Fields of White (view this story)

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Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Dec. 12, 2010, 9:24 p.m. permalink

Pat, your video was beautifully shot. Lighting, lens selection and audio are all first-rate. Each shot in this video is a master class in composition and framing.

As a Sony XDCAM EX1 shooter, I am always amazed at seeing the cinematic quality video that comes out of the Canon 5D MkII.  Also, I see, used a separated recorder for you audio, which I assume overcomes the limitations of the camera’s limited audio capabilities.  You lucked out that the farmer was so articulate. Without this character, the video would be just a bunch of pretty pictures. You crafted an excellent edit that paces out well for the time allotted.

This is one of those stories that is more informative rather than having a traditional story arc.  Not much conflict or resolution here, but I’m fine with that.  The gold coins in this story are the visuals that pull the viewer along. In the end, I learned a bit about cotton farming and irrigation practices. Well done.

Hey, other Finding the Frame members, if you’re lurking, please join in and add your comments! Pat needs to hear your opinions too.


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Dec. 13, 2010, 8:29 a.m. permalink

A very nice, quiet, reflective and well shot piece Pat and the music fit really well too.

Did you use a Zaza slider or some other kind of rail for the nice cotton details like at the :12 second mark? I built one and have used it a few times in some pieces for details, etc and it really does help. It was also nice to see you did not over use that.

I enjoyed the variety of angles and details you used. It was obvious you thought out your framing, execution and waiting for the right moments in every frame.  

Your audio was really good as well and love the natural sound when he was walking through the fields and using that shovel.

Usually I like hearing from more than one person in a piece to give it some scope but in this case it was nice just to tune in to Howard's voice.

The only thing I'd say to fix or revisit is the lower third on Howard. It felt to large, could be moved over to the lower left more and think about choosing a different font.  That looks like Helvetica perhaps? I'm not saying get all dramatic with the font but something less plain and more classical to fit the mood of the piece.

Really nice job!!  Keep up the good work :-)


Rep: 15
James Gregg Dec. 13, 2010, 11:50 a.m. permalink

Well done, Pat!


I'm glad to see you taking a leading role by example of what kind of work your partner station should expect from you and your colleagues.  I think what I like most about your piece is that it is patient, and that breaks the mold for most of what I see in local TV reports.  You make smart choices about what you want to show and then you let it unfold for the viewer.  Rather than driving the pace based on how quickly you make your cuts, you are letting the content dictate the pace and I like that.  I think my favorite example of that is when the worker hitches a ride on the machine to reach the top of the cotton bundle.

Love the slider stuff too.  Any tips that you wish to share on what you're using and how would be awesome.

Keep raising the bar....let the influence of the new partnership come from the minds at the paper and not necessarily the other way around.



Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Dec. 14, 2010, 1:30 p.m. permalink

Thanks for your comments guys. I'm glad to hear you liked the piece. 

Eric, I'm glad you pointed out the lower thirds type. To be honest, the lower thirds were kind of an after thought. I get nervous about picking fonts. Typography is one of those things I know nothing about. I never want to go too over the top in my selection so I usually go for basic. It might have been cool to try something different.

For the slider shots I used a Glidetrack Shooter SD. It's the perfect size for working in the field. Anything larger would be too cumbersome. It fits onto my tripod and also works well on the ground by itself. I have a ball head that I use to attach the camera to the slider. The ball head makes leveling the camera easy, even when the ground is bumpy. I try not to over-do the slider clips but I'm finding that it is a great way to spice up detail shots, especially if you have interesting foreground and background pieces to play with. It can be a little wobbly if you try to rush things. I only break it out when I have time to mess around.

James, our new partnership with the TV station is off to a good start. They have been very supportive with the stories our newspaper's  photogs have been producing. I think by now around half the staff has had videos air. So far, everyone has been very open minded and encouraging. They ran one of my packages a week ago right before Saturday Night Live, which was kinda cool. 


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Dec. 14, 2010, 7:38 p.m. permalink

Basic is good for lower thirds and size does matter I believe.  We have a standard setting for the first line to be 25 pt and the second line to be 15 and have the lower third near the bottom left of the video. Everyone has their own way of doing it I just think just a bit smaller than you had yours is better.  You just try until you get it to where you want it.

Cool glider.  I built mine slider, called a ZaZa slider from a forum I go on for my Panasonic hvx200.  Only cost me $250 for the parts and had a friend with a machine shop drill a few holes.  Here's the site and instructions if you want to have a look

Here is my ZaZa silder Pat

about half way down the page, the outside pic with a couple of homes in the background.  It's about 3 feet long and I can have it on the ground or mounted on two tripods on the ends.

Looking forward to more work from you


Rep: 0
Joe Karandy Feb. 27, 2011, 9:07 a.m. permalink

This was really a nice piece to watch.  Too bad about the 2min time limit, this is one of the few times where I felt a short video was too short,  I think if you make a longer cut I would be interested in hearing more about the irrigation process.

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