DROUGHT INTO DRINK

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Dave Watterson
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DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:12 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu7ITEG4CiQ[/youtube]



To start us off ...
This came from John Collinson, of The Northern Ireland Camcorder Club. They have no other clubs near them and cannot easily get together with fellow enthusiasts to talk about films.

John Collinson - and quite separately Jill Lampeter - came up with the suggestion that such a forum might be useful.

Dave

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fraught
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by fraught » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:40 pm

I'll start off if I may be so bold. :-)

A nice little travelogue/documentary, and I'm sure it brings back wonderful memories to the film maker and those who travelled with him.
From a technical aspect, there are some areas that need attention. The editing was a bit erratic at times, and needs a little more attention to ensure shots are just the right length for the pace of the piece. Some cuts were too quick which made for a disjointed feel. Also, there were some special fx of images playing over the top of the film that cut away far too quickly before my brain had time to register what they were.
The commentary was very interesting, but seemed to be a little tired at the beginning?
The camerawork was a little shaky at times and the cameraman could have done with a monopod (I doubt a tripod would have been the right thing whilst on the go), but I have to say this didn't spoil the enjoyment of the film... I quite like this kind of camerawork at times, makes me feel like I'm actually there. :-)
I did like the mix of photos and video, I thought it was effective, along with the well written and researched dialogue.

Overall, technically it needs more work, but a nice short well rounded blast of info. :-)
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ned c
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by ned c » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:19 pm

Enjoyed the movie. Some of the shots will benefit from trimming (eg the truck hauling the trailers), I liked the moving shot past the storage tanks. Commentaries are difficult and as the film maker you don't have to do everything yourself; get someone with experience of presentation and a good voice to do the commentary; it will "lift" the whole movie to a higher level.

ned c

Phil Martin
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Phil Martin » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:02 pm

A holiday film is a documentary and a documentary, just like a fictional film, must tell a story. Many holiday films simply showing a sequential record of the holiday – “first we went to Sydney, then Ayres Rock, then the Barrier Reef …and finally we flew back from Adelaide”. However, we have all seen shots of the Opera House and teeming shoals of tropical fish. We need a story that holds our attention by saying something new. This film did just that by focussed on just one aspect of the holiday experience. In doing so, the film maker (with the help of a little post-production research) became our informed guide on a visit to a winery. So well done, for producing a real film from your holiday footage.

How could it be improved? First, the introduction was, perhaps rather overloaded with facts – they do lend authenticity but need to be spread more thinly. Equally, there were rather too many graphics – it would have been better to use fewer, held for longer. Also, as Ned has observed, a number of the shots were too long (e.g. the tractor pulling a trailer full of grapes and the arrival at the winery). A documentary like this feels comfortable at about a shot every 4 seconds, whereas some of these ran to 20 seconds. I would have been minded to shorten these long takes, cut the musical interludes and use those shots to illustrate the points made in the voiceover. The resulting film might have been a minute or so shorter but would have had rather more punch.

Nonetheless, the film maker is to be congratulated for producing an interesting and entertaining film.

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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by John C » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:10 am

Thank you all for your helpful comments.

They are just what I had hoped.

I will create a list and then build them into a Checklist which can then be used by other Film makers as well as our own Club members.

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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by John C » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:26 pm

Thank you Phil. With the holiday season due your comments are very helpful and Timely.

Jill Lampert
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Jill Lampert » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:43 am

Thanks for being brave enough to be the first to put your film up onto this forum.

I enjoyed your film and I was impressed that you managed to produce such an interesting little documentary from holiday footage.

There were some shots that I particularly liked, and I want to single out some of those: The shot of the huge yellow machine coming towards the camera; the sequence (still shots) of the insect and other things ruining the grapes, the wonderful shot of palm trees and huge vats (how did you do it? It's so smooth!); the water spouting from the back of a lorry onto the grapes; the moving conveyor belt; the short shot of bottles moving along, with a sort of cog or wheel which seemed to be depositing something into the bottles - I'd like to have seen more of that one.

For me the thing which most needs attention is the use of graphics. I think the general point is that they need to be there long enough for the the viewer to read. For me some were on screen for too short a time, so that I wasn't able to read them or take in what their message was: for example the Deliveries notice, the Murrubridgee irrigation area graphic and the wine sales chart. I felt that the latter two could probably have been left out altogether. The point you made about the huge rise in wine consumption was striking enough that it didn't need any complementary illustration. I wasn't sure what the relevance was of the Irrigation graphic. I'd leave the Deliveries notice in for just a second or two longer so that the viewer can read every word. The maps of Australia and New South Wales appeared too soon for me to be able to make out what they were telling me. I'd leave them in - they provide a useful reminder of where New South Wales is and new information (for this viewer at least) about what the wine growing region is - but show them during or after the facts they relate to are mentioned in the commentary so that the viewer knows what they are illustrating and can interpret them more easily.

Ned C. has suggested that you could lift your film to a higher level by getting someone more experienced to do your voice over. He's probably right. But I would like to say that I found your voice pleasant and very clear. I'd like to encourage you to develop your voice-over skills if you enjoy doing commentaries. In this film, it sounded to me as if you weren't completely relaxed and confident as you read it. I bet that with a bit of practice you could produce something pretty good yourself. Why not try reading your commentary over and over again? ...try out different tones/speeds/emphases... 'act' as you speak...change the wording here and there so that it rolls off your tongue. Try putting different versions on the timeline and see how they sound with the visuals. Soon you would get it so that you could read it without any hesitations and with a natural and confident delivery and I feel sure it would be pleasing to the audience.

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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by John C » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:14 am

Jill,

Thank you for your encouraging comments and I will add them to the list.

