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Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:37 pm
by John C

I have not been having much success with my films so I decided I would make a 4 minute documentary on a Heritage Building. I have upgraded to Windows 7 and Edius ver 7 Pro editing Software so have a learning curve there,

I used my best endeavors but could not solve the following;

Good Chroma screening in the layouter... see Charles Lanyon and the Church mouse.
White balance shooting to the West and East Windows of the Church
Even Voice overs especially the Curators voice when discussing the Ships log.
A whistle appeared in my voice, when the film was shown at the club although my own equipment did not reveal the whistle.
(My Audio has been commented on before but I cannot find where one can get instruction, and what tutorials there are do not cover the problems that appear "out of the blue")
How can i make the Film more appealing, as it went down like a lead balloon on Club night.

John C :roll:

We have no "peer group" for constructive criticism so your comment will be appreciated.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:43 pm
by TimStannard
Hi John,

You asked what you could do to make the film more appealing and with that in mind I offer the following. Others may disagree. I should stress that these are my personal thoughts and do not carry any authority.

There is much that is positive and you have clearly paid attention to much of the "standard" advice given to film makers both here and other forums, at clubs and by competition judges.
The length is about right.
You have a variety of shots - and most importantly not just the building, but people interacting with the building and it's contents (ringing te bell, having photos taken) and illustrative shots (the mouse)
You have a variety of sounds - music, voiceover, live audio and recitals.
You keep the pace moving with fast edits and imaginative overlays of text and images.

So, why doesn't it work as well as it might?

1. Let's start with the content. Whilst the script is full of facts it doesn't flow as well as it might. I can't put my finger on what's wrong as it's nearly there but misses. You begin with an overview of where we are (except you don't - the Cathedral Quarter of where? - I was frustrated by not being informed), then move on to the stories behind each window, then a bit more about the history, but somehow it didn't quite gel.

2. Presumably with the intention of keeping up the pace, you tended to throw fact after fact at us without any let up. Whilst a fast pace is good, it only works if there is contrast. Give the audience time to let things sink in. Give the film space to breathe.(I know this is important as it's something I regularly fail to do - I'm scared of not filling every second with important content)

3. The music was wrong. Not only was it too loud but also it was far too busy and really got in the way of your narration. For a Seaman's Mission I would have thought you cold have come up with something a bit more sea related (unless there is some significance about Mozart's Marriage of Figaro which escapes me). A perfect example of how this does not work occurs at the beginning. The music starts quietly at the beginning of the film, then builds through your first phrase and crescendos during your second one. These are fighting for our ears.

4. Similarly, at the same point we have the words on the noticeboard fighting for our eyes' attention with the scrolling words about readings by John Betjeman (and why does the first title/caption in the film begin with a lower case "and"? This makes me think I must have missed something.

This "competing for my attention" theme runs throughout the film. I don't think it matters if one can't take everything in if one is creating a montage, designed to give a "feel", but this is a factual film and we need to hear or see each fact and have time to digest.

Another perfect example is where we hear the first Betjeman recording. We have the window zooming out, over which we have the scrolling caption, and as if trying to read this wasn't enough of a distraction, you throw in an image of a mouse, which, by the time I've realised there's something else on the screen has disappeared!

You've already commented on your disappointment of the actual audio quality, but there really is no excuse for mistakes when recording a voiceover (small cough at 0:22, a mistake at 0:34, microphone being bumped at 0:41 ...). It would be such a simple job to re-record those lines at the time and check them back. There is also a distinct difference in the sound of some of your voiceover eg the change at 0:26.

In my opinion, you could very simply improve this film quite a lot by:
1. Changing the background music and "ducking" it under the voiceover.
2. Re-recording the voiceover without mistakes and in one session (so it sounds consistent).

The next level of improvement would require re-editing the video clips to make it less busy.

The white balance issues you mention are insignificant. People are much more likely o notice the audio problems.

