September 21, 2017 at 8:24AM

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Quality Feedback and Learning the Next Steps- Where to look?

I live in rural Vermont, and am in somewhat of a film maker vacuum. 7 or 8 years ago, when DSLR's started shooting video I read your online book here and and a couple others and I started to put my passion for film making to work for my business, Roots School in Vermont by shooting and cutting short pieces on our classes and the skills we teach.
Over the years this passion has grown and I am looking to start producing longer content based around the work we do. The trick is that I only have friends and family and students to give feedback, and they have an obvious bias. When I release online, it is again, pretty much all positive but not from film makers but folks interested in the content itself.
Of course, when I watch my work I just see what is out of focus, where I pushed the grade to hard for 8 bit, where I should have lost 10 frames...
In moving forward, I am wondering where a good place to look for more enriching feedback might be online, since I am in the sticks.

Also interested in where people go for info once the tutorials and books have very little new to offer and grad school for film is not in the cards. I have signed up for MZed.com and found it to be awesome! Great content, very professionally put together, and of course Lynda.com for learning software... but when it comes to next steps I'd love some advice for where to look.

Finally, how do you know when your work is ready for a wider audience if your in a vacuum like this?

3 Comments

Oh, here is one of the last things I shot: https://vimeo.com/206236044

September 21, 2017 at 8:37AM

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Brad Salon
One man band.
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Really nicely done! You have clearly learned much on your own.

My first critique is that overall the film looks as if it was shot (and tightly composed) for HD, but you letterboxed it for your logo. As a result, elements that would have completed the composition top or bottom are just cropped out.

The ambient audio is great, and the music track is fine, but I think the music is mastered too loud. Let nature take the lead and let the music be more in the background. Not distant, but not overwhelmingly forward.

Finally, you clearly have cinematography skills. In this clip you focus on the materials to the exclusion of the teacher, only really bringing her into focus at the end. I think you can afford to introduce her more directly, albeit separated in focus and framing, from the materials and let those two strong elements meet at the end, rather than appearing to hide the teacher and only reveal her at the end. (Obviously we see her throughout, but more incidentally at the start.)

Overall you have a distinctive look, good craft, and compelling images. Rather than picking apart edits and focus pulls, ask yourself: did my piece say what I wanted to say? Did it say it the way I wanted to say it? If so, you are doing it right!

September 23, 2017 at 6:53AM

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First thing, great work on showing us something that we are not used to seeing every day. I mean really, how many of us know how to start a fire these days, much less create a bow drill kit for doing so! Bravo on that!

While I was watching, I kept thinking to myself, why do I hear this music from the beginning to the end? At one point, I started speculating whether or not this was a music video.

Being out, and trying to be in touch with nature is something most people rarely do anymore. I felt like maybe you could have treated the sound of the video in a way that better supports this idea. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use music, in my opinion, there are no rules to film-making, but it just becomes a matter of, what is the best way that I can treat the audio visual language to better reach my audience.

The whole time I was very anxious, because all I wanted to do was listen to the emptiness of this wilderness as the creation of this fire comes to life. And even though a lot of times you were using a lot of personal or subjective shots which made me feel like I was creating the fire myself, at one point, the music just becomes too repetitive, creating a saturation and pulling me out of this mood.

So again, why the choice of using music to treat the sound of this video? Is it just because it’s easier to do, make a video, slap on some music and Voila!? Or is there a real objective or justification for it? If there is, I wasn’t able to find one. and I felt that you could have transported us to a farther place by your creative choices of the sound.

Jacques Attali has a great article titled ‘Noise and politics’. Which goes to illustrate how there are so many options to the way we treat “noise” or sound in ways other than music. Please check it out, it’s an interesting read.

Another thing, is that I felt that the video could have been a little shorter or that you could have created better continuity in the pacing of the video. In the ‘building an igloo sequence’ of the film ‘Nanook of the North’ by Robert J. Flaherty in 1922 which you can check here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFswUeom96A)

You’ll find a scene where Nanook is presented to us in an observational manner while he builds an igloo. Now what I’m thinking is, if Nanook can build an igloo in less than 8 minutes of screen time, then surely it would take much less screen time to show someone who is making a bow drill to create a fire.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the video, your production values are great, but I would like to reiterate, that there is no right or wrong, it just becomes a matter of, are we presenting the material in the best way for the audience? Being able to look at things from the audience’s perspective is something that takes time and requires that we train ourselves to construct all our creative decisions under this very basis.

September 23, 2017 at 2:59PM

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Elmoutasam Aziz
Chief Learning Officer
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