Riding the (miniature) rails (view this story)

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Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi May 2, 2010, 11:35 a.m. permalink

I think you did do them justice, even with the short time spent on the story. That's what we do, get in and out and get it published. I didn't ever find myself thinking "he really should have spent some more time on this."

Stories like this a great to cover, because there is a very passionate community out there interested in model railroads. There is good potential for this video to reach viewers outside of your site's normal audience.

I liked the visuals a lot, with content like this, you can never go wrong with more low, tight point of view shots to really bring us down on the level of the miniatures. The most successful visuals are the ones the contrast the miniature landscape with the stature of the real people.

As far as storytelling, give me less "what" and more "why." As a viewer, I want to know what is the appeal of this, I want to connect emotionally with the subjects. You get to this at the end, but I want more. If you're concerned about running too long, cut out some of the "what" and replace it with a sentence or two of narration.

This is nit-picky, but the journalist in me is itching for last names.

Rep: 20
Will Yurman May 2, 2010, 2:36 p.m. permalink

Peter made some good points.

I would just add that your best stuff was in the last 30 seconds. The one guy saying 'why does anyone do this' and the next guy talking about how many hours he puts into it'. They were by far the most human engaging of the audio.
So why save it? I don't think we need two minutes of the process to get to that point. If I'm going to care about model trains it's going to be because I care about the characters. As Peter said, less what and more why. Or less process and more of the emotional center of the story.

Rep: 23
Submitter
Brian Immel May 3, 2010, 10:50 a.m. permalink

I think I was focusing too much on the trains themselves. Even now I'm thinking I wish I had cleaner sound of the train effects, but then again I'm missing more and more of the characters at that point.

@peter Last names.... shameless. It was an early video for me. It bothers me too now.

@will again, I've agree I was missing the characters all along.

Thanks to you both.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals May 3, 2010, 6:18 p.m. permalink

Hi Brian,

First off props to you and Colin for getting this site up and going. It's great reading the feedback from others for all the videos on here. I'm loving the different perspective, shooting style and editing from everyone.

I think your community got something out of this and I bet parents with kids who didn't know about this club wanted to know more about it after seeing your video or even wanted to check it out for themselves.

I looked for a link at the end credit of your video or a link outside the video player for the groups website (if they have one) It's a good idea for next time that way you help your viewers as to how to find out more about the club etc.

Both Will and Peter said some good things that will help you in your next video feature and I'd like to add that....

The first 15 seconds of your video started with the city skyline, the deer, the police car and I think getting the viewers attention right away from that first frame with strong visuals and audio will hook them to want to take notice, stay and watch.
As I watched it again I was thinking of camera on track as train is coming towards it, cutting to tight pan detail of the wheels moving, cut back to train getting closer, back to a tight camera on track movement as if the viewer is the train, then back to train almost at camera. All the while sounds of the engine, the track noise etc are playing underneath then transition to voice of the first guy "this place is a 17 year effort by many members....." as you cut from that scene and do an overall view of the track layout.

Damn, I think that was the biggest run-on sentence ever!!!

I really like what you shot between 1:22 - 1:34 and wanted more of that guy walking like Godzilla amongst the evergreen trees showing that perspective Peter was talking about. That scene made me smile!

For your on camera interviews even though each person might not have lots of face time in your video I think each one should have the look of really nice portraiture that you'd want to see in your newspaper. Even with framing them have the person to the right or left of your viewfinder and allow the background to either go soft or have some visual context to it.

For the ending of your video I believe it's always good to end on something visual instead of a person talking.

And for my nit-picky....I think the frame grab of the guy looking at the trains on that track that we click to start the video, should be a nice visual image that will make people stop and wonder what this is all about. I don't know how your papers website has their display of videos on the home page but remember your image is competing with other images from your co-workers, ads, photo galleries, etc and I think you want an image that will make people look twice at it and want to click it to see what's going on.

Again so glad this site is up and plan on sharing it with other video journalists at my paper.

Eric

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