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Thread: Barnstaple Station Tourism Video

  1. Default Barnstaple Tourism Video

    Hello all,

    I've got to admit I'm quite worried about putting this video up on here, but ...I want to improve so let me know what you think and where I could have improved on what I did.

    This is a web tourism video I've produced for Barnstaple Station in North Devon England.

    I look forward to your comments

    The link to the video is below....

    Visual Link - Barnstaple Railway Station Tourist Video


    Last edited by JonVisuallink1; 03-01-2010 at 07:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Okay, I'm going to be blunt... Brace yourself!

    Be truthful here. What do you think about this video?

    Do you honestly find it entertaining? Interesting? Informative?

    Do you find it exciting to watch?

    If not, then you can't expect your viewers to get excited either. The golden rule of video-making is to make the video which you personally would want to watch repeatedly. I can't see anybody wanting to watch this more than once. I suspect you had an idea about what "the viewer" would want and went off hopefully in that direction.

    Visually it wasn't thrilling. The start was particularly slow with lots of similar long-shots edited together. The whole video lacked in visual "wow" shots, nearly all mid- to long- shots with very few close-ups and lots of long sequences which seemed slow due to the lack of variety. The shots were okay, steady, sharp and correctly exposed but lacking in interest.

    The voice-over is sophoric to the point of sending the listener to sleep. I don't know if he's trying to imitate the boring tones of 1960s town documentaries of if that's the best he can do. He also has a slight Australian accent in some of his vowels, not right for Devon somehow! I assume that you didn't have the budget for a professional but this particular guy sounds quite uninterested and his voice is unfortunately boring.

    The text was quite repetative in places. Starting successive sentences with the same words, for example "Or, if you want to..." followed by "Or, you can take..." etc.

    Avoid standard phrases like "a team of dedicated staff" it sounds fake, like a press release. Instead use phrases like "run by locals who are enthusiastic cyclists themselves".

    Sorry, but my impression after watching this video is that Barnstaple is a boring little town with a tacky station.

    ... and yet I think that you're a good videographer. Technically it was competent and the camerawork smooth and adequate. It just lacked "bling."

    In my opinion you should have been a bit more confident. Closer shots with happy people. Get people filmed from the front, there were far too many backs. The opening sequence showing the river and bridge in four successive shots could have been shortened. You mentioned bars and nightlife in the V.O. It would have been an ideal opportunity to show some. In the same way, when you said that the bus could take you to other places, a few postcard-type shots of pretty villages on sunny days with happy people drinking outside country pubs would have sold a lot more than a shot of a double-decker bus.
    A lot of the shots lacked foreground interest. The Station and town looked quite dull. Flowers always look good and a few blooms in the foreground can hide messy details. If need be... fake it! Hold a hanging-basket from a lamp-post to hide a factory or ugly fence.
    What was with the pan over an ugly factory at 3:30? Only show pretty stuff, you don't have to be brutally honest in an image film!
    Oh yeah... You speeded up a shot of a train arriving and it didn't quite work. It looked out of place.

    In the cafe, there were a handful of pies and sausage rolls in the hot-server. It should have been full, even if you put them back in the fridge once you've taken the shot. The flower pots on the station looked tired and empty. Even plastic blooms would have added a bit of colour and, in a long shot, you won't see that they're fake.
    The conference room should have been "dressed" with note pads and pencils on the table, maybe a tray with biscuits and a pot of coffee in the middle.

    The "memorabilia" should have been taken out of the clear-plastic slieve before filming, or at least the white edge should have been trimmed off.

    Sorry to be so critical.

    Please bear in mind that these are my opinions about the video and are not an attack on you personally!
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 02-28-2010 at 05:41 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks Gaffer, ...I take it you didn't like it then!

    Thanks for the feedback, and I know it isn't a personal attack at me. To be honest I'm simply interested in how I can improve so you thoughts are all useful.

    Thanks again for the feedback



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Hi Jon, I've added a bit more to my original post above. It's not that I didn't like it, it's just that it could have been a lot better.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 02-28-2010 at 05:24 PM.

  5. Default


    The edited version with the extra content really does help a lot.

    It's all really good points that I can use to improve my work moving forward. That's exactly what I was looking for.

    Cheers again.


  6. #6


    I think have a person or a couple actually doing the journey that the narrator is describing is a way of adding interest to something like this. It's nice to see people arriving at the station, having a cuppa in the café, looking around the town etc.

    I think with a different script and a re-edit of your very nice shots could still turn this piece around. Don't make the mistake of narrating to the footage so much so that the narrator was waiting for your shots to finish before moving onto the next sentence. Just because the the VO says take the bus to the next village doesn't mean you have to have a visual of a bus. We all know what buses look like but we don't know what the next village looks like.

