Spectre and the Bond Canon by Chris Weigl

It is the first week in November which, had it not been for the British invasion (of 1812 not the 1960’s) and subsequent burning of the Executive Mansion (now known as the White House) would probably be a national holiday.  November marks the release of a new James Bond film and given that history is so often retold by those who never lived through it this also marks a time to rank the new James Bond film in the canon of James Bond film lore.

In a feature on RottenTomatoes, the site ranks James Bond films based on their Tomatometer ranking.  There are a few things wrong with doing this the way that they have chosen to do it.  Seven of the bottom eight Bond films star either Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan while seven of the top eight star Sean Connery or Daniel Craig.  Its fine to play favorites insofar as your favorite Bond is concerned, but to make it this lopsided seems completely unfair.  First off, let’s admit that Skyfall is not the greatest Bond film of all time.  If they were using their own metric to measure which film was the best then one of the first three Connery entries would be at the top of the list (all three tied with 96% positive reviews.)  However, there is a bias in history where we tend to believe that things that happened recently are greater than things that happened years ago.  Skyfall cannot hold a torch to the early Bond films.  The first four Bond films were the best in the franchise.

What makes even less sense than picking Skyfall as the best Bond film of all time is where the middling Bond films rank in the history of the series.  The two Timothy Dalton entries for instance place number fourteen and number ten respectively in the history of the James Bond franchise.  No matter what your feelings are on Dalton as Bond his films were terrible.  License to Kill is almost entirely unwatchable as is George Lazenby’s entry which somehow comes in at number seven (ahead of The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, the two gems of the Roger Moore era.)  This is just ridiculous.  Even if you hate Roger Moore as Bond those two entries in the series are still some of the most memorable as is The Man with the Golden Gun, which is one of the best Fleming stories and features one of the great bond villains played by the late Christopher Lee who was always remarkable for his ability to play a likable hated man. 

Spectre, for all its wanting to be a bow-tying affair in the Daniel Craig canon, relies on all the old devices from the previous Mendes film.  Bond films have always been procedural in nature, but there has always been a serialized edge that gives each film its particular standing in the series.  Casino Royale was remarkable for its ability to delve deep into what made Bond such a fascinating character.  Skyfall was interesting because it not only used M in the Bond girl role, but had the balls to kill her off.  This is what those of us in fiction writing call character arcs, you’re supposed to have them in all fiction, but it can be especially difficult to do when you’re writing a blueprint which is what a screenplay really is.  None of this is to say that Spectre doesn’t have character arcs, it does, but those arcs are reserved to the minor characters.  However, the real problem with Spectre was that one never got the feeling that Waltz’s Blofeld matched up to Craig’s Bond.  Where it was reasonable to think that Silva might be able to accomplish his goal of killing M (which he did) it was never realistic for Blofeld to beat Bond. 

This is what we call the stakes.  The stakes have to be realistic in the universe in which the story is taking place.  Never, at any point in the film, did you believe that Blofeld or his organization held even the slightest edge over Bond.  The stakes simply were not there.  It was a mystery that you went along with because you were interested in how they were going to put it all together.  The film works on some levels because of that.  The film also works for the homage it pays to other Bond films.  The scenes in the train were throwbacks to From Russia with Love, the scenes in the desert a nod to The Spy Who Loved me, so on and so forth throughout the film.  It was piece of technical mastery on Mendes’s part for which he should get ample credit.  We all saw how distasterous this idea was when it was attempted by Lee Tamahori in Die Another Day.

Spectre feels more like a placeholder for the next film which is going to have to be a true boom or bust film.  Where producers had to make a gutsy call after Die Another Day they may find themselves in a similar position with the next film.  I mean, just where does the franchise go from here?  Is Bond going to go back to fighting Blofeld time after time?  It really depends on just how procedural they want the franchise to be.  If producers have felt like the last few films have been out of place then it would not be unreasonable to see them go back to a more formulaic approach like they did in the Brosnan era.  If, however, they want to go in a more progressive direction then the Blofeld era needs to end here.  His character had his time in the sun, but what do you really get by fighting him time after time?  That question is one that whoever winds up purchasing the rights to the Bond franchise should spend a lot of time considering. 

