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Old Feb 7, 2012, 06:34 PM   #1
mike0775
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New To FCP X, my first project. Feedback welcome...

I have used iMovie before, but this is my first project with FCP X and Motion.

Any feedback would be more than welcome...

I found it pretty neat, but surprised that things like auto ducking are in iMovie but not FCP X, as it is clear that so much else has been borrowed. Overall though I really appreciated the step up in pro features, and feel like I still have loads to learn (whereas with iMovie I pretty much felt that I knew everything that it could and couldn't do at the end of my first project!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9us06TFmSGk
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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It's looking nice and sleek.

However the title "or thousands more", somewhere around 31 seconds is badly visible. You should think about putting a shadow/vague black spot behind it to make it pop more.

I also felt slightly awkward watching the bloopers. It's ok for a home video, but if this is a professional video, I would skip it. It doesn't add to the content, and I'm honestly not really interested in what happened while you were making the video (especially when this is intended as a commercial).
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Cheers for that.

Agree with the "thousands more", stuck a drop shadow on there, but probably not really enough.

The bloopers were a difficult one. Big organisations are a bit faceless, and the bloopers are supposed to soften that a bit / show that there are real people behind it. And also poke a bit of fun, "Look, we made one of those silly corporate videos".

Would be interested if anyone else feels the same, as I will cut them out if there is a consensus.
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 09:19 PM   #4
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The audio mix is really rough. The levels are all over the place, it didn't sound like anyone was mic'd and using songs with lyrics is a bad idea 99/100. It's great that you are using a local band but I'd ask them if you could get a version of the track w/o vocals. Having appropriate instrumental music underneath the people while they are talking would add a lot to the piece.

I like that Mike is interviewed outside w/the horses, but what did Ollie do to deserve to get backed up against a show-stopping white wall? Even just a potted plant and a company or outdoor poster would go a long way to improving that shot.

Don't point the camera at the screen to record what's going on, use screen capture software instead. If you absolutely have no other choice but to use the camera at least get it level w/the screen. If you really want it to look nice you can take screen high-res screen grabs and hand animate the interaction in AE or Motion. That takes a lot more time but it can look very good. When you see website interaction in other commercials I'd bet dollars to donuts it's animated in an app like AE or Motion.

The flare of the intro really makes the "what will you do?" and "thousands more" plain text look low rent and out of place.

The person 'racing' to book the trip should be a 5-10 second montage. It's boring as sin to watch someone poke around a website like that. If you want to re-purpose that portion of the video into the 'Help' section of the webs site as a video how-to guide that might be a good idea. I don't think it has place in a commercial though as it totally kills the pacing.

The time code reader, or whatever it was, that you used for the clock should be shot, dragged out into the backyard, shot again then buried by the garden never to be seen again.

Where's the footage of people on these outdoor adventures having a grand time? There's way too much footage of the website and not enough footage of people on awesome trips.

The bloopers aren't funny. Even if they were funny I don't know if they would be appropriate it. If you want a bit of levity why not build it into the piece itself?

These notes are just from skimming the piece as I couldn't watch the whole thing tip to tail. I feel like there's definitely some good ideas in there but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.


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Old Feb 8, 2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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I actually think it's better that it doesn't feel too professional. So many travel ads are glitzy commercials hoping to scam college students on holiday. This is an ad I would trust... it's human.
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 03:44 AM   #6
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OK, I have deleted the bloopers!!

@LethalWolfe Wow, that WAS pretty lethal. But very useful, and I will take note for next time.

Just to give a bit of context. GO is a company that advertises on TV in the UK with ads like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J-T8SKI1jM

As you can see, the way it communicates itself is to not take itself too seriously. Sort of, "we didn't spend much on this advert, but if you want outdoor gear, this is the place to go." Cheap and cheerful... We are trying to position GO Activities as an extension of that, "We aren't taking this silly corporate video to seriously, and we spent all the money on the website anyway... but if you want to book an outdoor activity, this is the place to do it, and we have made it really easy to do".