    There is a real art to writing this kind of script, I wish I could do it, I'd make a fortune.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Haywards Heath, West Sussex, UK


    I can understand your trepidation about posting. You will certainly get feedback here and the better your abilities the more acute the feedback can be. Mind you, that is what we all need if we are to improve.

    I agree with all that has been said so far. Without doubt you have talent and the film is polished, however Gaffer hit the nail on the head when he asked would you want to watch it again and again.

    The film does not make me want to rush to Barnstaple and if the target audience are tourists then its not really doing what it says on the tin.

    Things I noticed -

    the vo at 0.44 comes in too quickly after the previous sentence.
    The speeded up train makes the staff look robotic
    The food is the cafe really lets it down . Those sausage rolls dont look that appealing which then detracts from the conference facility. Would you be inspired to ask the inhouse catering team to provide lunch ?
    Tarka trail = beautiful = ugly modern bridge. Make the vo coincide with a nicer shot.

    To be honest I think you had a tough brief here. There is not really much at that station for a tourist? My wife and I visited there last year and rode the trail. If I had seen your video I might have stopped for a cup of tea but I doubt it.

    Where is the video to be displayed?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Hi Jon, and welcome.

    I think Gaffer has done an excellent job in summarising what's wrong and come up with real practical suggestions as to how to put them right. As I've said so often on this forum, it's often the better films which attract the most criticism as there's usually more scope for specific criticism (for example, there's little point examining how to film something from a more flattering angle when it's clear the filmmaker needs to learn to hold a camera steady in the first place)

    Shrimpy and Midnight have added their own useful comments.

    I too thought the shots were well crafted if somewhat unadventurous.

    So I'll look at it from a slightly different angle: Who is the audience? It is totally unclear to me what the film is trying to market - Barnstaple itself, the conferencing facilities of the station or the Stationmaster's Café? The text seems to suggest it's marketing the station - which seems a bit strange - people don't generally visit a railway station.

    The suggestion that Barnstaple Station makes a "warm and welcoming start or end to your journey" made me laugh. Surely the only people who start or end a journey at a railway station are trainspotters (and I'm not knocking them - I did my share in my youth) and I'm sure that's not who the promo is aimed at. For the vast majority of people, a railway station is something you pass through.

    If your brief is to make the station a destination, then make this clear.

    But overall I suspect that if you have a much clearer idea to whom you're trying to sell what and why, the how will become clearer and the film will have much more direction.

  9. Default


    The video is going to be used on the Railway Station Cafe web site to promote the Cafe and the conference centre more than anything else, (...and it's also going on to a Tourism Multimedia CD that's going to press quite soon)

    ..and yep it was quite a difficult brief ..especially as I had to film 90% of the footage on one day in December just before Christmas, which was a bit of a nightmare ...but such is life, so don't think I'm moaning about it, ....welcome to the real world I can hear you all saying.

    Just as a bit of background:- I've taken about 2 years to get to the level I'm at and and I'm quite confident that I'm good on the technical side of filming and the editing process now, which you all seem to have echoed to various levels. and it honestly has been really useful to hear all you're feedback as it highlight's what I thought ....that more than anything I need to work on my creative side ...and the fine detail.

    I have so many questions about the next steps to get to that next level, but I've been finding it quite difficult to get objective feedback that's constructive enough to help me to get there. ...and funnily enough this wasn't as bad as I thought, so thanks again and I'll put some more of my videos up in the future to see how you think I'm improving.

    Tim, All good points, and yep I can see now that I got a bit confused about my focus, so I'll re-address that also.

    I've got some time to work on this video again now, so I'll use the info you've all supplied to work on all the points highlighted.


    Last edited by JonVisuallink1; 03-01-2010 at 08:13 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Welcome to Videoforums Jon. Glad that you've understood the forum's way. Criticism often seems negative when written down. It's not meant like that. In the same way, we're not necessarily saying that we could do any better! I can't play the piano but I can tell when a musician hits a bum note.

    As the others have pointed out, the better you are, the more criticism you'll get. If you'd posted a typical light-sabre or skateboarding video you probably wouldn't have got any feedback at all.

    The text does need a lot more work. For inspiration, don't look at other "image videos" they tend to be awful! Have a look at BBC documentaries and listen how they're texted. It's not easy, so don't think you're particularly bad. My missus earns a crust doing voice-overs (she's actually a film-maker but that's another story) and you should see some of the rubbish which she has to read!

    In this case I would suggest that you bite the bullet, re-write the text and then and go back to film some more footage. It might mean that your profit goes out the window but it will result in happy customers and a decent example to show future clients.

    There are so many mediocre and average videographers out there that you really need to offer the best in order to make a living.

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