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Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150

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Alf Hanna
Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Sep 9, 2010 at 6:26:58 pm

Hi folks, not sure if I should be posting here or at "Now Showing" but wanted to let you know that I've just been allowed to post "Voices of the Strait" my first significant documentary, all shot with an HMC 150, on the web. Link to it is:

http://www.vimeo.com/12452315

Per my blurb:
Funded by the Puget Sound Partnership, "Voices" documents life on the Strait of Juan de Fuca over the last 80 years. Our team interviewed dozens of people who grew up on the Peninsula, and were involved in understanding the wildlife that existed, have been lost, along with thoughts on how to restore the Strait.

No need to watch in HD, as it looks great as it is. HD off by default.

It had it's own set of challenges, some of the technical issues were impossible for me to overcome, you'll know them when you see them, but audiences have been loving it in live showings. And it's stimulating conversations which is why it was made. We've had 75 to 100 people at every opening event in the last month. One hour of discussion usually followed.

Thanks to all of you who helped me with issues over the last six months. I couldn't have done it without your assistance.

Downloading of the video is turned on, on Vimeo for this, if you have a need for it on a local machine.

Alf


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Daniel Schultz
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Sep 10, 2010 at 4:29:01 pm

Hey...just wanted to say that I really enjoyed our piece.
Love the interviews, nicely framed, very interesting and listenable, clear audio, nice natural lighting (did you add any lights to any of the daylight shots?)
Important story to be told, and nice to hear it from those folks who have great stories.

Couple thoughts: Any way to break up the talking heads with more live action footage.
Or maybe a segment in the middle that has just some music with some landscape shots and announcer voice-over?
There were a couple easy-fix edit glitches, where someone comes in and you hear the very tail end of their last sentence before they start.
And is it possible, by adding some live footage, and/or new voice-over to make it feel like there's a story --beginning, middle and end?

Just a few thoughts, but very nicely done.
And great to see something of import being done with the 150!

Dan S.


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Alf Hanna
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Sep 10, 2010 at 4:58:57 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't add any lights to the daylight scenes, all natural lighting. Inside shots were a mixed bag that changed over time. Ended up going back to "hot" Lowell lights, as my 'new' cool lights really didn't have any punch.

I debated heavily breaking up the talking heads. We had to stick to 15 minutes of run time, and as you see, there was a lot of thoughts to get in. The budget was so small that I couldn't get additional shots of any consequence that would break things up. In future interviews I would find some stuff to shoot, them walking around their houses, the beach, etc. Next time!

The editing glitches you mention were partially there because our interviewer, who was very new to interviewing, sometimes didn't wait to reply, sometimes she started folks before I was ready, and didn't go back to get the just said (a lot of the good stuff was said at the beginning of the interviews). I had no *air* to edit with and so we ended up having the problems you see. Good stuff was said and people, especially couples, finished each others' sentences...Audiences in general didn't care, but we know that it could have been better. The interviewer however knew everyone it seemed. She was great at knowing the questions to ask, but needed to better understand the art of interviewing, technically that is.

I also struggled with the notion of a formal storyline. I broke the video into three parts: 1. what it was like 2. What was lost and why and 3. What thoughts for us to move forward? The audience for this is the people of the Olympic Peninsula, so some liberty was taken with their understanding of some of this going in.

Given the 15 minute timeline, I would have had to leave out someone to do what you are asking, I did think about it, but ultimately I decided to let them tell the story, which did sort of fall into place. But yes, I would have loved to have done a more formal storyline.

We had/have about 30 hours of video interviews shot, and I have used this as a 'demo reel' to start going back to other funding sources to see if we can get money to do more editing of 'chapters'. That way, I can take some time to think each chapter through, and tell the story with less people. There's some extremely interesting information that didn't make the final cut. Hoping to release it someday.

Alf


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Daniel Schultz
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Sep 10, 2010 at 5:01:31 pm

That all makes sense! 30 hours of footage..wow!
Yes, I noticed that about the interviewer. She seems like she's got good potential, but needs to learn a few of those filmmaker interviewing tricks.

Dan S.


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Daniel Schultz
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Sep 13, 2010 at 1:58:15 pm

Good luck with the project.
Looking forward to seeing the next version.

