Okay to earn my right to critique others' work I have to post some of my own work. This is my second movie and first short. I obtained a schedule 1 photography license from Scottish Natural Heritage. This is the result of numerous morning and evening visits to this site in SE Scotland over four months. The movie was shot with a Canon Ixus 55 digital camera in movie mode. The camera was bracketed to the eyepiece of a birding telescope. The movie was edited in Premiere Elements 4.
Some of the unsteady camera work was because of the flimsy support coupled by extreme magnification; 5 x optical zoom plus a 30 x eyepiece makes for formidable magnification - of the tiniest gust of wind!.
Anyway I would welcome some comments, good or bad!
Okay to earn my right to critique others' work I have to post some of my own work.
Actually, Neil, it works the other way round. People are far more likely to criticise your work if they see you've made the effort to criticise others. And your ability to make films doesn't necessarily relate to your ability to spot errors or room for improvement in others. This is, perhaps, contrary to what might at first suspect. It took me a while to understand this
Anyway to your film...
I admire the patience you must have shown to capture these images and it must be rally satisfying to be able to put them all together.
The images are, I think, excellent, and personal. No-one else has those images,
I can see the film works on a certain level - let the pictures speak for themselves and I understand that's all your trying to do - so my criticisms that follow may not be strictly relevant.
For me - someone who's not really interested in birds - I'd have liked a narration. Something to get me interested - or involved. It needn't be constant, just a few explanatory notes of what we're seeing, and maybe a few facts an figures.
Even better would be an opionated narration so we can get some emotion in there. I'd have also liked some natural audio to go with it (it can be dubbed, I'm not saying it has to be live)
You're clearly enthusiastic about these birds or you wouldn't have spent all this time and effort getting access and the shots.
Let's feel some of that enthusiasm. Provoke some reaction in your viewers or at least make us think a bit.
Sorry Tim, for once I disagree with your comments.
The film to me was a nice mood piece with well chosen and appropriate music.
For me, to add commentary would have spoiled the simple pleasure of the images.
A few natural sound effects may have added something but I really think a narration would have made it into an entirely different style movie.
Sorry Tim, for once I disagree with your comments.
No apology, please! As I said my criticisms may not be relevant. Thank Jedi we don't all like the same style of film. Yes, I think I would have preferred a totally different style of film. But I also accept others enjoy this style.
I probably need a great big chill pill to appreciate it.
Your comments are actually quite valid, Tim. There were a couple of reasons why the footage was presented in this manner:
(i) the audio recorded from the camera was of very poor quality and unuseable. You correctly suggest I could overlay some ambient sounds and now that I have some means of sound recording I may consider this. I used music instead to create atmosphere and was quite pleased with the effect.
(ii) I had a choice between an artistic presentation (as I hope it turned out) or a documentary style presentation. To be honest I haven't summoned the courage to narrate as yet (despite the fact I'm quite happy to deliver lectures on the subject!). My next wildlife movie, which is nearing completion, is a much larger HD project, will require narration and I'm trying to source information and advice about how best to do this. For your own taste a documentary style would have worked better and kept your attention. I present my work at local (and not-so-local!) birdwatching societies and for that audience it was received well.
Thanks very much for the comments and when the next movie is ready I'll post it. But you'll need a spare 30 minutes. And a nice cool beer
By publishing your film you have earned your right to criticise even though it appears that was not necessary. I too also had the view that in order to critique you needed to expose your own work. Tim's comments has changed my view on this.
Here is what I think of the film and I am not a bird watcher but I do enjoy wildlife.
I love your choice of music, it contributes emotion and in my view works particularly well at two points of your film. 1st when the eggs are revealed for the first time and second when the chick is being fed around 3.44 I would have tried to co-incide the emotional peak of the music to when the chick gets the food but I appreciate its not easy doing that when you can't control the music.
Some of the shots were a bit too long for me but then again I am not a bird watcher. I imagine that a twitcher would really want to study each and every clip. When I am trying to hit an emotional note (something I find the most enjoyable thing in editing) and I want to avoid holding the same clip preceding the climax, I just use cutaways to pad out leading up to it.
Clearly your film took a long time to capture but I think you could use that fact to add a greater sense of the passage of time. Maybe some timelapse or speeded up footage of sunrise/sunset, clouds moving, nature blossoming etc to show that time has passed and the chicks have grown.
I imagine your keen to protect the location of the nest but you could always film your cutaways elsewhere, the viewer will never know.
I would have liked to have seen some in flight shots of the birds in their environment or just against blue sky if thats not possible for protection reasons.
I would not have used the clip at 3.15 because the main focus is obscured. You must have been cursing when you were filming that. What bad luck. Also I would have cut the clip at 4.40 to start when the bird is nicely in frame.
I really liked the use of the slow fades, I will try some of those now I have seen yours. Good film, well done.