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Digital Video Forum Discuss camcorders, HD video, HD DSLRs, video editing, DV software, and video techniques. Your DV forum moderator is Skyman.
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  1. #1
    Urban Explorer Stoned Planet's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
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    Detroit, MI
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    Fun at the River Front

    Had a great time partying again this past weekend!
    Most footage I use for my videos is taken 2nd to me having fun, and exploring different locations around Detroit and other parts of Michigan.
    With that said, please do NOT expect anything PROFESSIONAL!

    I am looking for some input / suggestions on how I can make my videos more interesting / easy to watch.
    Reviews on other forums have come to the conclusion that I just plain suck! LOL
    Hopefully, some people here will understand that there is NO meaning to my videos. You wouldn't recognize most of the places unless you have already been there, but that makes it more mysterious for me! LOL

    Here is one I made after a day of roof top beers, then partying at the river front:

    http://www.stonedplanet.com/index.ph...155&Itemid=233

    what do u think overall?
    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
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    Re: Fun at the River Front

    Do you want a real critique? When you say, "there is NO meaning to my videos." it sounds kind of like you don't really want feedback. One thing with video is it *needs* some kind of meaningful narrative - a story, if you will. I'm not very good at this stuff, either. But for a video to hold the viewer's interest, it needs some sort of sense of progress. You have a series of shots but other than them apparently having been shot in the same location, there isn't much to tie them together. They're also very dark - some too dark to really see what's going on. I did like the shot of the ship docking. That was cool.

    So if you want to step it up a little, try to look for some sort of story. It's great to practice different compositions and techniques. But to really make something good, think about what a scene, subject or location is saying to *you.* Then try to tell that story to the viewer. Seriously. Give yourself an assignment to make a video that tells a story - any kind of story with a beginning, middle and end.

    Is that useful to you?
    Photo-John

    Your reviews are the foundation of this site - Write A Review!

  3. #3
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    Re: Fun at the River Front

    Actually there is a story in your work, it is a documentary about events at a port at night. The fact that it is presented in a more cinematic style than documentary style shouldn't detract from that. In fact it lends an artistic quility to the video. Having said that, for an artisitic film your technique should be spot on and this video lacks a bit.

    I could decontstruct the film shot by shot, but that would leave you without a film and I actually think it works as a whole, so here are some things to look at:

    digital zoom, avoid this where possible, it looks grainy out of focus and generally horrible.

    focus, I know your camera might have struggled at night, but if that is the case you need to learn how to manually focus it.

    Exposure, this includes contrast etc. I wanted to read the name of that ship but couldn't and I am sure that with better exposure I might have been able to. typically at night like that set a slightly lower contrast, but also play around a lot with manual exposure, starting with good lighting situations so you can learn to handle the bad.

    Composition, I don't want to get into an argument about the rule of thirds being designed to be broken, good composition will make your shots more interesting.

    panning, practice it. yes sometimes you need to pan to keep a moving object in shot etc but your panning needs to look smooth. A good fluid head on your tripod really does help, but as long as you don't lock in your head and use a confident motion you can make most tripods look smoother than they might be.

    shot progression. I suspect you filmed this in sequence then did a trim edit, remember you can film in any order you whish as long as you keep an eye for things like establishing shots etc and cut them together in a way that adds to the flow of the story - now is probably not the time to get into Sergei Eisenstein's theories of montage, but it is important to remember that there are more ways to structure a film that a simple linear depiction of events and that cleverly used this can add interest and even meaning to a film.

    shoot more than you need. This sounds obvious, but what it really means is that if you are able to film the same shot from a couple of angles and locations then do it. It not only enables you to edit between angles adding interest to what might otherwise become a monotonose sequence but allows you to explore your framing so you capture the most creative shots available rather than the ones that are simplest to set up. If edited well your audience will not be able to determine that this is shot over a number of hours or days and that it contains more than one ship for example, and even if they do, the film will look so much more interesting it won't matter.

    Music, I was suprised to find that your choice of music works with such a slow paced film which probably helps to make your film a lot more engaging. Some editors like to edit to the music and some like to make their edits first. Either way it is a good idea to try different music tempos and styles to get the best fit.

    Editing, I actually didn't notice your editing that much which means that it was fairly good. It is important to note that using transitions just because your editing program comes loaded with them isn't a good idea. A transition should only be used to lessen the impact of a jarring edit (unless you need that impact) or if the transition itself lends meaning or enhances the composition or motion of the two shots. It is a good idea to match movement if you are able as this adds to the flow of a film.

    there are a heap of other cinematic rules none of which are relevant to this film but might help with other projects. Things like not crossing the 180 degree line (so as not to disorent the viewer) but there really isn't need to go too much into that.

    As I said at the top. There is a narrative to your film. It may not be a "story" in the traditional sense but it certainly still tells a story. This could be an art pice about a port. It could be a documentary (with or without voicover) it could even be a small segment of a story, such as a crime story, why was the ship leaving port under cover of darkness?

    Don't let the fact that people often expect video to have a traditional story detract from your work. In fact If the quality were a bit better, I wouldn't be suprised to see it on display in a contemporary art exhibition or in an archive or library collection documenting the life of a local port.
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


  4. #4
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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    Re: Fun at the River Front

    PS sorry for such a long response, I hope that isn't too much to take in and welcome to the forums. You will find that this is a great place to learn and share...
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


  5. #5
    Urban Explorer Stoned Planet's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
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    Detroit, MI
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    Smile Re: Fun at the River Front

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyman
    Actually there is a story in your work, it is a documentary about events at a port at night. The fact that it is presented in a more cinematic style than documentary style shouldn't detract from that. In fact it lends an artistic quility to the video. Having said that, for an artisitic film your technique should be spot on and this video lacks a bit.