How to NaNoWriMo Better by Chris Weigl

This is our first time ever trying NaNoWriMo, but we felt like this would be an opportunity to do something different creatively that might spur some new ideas and potentially help us launch some new projects that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, so we’re doing it. 

Keep in mind when reading this that it’s been three days and these are observations that may fly in the face of the underlying idea behind NaNoWriMo and that is to simply write.  Writing for writings sake has its own rewards especially if you’re having a tough time getting going on a project.  What’s more useful from our perspective isn’t writing for writings sake but targeted writing.  Targeted writing is putting a chapter together first and then going back and cleaning it up, going back and developing arcs, working on story development within each chapter and building characterization so everything that everyone does has a purpose.  This is also useful in developing devices in your writing. 

NaNoWriMo promotes what we refer to as splurge writing, that is, writing in bursts to hit a word count.  Word counts in writing are utterly meaningless unless you’re developing your material.  Word counts do promote more writing, but they also promote static writing.  Static writing is writing in the same place with the same action that keeps characters from moving forward because we can’t make key decisions on where we want the story to go.  Writing in stasis is not productive if you are trying to put together a well-developed story.  Targeted writing helps avoid this by putting the emphasis on development and not merely word count.

One of the core tenants of NaNoWriMo is to do no editing during the period in which you’re writing.  The underlying theory behind this is that once you get consumed with editing you’ll lose your will to write.  It’s true that there is only a finite amount we can write in any given period of time, however by limiting the kind of writing you can do when you’re writing well you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Editing and revision is what makes great books and great art.  Targeted writing allows you to go back and not only make what you wrote better, it also allows you to become more aware of how you write.  Awareness of what we’re doing allows us to self-analyze and ultimately make better choices when it comes to what we’re putting on the page.

Finally, we’re big believers in flow.  Flow is the idea that you can get so completely in the zone when you’re doing something that you’re operating on a whole different level as everyone else.  This, to us, should be the goal of NaNoWriMo.  Producing words and having something to work towards is great, but unless what you’re working towards is developed you’ll ultimately be writing in place.  Writing in place doesn’t do anyone any good.  It’s writing for writing’s sake and that does not promote better ideas it simply produces more workman-like writing.  Someone asked us if we needed a muse for this month and that’s kind of what NaNoWriMo is.  It’s like a competitive muse that forces you to write even when you don’t want to or can’t think of what to write about.  What we’d challenge our readers to do is to not merely write more, but work more on your writing in general.  This will help you be more efficient in your use of time and will lead you to eventually do better writing and hopefully get into a state of flow sometime during the month. 

What We Learned From Crowdfunding by Chris Weigl

There is a plethora of advice out there for people who are planning a crowdfunding campaign.  There are just as many businesses that are looking to profit from your campaign as well.  It actually gets annoying when you’re getting a ton of requests from these people who want to make money off your campaign, but I always told myself that that was exactly how my poor Twitter follower and unfortunate Facebook friends must feel like all the time during the campaign. 

That brings me straight into point #1: have an end date in mind.  At least have some timeline for when you’re going to do certain things and you should definitely have a date for when to end the campaign.  There’s a website called Thunderclap that can help you get a lot of last minute donations if you set it up right.

Point #2: Create a character with a scene so people can step into it.  If your audience can understand where you’re coming from they’re more likely to donate.  If you can’t put your audience in your shoes then the next best thing is to create a scene that they can see themselves in.  For our campaign I used the example of a woman going back to her old dog training club only to be belittled for the choices she had made with her dogs.  Everyone knows how that feels.  You take one course of action that someone doesn’t agree with and suddenly everyone is against you.  It gives your audience the ability to feel something and the more emotionally drawn they are to your product the more likely they are to donate.  If you think about crowdfunding like the six degrees of separation you can understand where your likely revenue streams are going to come from.  First, second, and third degree connections are going to yield the best results, but we had people we didn’t know give just as much as those we did know at some points in the campaign which brings me to point #3.

