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Old July 21st, 2005, 07:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 571
The Hitherto Unknown Secret Function Of The Manfrotto 501


I just want to say that I am surprised and Honored about having won this challange. I think that there are other entries that are equally if not more deserving of this accolade.

I dedicate this pize to the continued persute of bettering all of our filmmaking skills.

Here is some background about the making of "The Hitherto Unknown Secret Function Of The Manfrotto 501":

First of all I have to give a lot of credit to my lead actress Matilda, she basicaly dictated how the shooting went. Not only did she cancle all my plans to shoot a story with something of a plot-line, but she invaluably contributed to the piece's aesthetic, by requesting a flashlight for her hiding spot. I wish that I could take credit for that idea.

Matilda is also responsible for the pieces theme song, which I don't think needs translating (or maybe it does - furz = fart, scheisse = the solid component of a fart), and the piece's primary secret. Most adults don't know this, but little kids hide to practice their foul language. So if you thought that your, or your neighbor's kids are really well behaved, and polite; guess again. My daughter is of course NEVER faul-mouthed so she has to imbed her need for foul-mouthedness in cute songs she sings to the camera every now and then or, as fabricated in the piece, in her secret hiding place. (Not really, she is foul-mouthed, whenever she feel's like it) I used a previously recorded song sung by her, augmented by an especially for the DV challenge recorded farting sound to bridge the gap.

Matilda is also responsible for the pieces second "secret", and title of the piece. I managed to get her to climb out of her "secret hiding spot" four times. Two of which matched as far as her movement was concerned. After that, she lost interest in my plot line. I tried to get her to demonstrate another "secret hiding spot", but to no avail. That is when the second half of the piece came to pass. Matilda, was clearly more interested in making a film about a rock star than some stupid story about a little girl with clever hiding spots.

My original idea was to have scenes in which Matilda was hiding in plain view, but the viewer would only see her first when she moved.

I shot the material in one afternoon, using my XL-1s and available light except for the mag light with LED adapter. Most of the shots were hand held (since Matilda had occupied the tripod). One of the passes in her hiding spot was shot from the sticks. I basically gave up after the (very fun) fiasco with the tripod, and Matilda decided to go out and play with her friends. At that point, my only thoughts, were concerned with how to avoid landing on the wall of shame.

I edited on a Apple G4 DP 1.42 using the new FCP5 studio software. I was basically using this challenge as an excuse to run the new software through it's paces. I looked at the material and improvised the piece out of what I had. I managed to convince Matilda to "re-shoot" some of the audio (the farting sound), and I recorded the sound of myself walking through the house looking for her.

The moving titles were made using the Apple's "Live Type" (a slightly modified prefab setting). The music for the title sequence was made using "Soundtrack Pro" and it's library of royalty free loops.

As a small consolation for the other participants, although I have not ever managed to finish a short film on my own, I do work and make my living as a camera man. My professional experience has clearly given me an edge in this challenge. If the Challenge's emphasis had been on story or on any other aspect of what makes a good film, I would not have won.

I also want to say that I have learned a lot by taking part in this challenge. It just goes to show, that "you never learn out" (which is a German expression which I can't remember in english). That goes for the Pros. out there.

Having said all that, I would be happy to hear any input about my piece and offer any advice I can, where I can, in the perpetual pursuit of good filmmaking.

Cheers to all.
Daniel Kohl

Frankenstein meets XL1
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Old July 21st, 2005, 09:25 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 196
I was glad to see that your film won best cinematography. I simply loved how it looked. The cuts flowed well too, so good editing also. It just looked awesome, plain and simple. However, you are a little right on the story being weaker. I didn't really get it in one viewing and was lost. But, it was interesting enough and your camera skills more than made up for it. Look at it this way, you've got one talent down pat, and you know what you can work on. Sounds good to me! Great job.
Mitchell Stookey is offline   Reply

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