I think that this forum has a great future, particularly if there is a time limit on the lemgth of time a film is up for comment.

Sorry I cannot help three and four Star film producers !!

KR John C

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Dave Watterson
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Dave Watterson » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:36 pm

Sorry I cannot help three and four Star film producers !!
I'm not so sure, John. Of course specific help on technical points is helpful, but we need to remember that our wider audience cares nothing for such things. Their concern is whether the film flows smoothly, makes its points clearly and moves/entertains/teaches them something. At that, vital, audience level ... we are all qualified to be judges.

-Dave

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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by TimStannard » Fri May 27, 2011 4:35 pm

Well done for stickling your head above the parapet.

There are two ways to get better: listen to and absorb and consider advice (and don't take it personally - it's the end result that's being analysed not you) and practice.
Only you can look after the latter but I'm sure we'll all receive help with the former (I'm a mod on another forum which does just that and I've seen so many people improve rapidly).

I'd made notes and was going to make a few of the comments which have already been made. Rather than repeat I thought I'd just expand on one point:
Jill Lampert wrote: For me the thing which most needs attention is the use of graphics. I think the general point is that they need to be there long enough for the the viewer to read. For me some were on screen for too short a time, so that I wasn't able to read them or take in what their message was: for example the Deliveries notice, the Murrubridgee irrigation area graphic and the wine sales chart. I felt that the latter two could probably have been left out altogether. The point you made about the huge rise in wine consumption was striking enough that it didn't need any complementary illustration.
I liked the use of graphics, but for me one of the issues with the film was that occasionally the narration did match what we saw ion the screen: I'll single out the wine sales chart as an example.

The narration talked about consumption of wine (presumably domestic consumption) increasing from, in 1966, 2 bottles per head (itself a meaninglesss figure as you dont say whether this is per year, per month, per week or even per day!) to more than 13 bottles per head. However the graph showed a non-specific period (there were no dates) and it showed both domestic wine sales and exports. Domestic wine sales grew from approx 300ML to 350ML - this is nothing like an increase from 2 bottles to 13 unless the population suffered a serious cull!

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but if you are going to present facts, they need to be clear (ie 2 bottles per what?) and if you are going to support them with graphics the graphics need to echo what is being said. If they don't, the validity of your "facts" becomes open to question in the whole of the film.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but the intention is to help you avoid this pitfal in the future.
Tim
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by TimStannard » Fri May 27, 2011 5:06 pm

Dave Watterson wrote:
Sorry I cannot help three and four Star film producers !!
I'm not so sure, John. Of course specific help on technical points is helpful, but we need to remember that our wider audience cares nothing for such things. Their concern is whether the film flows smoothly, makes its points clearly and moves/entertains/teaches them something. At that, vital, audience level ... we are all qualified to be judges.

-Dave
Couldn't agree more, Dave. We may have limited experience making films but we've all got a lifetime's experience of watching them.

Criticism from "top" film makers is useful as they can pinpoint specific areas for improvement or causes of problems, but criticism from people who know nothing about holding a camera is more important: our audiences are (at least potentially) made up of far more of those. The exception is, perhaps, a film made specifically for a competition - but even then any judge worth his salt will consider how it might go down with a general audience.
Tim
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Peter Copestake
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Peter Copestake » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:44 am

TimStannard wrote:
The exception is, perhaps, a film made specifically for a competition - but even then any judge worth his salt will consider how it might go down with a general audience.
Let's be clear then, as they say. A film entered into a competition is judged partly on what a judge thinks a general audience will think.

This has been a long-term gripe with me as I do not see how a judge is going to know what audience the film is intended for.

Or are competitions only for films suitable for a general audience? In which case I suggest that some, particularly foreign, winners at BIAFFs do not qualify, being rather sickening in their subject matter, for me, but then perhaps I'm not a 'general'!

Please qualify, people, what you mean by a 'general audience'. Suitable for family viewing, perhaps.

If that is a condition of entry it should be stated, and sometimes is.

Peter.
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by TimStannard » Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:39 pm

Peter Copestake wrote:
TimStannard wrote:
The exception is, perhaps, a film made specifically for a competition - but even then any judge worth his salt will consider how it might go down with a general audience.
Let's be clear then, as they say. A film entered into a competition is judged partly on what a judge thinks a general audience will think.

...

Please qualify, people, what you mean by a 'general audience'. Suitable for family viewing, perhaps.
Peter, I suspect you know full well what I mean, but are trying to liven up the discussion.

It should be clear from the thread and the context that by a "general audience" I mean an audience which comprises not just film makers/enthusiasts.

This does not address your "gripe" and neither was it intended to - though it might well be worthy of debate.

I'd suggest those films I've seen from BIAFF were aimed at the broader definition of "general audience" - in that they were capable of being understood or interpreted by anyone without specialist knowledge.

But I have some sympathy with your point of view - how to award/compare films made for a specific type of audience.
Tim
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Peter Copestake
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Peter Copestake » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:15 pm

Really do want to know, Tim, but probably on general forum?
Peter.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: DROUGHT INTO DRINK

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:24 pm

On the grounds of practicality most competitions look for films intended for a general audience, by which I mean a non-specialist audience.

How could BIAFF (for example) provide judges in a limitless range of specialities? We have had over the years films intended specifically for military historians, films intended for farmers, films intended for the population of a local village or town,films on specialised aspects of railway carriage restoration ... and so on. Would you suggest we ensure the judging teams include specialists in all those areas and more?

In practice such films are assessed by judges without specialist awareness of the subject matter. And they usually get ratings lower than the makers expect, because the subject is boring or opaque to an audience outside that field of interest.

Those are the cases when I think the maker should prepare a "general" version of their film in addition to the one intended for a specialist audience.

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