In The Moment (view this story)

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Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Nov. 27, 2011, 6:56 p.m. permalink

This is a real personal story told by the subjects. It held my interest because my own mother is going through the same thing. 

Dan, you did a great job of telling Walt and Aline's story. You have all the elements you need--good documentary moments and a strong narrative. There are some things you could do to improve the structure of this story. 

1. You struggle with your transitions between time and place. You use the fade to black and fade up transition up a lot in this video. I find it jarring and it takes me out of the moment. I noticed you don't use any audio during these fades--just dead air. My suggestion would be to use sequencing to make these transitions. I like to use a tight/wide shot going out of a scene and a wide/tight shot coming into a new scene. The key is stretching the audio from the outgoing clip so that it fades out under the incoming clip. Like a split edit, it makes a seamless transition that the viewer doesn't notice. An example:

At .40 in your story, instead of using the fade out/fade up, I would have gone from the Walt interview shot to a tight shot of the Aline's Xray. Under the Xray clip I would use room tone from the Walt interview fading out as the voice of the doctor comes in-- "Your brain should fill the whole vault." Then cut to the wide shot of Walt and Aline and the doc looking at the Xray. That's a seamless edit. This is why it is so important when shooting video sequences (wide, medium, tight) that you make sure to cover yourself with more tight shots them you think you'll need. 

2. The music you use seems uneven and unneeded. I'm always on the fence when it come to music. If there's already emotion in the scene, music, especially this type, just piles on to the point where it become a distraction. 

3. Length. You're at a long (for web video) nine minutes here. This is where the edit meets the road. Always ask yourself: "What can I cut that that the viewer won't miss?" I'd have to listen to the both Walt and Aline interviews again, but I suspect they say the many of the same things. This is the first place to tighten your edit. Make these interviews cackle and move along. Just like redundancy kills a still picture story, redundancy in video narrative will do the same. 

Can't wait to see the follow-up Dan...

Rep: 1
Dan Powers Nov. 27, 2011, 8:04 p.m. permalink

Thanks for the feedback Colin. I have only been doing HDSLR video for about a year, so your feedback is REALLY helpful. Most of the videos I have done have been of the 2-3 minute variety. This was my first real long term type of story. I'm going to view it again taking note of your critique so that I can improve on the next installment I do with this story. Thanks again for the review. Cheers...Dan.

Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Dec. 22, 2011, 5:08 p.m. permalink

I applaud you for tackling a tough subject like dementia. Such a sad situation that family is going through.

I think Colin's right on in his advice. Also, you might try shooting more detail shots. They are really useful when building a package because they help break up jump cuts and offer other information that the subject doesn't say. For example at 3:08 she is in the kitchen looking at a board on the fridge and in the next shot she's sitting down. That's a jump cut because she goes from standing in the kitchen to sitting in the living room. Jump cuts can be a little jarring. A detail shot of the board would have broken up that jump shot and given the viewer more information. Maybe that board had some inspirational saying, a family photograph,  or maybe there was a calendar they mark off every day to remind her what day it is. She stops to look at it. It makes the viewer wonder, "what is she looking at?"

I think you have better quotes to start your story off with. Around 8:35 she says," I'm not looking forward to the future." Wow. That's a powerful statement. Who doesn't look forward to the future? Well, someone who's facing dementia. If you started with something like that I think it would really draw the viewer in. It raises questions and sets a tone. 

I look forward to watching your next chapters of this story.

Rep: 1
Dan Powers Dec. 23, 2011, 5:26 a.m. permalink

Thanks for the feedback Pat. Avoiding jump cuts makes sense. And yes, there is a lot of stuff written on the board that would have made for a nice detail shot. One of the things I'm still trying to get used to is that on every video I am shooting, I am also shooting stills for the story. So, I end up either missing good video/sound bite moments because I'm shooting stills, or I miss good stills because I am rolling video. Very frustrating at times, but I know that just goes with the territory when you are asked to do both. The next installments will be much shorter than the first. I'm guessing the typical 2-3 minutes. Thanks again for checking it out. I really appreciate it. Cheers...Dan.

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