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Old December 17th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #1
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Cinematic Commercial Shot With A1

I've had my XH-A1 for a year now and am finally being able to put it to good use. I've been shooting a series of what I would call "cinematic commercials" that are airing locally on television, promoting a church website. I would really appreciate some honest constructive criticism. I'd be interested what some of you pros think about the artistic value of the video, as well as the communication of the message itself. I'm very appreciative to anyone who would be willing to take a look. Thanks!

Sincerely,
Ritchey Cable

Here is the link to the commercial:
www.grace-presbyterian.org/Find-Grace/help2.htm
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Old December 17th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #2
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The colors and DOF look great, congrats?
Which preset was used?
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Old December 17th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #3
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Nice job. I think you connect with your target audience very well in offering something more fulfilling than the daily grind.

Effective and not preachy - an opportunity. Well done. What sort of response and feedback are you getting from your client and target audience?
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Old December 17th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. To answer the first question, I used the preset that is made to match the DVX100. I also did a bit of color enhancement with Magic Bullet. As far as my clients response, the committee overseeing the ad campaign has been extremely pleased with the quality of the ads. (The A1 really produces a professional look.) My goal was to create an ad that has a professional cinematic edge to it. The people in the community have really responded positively to this. In Central Louisiana, many of the local ads are pretty poor quality, so I've been encouraged when I hear things like, "That looks like a movie", or "That doesn't look local", etc. I have found the A1 and Magic Bullet to be an incredible combination on this shoot.

We have not yet started airing this commercial, and I am still fine tuning it, so any more input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help.
Ritchey
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Old December 19th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #5
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Hey, man, overall good job. Here's a couple things I noticed that could've been improved upon.
1. Some of the shots of the man in his office were out of focus.
2. The wide shot of man walking out of house wasn't level, and seemed a little distracting with the pillars tilting to the right.
3. The office didn't look like an office. Would've been nice to have ghastly overhead fluorescents.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:58 AM   #6
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Nice shots in general - the only thing that kept catching my eye was the blue digital display - would have preferred one that didn't clash colorwise with all your shots that lended towards autumn tones and felt very natural (mind you the clock symbolically is the unnatural bit in his life, as is the computer screen in the office shots - so you may have been going for that for effect)

the DOF was very well done - did you use an adaptor? or just the zoom on the A1?

and from a graphics POV - I'd clean up that last titling shot - the one that names the church - the actual church name done in staircase style is a bit distracting - I'd bring it in possibly with a different color and as one strong piece instead of 3 stairs slightly moving - makes me feel like the church isn't steady or strong

trish
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Old December 19th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #7
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I like it--excellent job. Since we're being picky, I would have put a little more modeling on the guy, especially in the office. He's a little flat, but that's just a style and preference thing. Nothing wrong with the spot at all.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #8
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hello there fellow louisianian

I echo what the others have said.
If you're using FCP to edit, then I'd isolate the blue in the clock readout using the 3way color corrector and dial down the satuation a good bit. Unless of course your intent was for the clock to stand out for some reason.

Do you work for the church or are you working for a production company?
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Old December 19th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
I like it--excellent job. Since we're being picky, I would have put a little more modeling on the guy, especially in the office. He's a little flat, but that's just a style and preference thing. Nothing wrong with the spot at all.
When you say modeling, do you mean visually punch out the man in the space with more dramatic lighting or show more parts of him with diff camera angles, closeups, med shots etc

Trish

sorry - didn't mean to be picky on that original comment - been doing graphics too long : )
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Old December 19th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #10
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Modeling is a lighting term, actually it's probably a painting term, but it refers to the way light casts shadows on a subject. Shadows provide depth and interest and can often denote inner struggle. In a dramatic/cinematic piece, the use of heavy modeling can emphasize your point on a subliminal level.

Knew I went to college for something.

Overall I felt the lighting was a bit weak, and by weak I don't mean intensity of light, but design and use of light. The story was told well enough that this didn't bother me that bad. If I was getting picky though, I'd bring it up. Which I just did.

As I say in the wedding forum a lot, I usually don't bother to comment in depth unless I feel something or someone has promise. Don't take my critique as an insult, it's anything but.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #11
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Thanks to all who have commented and/or viewed the commercial.