In terms of a budget for this, well, it came to a grand total of 0.00 so things like screen capture software/spending hours in motion, just weren't an option. I did have a go with the screen capture in Quicktime, but it was complete rubbish.

Agree re time code reader, if anyone can point me in the direction of a decent stopwatch motion template I would be forever grateful...

We do have an instrumental copy of the track from the band. But decided to go with the full version as without it, just sounded a bit bland, and the vocals sound a bit like Morrissey (just without the casual racism and militant vegetarianism...) which we like!

Agree that the audio is a bit rough though. Partly down to inexperience, but it is also a little bit deliberate. This justification goes for the whole video really: We felt that doing it properly is actually really difficult/time consuming, and if you get it wrong, you can spend ten grand and still end up with something wholly awful like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7r42thQMW0 Even apple videos sometimes feel a bit contrived.
So it has a knowingly homemade feel. The thinking was that, we don't have the time or budget to make something that compares to an iPad launch video, but we can at least try and make it feel honest / not contrived. It's trying to say "Yes, we made this ourselves, No, we didn't use actors, (Mike looks a bit like he's breaking bad news, and Ollie looks a bit like he only recently learnt to talk), but at least they are actually the people you speak to if you call."

Re footage of people doing outdoor activities... We are embarking of a few months of activity weekends that will be the basis of future videos. This is an intro the youtube channel, and something for the about us section of the website. Future videos will all be activity videos. I am going bungee jumping this weekend infact!

Cheers for your responses though. It is useful, and LethalWolfe I will try and follow some of the basic's you point out in future.
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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I like the music but true that vocals take away from the foreground.
You can also edit the bedtrack by taking instrumental pieces and creative a loop that you can (seamless if possible) use for all sections with v.o.
The elements of the video is good, just pacing and length of some areas tend to linger way too long. The timecode kills me, reminds me of something I did years ago with media100 :P
that section could beeen whittled and made comical by using props like a stop watch and have the expired time up on the screen or a faux hourglass that speeds thru.
Its so easy to critique others work, sadly when your doing it, its like a run away train that you cant do anything about until it derails or finally stops slammed against a building.
then its easy to look back and see what you could have possibly fixed
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 09:12 AM   #8
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I think it looks good, guy. FCP X is a fun program and it looks like you'll do well with it. Lethal lived up to his name and made some good, constructive points. Keep some of that in mind moving forward and your future videos will be even better.

I agree on the music, as good as it is, lyrics are usually bad news for a video like that.

It was obvious that the second guy wasn't all that thrilled to be in the video, but make him stand in front of something a bit more interesting next time .

Never speak a word of those bloopers ever existing, to ANYONE.

Nice work, stay at it!
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 11:51 AM   #9
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Cheers guys for all your comments. It has been really useful. Next video is going to be a bit of a short on bungee jumping. Will post when it is done for you to pick apart again, and hopefully it will have moved on from FCP X 101...
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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I looked at the video and felt overwhelmed by the amount of work it needed. Lethal's comments were direct and not what you wanted to hear but spot on. I would do everything he says. He's offered you a generous amount of his time and professional thought. That's invaluable. No one wants to hear a full-blown critique but when you see this video on-line in a month or so you are going to cringe. Next time I finish a video I'm sending him a link.
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 05:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mike0775 View Post
OK, I have deleted the bloopers!!

@LethalWolfe Wow, that WAS pretty lethal. But very useful, and I will take note for next time.
I'm glad you took as it was intended, which was constructive criticism, and not as an attack (which some people do). I tend to get right to the point which some people see as being rude but I'm just trying to give feedback in an efficient manor.


