were basking in sunshine with no wind unfortunately they were quite inactive so I stuck with the windy footage. Although it was technically very difficult to work with. Yeah at equivalent of over 2000mm thereís no way not to use a tripod but the 20mph+ winds made working hard.

Steven - I can highly recommend spending some time with these guys, SO inquisitive and interesting social interactions.

Chris - Home made plastic sheet cover as well as a cheap (and crappy unfortunately) small hide on the last visit.

Cat - Didn't stay in the Hospital just had to see a Doc and pick up lots of drugs. - The disappear is very easy just take a shot without you and the shot with and cross-fade transition between the two, skill is to do it quickly and get everything in the shot the same apart from you !

Kevin- Damn that Fisher king ;-) ! hhhmm I'm interested in what you think was missing in the build up...any ideas? Disappearing act, lol told you they would be a Railsback rip-off in there somewhere! This was the most technically difficult shoot I had and the funny thing is the seals are almost guaranteed...all the other variables unfortunately arenít, this also gave me a hard edit, every sequence had to have wind shake cut out of it which really broke the flow in most case....tough! I'm glad its enjoyable because they really are enjoyable to sit and watch for a few hours...I'll be going back again for sure at some point...when I can walk again.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:56 AM   #10
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hi mat,

truly enjoyed this piece. i can imagine how enjoyable it must be to watch them for hours. i especially like the shots around 1:00 min where you can see the birds fighting against the wind (you couldn't have introduced the difficult conditions any better). looks amazing, almost like an effect (actually at first I thought it was one). and the last shot. the animals looking right at you, being interested in what you're doing aren't the favourites for nothing.

great film
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:38 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info Mat:

That is most certainly how you would think one does the disappearing act, but what threw me was the rolling sea break in the background. It looks seamless. I marvel at how you matched that up so well with both shots: you in and you out. I'll have to go back a watch that again!

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Old May 23rd, 2007, 09:39 AM   #12
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Wow. Great images Mat. And I mean great shots. Although I don't think I would have worried so much about the wind shake. The wind is as much a character in the story as the ocean.
Again, I really liked it alot. :)

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Old May 23rd, 2007, 11:09 AM   #13
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Hey Mat,
That gets my seal of approval. arf! arf! ;-)
Great shots, lovely intro and some great soundtrack/music mixing. Absolutley loved the way you brought the conflict scenes in with the change in tone of music, and the ending with the seal looking into the camera alongside the sorrowful feel of the music really gave a feel of pathos - i loved it!! You did well in those winds to stave the shakycam off.....


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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:04 PM   #14
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I liked this very much. Think we had the same technique for disappearing :-)
Very well filmed with nice establising and close-up shots.
Your editing was real good, though a minor flaw at 1:30, the two clips are taken under different light conditions and are very visible when used in a sequence.
The "baby" seal at the end was very charming :-)

Your are on my top 5 list.
- Per Johan
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 10:35 PM   #15
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Wow Mat! I am sorry about your foot. However, I think you will be ok with it in a few months/years when you look back at this spectacular piece of work that you made! I love it!! There is not one thing I would change about it...

Absolutely wonderful piece of work!

Great job! I hope you get better soon!
Gabriel Photography
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