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    Default By The Rough Hill ...

    short documentary on the village of Rivington ....



    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  2. #2

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    ........
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  3. #3

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    You have some copyright issues.
    Red text without border doesn't work well for me.
    Nice idea to let that handle move a bit.
    There was a bit too much panning starting 0:25
    First voiceover could have come earlier to hook the viewer and I like the narrator's voice.
    Shot at 1:07 vibrates slightly.
    The following shot has a bit of a left right wobble.
    Again nice idea with the gate at 1:42.
    I noticed some nice focus pulling throughout the whole video.
    In my eyes you did a great job capturing that place. Probably showing some historic pictures may have added to the video but maybe it won't

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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLRay View Post
    You have some copyright issues.
    I strongly suspect they are used legally in this country though (IAC liceence, Ian?)
    Quote Originally Posted by XXLRay View Post
    In my eyes you did a great job capturing that place. Probably showing some historic pictures may have added to the video but maybe it won't
    Like those beginning 5:04?

    (But I agree - see below)
    Tim

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    I strongly suspect they are used legally in this country though (IAC liceence, Ian?)
    Just saying

    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Like those beginning 5:04?
    Kind of but I rather meant something like a portrait of a king or some scenery painting.

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    Hi enc. As I write this I realise it's sounding like instructions - you should do this or you should do that - as if I know what I'm talking about.Please bear in mind I don't and my comments are no more than personal opinion.These are just as much notes to myself as to anyone else.

    This is a typical "club member" film of the sort we see in club and regional competitions up and down the country and as such plenty of the grey hairs will love it. And there's nothing wrong with that - it's a very good example of such (you know there's a "but" coming).

    Music choice. Good. Appropriate, and you didn't let the same piece dominate throughout.
    Sound quality excellent.
    Voiceover beautifully delivered.
    Some nice ambient sound (and possibly Foley - eg opening of the gate) - I'd have liked to have heard a bit of the stream we see.
    A nice mix of shots which generally illustrated the commentary. Landscape and detail.
    I loved the way you got movement within the shot - for example the gate (although I saw the latch being released then the wider shot of the gate opening and couldn't see the latch, because that was on the other side. When one goes from ECU to wide, one looks for the object in the frame - I didn't appreciate this until the firt time I watched this film! A minor point but sopmething perhaps to bear in mind.)
    There was some good smooth what looked like very steady hand held camera movement (loved teh shots around the church) and lots of rock solid stuff. I would, however, suggest the shot at ):13 was too wobbly for inclusion. My personal view is handheld is great for intensifying action or certain emotions and is also valid when there's an immediacy, just one chance to get a shot. A building isn't going anywhere. I appreciate this presents a problem and so one would naturally want to introduce movement, but for a fixed object I'd suggest movement needs to be very smooth (could it be smoothed out in post? I've a feeling you're shooting 4K now)

    Other niggles: I'd have liked a map to show whee it is. You don't even reference major UK town or city so even we Brit's don't have a clue. I'd have liked a map - possibly (picking up on one of XXL Ray's points) an olde mappe. Any film about a place needs to establish where that place is.
    Sticking with old documents, it might have been nice to have sight of the deeds (or just a cutaway to some old looking archival drawers) when you mentioned deeds.
    The script about the castle referred to "scaled down" twice. I'd have dropped the first reference which would have given more significance to the later reference when you talk about the narrow passages.

    All these are pretty minor and I'm sure it will do well in competition and plenty of people will enjoy it for its relaxed feel and high production values. It was enjoyable to watch and made me feel proud of my country (which I find a bit strange as it's not as if I helped build it).

    So we come to the "but". There are actually two and both to do with the script.
    I saw some places I've never visited and was told lots of information, but I came away not feeling I'd learned anything. Nothing about the place and nothing about the person making the film. It didn't engage me.
    The first "but" is that, for me at any rate, a documentary needs to address all the following at least to some extent. Who, Why, What, When, Where and How. Indeed each scene or item.

    What? Is covered well. The script and images make it clear which "thing" we are talking about.

    Where?I've already mentioned the where could do with a map showing where in the UK we are, and this could be extended to a local map showing where each of the locations is (or it can be dealt with in narrative "just over half mile to the north of x ..."). This just helps the viewer picture the area a little more.

    Who? You mention a few names, but very little about them. Just a single fact can add so much life to a commentary. For example "Thomas Hawklsey" is just a name, but "Thomas Hawksley, a leading British water engineer of the nineteenth century" just adds that bit more context. It would appear from my brief Googling Leverhulme who built the castle is the same William Lever who founded Lever Bros (now Unilever). This links a character in your story to probably every one of your viewers. Exploit it!

