Pot Bellied (view this story)

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James Gregg June 4, 2012, 10:31 p.m. permalink

Hi Pat,

Thanks for posting this.  I had no idea that there was anyplace like this!  600 pot belly pigs....sheesh!
I'm glad to see you collaborating with your wife, it's great that she is able to share work with you and I'm sure that it is a lot more fun that way.
Nice work on a couple of the slider choices, especially the one toward the end, it really gave a cinematic feel to that shot.
A few things that I noticed:  Maybe I'm too sensitive to the idea, but I felt a bit distracted by the mixed cameras.  The color space, depth, and feel between the video camera and the 5d seemed to really stick out, and I wonder if it would be better to choose one or the other on something like this, or take care to tone the colors to match.
The pacing seemed a little rushed to me, like the cuts were more motivated by obligation than by what was happening in the scene.  It would have been nice to hold one or two scenes a bit longer and really hear those pig sounds, instead of letting the interview dominate quite as much.
The use of signs here seemed a bit unnecessary because the interview is saying basically the same thing.
When the woman says that they "lost 50 last year"  I think it would be helpful to show the cemetery shot before that quote...linger on it a bit, let the pace slow way down, let her words sink in and help us care about her connection to the animals.
In fact, I think that is the real story here.  I was stunned to hear her say that she had to "put two down today and it's going to be a hard day".
I think that's really where the story is.  Did you see if there was any way to be there for THAT?  You could even open with her at the graveside and hold a little mystery for who or what she could be mourning.  The reveal would then establish that she has an especially strong bond to the animals.  It may help you get away from the profile type approach.  The facts are not as interesting as the emotions, and I feel like it would have been really powerful to get a little deeper with her.  I'd love to hear the logistics around all of that because I'm sure that there are circumstances that I'm not aware of, but just curious.
Overall I thought this was a solid daily effort that leaned more towards a television news segment feel for me, which there is nothing wrong with, especially if you were juggling a lot in a tight time frame.  Knowing your work, I feel obliged to nudge you a bit and encourage you to continue to find your very unique way of seeing the world and telling stories in fresh ways.
Thanks again for your participation, it's been a pleasure to watch the things that you have been doing to further multimedia storytelling and be one of the difference makers on the front lines of changing times.  Keep it up!

James

Rep: 48
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Pat Shannahan June 6, 2012, 6:37 a.m. permalink

Thanks for checking it out James. I appreciate you taking the time to write a long critique. 


 I really like finding quirky stories and Arizona is filled with them.

I can see your point about the pacing. There are a few places where I could have taken out an ajoining shot to let the previous one play out more. That might have let some of those moments breath.  So many of the videos I watch online come across as slow, so sometimes I end up speeding up the pacing. I'm still finding the right balance.

I agree with you that following them through a funeral for one of the pigs would have been great, however they weren't going to let me anywhere near them putting a pig down. Access to that sort of thing wasnt there.  So instead I tried to concentrate on showing the passion they have for something that a lot of others people might not think twice about. 

The different look between the two cameras I think is mostly because at the time I was still getting used to the EX1. I set a white balance when I got there and the as the sun got higher in the sky the balance changed but I didn't reset it. Lesson learned. I'd like to hear from others about mixing cameras. Do the rest of you stick with one or mix it up? This would have been a tough one to do entirely with a DSLR. The action moved pretty quick. I was shooting stills for the paper too so I would have had to have the Mark 2 hanging on my shoulder anyway. What do the rest of you do?

Thanks again James, and congrats on you NPPA BOP honorable mention for your bull riding story. 

Pat

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