Point #3: Think of the biggest possible audience for your project.  The larger the audience you’re trying to reach the better your chances of getting funded.  That’s just math.  If your target audience is too specialized you’ll only have a few people who will donate and then you feel like you’re out of options.  We had this happen to us because we didn’t really have a marketing plan.  We were making a film about flyball and since the film was about dogs and people we naturally thought people would donate to a human interest film.  That did not work.  At all.  Once we realized that everyone who was donating to our campaign had some background in flyball we get ultra-specific and started targeting people and that’s how we grew our customer base.  This brings me to point #4.

Point #4: No matter what you’re doing figure out who you know will donate to your campaign, who you hope will donate to your campaign, and who you’d like to donate to your campaign.  If you’re lucky you’ll get all three.  I could count on one hand the people I thought would donate to my campaign.  As the campaign progressed I started reaching towards the people I was hoping would donate to the campaign and I was able to grow it from there.  You’ve got to start somewhere though and if you start out of the gate with a little money that is much better than starting out with no money.  You can get funded even if you go say a week with no donations, but after that it gets tougher and tougher.  You probably can’t go longer than ten days or so.

Point #5: Be as desperate as you have to be without coming across as a spammer.  This is a tough line to stay on, so let me give you an example.  I sent out probably three or four tweets per day on Twitter when I started and then we went down to about one.  I posted to Facebook every day because if you go with GoFundMe 80% of their donations come from there.  You have to be aggressive on Facebook using anything you can think of to get people to take notice.  We were crowdfunding for a film about flyball, so I looked up the website of every single flyball team in the United States.  Excessive?  Probably.  Was I spamming people?  No.  I had a special folder for all the e-mail addresses I sent donation requests to.  Did I hit some people up more than once?  Of course, no one’s perfect.  But, I did my best not to annoy people.

Point #6: Reach out to blogs and websites who can help you.  I reached out to maybe fifteen-to-twenty websites and forums.  One let me guest blog on her site and promote our campaign through that post.  A lot of forums have rules set up that ban people if they solicit money from their users.  Keep this in mind.  Eventually, I was spending so much time reading through the rules and conditions that it took more time than it would have been worth to me.  You have an experience though.  Remember that.  You’re running a crowdfunding campaign and believe it or not there are people out there who count that as expertise.  So, do like we’re doing and write about it.  Someone might even publish it and then you should get some free publicity for your campaign.  Not everyone is ballsy enough to go out and ask for money.  It does take a certain amount of effort and courage to go out and fight for what you believe in.  That’s why you want people to donate to your campaign.  You’re not like everyone else.  Someone else would have sit back and let whatever problem you’re trying to solve continue.  But, not you.  No, you went out and are trying to do something about it.  Good for you.  No, seriously, good for you.

Our current crowdfunding campaign is ongoing.  You can check it out here at: http://www.gofundme.com/flyball

The Music by Chris Weigl

I always start work on a new film with an idea of how the opening and closing sequences are going to sound.  When I wrote the first treatment for This is Flyball the only well-articulated idea I had down on paper was the opening sequence.  The cold open of the film is meant to draw the audience into the world of flyball slowly.  The opening sequence is about five minutes long but it shows all the little details that go on before a flyball race.  The idea here is to achieve a feeling of immersion by the time we hit the opening credits sequence and the only audio the audience has heard thus far is barking. 

