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Thread: new documentary

  1. #1

    Default new documentary

    Chris Kelman is a 48 year old father of three from the North West of England .
    Chris has been skateboarding since the first wave hit UK shores in 1977.

    I caught up with Chris to hear his skater for life story .....

    This is the second edit of my short documentary and i desperately need some critique.

    issues im aware of or unsure about are ....

    is it too long ?
    audio (voice) /ambient mix (done all i can with this)
    audio/music mix - is the music to loud or distracting ?
    colour correction on individual cameras is it acceptable?
    second camera (side angle) shots .... do they work ?

    after watching the film from start to finish it dawned on me that some of the techie
    stuff chris talks about will be total gibberish and make no sense what so ever to the majority of people. with that in mind, is his story interesting enough to keep you viewing?

    im aware it needs work ..... dont sit on the fence

    btw, please view in HD on youtube rather from this link

    Last edited by enc; 03-08-2011 at 12:05 AM.

  2. #2


    The outline of the dead bird logo is visible from frame one should it be ?
    The cut at around one min is odd because of the different background from the wide angle lens shot to the other shot.
    Have another look at the white balance of the side shot it seems just a little warmer than the front shot, not much though. Use his grey top as the item to match.
    The background music is a bit to loud.

    OK that's the over critical bit over, now the main points. I liked what you did, you have some great shots. It's different to the VW Van man but I like it. I don't know if there is enough interest for those who are not into skate boarding to have a length of 7 mins. If it was on TV people would watch it for 10 mins but if they are flicking through YouTube I don't thing so. I can watch paint dry if it's a nice colour, so I'm may be not the best judge on this.

    I think a lot of the stuff you are worried about is actually ok. There are may be things that only people like us would notice, most people wouldn't I like this and think you've done a great job. The only thing I would like to see would be him interacting with the younger kids. This would reinforce what he said about them accepting him even though he is 3 or 4 times there age.

    Hope this helps.

    Great job, I would have been pround to have produce this.

  3. #3


    I thought that was great. I'm about 10 years younger than Chris, and as with many people my age I was once a skater for life too. I got into skating at the time he mentions meeting the BMXer's and then the skaters in the shop in Wigan. For many years there was a massive crowd of us, and gradually a few at a time then one by one we dropped off, until one day there was only a few of us bringing our boards out, that lasted for a few years yet but then led to just being me. I remember vividly being gutted when I started to leave mine at home too. Whenever I pass skaters I still feel that gutted feeling and I know a few old time mates that tell me the same when everr I bump into them.

    For this middle age audience, which I'm sure is bigger than you'd imagine, your film works really well. The tech speak he talks that your worried about, don't touch it, it is nostalgia and makes a big difference for me as a viewer and it shows in his face how much it means to him. I believe it is needed.

    Your colour work IMO is almost acceptable, most is fine but I think your interview shots could do with a bit more tweaking in matching up the cameras, it's almost there.

    There is one thing that I would think would make a big difference, for viewers like me and for younger viewers or viewers with less of an interest in the topic. If you could get hold of old footage to run in paralel that suits what he is talking about, then I'm sure (while it wouldn't necessarily have to) it could even run longer and work even better. Especially as the stuf he talks of that your worried about could be illustrated.

    They've been making skateboard video's almost as far back as Chris talks of, and there's plenty of old film footage around from before that. I'd imagine getting the rights to use it wouldn't be too hard.

    I'm loving your documentaries by the way, making that connection between the people and their "thing". Everyone can relate to that, and it seems you have a knack for getting the best out of people, not necessarily an easy thing to do.


  4. #4


    thanks fellas.

    re the deadbird outline yes, im aware, the logo might be going altogether im undecided on it at the moment.

    colour correction.... ive already done lots LOL! the side angle shots are possibly still a bit too red/pinky im thinking. I could try and reduce the red highlights a touch maybe ? the to camera angle is the more natural look. next time i'll remember to set the white balance
    *at least i remembered to set both cameras to 1080 this time !

    anyone have an opinion on the colour bleed transitions ? over used/ passe now ? ive tried straight cuts but they didnt work for me.

    its important to me that this should work to a non skateboard audience hence my concern about the techie bits. Im thinking if i cut them then maybe, it wouldnt be chris's "real" story. im going to keep them for now.
    Andy, i like the idea of using some older footage i had asked chris for some old photos unfortunately he doesnt have any.

    thanks again fellas

    ..... back to the drawing board

  5. #5


    I don't know if you like this idea but if you have all the side shots in black and white it will save you a lot of time with the camera balancing.

    Just an idea.

  6. #6


    i tried it MB, wasnt keen to be honest. thanks for te suggestion though

  7. #7
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    Very nice, Ian. The opening shot of the extreme close up of the skateboard coming into view (repeated leater) was simply perfect. It told us what the film was going to be about and showed us it was going to be a good quality film.
    I thought the side shots of Chris's interview worked best when they were in profile. The three-quarter shots didn't provide enough contrast with the face on shots.
    Whilst I enjoyed the footage (a rarity for me with skateboard video) I realised that my mind was drifing away from what Chris was saying fairly quickly. I think this was a combination of things: (a) I'm not interested in skateboarding (b) it did get a bit jargony (c) his voice did not come over clearly. I know that you were concerned about (b).
    As for (a) - well I wasn't interested in camper vans either, but I enjoyed the dialogue in that film immensley.
    You might well feel pretty gutted about (c) as I know you've spent a lot of time and effort trying to get the voice clear. I don't know what it is exactly - If I turn up my speakers and listen to the voice it seems perfectly clear enough, I don't think the background music is too intrusive. But unless i concentrated on listening to the voice, I found my mind just drifted off. It seems to need a bit more "presence". Maybe you've reduced some of teh upper frequencies too much to try to cut out background noise.

    My only other crticism whcih you might bear in mind for future projects is that Chris's eyes were in permanent shadow. This is a shame as we all know eyes are the most expressive feature. In future try to reflect some light back onto the face to ensure that overhead sunlight doesn't cast such dark shadows - or maybe a simple LED light on the camera would do the trick?

  8. #8


    thanks tim, as ever, some useful critique there

    these little documentaries are a learning curve for me and hopefully, the technical aspect will/has, improve/improved with each one.

    re: the voice, i have in fact increased the upper frequency and reduced lower frequency in an attempt to get the balance right or as near as as i can given the circumstances. earlier i burned a copy to DVD and it doesn't sound quite as "difficult" whn played through the TV's speakers. maybe its because ive listened so many times while editing it Chris does have a tendency to mumble a bit and despite living away from his native country still has quite a strong accent. anyway im just looking for excuses now LOL!

    You are absolutely right about the eyes..... i thought someone would pick up on that.
    difficult to monitor on the 3" screen of my camera and relying totally on available light ..... as you say something to work on in future projects.

    both the documentaries you have seen so far have been pretty rushed affairs shot in one take. in a way, for this type of documanary i think it works best... presentation seems more natrual.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post

    both the documentaries you have seen so far have been pretty rushed affairs shot in one take. in a way, for this type of documanary i think it works best... presentation seems more natrual.
    I'd have to agree with you there. Unless you're working with professional presenters, the first take is usually the best. Once you start going for subsequent takes the talent becomes much more conscious of trying to "improve" on either their language or whatever element caused the problem - even if the reason for a retake was nothing to do with them.

    The same is true, perhaps moreso, with non-professional actors.

  10. #10
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    Removed? How can we vite for it for VOTM?

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