    When? As is common with most "club" documentaries, there is no shortage of dates, although I'm delighted that you haven't fallen into the all too common trap of bombarding us wiith date after date. But even dates become more interesting in more memorable with some sort of context. It can often be useful if we have an indication of "why" it happened then rather than sooner or lat

    But, along with who, the two things that can make a documentary most interesting are the "Why?" and the "How?" and, in common with many amateur videos, this information is scarce. Why did Leverhulme decide to build a replica of Liverpool castle? (In contrast I'm wondering about the Pike tower as you're telling me about the construction and the you inform me it was built as a hunting lodge - that's good. Make your viewer come up with a question, then answer it (although i was left wondering who built it and who paid for it)

    Now clearly you cannot go into that much detail about everything or it would all be voiceover and no room for the film to breath, but I would suggest concentrating on the human aspects and the question and answer - particularly why they did something and for whom is more engaging than what was done.

    The second "but" relates to the entirely impersonal nature of the script. Despite my misgivings above, the script is written intelligently and eloquently (and I've already mentioned it is delivered well) but is is about as passive as it is possible to be. This is an easy trap to fall into with a "voice of God" faceless voiceover.Without an on-screen presenter (not that I'm advocating that) or interviews, we have to work even harder to try to get a reaction from the viewer. It is very difficult with historical data, but I'm sure it's possible (No, I'm not suggesting we should be inviting the commentator to tell us all how he "feels" about something). For example "Villagers (or builders from neighbouring xxx, if that's the case) used local stone to build this small rectangular chapel" is not as dry as "It is a plain, rectangular construction, built of local stone". By contrast "Today, you can see signs of early grafitti ..." is active because it is challenging the viewer ("you") to get involved. "Construction of the reservoirs led to a decrease in the population ... property in the west part of the village demolished" is presented as matter of fact. We're talking about a major effect on the population and layout of the village here, it's not like someone built a new barn! There must be scope for a bit more audience engagement in the wording.

    This is every bit as professional looking as many of your other documentaries but when your subject is not about or does not include great characters (Camper van man, Colliery man) who, by their very nature are the human interest, you need to create that in your script.

    Please don't take this as out and out criticism (as I said, your narration is written intelligently in good English which immediately puts it in the top 0.01%), just areas for consideration when developing your next voiceover. I know that the film I'm next putting together will be be lacking in many of the areas I've pointed out. Aim for perfection, but don't expect always (ever?) to achieve it..

    EDIT: Forgot to say I found the ending a bit sudden - but then it said "to be continued" so maybe that's the reason.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 03-31-2016 at 04:50 PM. Reason: tidying up
    Tim

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    I enjoyed the video, lots of well executed and composed shots but...

    Oh, I see that Tim has covered every single point I wanted to make!

    (Not only that but he's done it better than I could!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    Oh, I see that Tim has covered every single point I wanted to make!
    Sorry.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    (Not only that but he's done it better than I could!)
    But rather less succinctly, I imagine.
    Tim

  9. #9

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    Thanks very much for viewing guys .... Lots of great feed back ... I'll be sure to ponder on it for future projects. As ever, very thorough review from Tim i Didn't think anyone would pick up on the gate latch .. But it would have to be Tim Quite a few lines from Ray too ....that's a first
    I agree with nearly everything that's been said. The original project was suggested by our club chairman (Keith pope) to each club member to produce a short documentary on Rivington village and surrounding area. only myself and one other member produced a film. The voice over was by John pool a BMM club member, and recorded on a ZOOM H2n. little of the ambient sound is from the day but is from my own recordings.
    One thing I can't believe anybody picked up on (maybe you didn't want to state the obvious) is the lack of cohesion between the "chapters" ... With not having an onscreen presenter and John's voice over being recorded before I'd even edited the footage it was difficult to get a flow. I'd planned to go back and re record the voice over with a better script including some kind of link between the "scenes"but never got around to it.
    Last edited by enc; 03-31-2016 at 11:20 PM.
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

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    [QUOTE=enc;217289]
    One thing I can't believe anybody picked up on (maybe you didn't want to state the obvious) is the lack of cohesion between the "chapters" {/quote]
    Perhaps my "local map" suggestion could be used as a tool. But I don't think there is a lack of cohesion. The film is very obviously linked by the fact that these are different places around Rivington. In fact, if you make the links too smooth it could give the impression of one long ramble rather than lots of nice little chapters with their own individual stories. The big plus with chapters is if one's attention drifts during a piece that doesn't grab the attention, a rather sharp change of pace, sound or scenery, can act to draw attention back to the film.

    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    ... With not having an onscreen presenter and John's voice over being recorded before I'd even edited the footage it was difficult to get a flow.
    That's the best way to work, in my book. Get the story, then the script, the finally footage to illustrate it. I use the same approach even when I'm using interviews (so the sound - and probably the footage too - is already recorded) I gather all the bits of interview together into a cohesive story. That becomes my soundtrack and then I put the other images over the top. One day I'd like to produce a purely visual film, but I'd have to have the story sorted first.
    Tim

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