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Teaser for my new doc


Anaconda_
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Hey guys,

Since the middle / end of last summer I've been making a feature length documentary. I have 3 more shoots to do, and then it can be finished. However I wanted to share a small teaser I've made in anticipation of sending it out to festivals etc.

I'd love to hear all feedback, comments, criticism etc. Please don't be shy!

Shot entirely handheld (apart from one shot) with BMPCC4k, Viltrox speed booster and Sigma 18-35.

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That's right, no steady hardware. I have a V-mount on rods at the back of the camera, so that adds weight, and I can rest the butt of the battery on my chest, 1 hand on the grip and 1 hand on the lens.

The only shots with post stabilisation are the tiles at 0:41, the greenhouse at 0:54 and the title shot at the end. They're all a push/pull into something, so it's hard to hold it against your chest and get a long move without having to take a step.

Since then, I've taken to wearing a neck strap, to hopefully give me that extra stability for these kinds of shots. I can pull the camera into my chest for most things, but for more movement, it's easier to push the camera away, and have the strap create tension.

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30 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

but for more movement, it's easier to push the camera away, and have the strap create tension.

That's what I do but in combo with IBIS, ie, I use a twin strap shoulder harness with my left side camera being my primary stills and my right side camera my primary video.

I use the video unit mostly at near arms length, pushing with tension against the strap and move my body as a whole rather than move the camera. If that makes sense?

Actually, you don't really need IBIS to do that, but I just leave it on because a lot of the time I am static so one less thing to think about and do.

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Visually really cool. The subject is super interesting. Wasn't even thinking about the gear.

I would love to see more shots with a deeper DOF to see detail around the garden. I guess more wide shots in general and less contrast. I also thought the bright red modern car felt a little out of place, but maybe the juxtaposition is interesting. The piece has such a nice timeless feel and place without it.

Look forward to seeing the full length doc!

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4 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

Wasn't even thinking about the gear.

Mission accomplished then! 

The car is there because the garden is right up against the road. I thought it'd be weird to start opening the fence, without having some idea of where the fence is. Without wanting to give too much away, the garden's location and proximity to the city centre play a large roll in the documentary. Perhaps that's something that should be explained more in the full trailer. 

For this teaser, I wanted to focus a little bit on the man, and his ideas. The full trailer will go into what the actual story is. For now though, I've written this little blurb, which hopefully makes things a bit more exciting.

Quote

'Behind The Garden Gate' is an upcoming feature length documentary about homegrown biodiversity and the challenges that come with it. In the 1970s Guus Lieberwerth and some friends cleared a patch of agricultural wasteland in order to take care of rare plants and animals. Now, 50 years later, nature is thriving within a hidden paradise just 5 minutes away from the city centre, but even closer to systemic pressures and land developers.

 

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3 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

The car is there because the garden is right up against the road. 

I got that from watching - the idea that there's a normal public street and a secret garden right next to each other was a cool idea to start the teaser with and pulls you in.

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If you want some criticisim:

Shot matching could be a bit better (contrast especially).

Voice EQ could be a bit better, but from the sounds of it audio was on a budget so there's only so much you can do.

Highlights seem a bit nuclear (maybe combine with the high contrast makes it more noticeable).

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2 hours ago, scotchtape said:

If you want some criticisim:

Shot matching could be a bit better (contrast especially).

Voice EQ could be a bit better, but from the sounds of it audio was on a budget so there's only so much you can do.

Highlights seem a bit nuclear (maybe combine with the high contrast makes it more noticeable).

Thanks! Appreciate it!

Yes, sound isn't my strong point at all. This film is entirely one man bad. I've done camera, sound, interviews, editing, colouring, lighting where necessary. The only thing I didn't do is the music, which I palmed off to my brother. I'm planning to finish the edit in the next 2 or 3 weeks, and then will try to send it off to be mixed correctly... but budget is a concern. So far, it's cost me nothing as I had all the gear used before I even thought about making it.

As for contrast and highlights. I'm sure they are linked. The garden has such a dense canopy, I can shoot at f1.8 without an ND. The problem is then, that when some sunlight can come through, it's totally blown out. You can see the difference when he walks through the gate. At one point he's exposed correctly, and the next he's in total darkness, and the difference is only 1 or 2 steps.

I don't really like the trendy washed out look, and wanted deep blacks, but perhaps I've gone a bit too far? I can reign it in no problem 🙂

Thanks again for the feedback!!

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11 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

I don't really like the trendy washed out look, and wanted deep blacks, but perhaps I've gone a bit too far? I can reign it in no problem 🙂

I can understand not wanting a low-contrast look, but yeah, definite ease up on the blacks. especially in a dark environment with super bright highlights like you are dealing with, crushing the blacks will hide a lot of detail and make your scene too contrasty.

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On 4/22/2021 at 4:26 PM, Anaconda_ said:

I don't really like the trendy washed out look, and wanted deep blacks, but perhaps I've gone a bit too far? I can reign it in no problem 🙂

I think there's a real art to blacks in colour grading, I've learned that getting the right levels in the dark parts of the image has a huge impact on image pop and the overall look.

I'd suggest putting in a pretty aggressive knee, so that anything lower than a certain value gets compressed but doesn't go completely to black and get clipped.  You could put that knee quite close to 0 IRE so you don't have to get washed out looking images, but also it would mean that you'd keep whatever information is in the shadows but still squash the noise so it's not too obvious, and it would also make the image look a bit higher end too as a significant part of the look of high-end cine cameras is how they handle the shadows.

I often set up a curve that compresses the shadows more than the highlights and grade under that.  This is a random image I found online that shows what such a curve might look like:

Adding_contrast_with_Tone_Curve_in_Light

My curve is often more aggressive than this, and the more aggressive you make the curve the more filmic the final image will look.  When you first apply such a curve everything will look over-contrasty, and you will need to manually grade every shot underneath it.  Often the Lift Gamma and Gain (LGG) controls are great for this, as the Lift places how far down the curve your blacks go (and also defines overall perceived contrast and adjusts saturation), the Gain places the highlights and gives a nice rolloff (making the edges of any clipping much less obvious) and then you can adjust the overall brightness of the shot with the Gamma.  Often you have to go back and forward with these controls as you often pull the Lift down to get the shadows right, then pull Gamma up to adjust the mids but that also pulls the shadows up a bit, so you pull the Lift down more, etc, until you've pushed/pulled the exposure to a point that looks good.

I've graded many projects by just applying such a curve, then on each shot tweaking WB, then using LGG controls to get levels, then Saturation, and often that will be all the project needs.  If you have a control surface then the LGG adjustments can take very little time and you can rip through an edit very quickly.

Happy to elaborate further, just ask.

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On 4/22/2021 at 8:09 AM, scotchtape said:

Voice EQ could be a bit better, but from the sounds of it audio was on a budget so there's only so much you can do.

This weekend I went through the film with a friend who's an audio guy, and he's cleaned things up beyond belief. My mix sounds total trash in comparison.... In the next week or so I'm going to upload a re-graded, and remixed version of the trailer that looks and sounds a lot better. 

Thanks everyone for your comments, support and feedback, it's been very helpful!

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