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Old February 16th, 2009, 05:18 PM   #1
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Rob Evans - Cliveden - Longform

Well, I kinda feel like i'm making this up as I go along.
There's an amazing country estate not far from where I live called Cliveden. It consists of an amazing mid 19thC mansion ( now a hotel ) set in grounds which contain a wide range of habitat - riverside, woodland, ornamental and planned gardens to mention a few. My plan is to give a walkthrough of the estate through the seasons, watching the changes in flora and fauna whilst providing closeups on some more unusual species which I know can be found there. For example, a piece of marble used for a ballustrade was recently found to contain a colony of minute snails that are native to the region where the marble was mined - in Italy - over a hundred years ago. The little fellas are still there!
I've also got plans to focus on the human angle - hopefully getting some reflections on what the park means to people for recreation, environment and health. I'm also getting in touch with the estate management - it would be really interesting to get a feel for how forestry and ecology is planned and controlled. There's lots of history which will alos be interesting to get a feel for.
Wiki entry for it has some great photots to give you an idea!!
Cliveden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's the link to my first installment - pretty much just me talking over some footage ( almost a bit of a "move along - not much to see here!" feeling) Expect a bit more structure on the next lot!!!!!
YouTube - Cliveden - UWOL Challenge 2009 part1
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Old February 17th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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Hi Rob,
Wow it certainly looks like you have a pretty solid plan for your long form project. I loved the shots you have already & can see that with the time that is available on this one, you should have plenty to choose from for the finished article. You sound very relaxed in your comments about what you will do & i have no doubt you will pull off a great end product based on what i have seen so far.
Good luck,
There's never enough hours in the day!
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #3
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There's some nice footage there so far Rob. The 35mm helps with setting the viewer's focus. I'm sure you'll put it to good use. It will be interesting to see the changes from one season to the next, and whatever develops out of it. I'm not sure of the emphasis I want on my topic yet.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:26 AM   #4
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Rob, very interesting subject. The scenery is stunning, I like the english countryside very much!
The use of 35mm adapter is very good, gives you a tremendous nice view, especially in close-ups.
Would like more footage of the red kite too!

OK, I think you got something very interesting there to show us, Rob.
- Per Johan
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:28 PM   #5
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You have some really fine shots. I like the alternate focusing on distant and close objects.
You make me feel attraction for Cliveden. I will be happy to see more of it in may.

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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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Hi Rob.
This sounds like a great plan.
Loved your footage as I love the English countryside.
Hopefully we can see some of those "little fellas" from Italy.
All the best Rob.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 12:00 PM   #7
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Hi Rob,

Haven't had time to watch your footage yet, but you have an interesting plan.
I am looking forward to learn more about your project and to see more of the English countryside.
Good luck!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:28 PM   #8
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Wow, you even have trees there!!! and lots of them!!

sounds like a great project.

Perhaps you could get some historical foundation money for doing it, eh? Just a thought.

I really liked the awesome use of depth of field in a lot of your shots!! nicely done!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #9
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I think we’re all kind kinda making this up as we go along! Cliveden seems a wonderful place to shoot. How lucky you are to live close by. It seems a good setting for a through the seasons story. The problem for me with these seasonal stories is in which season do you start (and end) telling the story? Seems like it can make a big difference. Definitely show the “Cliveden Snail” - it was the first thing I thought of when I read the word Cliveden- and more Red Kite if possible. The human history adds a whole other dimension. I’m glad you’re including ecology and management. Was that an old coppice wood I saw in the video?
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Old February 26th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #10
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You seemed to have found a great location for your film. I love the shots with the 35mm adapter. The Cliveden snail is a great little feature too. Did you manage to get any snow shots there?
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:42 AM   #11
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Good idea Rob, to use a special place like Cliveden as a vehicle to show off the beautiful English countryside and the species of animals and plants found there.

