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Thread: The Ravine

  1. #1

    Default The Ravine

    Constructive critique welcome if you'd be so kind ...


    '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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    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    Constructive critique welcome if you'd be so kind ...
    Oh well. If you insist ....

    This made more sense and grabbed my attention more on the second or third viewing, which suggests to me that perhaps some restructuring is necessary. I don't say that lightly as I know you will have spent may hours coming up with the structure you have. This is one of the problems we have when we are not scripting a documemtary ourselves, but are relying on the material we have shot and that which our narrator has given us.

    I know it's rather traditional (and potentially boring) to tell a story in a chronological manner, but I think this may have worked better if we'd had the history, the tour, the description of what J R Harris was commissioned to do, and penumltimately the problem areas to be (hopefully) addressed in the future, before a few beauty shots to finish.

    In a bit more detail:
    Technically:
    Audio was great, well spoken and well recorded. I did find the piano music in the first section a bit busy and competing with the narration (although suitable in terms of style), music later was less intrusive and worked well.
    Video: Varied! Some had depth and colour, some was rather lacking in contrast and vibrance. This is perhaps acceptable (even inevitable) when one is shooting one-off opportunities (run & gun) but when the landscape is going to be the same from one day to the next (weather issues aside) the shots should at least look similar in quality and colour. Anything with much camera movement was a bit stuttery. I wonder whether this was shot at 30P and redone at 25P or something like that - we have a guy at our club who has problems when producing BluRay (PAL 25fps) from footage originally shot at 30fps camera. Some of the slower slider shots though were fantastic. The shot of the fungus (0:39) was one of several that stood out. The sequence 6:28-about 7:00 was mya favourite part for consistant shots + storytelling + variety.
    The "push in" (not sure of it was a zoom or a camera movement) at the beginning was a bit strange as the zoom was toward the centre of the image rather than the subject's face which is where attention should be focused.

    Captions need work. I'm all in favour of simple, plain, white text - it's the easiest to read, but here it needs some separation from the background as it's a bit difficult to read at times. Try a black/dark outline and/or a drop shadow. Alternatively spend a bit of time creating a proper "lower third" background which I always think adds an air of professionalism and creates some sort of continuity.
    The "for which the Pulhams wre famous for" is, of course bad English. It should be "for which the Pulhams are famous." (gramatically correct) or "which the Pulhams were famous for" (gramatically incorrect, but frequently the norm and having no less than Churchill's approval) but two "for"s in the sentence is one too many! I realise that later in teh film, this is the phrase used by our talent and this highlights to me:

    1. Using the caption as spoken might indicate a bit of a micky take of the talent
    2. There's a fault in the structure of the film (the caption needing to be added early, but the spoken work occurring much later)

    If I had to pic other areas for improvement, I'd suggests that often, in the first half at least, the images didn't really illustrate the voiceover. Where are the cutaways of Lord Leverhulme, the soap and perhaps even Port Sunlight and Unilever? And the wide shots - even a map/drawing of the ravine.

    What happened at the end? You had a reasonable quote to finish on but it all (images and music) just suddenly stopped dead. My guess is you just wanted to get something out there to get feedback because you weren't 100% certain where this film was going.

    It's always easy to pick faults and I hope I've given some indication of things that I thought were good (audio, many shots) as well as those that can be improved. What I have not mentioned up until now was your talent himself. Another great find and the opening, in particular, is masterful.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    As ever, thanks fir the insight Tim though I do believe tour letting me off lightly. I'll do a considered reply later.

    Insedentilly, did you view with Audi through speakers or headphones ?
    '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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    Just 5.1 Logitech PC speakers

    Incidentally, I think I neglected to mention that yo've managed to get another great personality talking about this. The opening, in particular, is full of aithority and enthusiasm. Don't touch it.
    Tim

  5. #5

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    I'm glad you said speakers As i know in the past youve mentioned monitoring through headphones.
    The voice over was recorded in my kitchen and tha natural ambiance sits ok in the mix through speakers but sounds a bit "roomy" on headphones.

    Yes john is good in front of camera, some of those passages to camera are tongue twisters aren't they.

    My brief to him was watch a few episodes of country file and grand designs lol !!
    '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 Originally Posted by enc View Post
    My brief to him was watch a few episodes of country file and grand designs lol !!
    Looks like he heeded your advice!
    As for speakers/headphones, you're right - I use headphones (as well as speakers) when working on my own films as they emphasize many problems which aren't necessarily noticable with speakers - particularly cheap ones. In particular I find headphones really emphasise problems caused by over enthusiatic noise reduction and background hiss/hum (if not too low a frequency). These may not be a problem for one audio track through speakers but can excalate once one starts mixing several tracks. On the other hand, I find headphones very good at separating sounds and often dialog over music and/or ambient which sounds perfectly clear on headphones can be a big mush on speakers. You really need to mix/eq on both (and ideally on good, bad and indifferent speakers - but most of us amateurs don't have that luxury and if we did we'd probably be driven mad by what has to be a compromise)
    Tim

  7. #7

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    Brief insight to the project...

