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Thread: I'm making a video and have no idea what I'm doing. please laugh at how stupid I am.

  1. #1

    Default I'm making a video and have no idea what I'm doing. please laugh at how stupid I am.

    Last year I went to Mexico during the day of the dead. I brought with me my Sony Camera and Røde Microphone to film a video journal. At first, I was thinking of uploading footage to youtube regularly, so that my folks at home could see what I was up to, but I quickly decided that it would be better to wait until I got home so that I could put together something better.

    I've now turned the footage into a 20 minute journal/documentary type thing and need some critique. Be as harsh as you want as I'm sure people on Youtube are even harsher.

    Keep in mind that this is not a commercial video, I have little experience, and no budget. It was made using a free edition of Lightworks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gXFZreB0UQ(link is external)

    Am I easy to understand? Is it easy to understand what's going on? Are any of my monolouges boring? Are there parts I should just remove from the video?

    Some self-criticism first:

    1. I would often zoom out or zoom in on things I was filming, because I thought going from an overview shot to focusing on an object and viceversa would look good. When I got home I discovered that I had done this on nearly every clip, which was way to much and made it hard to find clips where I wasn't constatly zooming.

    2. I get anxious about filming in public. This means that I will often start filming, and quickly stop to avoid bringing attention to myself. It also means that most of my clips are shorter than I prefer, and many places I've had to use a series of short clips, where I'd prefer to use one that was longer.


    3. The audio sounds louder in some parts than others. I'm going to fix that.


    4. I use blackouts when there's a jump in time or change in scenery. Does this work?


    Notes on specific parts:


    1. The transition at 12:00 feels wierd. I tried to remove the dissolve and just have it jump straight from one clip to the next, but that also feels wrong. I feel like there should be another clip in between to make the progression feel more natural, though I don't know what to put.


    2. I'm planning on getting 13:52 subtitled.


    3. the travel montage that starts at 15:43 feels very long. I've shortened it down in Ligthworks, but haven't exported yet.


    4. The title for chapter 4 starts at 18:00, a short while AFTER I've arrived in Zipolite. Is this a strange placement?


    5. Does the minute long story at 19:20 seem unnecessary?


    6. I have no idea how I'm supposed to make the ending.


    Thanks to anyone that can provide feedback!
    -Ole

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    Be as harsh as you want as I'm sure people on Youtube are even harsher.
    You can safely ignore negative comments (and positive comments) on YouTube as normally they give no justification.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    Am I easy to understand? Is it easy to understand what's going on? Are any of my monolouges boring? Are there parts I should just remove from the video?
    Yes. Yes. Possibly. Possibly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    Some self-criticism first:
    1. I would often zoom out or zoom in on things I was filming, because I thought going from an overview shot to focusing on an object and viceversa would look good. When I got home I discovered that I had done this on nearly every clip, which was way to much and made it hard to find clips where I wasn't constantly zooming.
    You've already understood the first giveaway of amateur footage. It is wholly desirable to show close up then wide or vice versa, but do it with cuts between the two. Zooming should be used for very special occasions only. Actually I saw little zooming in this, so I guessed you edited it out mostly. Quite a lot of the film is of ruins or other static objects. You attempt to do the right thing by moving the camera. It's not quite as smooth as it might be, but at least it adds a bit of life and perspective to potentially dull shots. The pans didn't seem quite so pleasing. I'm not sure whether you were moving the camera too quickly or there's some sort of mis-match going on in post, but (at least when there was movement in the subjects) the shots from a static camera worked better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    2. I get anxious about filming in public. This means that I will often start filming, and quickly stop to avoid bringing attention to myself. It also means that most of my clips are shorter than I prefer, and many places I've had to use a series of short clips, where I'd prefer to use one that was longer.
    The edits didn't feel particularly rushed to me. Although one or two scenes felt like the ended abruptly. For example the sudden cut at 13:38 didn;t work. Either throw in another clip or explain the reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    4. I use blackouts when there's a jump in time or change in scenery. Does this work?
    Try a fade through black rather than a harsh cut (the fade only need be a few frames)
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    Notes on specific parts:
    1. The transition at 12:00 feels wierd. I tried to remove the dissolve and just have it jump straight from one clip to the next, but that also feels wrong. I feel like there should be another clip in between to make the progression feel more natural, though I don't know what to put.
    I suggest a J or an L cut. This is were the audio from the next clip starts a little before (j) or after (L) the video. It makes for a smoother feel to the transition. (Fade in the audio of the drinking scene in ahead of the video, or leave the bells ringing a little into the video of the frinks scene - try both ways and see which one works best for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    2. I'm planning on getting 13:52 subtitled.
    Up to you. I'm not sure it's necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    3. the travel montage that starts at 15:43 feels very long. I've shortened it down in Ligthworks, but haven't exported yet.
    It does feel too long - the shots are all too similar. Probably three shots would do. Ask yourself "Does this clip add anything?. Be ruthless."
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    4. The title for chapter 4 starts at 18:00, a short while AFTER I've arrived in Zipolite. Is this a strange placement?
    If the title had been "4: Zipolite", then yes (and I'd have put it immediately after you say "So now I've made it down to Zopolite", but the title is "Beach of the Dead" and it appears when we see the beach. It's fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    5. Does the minute long story at 19:20 seem unnecessary?
    Not unnecessary, but why are you just telling us? Recite it, but then cut to shots of the waves. It's the fact it's a long piece to camera in mid to long shot that makes it a bit of a dull tale.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    6. I have no idea how I'm supposed to make the ending.
    I think the ending (up to 22:07) is perfect. We get both a philosophical and a personal opinion. Hearing (and seeing) how the trip has affected you makes the film so much more interesting than a "detached" narration.