Quote:
Just to give a bit of context. GO is a company that advertises on TV in the UK with ads like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J-T8SKI1jM

As you can see, the way it communicates itself is to not take itself too seriously. Sort of, "we didn't spend much on this advert, but if you want outdoor gear, this is the place to go." Cheap and cheerful... We are trying to position GO Activities as an extension of that, "We aren't taking this silly corporate video to seriously, and we spent all the money on the website anyway... but if you want to book an outdoor activity, this is the place to do it, and we have made it really easy to do".
In that example though they used proper lighting, appropriate voice talent, clear audio mix (ex. music was there but it didn't compete with the VO), consistent GFX, etc., Having good production value doesn't necessarily mean making something super slick or stylized.


Quote:
In terms of a budget for this, well, it came to a grand total of 0.00 so things like screen capture software/spending hours in motion, just weren't an option. I did have a go with the screen capture in Quicktime, but it was complete rubbish.
The camera, camera battery(s), tapes/cards, computer, editing software, ISP to upload to YouTube, people's time, etc., all have value to them so the buget really wasn't zero. Screen cap software, like Snapz Pro, is only $69.

Quote:
Agree re time code reader, if anyone can point me in the direction of a decent stopwatch motion template I would be forever grateful...
Can't help you on this one as I've always just made them by hand. It's really not that time consuming because after get past the initial 'template' it's mainly copy and paste.

Quote:
We do have an instrumental copy of the track from the band. But decided to go with the full version as without it, just sounded a bit bland, and the vocals sound a bit like Morrissey (just without the casual racism and militant vegetarianism...) which we like!
You could always mix the two. Have the vocals over the montage sections and use the instrumental version when someone is talking. It's a little more complicated but I recently did that in a documentary I worked on.


Quote:
Agree that the audio is a bit rough though. Partly down to inexperience, but it is also a little bit deliberate. This justification goes for the whole video really: We felt that doing it properly is actually really difficult/time consuming, and if you get it wrong, you can spend ten grand and still end up with something wholly awful like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7r42thQMW0 Even apple videos sometimes feel a bit contrived.
That ad isn't great but I think it's better a communicating its intended message than your ad in large part because of the production values. Just look at the environments as an example. Everything has something going on behind them that helps communicate who they are (the football fan, the mom, the 20-somethings) and to keep the frame visually interesting.

Quote:
So it has a knowingly homemade feel. The thinking was that, we don't have the time or budget to make something that compares to an iPad launch video, but we can at least try and make it feel honest / not contrived. It's trying to say "Yes, we made this ourselves, No, we didn't use actors, (Mike looks a bit like he's breaking bad news, and Ollie looks a bit like he only recently learnt to talk), but at least they are actually the people you speak to if you call."
If you want more informal and low key then interview the guys at their desks, or chilling on a couch in a conference room or both guys sitting next to each other at a picnic table with the horses in the background. Something that says 'laid back' 'cause poor Ollie standing alone next to a white wall does not have a natural or organic feel to it. By standing the guys up in front of cameras in a more traditional/formal interview setup like that you are setting a more traditional/formal expectation. When you add 'homemade feel' to formal expectation you get something that looks like a poorly executed attempt a formal, not something that looks like guys just chillin' and there happens to be a camera rolling.

Going back to that 2nd YouTube example again, they placed the cameras to mimic the angle a webcam would be at and that gives it a homemade vibe even though the production quality is such that you know it's not just regular people being recorded by their webcams.

The opening graphics you used also had a pretty slick feel to them which didn't jive with the rest of the piece. Making something is a holistic process of making all the different elements compliment each other.

I agree that the whole process is hard work, especially to people that are used to doing it, which is why there are people that can charge money and do it for a living.


Quote:
Re footage of people doing outdoor activities... We are embarking of a few months of activity weekends that will be the basis of future videos. This is an intro the youtube channel, and something for the about us section of the website. Future videos will all be activity videos. I am going bungee jumping this weekend infact!
Good luck w/the bungee jumping, be safe and don't drop the camera!