Hope this helps.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:28 pm
by Frank Maxwell
Well John seen your video and I can see you are struggling and surprised no person has replied.
Would you like to re-shoot the video with some write details?
If yes here are some pointers for this and future projects.
1. Firstly dont use well known bland music.
2. Commentary must sound the same. Two different voice levels.
3. Go and video your project as much as you can.
4. When editing try and select your still shot and don't bombard the screen with extra text.
Your style of editing laying down of soundtrack was fine. But you over-powered the audience with details and style of music could be better.
Please note these are only my opinion.
In general you did a pretty good job,but........

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:15 pm
by john ingham
Hi John,
i hate to comment as i am no expert, but a couple of things spring to mind..

one thing i was told on here, was white balance, until i started doing this, i didn;t realise how much difference it makes… buy a white/grey card and use it for every scene
2nd audio…audio is as important as the filming..bad audio will spoil the filming..

personally, i don't like to see to many inserts in a film, it makes it to busy…

for me, you have many good points too , the filming was good and clear, and the subject was of interest…

I am sure many will guide you on other points

can i also say, make the film for you..we will never please everyone, and we all keep learning,
for those of us who want to get better, you will find you become your biggest critic


Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:07 pm
by John C
Tim, Frank and John,

Thank you all for your encouraging analysis and editing analysis.

The background music points are well taken and I appreciate the help with the voice over

A long time ago I read John's point, "make the film for yourself, because you cannot please all the people all the time", but in the detail of making the film one gets wrapped up in technical aspects and miss the obvious.

You have encouraged me, thank you,

John C

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:46 pm
by Frank Maxwell
The main thing is John as long as you like the video, that is fine. Now that you have had all the feedback. Try again.
Like a bar of chocolate "Dont Put So Much Flavour In It"

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:28 pm
by John C

I like it better and better as I trim it down and leave a few facts for the viewer to find out for themselves, particularly as I have now stated where the cathedral Quarter is !!!

When you have no one to discuss a film with you have no idea how helpful you and the others on the Forum have been

KR John C.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:40 pm
by Frank Maxwell
Now that the price of video storage is cheap to use, and future project, go and shoot as much as you like. The more shots or footage you have the better.
If you wish other viewers to see your footage: make one for yourself the length YOU WANT and a version for the public. Remember after 15 minutes one can start to bore the audience unless you have something dynamic to keep the viewers' attention. This is the case with one's holiday video. You are there capturing you holiday and you come home and put it together and think how wonderful and I want the world or a few people to see were I have been. T.V. holiday programmes bombard you with fact and locations in 10 minutes max.

Never use well known music or the constant classic music. Use music as an editing tool and a good sound effect gives it that bit extra.

The above method applies to all forms of presenting a video production.

Should you need any help in future feel free to ask.

Also remember one learns from mistakes and if you can trim down your edit work you learn the art of keeping your audience glued to the screen. :D

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:41 pm
by Dave Watterson
There is a LOT of good advice there, Frank.

Friends of ours - not "serious film makers" - have started handling their holiday material just as you suggest. They have a long version for personal memories and a 10 - 15 minute compressed version for friends.

I think of how often people complain that commercial movie trailers reveal the whole film. Isn't that an example of editing down a couple of hours to a couple of minutes?!

An exercise most writers get used to, is preparing an article. Putting it down. Revising it to make it shorter. Putting it down. Revising it to make it shorter. And so on. The result is almost always punchier, more effective that the flabby first draft.

There are several fine film makers (some who write on these forums) who say they cannot trim their film down to suit competition limits. Then after a break they find they can.

And bless you, Frank, for explaining that music is a tool to be used for specific purposes in a movie, not some blanket that has to be wrapped around a production.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:48 am
by John C
Hi Both,

Re make no 3 Started, for 2014 Autumn, this business of film making is like roasting a side of Beef, it needs resting during process.

We had a "look back" evening at the Club last month when we were asked to show some of our early efforts.

A lot did not produce any films but those that did learned a lot,

Thank you for your help

John C :roll:

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:59 pm
by Frank Maxwell
Putting aside video club members who make holiday videos. Most members from the public buy video cameras to record their family and holiday material. The first mistake they make, as soon as the come home from holiday they show the video raw and the family involved laugh and are happy to see their faces on screen.

