His American Flags (view this story)

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Rep: 50
Michael Lloyd May 11, 2010, 1:07 a.m. permalink

I loved the closing moments where we finally see his work around Stataen Island, and some of the characters who agreed to let him paint their buildings. The opening moments, however, seemed pretty wordy. Scott and the guy from the organization supporting him were doing a lot of talking head work. I was anxious to see more flag paintings. I did like Scott's opening remarks about the meaning of the flag.

While I get that finding "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" on the radio was a nice moment for Scott, it seemed a little over the top to me for the rest of the ending segments.

Solid shooting and editing

Mike Lloyd

Rep: 444
Eric Seals May 11, 2010, 8:09 a.m. permalink

Hi Julia,
I really liked the way you opened this and your shooting from the b-roll to the angles, details and the nice moment of Scott in the truck near the end playing with the radio and singing.

It was a good story but could be tightened up from 3:39 down to 2:15 or so with cutting out some of the things Dennis said and not showing Dennis so much, his face time in the video was 47 seconds.

For me the two main issues were;
1. more b-roll
2. better framing and sound in the interviews

For b-roll you did good (especially with details) I just thought that huge mural you opened the piece up with should of been shown more. I wanted to see him painting it wide and straight on without that truck in the frame, perhaps even a cool time lapse.
At the 1:20 mark that house he was painting I wanted to see much more of it shot wide, even across the street as cars zip by or people stop to watch Scott work. It looked amazing, show it to us and when you only had him climbing down and then cut to him putting the ladder away I was like "No, show me more"

As for the interviews Julia, it's the one thing you have total control over from the audio to how the person looks in the frame so make it shine.

Think of the interview as a really nice portraits for 1A with sound.

1st - make sure the person is focused, framed nicely, there are no distractions from things coming out of heads and proper exposure.

I noticed with Dennis he was out of focus a bit and the focus was more on the wood behind him. Sometimes if I need to get my focus spot on I'll use a measuring tape from my lens to the subject and then dial in on the right distance on the lens.

There was always a green Victory Blvd street sign coming out of the side of his head, it was distracting and was the first thing I noticed, you want us to keep our eyes on Dennis and to what he is saying.
Where you placed him wasn't the ideal spot with cars and trucks going by and the background blown out a bit.
With Michael I noticed a brown garbage dumpster and it was overexposed, the top of his head was blown out. I'd loved to have seen your frame filled with that American flag mural on the side of the building with Michael up close during that interview.

2nd - Control the audio by limiting the sounds around you. With Dennis not only was there car traffic going by but there seemed to be a air compressor or something construction like going on around.

Dennis was on from :49 to 1:08 and then again from 1:47 to 2:15. That's 47 seconds of your entire video with his face time. I bet listening to him again you could cut that down a bunch only show him for 8 or 10 seconds and cover the rest of him with some of your nice b-roll.

A really good story you found :-)

on a side note Scott really looks like JJ Abrams the creator of LOST and the most recent Star Trek. If you don't know who I'm talking about google him and you'll agree....

Eric

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans May 11, 2010, 3:05 p.m. permalink

Julia:

Nice piece. This has a narrower story arc than "Nisa's Golden Gloves" but you work your way through it well.

I agree with Eric's critique so I will not belabor things there.

I think you let your subject's character shine through and that is very important, crucial and enjoyable. Kudos.

The end montage really helps because it shows me that he is an artist, ie. the flags were not all the same, they were different, had personality. Perhaps mixing a few in earlier would help convey that, although I like Eric's suggestion regarding your start. I also wonder about people's reaction, if any or at all.

Really nice detail shots.

Keep up the good work.

Rep: 4
Submitter
Julia Xanthos June 22, 2010, 12:19 p.m. permalink

Thank you guys! I just saw the 2nd and 3rd comments. I wish there was some sort of alert when people make comments after the initial critique of the first reviewer. SO detailed and I really appreciate you taking the time to write.

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