I wrote this response over the course of the day so I apologize if it feels hacked together at times.

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Old Feb 9, 2012, 05:35 PM   #12
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@LethalWolfe Wow, that WAS pretty lethal. But very useful, and I will take note for next time.
Enjoy it. Feedback, however critical, is the best way to get better. I wish I had more when I was in high school and college, but I was so ahead of the game (none of my mentors or colleagues knew FCP, After Effects, etc or principles of motion graphics or editing as I did) it actually hurt me I think.
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 06:50 PM   #13
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Enjoy it. Feedback, however critical, is the best way to get better. I wish I had more when I was in high school and college, but I was so ahead of the game (none of my mentors or colleagues knew FCP, After Effects, etc or principles of motion graphics or editing as I did) it actually hurt me I think.
Don't get me wrong. I do really appreciate the feedback. I just couldn't resist the lethal play on words!

@LethalWolfe seriously, thanks for taking the time to respond so thoroughly. You have given me a great deal to take into my next project, and I am very grateful of it. I will aim to revisit this one at some point in the next few weeks. I am a bit time limited in the sense that I am also running the Activities business, which is being operated as a start up within a larger organisation... small team (3) tight budget, 13,000 product pages to content manage, marketing, accounts, 100+ suppliers to keep happy, and (happily) customers You are right... we had to pay for motion and FCP x (long term investments!!) and the camera was another 200 from amazon. Audio was done on a borrowed tazcam D40, computer was my own macbook air (which I have been pleasantly surprised by bearing in mind it's graphics limitations). For future vids I have managed to pic up a pair of second hand micron radio mics on ebay, which should be fun, if they actually work!

My aim is that getting good at the editing and production side will allow us to punch above our weight in terms of the content we can produce on fairly rudimentary equipment until we can afford the right gear.

If you don't mind I would like to bank your critique for the next video that will attempt to put your advice into practice. On which note... A shot I want is looking back at the jumpers face as they jump (the jumper is going to me... Ollie refused point blank!) I think the transition from sheer terror into elation/relief should be an interesting shot that I haven't seen anywhere else. difficulty is going to be stabilising the camera with all the G. My idea is to rope the camera attached to 2 separate anchor points (Chest and waist) so that all I have to do to keep it stable is push against it on the jump. But if anyone has any better ideas I would love to hear them!
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 06:55 PM   #14
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Another piece of advice. If you're shooting tape...never rewind a used tape in the field...ever. You will make that mistake ONCE in your lifetime, and if you're lucky, you'll be able to reshoot what you accidentally shot over.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 02:22 AM   #15
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Enjoy it. Feedback, however critical, is the best way to get better. I wish I had more when I was in high school and college, but I was so ahead of the game (none of my mentors or colleagues knew FCP, After Effects, etc or principles of motion graphics or editing as I did) it actually hurt me I think.
True. We increase our strength by having something to push against, not by coasting.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 02:16 PM   #16
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mike0775,

Don't mention it. I enjoy helping people out that are truly open to feedback (not that I expect everyone to agree w/everything that I say, especially w/the more subjective elements).

If you had some $$$ I'd suggest investing in a GoPro HD camera as there are a variety of different mounts for them. The rope idea might work, I'm just worried about the camera whacking you in the face when the bungee cord recoils.

Since you are wanting a more 'homemade' feel I think using an iPhone 4s to get a wide shot could work well. On a local adventure/travel show I've seen the host (who also doubles as the guide) do a lot of walking and talking directly into the camera by holding it out at arms length and he executes it rather well. He has a cameraman with him as well shooting hand held and the mixture of the two is a nice balance of getting good action and establishing shots and having the chill vibe of a guy making a personal travel vlog.

You do need long enough arms and a wide enough camera lens, as well as practice, so that the framing of the shots is still good (like you aren't cutting the bottom of your mouth off) but it might work for you guys. If you needed an little extra distance you could always attach the camera to a small pole.


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