A Flight on the Yankee Lady (view this story)

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Rep: 444
Eric Seals Feb. 20, 2012, 6:23 p.m. permalink

Hi James,

I watched this twice and while it's a good story that deserved video over stills, there were a few things that could of made this much better;

I do want to say that I understand in reading the details that this was turned around in a day. Some of the points I make might have taken some time to research, find or you could of had a jugging act with one or two still assignments as well. I'm just trying to push you :-)

1. The audio problems from trying to understanding the pilots to not having some distinct nat sound of the plane, crowds, people, etc.

2. The very backlit interviews of the pilots.

3. Some historical B&W photos to use as b-roll for us to see what a B-17 
did in WWII.

4. Video and audio from a member of the public enjoying the ride on such a historic plane.

5. Building a nice sequence from people loading onto the plane, pilot pressing the start engine button/switch (or however it's started) the propellers turning, taxing and take off.

ONE - I think not having the external mic really hurt this video because of the audio issues throughout.
Crisp clear audio is so key otherwise we are straining to hear and decipher between the words and the background ambient noises.  
I'm not familiar with the D7000 or the external mic you have. Is it the kind that has the hot shoe mount? When I used my Canon 5D with a Rode mic I always tape down the mic with gaffers tape as a backup just in case the hot shoe adapter breaks. 
I wanted some nat sound breaks for good transitions between the interviews.
Overall the audio just brought this down for me.

TWO - Besides the audio of the pilots with ambient noise in the background the backlight of them visually wasn't the best situation. Perhaps it was a case of grab them when and where you could but it was so blown out that in combination with the audio it their message was lost to me.  Was there a hanger nearby to take the in or a place where you could have better control of the lighting?

THREE -  When the pilots talk about the plane, the missions, etc having pictures of a squadron of planes in flight during the war, on the ground or anything archival would of been a nice touch to take us back for a brief moment to that time. Don't know if you had

FOUR - One of the pilots talked about how young, old and even some former pilots go up in the B-17. Where their opportunities to get some of that? The look on the faces of people as the bomber flies around, the nice nat sound of them talking about what they are seeing and even a interview after the flight in a controlled situation would of helped emphasize Norm's point.  Like the general rule goes "If it's said, it must be shown."

FIVE -  A great sequence or two in this piece would help not only helps say and show a lot in a little bit of time but it also helps advance the story, keep our interest and gives you the chance to really show off your visual skills and your eye.

Your lower third on Norm wasn't timed right. It started at :17 seconds when the clip was on the guns then continued through him and into the flying B-17.  I think having it just on him would be better and even have a nice fade in/fade out of the text. Even think about a different color like black with a white drop shadow to make it pop more.

Make this like a journey for your viewers in everything from the noise to the excitement, the passion in the voices of the pilots who love doing this and the feeling that comes over people taking a ride in history.  We have two of these planes at the Yankee Air Museum in Detroit and riding in one costs $50.00 so with that in mind most people would put their money to use in another way so in a way your video is the only ride they'll get to experience. Give that to them :-)

Hope that helps. 


Rep: 10
James Nix Feb. 21, 2012, 6:42 a.m. permalink


I really appreciate the feedback. I actually forgot that I submitted this one and I think the reason I did is I walked away from the assignment thinking there was so much more I could do with it and I needed to hear all of that (something I get very little of at my office) 

I went out to the plane ride with a bunch of ideas on what I was going to do and it turned out to be nothing like I was expecting ... mainly how difficult it is for a 6 foot 4 guy with cameras to move around in a WWII-era bomber. There are a few spots I'm still surprised I squeezed through.

This is exactly what I needed to hear and I really appreciate you taking the time to share a few pointers. The gaffers tape idea is great. I do now have a Rode hotshot mic which I got with the D7000 and it is WAY better than the sennheiser mke-400 I was using at the time, which always seemed to be falling apart.



Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Feb. 21, 2012, 10:40 a.m. permalink

Eric-- you beat me to this review. I tried to upload it Sunday but the server giving me fits...

James, I wish there was some narration in this video from you. Just some facts about who, what, when, and where, would help to define your story better-- especially for someone like me that doesn't live in your neck of the woods. 
Narration would have been great to have during the opening shots in flight when at ambient audio was too loud. You need to set the scene for your viewer. I bet people would like to know what it feels like to fly in one of the se planes. I did this video story in 2007 and I can tell you it was cramped, cold and loud. Not to mention the left engine died and we had to make an emergency landing--but that is another story.

Sometimes it is easy to forget the audience for a video on the Web is not just local viewers, but it's really the entire globe. When I edit a news video like this one, I always try to not leave too many questions on the table the viewer might have. In your video, I wanted to know more about the organization that restored and sponsored the bomber. Why do they keep flying these relics of the past? Maybe a few sound bites from some of the spectators that came to view the bomber. Were there any old WW II vets around?

Some technical stuff you probably already know...

Exposure was inconsistant throughout the video. I understand the issue with shooting with the D7000 for the first time. I had the same experience when I tried shooting a video story with it. It's a pain to have to take it out of live view to change the exposure. I went back to my Nikon D3s, which allows me to change aperture while recording.

Do you color correct your footage in Final Cut? If not, learn to. It only takes a short amount of time to clean up washed out, flat footage or just vive your video clips a bit more saturation. Lynda. com has lots or great tutorial on color correction. in FCP.


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Feb. 21, 2012, 6:58 p.m. permalink

James, glad I could help out and Colin adds some great points to think about on this piece and future pieces you'll do.


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