As soon he gets a computer and sees a editing software the editing blood kicks in. Titles, music and end title. Over the years I have seen this format by individuals and video clubs. Last year I edited a holiday video for a client. From 90 minutes of material to 45 minutes of good screen viewing. With correct titles and music.

So how do you make a good holiday video???
1. Take plenty of footage.
2. Less landscape footage. (The camera has only one eye)
3. Look for moving objects.
4. Any static object, like buildings. Put a flower in front or a moving object. To kill the static item.
5. Don't hosepipe with your camera. Or walk along as if you are eating a sandwich holding your camera.
6. Before going on holiday and you are new to this game. Look at some T.V holiday videos.
7. When coming home never (and I say never) show an uncut version of your holiday to the family. They will not want to see it again. :D

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:22 am
by Dave Watterson

I do apologise. I overlooked the message saying that this message needed approval. (A safeguard to stop cruel comments being made to newcomers.) Soryy Frank and John.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:37 pm
by A.K. Williams
Hi John,
a bit late I know, but joined the forum only last week hence the lateness.
Watched your film and for me it is a good little film. You appear to be aware of the audio problems and that is the only thing that I would comment on. The over-riding problem is the music, not your choice because if that is your taste and you consider it suitable for the piece then that is all that matters, but the volume levels are somewhat erratic and at certain points overwhelm all else. Tim Stannard has already pointed out that 'ducking' the soundtrack ('dipping' I prefer to call it) under your voice-over and 'peaking' it up the other side would substantially improve things the film is about your chosen subject matter, in this case the Seamans' Mission, not your chosen music. I have found in my own experience such as it is, that music levels as with all sound levels are crucial and even just the slightest alteration makes a surprising difference when everything combines. There are certain subjects which are enhanced by 'careful' choice of a musical piece, but again only you can decide.

Again in my experience voice-over if you are going to do-it-yourself is critical. I did my first back in 2009 purely because I prefer to work alone most of the time because arranging others for input of any kind is never as easy as 'getting your own out'. Once I'd got over the initial embarrassment of hearing myself played back (which took a bit of time) I simply pressed on with varying results and to-day am always conscious that I am still practising at every attempt which, I am sure, will never change. I am always surprised when people tell me that they avoid putting their own voice to film as, when I have heard an example of what they have done, It sounds fine to me, as does yours. There are, however, some areas where it sounds as though you have switched equipment or something, the delivery simply in terms of quality alters as if you have picked up on it at a later stage and altered all your settings. Picking up at a later stage should not be a problem provided you use the same outfit, I've been using the same head-set (8 quid from Tesco) all along and levels are always reliable. I use Adobe Premiere Elements by the way, which gives the option to alter audio-gain and I ensure that the values are consistent throughout, from what you say you have recently switched video-editing software, but it will certainly provide adjustments for all your audio needs, play around with them and see what they do.

As regards narration, I noticed that you had the opportunity to introduce comment from the Curator. If you have the chance it is always a good move to get other 'talking heads' on screen, it varies the structure of any film and adds interest for the viewer. Not everyone is comfortable with appearing on film however, particularly given a speaking part which is another problem to deal with, ideally you require those who can 'be themselves' in order to omit that self-consciousness thing, not someone who tries to 'act' the part of a narrator. I have had a couple of episodes where this has occurred and I found it difficult to smooth over the affected sections so that the end product looked and sounded reasonably well.

The best person to teach you a good voice is yourself, your voice in this film is, to me, a good voice and more importantly you have the courage to put it on display, you enunciate well without falling into that trap of going 'posh', nothing wrong with sounding posh by the way, but if it is not natural to you just don't go there natural is crucial keep at it and it will improve I can assure you.

After all that remember that we are not Hollywood the financial and technical constraints which bind us will (probably) always be there, but that does not mean we cannot become very good amateurs, imagination is the key and if you have that the practical elements will follow.

Good luck.

Tony Williams.

Re: Heritage Day 2013

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:45 pm
by John C
Hi Tony,

Your timing is great as I am reviewing past comments from all sources as I plan a visit to Iceland next month and wish to make an interesting film as well as making a permanent record of a special trip.

I am planning an outline storyboard and a Do's Check list as well as Do Nots.

Thank you all for your helpful comments

KR John C.