Music is critical to the art of filmmaking.  Stanley Kubrick thought of 2001: a Space Odyssey as “a sort of machine ballet.”  The music in the film reflects this.  The first ideas I had about the music for This is Flyball revolved around blues music.  If only we could get Joe Bonamassa to score the film.  Ah, we indie filmmakers can dream, right?  I thought the slide guitar element would fit in well with the slower editing strategy that I had in mind for the film.  Once I started breaking the film down second-by-second however I had to change course completely.  Blues music doesn’t move that fast.  Moreover, it wasn’t a sense of sadness or longing that I wanted my audience to feel.  If anything – as we spent more and more time in the field filming – it became apparent to me that I wanted something a little more upbeat.  That’s when it hit me: we need ‘80’s music.

It can’t be ‘80’s music from the ‘80’s though.  People would wonder why a film released in 2016 had a soundtrack that sounded like the 1980’s.  That’s when my co-founder and Producer Heidi came to me with the idea of having a band write the soundtrack.  I have to admit, at first I wasn’t that excited about the idea, but then I thought that if they performed ‘80’s covers that were well done this could be a unique advantage that our film would have.  I mean, who else is going to have a soundtrack filled with 18-20 legit ‘80’s covers?  So, I sat down and looked at the sequences I had filmed and how I wanted the music to impact the feeling of the film.  What I kept coming away with from the editing room was a sense that the music had to have an edge.  It had to be almost rugged like rock n’roll with a little industrial sprinkled in it.  That’s when the soundtrack started to articulate itself to me.

I still have no idea what song I want to use for the opening credits.  Ideally, we’d use a version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Ramble on’ or Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade.’  The more I think about it the more I like the idea of ‘Bulls on Parade.’  It’s badass in a way you can’t quite identify kind of like the sport of flyball itself.  The only thing about that song is that we’d have to use the original Rage Against the Machine version because no cover could ever do that song justice.  That could – unfortunately – be a financial impossibility.  The next sequence is what I call a regression to the mean.  We opened with an action packed sequence, so after the credits we need to establish what everyday life is like in the world of a flyballer.  Three short sequences introduce us to our main players.  The music: ‘Brandenburg’ by Black Violin along with covers of ‘Just like Honey’ and ‘Steady as She Goes.’  Yeah, if I don’t have your attention now I’m never going to have it.

I wanted to focus on covering the music of three bands in particular: Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eurythmics.  A mix of ‘Rhianon’ and ‘Say you Love me’ make up the next sequence followed by ‘Secondhand News.’  Now, this next part is where things get interesting.  I wanted to use some covers of Britney Spears because there is a badass edge to some of her later music.  ‘Hold it Against Me’ and ‘Do Something’ mark two of the plot points in the film.  It is in these points that having a sound strategy that is largely dominated by – but not limited to – ‘80’s music really pays off.  A nice cover of ‘Go Your Own Way’ transitions us into the second half of the film.  After that we’ve got a nice blend of ‘Burning Down the House’ and ‘Who’s That Girl.’ I like the idea of having a string quartet or even orchestral covers for key points in the film.  I’d like to do a version of ‘Pumped up Kicks’ and ‘Just a Dream” for the climax of the film.

I’ve been debating if we should attempt some covers of Fall Out Boy in here or not.  I think ‘This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race’ would fill in nicely towards the end of the film and ‘Centuries’ packs the right kind of dramatic punch to finish out a middle sequence nicely.    Of course we’ll be using ‘The Chain’ in the third act and ‘Take me to the River’ at some point as well.  I think the Allman Brothers’ ‘Midnight Rider’ would sound good in the film as well, but I’m not sure where I’d put it.  Other notable songs without a place include the Eurythmics’ ‘Missionary Man’ and ‘Sweet Dreams.’  Then there’s the question of whether I want to incorporate some Peter Gabriel into the mix.  I’d like to honestly, but not having all the footage done yet I’m not sure where I’d put the stuff or how exactly it would fit.  I’ve always been a big fan of ‘Games Without Frontiers’ and is there any uplifting segment that can’t be improved with a nice version of ‘Solsbury Hill?’ 