Stunning scenery and details already. I am sure, knowing your talent, that this is going to be a very beautiful and entertaining film.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 07:45 AM   #12
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Firstly, I really feel I must apologise to you all - amongst a lot of other things I have been a very busy chap over the last few months - and my level of "community participation" has been pretty close to nil. Hopefully i'll do better in the next few weeks! Well, at least I managed to get a few trips up to Cliveden in some stunning weather, with some new toys to play with ;-) It's still mainly confined to wandering around with 30kg of equipment getting bemused looks from ramblers - but I'm getting some great footage. I have a couple of focus stories lined up, but nothing on paper just yet.
Some of the transition shots have worked very well, i'm really happy with these and really look forward to see how the rest of the year goes.
Spring is without doubt the favourite time of year for me, as a kid we always used to go on holiday to the med for 2-3weeks in april, and when we came back home, it was like entering a different world, the smells, sounds, sunshine and bright, bold colours. I hope that I've captured some of that here........

YouTube - Cliveden - UWOL Long Form 2009 - May update (push the HD button)

Loosely edited to "Spring" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" - quite appropriate!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:27 AM   #13
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Hey Rob:

How's life as a new dad treating you? Ah, your footage is awesome and it reminds me of my own back yard ;-). Seriously though, you have a real mastery of the camera. You have flawless slow-moving pans and interesting angles. Do you have any tips? I am finding that panning for me on a tripod is more difficult to do than I ever expected. It seems to always catch and stick so I end up doing more locked in straight on shots than I would like. I'd so appreciate your wisdom on this.

Another thing that caught my eye was the amazing "time-lapse" of trees and landscape leafing out. Now how did you so that to make it so smooth? That was masterful.

Nice start to what's shaping up to be an interesting and beautiful documentary.


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Old May 13th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #14
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Hi Cat!
Fatherhood is coming on very well ;-) he'll be 6 months next week, and just starting on real food. I got home from work today and Louise had made a video of him crashing away on the upright piano, and really enjoying it - not quite a mozart, but we can live in hope ;-)
Right, on to the subject of pans. Well, there's quite a few moves that aren't quite pans in the update, some where i have used a slider for a dolly effect (the early shots before the bluebells have come out) - check out for details, it's smart and quick to use. Some of the other pans are by using a jib arm close to the ground ( my other new toy a K6 boom from B Hague in the uk) - there's quite a lot of inertia in the system so it is relativley easy to get a small movement quite smooth. But for tripod shots:

a) get a decent, fluid head and some well matched sturdy legs. they needn't be massive or expensive, the most of the time with the FX1 I'll use a manfrotto 755/501 head combo, or an even lighter weight 190xb/700rc2 which at about 3-4lbs is great for trekking about. Panning your head should feel like stroking velvet, if it doesn't then you'll have serious problems!!

b) practice. practice.practice!

c) Rubber bands. by tightening some rubber bands around the head and experimenting a bit, you can use the end of the stretch to provide a nice stop to your pan, so as you turn, the band gets longer and longer and progressively halts your pan.

d) Breathe deep before panning. This helps you to maintain consistent pressure throughout the pan.

e) Wide angle will show any imperfections in a pan of the same speed less than a zoomed shot. Try it and see!

f) Did i mention practice ? :-)

Good luck!

The "timelapse" shots were "almost" simple.... I took stills from the first bunch of shoots earlier in ther year, then printed them out onto a couple of sheets of paper ( also made a pretty good mental note of position when filming) - when I went back I used the images to match up the frame and reshoot. Then in the edit, I did a simple cross dissolve, then using the point where the shots are both overlayed zoomed and panned each shot until they matched perfectly! It takes a bit of planning, but these are some of the shots that should hopefully look stunning by the end!
If i was going to do it better, I'd probably take an accurate GPS unit and plot exact co-ords and bearings....
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Old May 13th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #15
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Thanks Rob!

You're a great teacher. I never considered the rubber band technique on the tripod pan, but if it's there to do, you will have done it! The boom technique gives a really cool effect, I have seen it in Per's work as well.

The time-lapse stuff is really creative and you explain it well. I'll give it a try sometime. It didn't look like a GPS would have bought you much more accuracy, it look perfect!

Post us UWOLers a picture of that little tyke of yours sometime!

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