Dan S.


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Ana Maria Suarez
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Oct 24, 2010 at 10:44:13 pm

Hi, I have a ton of questions to ask, but first off, this was very well done.
I have been thinking of getting a HMC150 for a few weeks now. But I never saw any true life vivid color videos. they all seemed dark. Your shots are wonderful and exactly what I want to get. The deatail , sound, and color very well done.
Are you still happy and would recommend the 150. For me, it comes out of our family pocket, but I hope to make money doing weddings and use it for a small jobs I do for the school. It will pay for itself in a a year, or less I hope. You mentioned lights. What type of lighting equipment should I get.
What program did you edit in? (I hope you don't mind giving away trade secrets, I won't tell anyone, plus I live in Minnesota. :) ) What other problems did you come across with the HMC150 or in editing. I did read about the interview. I would have loved to see a making of your movie.
I will wait to hear back from you, but after seeing your footage, I am so excited to see the quality of the camera. If you could let me know your camera settings, that would be great. If you don't want to give it away, I understand. But I want to redo a documentary of my dad being in the Korean War. thanks so much.


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Alf Hanna
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:15:09 am

Thanks for the kind words. I thinkt that the HMC150 is a great camera, but if you are on a budget, you might consider the newer HMC80 which might save you some money. If I were buying today, I'd seriously consider it.

I edited the video on Apple's Final Cut Pro, latest edition on a Mac Pro with dual procs and tons of hard drives. The biggest issue you will face is having enough hard drive space for HD and creating a useable workflow (you will need to read up on workflow on editing software if you don't know about it).

I also use Sony's Video Vegas, and if you use Windows this could be an excellent choice also. I actually prefer it to FCP. But again, you need a properly sized PC with the right software and hardware. A Windows XP 64 bit or Windows 7 64 bit with 6 to 8 GBs RAM is about a starting place. You may be frustrated trying to do less.

But the HMC80 does shoot SD so you might be able to start with SD on a lower powered machine, and switch to HD when the time comes. That's another beauty of the 80, IMHO.

Good mics are a must. Get the right mics for the way you shoot. I used Auditronic mics both lavs and shotgun.

I also use a MixPre field mixer later in the production. The times you hear hiss on this at all are before I got that mixer. And always use fresh batteries on a shoot with a mixer.

Lights, I bought a kit used on Ebay from Adorama. They work great. Hot lights, using umbrellas. Total kit was $600 with stands. Keep a look out on ebay.

Best of luck. I used these forums extensively to help me get up to speed, so stay around and ask questions. And try DVXUser another good forum.

Alf


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Ana Maria Suarez
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Oct 25, 2010 at 10:59:32 pm

I think I am set with the HMC150,,
what tripod do you recommend, something that will turn nice but not super expensive.

And what should I get with my HMC150

uv protection filter, anything else?

And is there a DVD or good book that comes with the camera to learn the setting, or is it just trial and error.
I have had the Canon GL-1 and canon Vixia, but this will be my first Pro camera. To tell you the truth, the Vixia shoots great videos, but the size of the camera looks small and the clients wonder if they can bring their family camera. I am hoping the quality of the video will be as good and better then the Canon Vixia HFS100.

thank you again, and I look forward to seeing more of your work.


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Alf Hanna
Re: Just released - Voices of the Strait - All HMC 150
on Oct 26, 2010 at 3:20:28 pm

what tripod do you recommend, something that will turn nice but not super expensive.
You need to weigh budget and environment. I spent over $500 because it's very windy where I live. Cheap tripods are not stable in higher winds. But you may not need that.

And what should I get with my HMC150

uv protection filter, anything else?


Yes, and multiple 16 or 32 GB cards. A good carrying case.

And is there a DVD or good book that comes with the camera to learn the setting, or is it just trial and error.

Barry Green's book is the best starting place. See DVXUser.com for listings of it.

Your computer editing suite is the other big cost. And you may need a lighting kit. That can cost between $500 and $1000 easy. You can easily spend $10k or more getting setup properly. You'll find what you need as you get there. I can't tell you how you will be shooting.

Alf


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