    I could decontstruct the film shot by shot, but that would leave you without a film and I actually think it works as a whole, so here are some things to look at:

    digital zoom, avoid this where possible, it looks grainy out of focus and generally horrible.

    focus, I know your camera might have struggled at night, but if that is the case you need to learn how to manually focus it.

    Exposure, this includes contrast etc. I wanted to read the name of that ship but couldn't and I am sure that with better exposure I might have been able to. typically at night like that set a slightly lower contrast, but also play around a lot with manual exposure, starting with good lighting situations so you can learn to handle the bad.

    Composition, I don't want to get into an argument about the rule of thirds being designed to be broken, good composition will make your shots more interesting.

    panning, practice it. yes sometimes you need to pan to keep a moving object in shot etc but your panning needs to look smooth. A good fluid head on your tripod really does help, but as long as you don't lock in your head and use a confident motion you can make most tripods look smoother than they might be.

    shot progression. I suspect you filmed this in sequence then did a trim edit, remember you can film in any order you whish as long as you keep an eye for things like establishing shots etc and cut them together in a way that adds to the flow of the story - now is probably not the time to get into Sergei Eisenstein's theories of montage, but it is important to remember that there are more ways to structure a film that a simple linear depiction of events and that cleverly used this can add interest and even meaning to a film.

    shoot more than you need. This sounds obvious, but what it really means is that if you are able to film the same shot from a couple of angles and locations then do it. It not only enables you to edit between angles adding interest to what might otherwise become a monotonose sequence but allows you to explore your framing so you capture the most creative shots available rather than the ones that are simplest to set up. If edited well your audience will not be able to determine that this is shot over a number of hours or days and that it contains more than one ship for example, and even if they do, the film will look so much more interesting it won't matter.

    Music, I was suprised to find that your choice of music works with such a slow paced film which probably helps to make your film a lot more engaging. Some editors like to edit to the music and some like to make their edits first. Either way it is a good idea to try different music tempos and styles to get the best fit.

    Editing, I actually didn't notice your editing that much which means that it was fairly good. It is important to note that using transitions just because your editing program comes loaded with them isn't a good idea. A transition should only be used to lessen the impact of a jarring edit (unless you need that impact) or if the transition itself lends meaning or enhances the composition or motion of the two shots. It is a good idea to match movement if you are able as this adds to the flow of a film.

    there are a heap of other cinematic rules none of which are relevant to this film but might help with other projects. Things like not crossing the 180 degree line (so as not to disorent the viewer) but there really isn't need to go too much into that.

    As I said at the top. There is a narrative to your film. It may not be a "story" in the traditional sense but it certainly still tells a story. This could be an art pice about a port. It could be a documentary (with or without voicover) it could even be a small segment of a story, such as a crime story, why was the ship leaving port under cover of darkness?

    Don't let the fact that people often expect video to have a traditional story detract from your work. In fact If the quality were a bit better, I wouldn't be suprised to see it on display in a contemporary art exhibition or in an archive or library collection documenting the life of a local port.
    EXACTLY what I am looking for.. Critique doesn't have to be positive for me to like it.
    I like your ideas above.
    I encode this at a size of 480x270 to make it stream and play better for older computers. Therefore, the quality pays the toll.. But with that size, the video fills up the screen for me in fullscreen playback. i have a 23" samsumb LED LCD HD monitor. Other setups will show the black lines at the top and bottom.. If you do not use the fullscreen then you can see the actual quality of the video..

    I have the digital zoom turned OFF on my camera.. it gets 60x optical and that is good enough for me! the pixels come in due to the size that I set the video to stream faster.
    I definately need to work on controlling the camera on full manual settings, including the focus.. I have known that, but I need to get my lazy ass out of gear and do it! :thumbsup:

    The begining was actually filmed after the rest of it. Nice zoom in of the moon rising played back at 1000x speed.

    Thanks for taking the time to watch and write all that! Some of it I already know, but maybe hearing someone else say it will motivate me to work with the camera settings more..

    I will make a post with what I consider to be my favorite video that I have put together so far soon so I can get more critique on my techniques and more suggestions.. It is VERY difficult to walk steady in the majority of these abandonments, but it is also FAR from impossible and would make quite an impact on my videos..

  6. #6
    Junior bacon cheaseburger
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    52

    Re: Fun at the River Front

    Quality is the biggest problem. I do similar type stuff and if it wasn't for HD it would be lame. Not that my stuff isn't lame. It might be, but it amuses me.

    I don't like zoomouts. They make people dizzy.

    I agree with Skyman's shoot more comment. Do that, then use the music to find your transitions. Find action and cut on action in line with music.

    Also, use shorter clips. When that boat was sitting there I would have spent 20 seconds and moved. Then you have a bunch of angles of the same thing.

    Skyman is also right about nonlinearity. Continuity is easy to fake since we naturally expect things to be linear.

    Now I want to go shoot ships.

    Go watch Ghost Ship. It's a stupid horror movie that takes place on a ship. Spoiler: it's haunted...

    peace.

    -M

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