The greatest generation of our time (view this story)

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Rep: 444
Eric Seals Nov. 30, 2010, 6:41 p.m. permalink

Hi Sarah,


It was really cool to see you tackle a topic like this and I'm sure people got a lot out of it. I had never heard of The Honor Flight Network before, what a honorable organization, not many of these WWII guys are left these days.

Just wanted to mention briefly the technical and some other things before moving onto the story.

#1. Loved your choice to use the interviews in black and white to match the WWII footage and the color from the memorial in DC. Like the framing and composition in most of the interviews. Some of the interviews didn't have that contrast pop I was hoping some interviews seemed a bit soft but maybe it was a compression issue?

#2. Your lav wire....hide it much better than you did. Yeah it's ticky-tak but those minor things really stand out right from the get-go. That black wire going up in front of someone's shirt, or coming up from behind their back, over their shoulder isn't good.  You have to get it under their shirt and have it come out by the collar.  

#3. That disclaimer title slide at the beginning could have been moved to the end, I think people will automatically understand the file footage is not of them in my opinion or if you feel like you need to or are told to by your bosses then that's fine just have it at the end.  
Even though it was up for 4 seconds or so you don't want to start a piece off that way.

#4. I like the music you picked, didn't really bother a bit to have it come and go in your piece.

#5. Your cutting of interviews of some of the men was choppy and would have been best to have editing it all down some and even cover the jump cuts with b-roll either from WWII footage or from the memorial in Washington DC.

#6.  I liked how you visually introduced us to each man with a nice portrait but I would of loved to have seen some nice slow movement in of the portraits and then if you're interviewing the 4 men have each portrait stay up for the same amount of time.  I noticed between the 1st and 2nd portrait the length was very different.  I think it looks nice to have some uniformity to that.

#7. I would of loved to have seen more b-roll from the memorial. What it looked like, the ceremony, emotions, details, showing the mood and energy of the place, moments and reflextion from the men and woman visiting for the first time.

So...there are many directions you could of taken in this piece and you were on the right track with the interviews mixed with footage from WWII and the memorial. However, I think with your story structure there was so much to tell (in a 8 minute piece) to watch it all, listen and process just became too much. 
Sometimes I felt like it was all just a process story, a going through the motions piece and I so wanted to care more about them. 
They recalled their past but didn't talk about the present, their journey to the memorial with Honor Flight Network for them to relive and memorialize their fellow soldiers and friends.  That would have been nice to have seen and heard.

I would have loved to have seen you turn this into something about one soldier or two with the most interesting, riveting story and/or experiences and then follow on the trip and experience to Washington DC, what that was like. This way you could have the connect the past with their current feelings, emotions, etc of coming all the way to this memorial. 

All this would also really helped cutting this piece down a lot.

But again I love how you took this and tackled it. I can see you are growing in your video storytelling and that is awesome to see Sarah, now just start thinking more about the focus of your pieces :-)

What do you want to say, what is the point? Who is the best person or persons to use to tell that story and why? How am I going to weave this story with the audio story and then visually how am I going to shoot it to grab us ?

Think about the technical things as well from Final Cut Pro editing, sequencing to making sure you have enough B-roll to cover mistakes or jump cuts in the interviews that you chop up, etc.  

We all have lots of balls to juggle in this video storytelling stuff.
Just when we think we have three or four balls synced and going well in comes another ball and we lose track, drop one or two of them and we have to start over but as long as we are learning it's all good.

Keep up the good work! Apply yourself, keep pushing and then watch this video again in 6 months or a year from now and you'll see your growth and your thinking in a bigger scope about the story, your focus and your editing.

Take care :-)

Eric


Rep: 9
Submitter
Sarah Welliver Dec. 26, 2010, 4:15 p.m. permalink

Eric,

Thank you so much for your comments. Some of the criticisms you pointed out definitely worried me during the editing of the project, especially the use of all four veterans leading to the story being almost a cliff notes of their experiences instead of focusing on just one or two, and making it a more complete and emotional piece. It would have been a lot more manageable also and I might have shown more of their life at home.

I didn't get enough b-roll of the veterans in D.C., which really caused problems when I started editing everything together. The jumpy editing during James Knight's emotional recall of his return home bothered me, I should have done that differently.

Looking back, I wish I had shot some quiet footage, just the veterans in their seats, not talking, maybe close-ups of their faces...just as something I could use that could have covered up some of the choppy edits. I might have been able to find more WWII footage but I tried to keep the news reel clips matched up to the areas each veteran was referring to, as best as I could.

This all goes to the problem you spotted with the different lengths of the portraits at the beginning - I was covering up edits to try and minimize all the cross fades I had in some of the interviews.

The visible lavalier is a bad habit I know I need to break...maybe shock therapy will do the trick.

Thank you again for the feedback. It gave me a lot to think about and also reaffirmed a few things I had been mentally kicking myself about during the editing process.

Cheers!

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Dec. 26, 2010, 4:44 p.m. permalink

Cool Sarah, glad I could help out  :-)


It's always little steps for us all as we are shooting, editing and thinking about the story in what we do.   

Glad you embraced my review and I agree with what you said about "having some quiet footage of the vets in their seats, not talking, close-ups of faces" etc.  

It's good you're thinking that way now, after the fact) so just really apply that before you start shooting your next piece and other things you've learned on FtF or with just the trial and error you (and all of us) experience in video storytelling.

Maybe when you know the story you are doing next sit down and write out or story board things you know you can control like the interviewing, b-roll from interviews, what you want to say, etc.

Hope your Christmas went well.  Have a great New Year!

Eric

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