Break (view this story)

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Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Aug. 28, 2011, 8:24 p.m. permalink

Pat, I like how you opened this video with the gymnasts’, then  transition to what this story is really about—the break-dancers upstairs. You did a good job of balancing the gym owner’s narrative with the featured break-dancers. 

Your visuals are strong with excellent pacing of wide, medium and tight shots.I love the matched action edits at .54 and .58. seconds in. You follow the action and cut on the movement. That is the sign a skilled video editor.

Another edit I like is when your subject says, “It’s almost like walking.”  As he says it, you show him doing a crap walk.  It's a simple edit, but one that many beginning editors fail to master. When you show what your subject is talking about, it becomes video storytelling magic. Excellent Pat, excellent.

Slow motion effects and still images also strengthen the storytelling of this piece. Only one small audio bump I noticed at the end when you transition from the break dancing studio to the group photos on the wall. My suggestion would be to stretch the studio ambient audio under the photos clip, then fade it out. It would be less jarring. 

Pat, your video storytelling just gets better and better...

Rep: 5
Mitchell Riley Aug. 29, 2011, 8:44 p.m. permalink

Pat, was really psyched when I saw another one of your stories up on FTF, last one I saw here was FIELDS OF WHITE, which was fantastic.  Beautiful photography on BREAK, loved the choice to be in black and white, really works with this content.  

Looks like you had your shutter tweaked up a bit on the breakdancing which I think enhanced the movement ... I've gone too far with that at times and not liked the result, but seemed to be just the right touch of it here.  Really like the composition on the interview with Dashielle, up close, intimate, with his reflection out of focus in the mirror behind him.  And again, your use of the mirror at 1:54. Nice.  

I liked that you went for capturing great frames of the breaking without matching action on every sequence, while there was plenty of beautifully matched action, your editing had a nice flow to it, capturing moments ... I really liked the shot of the one dude just groovin' at 1:12, it shows that you didn't get completely lost in the technique and physicality of breaking which could have become monotonous.  

Hard to make suggestions when it's all so good, but here are a few thoughts ... really nice narrative story here, but I think you could have milked it a bit more off the top.  Set it up for a beat or two longer in the gymnastics class like this is where the story is going to live ... have Carol comment on one of her girls, maybe even hear from one of her girls about why they do what they do ... and then take us upstairs. I guess what I'm saying is that I like the reveal, just make it more of a surprise, more of a headturner, if it's there ... if not, it still worked, just felt like it needed another beat.  

With that in mind, I really like the bookend of going back to Carol and hearing from her, but I agree with Colin, it's a bit abrupt and could be nurtured a bit further to match the strength of the overall story.  There is a real art to your photography/editing Pat, and again, I agree with Colin, the storytelling here is very strong ... a powerful and compact punch with a TRT of 2:19.  

Thanks for sharing BREAK ... I like that title.  

Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Aug. 31, 2011, 7:25 a.m. permalink

Thank you Colin and Mitchell for checking out my story and for the thoughtful reviews. This story was so much fun to work on.  I think you are right about the ending. It does end a little abruptly. There was a nice moment while I was shooting when she was hanging out with the dancers but I only got the tail end of it so I ended up having to go with the pictures. I would have liked to get some nice video of them together bonding but it just didn't work out. 

I knew after seeing these guys dance for the first time that I wanted to use some slow motion footage. At real-time their movements are so fast it makes it hard to appreciate the complexity of what they are doing. I watched a tutorial about how to turn 60p clips into 30p clips using Cinema Tools and gave it a try. I tried comparing clips slowed down this way to just plain 30p slowed down and I think the Cinema Tools version looks better. Has anyone else tried doing this?

Thanks again for taking a look.

Rep: 2
Curt Chandler Sept. 18, 2011, 11:05 a.m. permalink

I like this piece, too. Excellent use of slo-mo and great restraint in not using the mirror reflection shot until 1:54.
My comments are about the opening and ending, which could have been more effective. I really like the idea of cutting between action and the teacher's phrases, it pumps up the energy fast. My problem was with the music dropping out each time she talked. Maybe you used the actual ambient sound from each clip, which is why it seemed so choppy? I might have tried taking the music from the first clip and extending it under the whole sequence, dropping the volume slightly when the teacher speaks, but keeping the techno beat going under the whole sequence. That way the transitions would maintain the energy, without having pieces of the audio come and go.
An alternative way to end this might be to shoot someone nailing a difficult move and showing the reaction of other people to the dancer having success. I assume they do get some feedback like this? I'd think it would be a benefit of no longer practicing in a tiny room, but being in a larger public place. I like the sequence where the focus cuts between  the dancer and the instructor watching the dancer. That was a great idea. Looking for reaction just seems like a logical extension of where you had already gone so successfully.

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