    John made contact with the secretary at BMM to see if anybody would be interested in shooting footage for his project. Nobody came forward... as a club, were are not renown for our collective enthusiasm . after considering it a while thinking it might get me back in the flow, i volunteered. I knew id have my hands full so talked another BMM member, Jack Mekewan into recording on location sound. Jack is in his 70's and the location is not ideal... so a lot of respect to jack.
    John Harris is a consultant landscape designer and has worked with English heritage and through his involvement there came into contact with Claude Hitchen .. leading authority on the Pulhams and author of...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Landsc.../dp/187067376X

    John wrote the script and briefed me on how he wanted the flow ... starting at the bottom of the ravine and working to the top simples... so youd think. the first session was back in August the final session last week. John is under going chemotherapy so we had to fit the recording sessions into his treatment schedule. His enthusiasm is quite infectious and i hope to work with him on another project i have planned.

    The Ravine is Johns first venture in front of the camera..he does pretty well i think ... the only advice i could give him was to watch episodes of Country File and Grand Designs and observe the presenters mannerisms and presentation style. i think with practice john could be quite good LOL !


    .. im not trying to come up with excuses here, just putting you in the picture so to speak...

    i agree, the music in the first voice over section is a tad busy, thgough it was the drums not piano i was struggled with. originally the voice over came in at around 42 seconds at which point i dropped the (music) level considerably.. i then moved the voice over forward in an attempt to pep up the flow which i thgink it does but lowering the music level earlier underneath the voice killed the atmosphere ... so i raised it again. im glad you think the later music is more suitable ... i actually spent a lot of time tinkering with audio .. there are 9 channels of audio... very little of the ambient sound is actually real to the footage ... some i recorded 2 years ago for a another project.... audio is not yet finalized... sometimes you need a break of a day or six and when you return the edit can look and sound completely different sometimes fior the better sometimes not.



    i agree, the footage is a bit hit and miss, it was recorded in three sessions over a couple of weeks. as you suggested the footage was totally run and gun, the first session we shot, the weather started off dull in the morning then bright sunshine and ended with a thunder storm .. its a bit unpredictable in them there hills. also, we had tree cover to contend with ... bright sunlight breaking through the trees creating blown out spots in thje back ground but dimly lit talent ... bloody nightmare... next time we'll be taking a lighting crew. the fungi shot you mentioned was shot on a day i had by myself just capturing B roll at my leisure ... far less stressful with time to set things up. BTW, apart from the opening shot where the camera was mounted on a tripod everything else is hand held ... no sliders .. i use my patented wobble cam dolly/crane technique. frame rate was 50fps occasionally slowed to -50 on the timeline. the stuttering i can only think is down to the cameras stabilise function battling against the panning ... i forgot to disable it for the panning shots. i could go back up there and re shoot but at the moment ... i cant be arsed ! maybe next year.


    captions, yes they require work. i dislike drop shadows and im not over keen on lower third captions though may have to resort to that. i may have a play with softening the background under the text ... we'll see..



    the grammar, that particular interlude title/pulhanite description might not be staying ... if i decide to leave it the grammar will be altered accordingly.

    the title was an after thought ... as a way to describe the Pulhamite we'd heard mentioned a couple of times ..



    cutaways of Lever and Pulham ... originally, i had overlays (not cutaways) but eventually removed them ..you are correct in suggesting the images dont match the voice over at the beginning ..this came about as id suggested an amendment to the otrignal script because not everybody will know who leverhulme and Pulham are/were and after speaking of them in the opening passage i thought a brief description was in order. as i said, originally, i had an overlay of Leavehulme and Pulham on the footage where their names are mentioned. do you think the first voice over totally doesn't work ?
    i do have have a map of the ravine which i may include.


    Ending ... is pretty much waht you .. camera holds on the bridge for as while ... fades to black ... titles music to fade.
    Last edited by enc; 10-08-2018 at 08:37 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

  8. #8

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    Well seems like you and Tim covered everything already by now. Just want to chime in that I enjoyed watching this. Also at the end with the fissure there's a mention of a "cut leaf ivy" (?) Couldn't find anything online about that but wasn't sure if you had a shot of that over there. I couldn't see anything that particularly reminded me of the Hedera species that I know in any case and can't quite make out the latin name to Google it either.

    Oh you do great hand held shots by the way though I must admit I sometimes had a slight feeling of falling sideways
    The cats are watching us...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapes View Post
    Well seems like you and Tim covered everything already by now. Just want to chime in that I enjoyed watching this. Also at the end with the fissure there's a mention of a "cut leaf ivy" (?) Couldn't find anything online about that but wasn't sure if you had a shot of that over there. I couldn't see anything that particularly reminded me of the Hedera species that I know in any case and can't quite make out the latin name to Google it either.

    Oh you do great hand held shots by the way though I must admit I sometimes had a slight feeling of falling sideways
    im not sure what 'cut leaf ivy' is. ill ask John.

    how did you find the audio Grapes? was the balance between on location narration and voice over ok with the music ?
    '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

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    im not sure what 'cut leaf ivy' is. ill ask John.

    how did you find the audio Grapes? was the balance between on location narration and voice over ok with the music ?
    Looking forward to it

    Audio: first impression was excellent. I really like the fast paced tune at the start and it's almost like the narration falls in line with the beat of the music. Now that I listen it again to answer your question I suddenly notice that you start a second tune around 3:07 and that suddenly stops at "This silted pool". I would probably like it better when it continues into his next part of the story. The second tune itself reminds me at the first +/- two notes of the intro to Rammstein's song "mein herz brennt" which felt a bit odd but suitingly dramatic. The song you start at 6:45 starts out very nice but progresses into some weird wobbly sounding thing that falls a bit out of place when it starts wobbling about 10 seconds after the narration starts again and picks up straight through it. This happens at 7:11. The rest is fine apart from the obvious hard cut at the end
    The cats are watching us...

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