I wish I could say that these ideas just came to me overnight, but the reality is that as a filmmaker you need to sit down and give this stuff a lot of thought.  The nice thing about doing a documentary or rather one of the things that doing a documentary does for you is change which decisions you have to fret over.  Were this a feature film I’d be concentrating on lighting, blocking, set design, and working with my actors, but because this is a documentary I don’t have any control over any of that, so I get a little extra time to think about things like sound design.  When you’re doing a sequence heavy film like we are the soundtrack can make or break the film.  That’s why it’s so vital that we have awesome covers of the music we’re using.  Simply using the original music wouldn’t add any value to the audience’s experience.  They’ve heard the music before and they’ve probably seen dogs run around before.  The goal that I have as a filmmaker is to bring everything together in a way that makes the act of viewing the film more than just another trip to the theater, but an experience that will stick out in their minds as a memorable time at the movies. 

How to Shoot Flyball Like a Pro by Chris Weigl

I've had the very good fortune over the past few weeks of being able to pick the brain of a great flyball videographer.  Dave Strauss has been doing flyball for almost eight years and has been shooting events for four of those years.  Dave is here to share his wisdom with our audience again in this guest post, which we are very excited to present to our viewers.

You can check out Dave's photography at: (http://www.waltzking.org/photos/flyball/

You can see Dave's amazing flyball videos at: https://www.youtube.com/user/DWS53

Flyball By the Numbers

By: Dave Strauss

In my previous post I talked about the basic shots I take during a Flyball tournament.  This time I'm going to talk about how I put them all together into a music video.

Anyone who has been to a Flyball tournament will tell you that tournaments are very confusing, very noisy, there are lots of things happening all at once, and you can't possibly see everything that goes on.  Even veteran Flyballers miss a lot of what goes on during tournaments.  So that's the feeling I want to convey - confusing, noisy, lots of action happening all over the place all the time.

I do this in the video by taking the shots and stringing together short little snippets of them (I'm told these are "quick cuts").  I've found that a snippet of around 1 to 1.2 seconds works best - it's long enough to sort of understand what you're seeing but short enough to keep that sense of action no matter what is being shown.

I've also found that a complete video of 2 to 3 minutes works best – it's long enough to show a lot of what happened at the tournament but short enough that people don't lose interest.  Flyball is, after all, pretty repetitive and you can only watch so many box turns before you get bored.

All told I need somewhere between 100 and 300 snippets in order to make a video.  I can cut this down if I have some longer segments or if I have some slo-mo segments but that's about what I need.  So let's just say I need somewhere between 60 and 200 snippets all told.

For each heat I can expect to get a maximum of 4 snippets (one for each dog); in reality I get on average 1 to 2 snippets per heat.  At 3 heats per race I need to shoot 20 to 70 races to get all the snippets I need - this translates to roughly 1/3 of all the races.  No wonder I'm out there with the camera so much!

Truth be told I don't think about it this way; I just know that towards the end of each day if I don't have 30 to 40 shots I'm in trouble – better get out there and start shooting!  If I have 50 to 60 shots then I'm OK.

Choosing the Music

This being a music video there has to be music.  I prefer to use instrumentals; I'm looking for something that's upbeat, bouncy, and driving, and that lasts 2 to 3 minutes.  I want the beat to be 100 to 120 beats per minute to match what seems to be the fundamental Flyball beat of 1 to 1.2 seconds.  In the past I chose the music for a tournament and kept it in mind while I was shooting, but for the past year or two I've done it the other way around - shoot first and find the music later.

I'm always looking for music that I can use that (a) is free, (b) won't get me into trouble on Youtube, and (c) has the right beat and drive for a Flyball video.  I've found that Youtube's audio library (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music) is a good source as is Freeplay music (http://freeplaymusic.com/).

