Undefeated (view this story)

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Eric Seals Oct. 24, 2010, 10:06 p.m. permalink

Very nice Mitch!!


I just got back from coaching video storytelling at the Mountain People's Workshop and James Gregg, who was also a coach, showed this on the big screen during his presentation, just watched it again.

I loved the story line, the shooting, your quick cuts, the natural sound from James boxing, your lighting and framing during interviews.  Just very well done.

It was 10 minutes long but it kept my attention the whole time and your editing and pacing made that happen for me.

I was curious Mitch about the boxing at the end when it was black and white, I liked it but wonder if you could talk about why you did it in black and white? 

Why not leave it in color like the rest of the piece?  

Where you going for a mood or just the look?

Also when editing a video when do you know it is the best time to do something like that?  

Again very nice and thanks for posting it

Eric

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Submitter
Mitchell Riley Oct. 25, 2010, 1:27 p.m. permalink

Thank you Eric.  Not surprisingly, you asked the questions I would have asked if someone else had produced this story.  You pointed to the choice of B&W vs. color at the end.  I still question that choice myself.  Here was my thinking ... yes, some of it was mood.  But, initially it was the fact that the color in the gym and in the ring and therefore in the frame was so intense and varied that the fighters could be lost in the mix.  Loud primary colors where prevalent.  This problem could have been resolved with tighter frames, but there are times when you want to see the wider frame and that is where I felt the fighters got lost.  Secondly, there was the issue of time and point of view ... I wanted us to see the fight, which in this case was fast-paced, frenetic and intense and so I wanted to slow down the pace a bit, hear the instructions from the corner, condense time and sort of see it from inside the mind of a fighter.  Also, I felt we were able to see the faces and the eyes of the fighters better in black and white and as such were able to better connect with them.  Then there was the narrative track from James where he says the "fight is between me and me" ... which I felt worked better and resonated better in black and white with a couple of freeze frames.  In fact, it was those words, "the fight is between me and me" which spoke to the heart of the story ... where in this case the actual fight between James and his opponent was really a metaphor for the challenges he faces in his profession.  Yes, the actual fight in the ring is a challenge of ones physical and mental self, but in this case it also served to highlight the challenge he faces and we all face outside the ring and are we going to challenge ourselves to do better, to be better and to not give up.  In the end, the black and white was a compromise ...  it was a transitional tool to put the audience in the right frame of mind, to better see and hear the intent of the sequence, and to help condense time.  Maybe it would have worked just as well to leave it in color but my instincts at the time told me otherwise.  Thank you for watching the story Eric and for your comments.  Mitch

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Oct. 25, 2010, 1:53 p.m. permalink

Thanks Mitch for talking about the black and white issue in your piece. 


Your instincts were dead on to leave the ending it black and white, I personally liked it that way....as if James was in a different part in his life right at that moment in the ring and the "the fight is between me and me" 

Like you said, "it was a transitional tool to put the audience in the right frame of mind, to better see and hear the intent of the sequence"

The action freezing at times was a nice touch too.

Keep up the great work, nice to get the insight from you on it all

Eric 

Rep: 6
Andrew Satter Oct. 25, 2010, 8:31 p.m. permalink

Mitch, this is one of my all-time favorite VJ pieces. And I'm not just saying that because James is one of my best friends. But knowing him the way I do did perhaps give me a leg up - I knew as I was watching it how perfectly you captured him. I've always thought James would be an ideal video subject - he's thoughtful and introspective and articulate. And he's funny, great for a character driven piece. You did such a great job of setting this up, by capturing him in his element at the ballpark, putting his subjects at ease and chatting with them in Spanish. It is a solid introduction for the casual observer. And then having him take you through his approach to photography and life, it really helps set up why this boxing match is so important to him and, at the same time, why it is so challenging. And, as you said, how it is a metaphor for all of the challenges he, and subsequently, we, the audience, face.


I really liked the black and white choice and the slowed down editing during the match. I'm glad you addressed why you did it - the technician in me is always interested in what goes into such artistic decisions. Bravo. Now when is the Sequel?

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Submitter
Mitchell Riley Oct. 26, 2010, 3:39 p.m. permalink

Thank you for your comments Andrew, greatly appreciated.  As you've observed and apparently know through personal experience, I was fortunate in my subject matter.  And I might add, grateful for the opportunity.  Content really is the driving force in our profession and when we discover stories with good potential it is most often through character.  That was certainly true in this case.  As for the sequel, it's funny that you mention that because I had heard rumblings of a rematch between the two fighters and had considered telling the other fighters story.  The rematch has been canceled for now due to an injury, but maybe they'll step into the ring together at some future date.  The other fighter whose name is Aaron is a teacher by education and profession but is now teaching the "fight game" to youngsters. 

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans Nov. 9, 2010, 9:42 p.m. permalink

 I like the piece, folks at the site could
really learn a lot about how to shoot a story well by watching this
video.

Thanks for talking about your decision to go black and white at the end, makes sense, and I appreciated your honesty on talking about the thought process. I was wondering if there was a 'raging bull' tribute in the thought process, but I certainly understand the mixed lighting situation.

Thanks for showing your work, look forward to seeing more.

Rep: 5
Submitter
Mitchell Riley Nov. 12, 2010, 1:25 p.m. permalink

Hello Michael, sorry for the belated reply.  Have been out of town for a couple of days and just getting back to the real world.  Thank you for your comments, greatly appreciated.  As to Raging Bull, there was no intentional tribute to that Scorcese classic, but I must admit that I am a big fan of that movie and many of his other works, so maybe there was some subconscious homage at play.  I think we all bring our past experiences, influences and inspirations to our work and for better or worse, those things contribute on some level to what becomes our "voice".  I attended his Alma Mater, so I am steeped in Scorcese lore.  Thanks Michael, will post again soon. 

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