    Overall I think this was an ambitious edit. What worked best for me was that this was (mainly) a personal account, rather than a list of textbook facts and figures. By far the best pieces to camera were where you were walking and talking into it. Partially this is because we see your expressions more clearly, partly it's because your face is kept fairly steady n the frame but mostly, i suspect, because you wre close to the mic so the audio was much easier to hear. Contrast this with the "story" you refer to and even the message at the start - there may be less background noise but the room noise (echo/reverb) make your voice cut through less.

    i liked the pace of the film, and the feeling that we were on a journey. I also liked the fact that it really felt like you were in among the action as opposed to just being an observer.

    Sure the technicalities can all be improved, but that can be learned. What's less easy to learn is the ability to put an engaging story together and I think you have achieved that. Well done. I look forward to another film from you.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 02-25-2015 at 08:46 PM.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    The transition at 12:00 isn't right because the bell sound stops abruptly if you fade that out it would work better. What doesn't really work is the out of focus shot before it. only cut to the shot when you have focus. if it's a bit short slow it down.

    I agree, the travel montage that starts at 15:42 is a bit long.

    I agree with Tim the piece to camera ending at 22:07 is a good place to end the video but I would have put some cut aways from the whole trip rather than just you talking to camera.

    It could be a very good piece when it's tidied up.

  4. #4

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    Appreciate the feedback, Tim!

    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    The pans didn't seem quite so pleasing. I'm not sure whether you were moving the camera too quickly or there's some sort of mis-match going on in post, but (at least when there was movement in the subjects) the shots from a static camera worked better.
    Are you talking about the 'hackiness' in the pans (like at 5:26)? It looks fine in Lightworks and in the exported video, but if I watch it below 720p50 on youtube, it gets hacky. I shot it in 1080p50, and exported it in 720p50, which is the highest the free version of Lightworks allows. I understand that youtube normally plays video at 30 or 60 FPS, but my camera is only capable of 25 or 50 FPS.

    The edits didn't feel particularly rushed to me. Although one or two scenes felt like the ended abruptly. For example the sudden cut at 13:38 didn;t work. Either throw in another clip or explain the reason.
    Oh right, there was supposed to be a title at the bottom (Is that's what's called a 'lower third' ?) showing that it was the 2. November, but I forgot. My bad. I hope that's enough to make it work.

    Not unnecessary, but why are you just telling us? Recite it, but then cut to shots of the waves. It's the fact it's a long piece to camera in mid to long shot that makes it a bit of a dull tale.
    I wanted to do this, but I already used all the footage I had from the sea. :P You see, I got a little lazy with the filming when I arrived there. I can probably add an extra 10 seconds or so of sea footage. So I guess I can shorten the story and narration enough to squeeze it in, or just cut out the story all together.

    My third option is to get a friend to go down to the local fjord, have him splash water around to make it look like waves, die from frostbite because it's cold season, monetize the video and use my money to pay for his funeral, but I have a feeling that's a bad idea.
    I think the ending (up to 22:07) is perfect. We get both a philosophical and a personal opinion. Hearing (and seeing) how the trip has affected you makes the film so much more interesting than a "detached" narration.

    Overall I think this was an ambitious edit. What worked best for me was that this was (mainly) a personal account, rather than a list of textbook facts and figures. By far the best pieces to camera were where you were walking and talking into it. Partially this is because we see your expressions more clearly, partly it's because your face is kept fairly steady n the frame but mostly, i suspect, because you wre close to the mic so the audio was much easier to hear. Contrast this with the "story" you refer to and even the message at the start - there may be less background noise but the room noise (echo/reverb) make your voice cut through less.

    i liked the pace of the film, and the feeling that we were on a journey. I also liked the fact that it really felt like you were in among the action as opposed to just being an observer.

    Sure the technicalities can all be improved, but that can be learned. What's less easy to learn is the ability to put an engaging story together and I think you have achieved that. Well done. I look forward to another film from you.
    Thank you so much! It took a lot of time to put this together, and required me to challenge myself, especially since I have social anxiety, so it means a lot to me to know that it wasn't in vain, even if it was amateurish. I'll go back and try to fix all the things you've mentioned, and hopefully make it a better movie. Do you mind if I add something along the lines of "thanks to Tim Stannard for technical advice" (I'll work on the wording) to the credits?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    Are you talking about the 'hackiness' in the pans (like at 5:26)? It looks fine in Lightworks and in the exported video, but if I watch it below 720p50 on youtube, it gets hacky.
    That's exactly the sort of thing I mean. I'm watching it in 720p on YouTube and it's jerky. In fact I'd hazzard a guess at what's caused it - you were filming with image stabilization switched on, right? The issue here is that your camera tries to keep the image steady in the frame but as you pan eventually you move too far and so it jumps to a new position and then tried to keep that image steady in the frame. So instead of a smooth pan, you get lots and lots of little jumps.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonesome Traveller View Post
    I wanted to do this, but I already used all the footage I had from the sea. :P You see, I got a little lazy with the filming when I arrived there. I can probably add an extra 10 seconds or so of sea footage.
    Lesson learned - you can never have too much cutaway footage!

    I have no objection to you adding a credit for me (although I'm not sure I added much to what you'd already worked out for yourself) but I'd be far happier if you added a credit for this forum instead (and a link, if possible) as it's where I got most of my advice and help (and I'm sure others will be chipping in with their thoughts as well like Midnight Blue already has.
    Tim

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    I thought the video was great

    two minor points

    1 - the lighting in the first diary room sequence was poor

    2 - you don't need to explain everything with words, you can use the medium, otherwise you might as well do it on radio

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