Putting it Together

I follow a basic outline for the video as a whole, with the video segments being (1) Title and intro, (2) music intro, (3) body, (4) credits, and (5) postscript.  In some cases the first two sections are combined and the some cases there is no postscript.

Many people will assemble their video segments and then put the music on top of that; I do it the other way around.  After settling on the opening shots I'm going to use, I decide where in the opening to start the music and lock it down at that point.  Then I start adding snippets to the movie one at a time, trimming as I go to make the beats of the video action line up with the music.

I don't worry at all about chronological order - whatever works best visually is what I'm after.  I'm also not looking for perfection - after all, I'm not getting paid for this so I can't spend forever on it.

I'm constantly reviewing the video as I'm assembling it; for example I might add 2 snippets to the video and then play the whole thing from the beginning to make sure it flows properly.  Hint - I'd better like the music I chose because I'm going to be hearing it a lot!  Also, headphones help if there's anyone else in the same room while you're doing this.

For the intro section I'll try to use something that sets the scene for that particular tournament.  So for example if it snowed during the tournament I might have a shot of the snow falling, or if it was really hot I might have a shot of dogs cooling off in a wading pool. It varies.  The one firm rule is that this part doesn't have video of dogs running.

Figuring out the intro shots and figuring out where to start the music are the parts that I consider the hardest.  I'll often try several different scenes and starting points before I'm happy with it. Sometimes I'll start the video on one day and then pick it up the next day to finish, just so I can look at it with fresh eyes and ears.

I always leave the original audio in the video snippets; I find that it adds a level of excitement compared with if I muted the audio and just had the accompanying music.  For slo-mo segments or fast-motion segments I dub in audio from other sections.  Note that some video editors will speed up or slow down your audio if you speed up or slow down the video; in those cases I mute the clip's audio and dub normal-speed audio from either the same clip or from other clips. For slo-mo box turns I try to time the audio hitting-the-box sound to coincide with the dog hitting the box in slow motion.

For the music intro section, I'll typically have shots of handlers and dogs lined up and waiting to run - the audio/visual hook being that the music is also lining up and waiting to run.  When I first started doing this I thought these had to be shots of start dogs, but later I realized that it can be any dog in the order.  So sometimes in these shots you'll see other dogs in the background running but sometimes you won't.

Each shot at this point is going to be either 2 or 4 beats of the music - usually 2 because the quick changes in scene make it feel more exciting, but since it's an intro we can afford to linger on the scene for longer if 4 beats works better.  Cuts happen on the beat - or at least as close to the beat as I can get it.

These music intro shots are all "starting" shots - that is, still (camera) shots focused fairly tightly on one dog.  The cuts to the next dog happen _before_ the dog starts running - this is important because later on in the video I'll do the exact opposite and start the shot as the dog starts running.  The point here is to emphasize that the dogs are waiting to run.

I follow a basic "left/right" rule when stitching the shots together - start with a dog facing left, then one facing right, then left, and so on.  I understand that this is one form of the basic 30 degree rule of film making, where the camera (viewpoint) should change by at least 30 degrees between shots of the same subject.

The music intro section lasts as long as the music intro lasts; for most of the music I've been using lately this is a fairly short time, but for some music it can be fairly extensive.  In the latter case I can spend more time setting up the tournament environment - see for example the video I made for the 2011 Survivor tournament:


I always start the body of the video with either a box turn or a "starting with pan" shot (where we follow the dog with the camera as it starts running).  Which one I pick depends on the music - if the music starts with a heavy beat I'll more likely use the box turn; otherwise I'll use the start.

As a general rule, I use starting shots towards the beginning, then switch to box turns, then passes, then other shots.  I'd love to have a section of just dogs swinging on tugs but as I said in my previous post these are hard to get so I usually don't have a lot of them. Towards the end of the video I'll tend to just mix everything up in a jumble.

