His Last 'Messiah' (view this story)

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Rep: 444
Eric Seals Dec. 24, 2012, 7:23 a.m. permalink

Hi Carrie,

A pretty ambitious and complicated shoot huh??  I'm sure it was hard to edit together but I thought you did a nice job with this.  Felt like I got to know a little bit the love that John has for conducting and how hard it's going to be for him to walk away from this.

I love how you opened this with John's voice talking about noticing where Peggy is all the time. The sounds of the instruments warming up was a nice touch underneath that.

I liked all the angles you guys used in this and got a good good sense of place. Stylistically however I would of love to have seen much tighter shooting mixed in with this.  Details of peoples hands playing on the violins, etc. Seeing some details of people singing, the sheet music just would of made this more compete visually.
In reading your description I see with just two of you shooting this would have been hard perhaps and you might of run into some problems at times with the edit of staying out of the frame.  Wash there a way you could of worked in some details without being in the video? Did they sing "Messia" several times allowing you other chances to shoot and mix in some details?

I know the "why" he is leaving his position as conductor but it felt like you spent just a bit too much time with that "why" It was the slowest part of the 5 minute piece.  I think tightening that section up would help.  John starts at the 2:15 mark about his hearing problem and finished close to the 4:00 minute mark.  Getting this tighter could have 25 or 30 seconds here and kept the overall flow and pace going strong.

As the piece was coming to an end with the music hanging on the long "Hallelujah" note I was hoping to see a nice fade to black (as we are left with the lasting image of Peggy singing and looking at her husband conducting.)  Instead as it was ending we come back and end with the visual of them both in the interview setting.  It would have been more powerful, emotional and a good ending going to black with the visuals of Peggy and others in the choir singing..  Something like that gives a better finality to the piece I believe.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Dec. 24, 2012, 7:40 a.m. permalink

A few minor things I noticed to look out for:

1. You had a few jump cuts in this piece.  The 1st one I noticed was at 19 seconds (when they all stand to start singing) from one wide shot pulled out to a wider shot.  Just felt odd to see that jump.

2. Your lower thirds. Make sure you stay consistant with the placing of the names. One the 1st one, John Westlund was to the left of the screen and then when you showed Peggy, her name was in the middle of the screen.  Pick one place to have names and have them all like that in the same place.

3. Keep the lower thirds simple and to the point. I noticed with the info about John you had to scroll to mention "conductor and founder" then on the next lower third the name of the church. Viewers spend less time reading the lower thirds because the visuals behind them compete for attention with their eyes so it is a quick with just the basic information. In this case we all know and can see he's a condutor so eliminate that.  As far as being the founder? You can add that in your video description below the video player on the page.  Just go with his name and name of the church choir.

4. During the interview with John and Peggy the light/color balance between inside the church and the daylight outside competed with each other and gave off a weird cast most of the time.  In a tight shot of John there was a lot of spillover from the window throwing in blue light that was distracting.  You lit them well but was there a way to have shot the interview from a different angle?? Or even move them so the window was behind the camera? Close the blinds?

5. I would like to have seen the end credits with you and Amanda come in after the fade to black with Peggy singing (with my ending edit). Again viewers eyes are going more for the visual and your names are competing with the video behind it. Have the end credits on black after you gives a few seconds to let the ending breath with that last note of song. Just gives your credit a cleaner look, makes it more striking and noticeable which you and Amanda deserve! :-)

Overall I enjoyed watching this and I'm curious what the emotion was like for John at the end of the actual performance.

Thanks for submitting the video and I encourage you to check out other videos on here that have been reviewed. It's a great way to learn many things from editing, sequencing, style, pacing among other things. There's often good dialogue and feedback given by the reviewers and those that submitted the videos.  Looking forward to your next piece!


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