Please excuse the informality of calling you all by your first name, but here are a couple of comments about your comments:

First, Steve-
Thanks for your careful evaluation. You picked up on a couple of blemishes I wish we would of had time to fix. We shot the commercial in just under two hours and we were running from interior shots at the house, to exterior shots at the house to interior shots at the office. Since I shot this in HD and it is airing in SD I might try and rotate the wide shot a degree or so and crop it a bit and see if we can take the tilt out of the pillars. As far as the lighting of the office; I lit this thing with one halogen bulb and a reflector board. I would have liked to have spent a little more time on scene prep, and made the office look a bit more "clinical" and "stale" looking. Out of curiosity, would you (or anyone else who wants to comment) have used fluorescents to give it that look you were talking about? I've never used fluorescents before to light a scene, so any thoughts on how to get that "office look" would be appreciated.

Trish-
The clock was what we had on hand at the house. While I'm not necessarily a fan of the blue color the clock cast, I did want something that would stand out. The clock obviously has huge symbolic meaning throughout the spot. So in one way I didn't like the look, but I was appreciative that it stood out as well as it did on the finished product. Maybe toning it down a notch could be helpful though.

As far as DOF; we have built a RedRock Adapter, but I'm still learning the ins and outs of how to shoot with it. So, all of the scenes in this shot did not use an adapter. I tried to zoom in and position the actor away from the background as much as I could. Thanks for asking if I used an adapter though, I was very flattered!

Also thanks for your thoughts on the titling shot. I probably will avoid the stair step approach and give something with more of a "stable" appearance. Thanks for pointing that out.

Bill-
Thanks for your input and know that I appreciate your "pickiness". I agree that some of the shots in the office came out flat. In future shots I'd like to try and have some back lighting as well as a little more light on the subject to help give a little more depth.

Ethan-
See my comments to Trish about the clock. Unfortunately, I was not using FCP. I was using Vegas, but there are some tricks I can probably do in there to tone the clock down a bit.

Also, to answer your question, I am on staff at the church. Grace is a smaller church of about 200-250 people. I have always had an interest in film. Growing up, my dad produced independent feature films. Through this I inherited an interest in writing screenplays, and recently I have also been intrigued by both cinematography and directing. Anyways, when the church decided they wanted to produce some commercials, I asked if I could try my hand at creating and directing them. So I am very much a rookie and I expect my work to have lots of areas where I can improve. That being said no one needs to worry about being too "picky" with me... I take it as constructive criticism and really feel honored to have a place where people with much more experience critique my work.

Sorry for the marathon posts. And as always, I'd love any other feedback folks might have. Thanks a lot!!!
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Old December 21st, 2007, 06:30 PM   #12
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My background is in weddings and live events so take my opinion for what you will. First off, I really enjoyed it. In a non-artistic critical viewing as "just a regular person", I could see how people could identify with the rut. The feeling was well conveyed.

However, the connection between finding grace and getting out of the rat race I couldn't find. It wouldn't make me attend your church is what I'm saying...which doesn't mean I didn't like the video but I just wasn't moved to go to your church.

My suggestion would be to have another contemplating point in the video (which I see as very hard due to time constraints) where another question could be asked. Something like "Looking for something more?" or "Need a saving grace?". A statement strong enough to get people to say "Hey...maybe they have what I'm looking for there".

Maybe a contemplating, frustrated look then he looks downward and the camera then makes quick pan to a bible on a desk?

I'm just shotgunning some suggestions as this isn't my forte.

Again, great work and good luck on your production.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 06:23 AM   #13
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I loved the look and feel. It looks really professional. Congrats!
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Old December 29th, 2007, 05:03 AM   #14
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I would add some camera movements (little pans and tilts while CU on face). Looked very filmic.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #15
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I'm going with the director's intent as is, for the lighting, and tilt. I believe it effectively conveys the marketing message. You would not want cinematography overdone to distract from the message.

Likes:
- The titling in motion.
- The music.

Dislikes:
- The marketing message itself doesn't work for me. The daily routine of awakening to a full day's grind of gainful work should remain a worthy endeavor for everyone. That's the blessing. It's not the curse. It wouldn't entice me into the fold. It's hard for me to experience too much sympathy for the actor. I drive to and from work in the dark everyday and I'm happy to feel alive. A marketing message for the same slogan could chronicle an unemployed person's family struggle to maintain dignity in the face of rejections. But who would the Presbyterian church rather have for a client, him or the executive? Therefore I believe the intended marketing message is conveyed, which is that it's about the recruitment of the productive elements of church clientele, and not about embracements of the disenfranchised. I believe the message hits the target in that sense. I can only speak for myself, but the message that would entice me is the one that would say, "join us in being a part of what we are doing to help others, look at what we've done and are doing!"

I could more easily direct my criticism at the church committee. They sound pleased to have a message to put out, just ANY message. In that sense, I feel they lack the focus, need a direction. How about "Building People for Others, One at a Time."

- The blue clock.

**************************************

I think you have done very well on that 30 second spot.
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