If the song has a bridge section then you can use that to show some of those miscellaneous shots you took during the tournament - people or dogs doing interesting things.  This is a good place to show some of the setup or warmup things people do during the tournament.

If the song builds to a dramatic phrase of some sort, I like to do something dramatic in the video at the same time.  Examples of this are switching to slo-mo in the middle of a box turn or a tug swing, or sometimes a set of box turns or passes in quick succession - each shot being 1 beat instead of 2.

As the music ends I fade into the credits for about 4 seconds, then fade up into the postscript.  The postscript is usually one or more non-Flyball shots I got during the tournament that the viewer might find amusing or interesting or both.  Sometimes the postscript is the second half of a shot that was part of the intro - sort of a bookending of the video.

To recap:

  1. Make the video fit the music, not the other way around.
  2. Keep the shots short - 1 to 1.2 seconds - in time to the music.
  3. Follow a basic left/right rule.
  4. Cuts on the beat, each snippet 2 beats.
  5. Find dramatic parts of the music and treat them specially.
  6. Review often to make sure the video flows smoothly.

  Editing Details

 The editing details for each snippet vary depending on what type of shot it is and where in the video it is.

 As I said earlier, I do all cuts on the beat and each snippet lasts two beats (there are some exceptions to this but I try to keep them to a minimum).

 For starting shots in the intro, the cut happens _before_ the dog starts moving.

 For starting shots in the body, the cut happens as the dog starts running.  It often takes me several tries to get the timing of this right.

 For passes, I start with the cut so that the closest dog enters the frame at the start of the snippet, and then adjust the timing so the pass happens at the second beat.

 For box turns, I try to get it so the dog hits the box on the second beat.

 Tug swings are tricky, because often I need to track the handler and the dog for longer than the allotted 2 beat in order to establish the shot.  I try to get it so the dog hits the tug on the second beat but it doesn't always work out that way.

 Some of the other shots are also pretty ad hoc - I play with the timing of the cuts so that they flow well with the video as a whole. Shots looking up the lanes from behind the box are particularly tricky; the temptation is to track a dog all the way up to the box and back but that gets boring because it takes so long.  Instead I'll tend to start the snippet as the dog comes over the last or the second-to-last jump.  If it's the last jump then I'll treat it more like a box turn shot - cut to dog jumping over the jump, then <bang> the dog hits the box on the second beat, then cut to the next shot. The trick here to keep the viewer from noticing that the dog just appeared out of nowhere over the jump - usually this means that the preceeding shot was a very different type.

 I'm still experimenting with slow motion shots so I can't say too much about them here.  The key I've found is to start with video that's shot at 120 fps so that the resulting slo-mo is smooth.  This can be difficult to do in the low light conditions of most Flyball tournaments.  Also, I've found that going from normal speed to slo-mo in a shot works but that going from slo-mo to normal speed just looks cheesy. So with my slo-mo shots I'll cut to another scene to get back to normal speed instead of staying with the shot.  One neat effect is to start a shot at normal speed and then switch seemlessly to slo-mo; you can do this by splitting the segment at the point you want to switch speeds and then slowing down the second part.

 When I get back from a tournament, I first do a quick screening pass through all of the video I shot to get a feel for what I've got and to dump any shots that don't have anything useful in them.  This may take an hour or so.  Then it usually takes me about 4 hours of work to put together a 3 minute video.  I'll usually do this over the course of 3 or 4 days.  I find it helps to spread it out so that I can look at things from a fresh perspective.  When the entire video is completed I'll export it and then review it the next day before publishing it.

To Recap:

  1. Each snippet is 2 beats.
  2. Starting shots - as the dog starts moving (except during intro).
  3. Box turn shots - dog hits the box on the 2nd beat.
  4. Passing shots - dogs pass on the 2nd beat.
  5. Tug swings and other shots - ad hoc.
  6. left-right-left-right ... (30 degree rule)
  7. Review review review.
  8. Wait until the next day and review again.