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Exposure for an Aid Organisation - going for a different tack than usual


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#1 Chris Millar

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:00 PM

Hello,

here is a piece I made (shot and edited) for 'Orphan Relief' an Irish/New Zealand Aid organisation currently working in Liberia, West Africa.

This is the version made for a presentation, with a relatively captive audience so it has a slow start that builds - basically I'm saying if you decide to watch it, trust me it gets better with all the best stuff crammed at the end ;)

An online version may call for a punchier beginning to capture the audience ... We'll see

I looked at the current crop of similar videos out there and decided to take a different approach, we don't need the fact that these kids are living in war torn poverty pointed out to us, it is blatantly obvious when you see the surrounding context, which is to say the background imagery in the frames ... I chose instead to show the amazing resilience and goodness that has come out of it, born %100 from the kids themselves - perhaps this will encourage a more positive/constructive approach to 'Aid' from a western viewpoint.

First to admit I might be a bit naive, but we all have to start somewhere huh.

EX1 completely standard setup onboard sound 1080p25 and some overcranked 720 thrown in for fun - Very run and gun, (white balance ? phiff !) so expect some less than perfect camera work and sound - also this is my first time editing, so I was up against both time and technology, zero work done in terms of a grade etc...

That being said, I think its ok - would love to know what you think


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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

Forgot to mention:

1000 points for those who watch the whole thing :lol:
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#3 Jason Reimer

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 01:53 AM

Hey Chris,
How many points do I get for watching the whole thing? :) I spent 3 years of my childhood in the Central African Republic, so this kind of thing is very close to my heart; if you haven't been there and seen the kind of things people have to do deal with over there, you just won't get it, which is why projects like yours are good for people to see. It can help demystify what it's like to actually go and help.

As for the video, I would say cut out a lot of the stuff with the adults talking, and go straight to the kids telling their stories. Some of the stuff the mission workers were saying was good, so you could take some of the shots of the kids from your end sequence and intercut those into some of those interviews, or use them for voiceover with that footageof the kids playing.

Also, there were some titles that said something about vocational development, but they weren't up long enough to figure out what that had to do with the immediate context (not that they don't make sense). So I'd either keep them up longer and address them in some way, or take them out. Personally, I'd take them out, because the amount of time you'd have to take to explain them would slow it down too much and you'd lose people. That's more the kind of thing that people can learn about after you've gotten their attention and they want to dig deeper, perhaps on a website or something like that. But the main thing is, it's about the kids, so use them as much as possible, as well as the visuals you have of the work the guys are doing, and the workers' statements explaining what the mission's purpose is.

Other than that, my only quibble would be a couple of interviews that could have been exposed a little better. I know how it is in run & gun situations, but sometimes (and maybe you did this) you need to just take a nice, slow walk around with a pen and paper and scout all the locations, take some notes as far as lighting possibilities (even if it's just available light), and what you know you're going to need in the way of interviews, and try to match those up. So for instance, there was one interview with Padraigh where the background was really hot, but for his face to have been bright enough, the background would have blown out. If you'd had a lighting kit of some kind, which it sounds like you didn't, you could have used some light on his face to lower the contrast between face & background, and gotten a better exposure for the face while still holding the background. But lacking some extra lights, I would have looked around for a better spot to place him. (I say this because early on, I made the exact same mistake once.)

One other tip for the interviews, if you get the feeling they're going to be really fidgety, try getting them to sit somewhere, even if it's on the ground, where they won't be able to move so much. Another thing I do that seems to work well as far as getting your interviewee to be a little less self-conscious is to have someone they know interview them. Coach them through the questions you're going to want them to ask, explain the process and even how you're going to edit it (things like pauses between question & answer, etc, so that you don't have to make any abrupt cuts that might sound weird). It's really cool to see how people will get into being part of the process and participating, and the person being interviewed often feels much more comfortable. Then you almost feel like you're just the fly on the wall observing. And sometimes that person will know more than you do about the subject, so when they understand what you're trying to get, sometimes that can ask some great questions you might not have thought of on your own.

Keep up the good work!
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:31 AM

Wow Chris, that reminded me a lot of what I shot in Senegal, same camera, though being us, I was 1080 24p. I agree with Jason's above comments for the most part.
I'd say certainly give it a color grade. What are you editing in? Avid has a great grading tool-set, and FCPs 3 way color corrector can also accomplish some nice work (apple color is much better but I find it a bit too fickle most of the time).
Good work for a first time out.
Next time wanna fly me over there too with my ex1 :wub: I need to get more international shooting done.

Again, kudos for a nice little doco coverage. Now just tighten it up in the edit and really show off the great stuff you've captured.
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