And the winners of DV Challenge #2 are.... at DVinfo.net

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Old July 19th, 2005, 09:07 PM   #1
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And the winners of DV Challenge #2 are....

First, before I announce the winners... I must thank Chris Hurd for letting us run this here, as well as running the best damn video forum out there. Next, Guy Cochran and www.dvestore.com for providing some excellent prizes for the winners. After that, I've got to thank DVinfo moderators Michael Wisniewski, Ed Smith, and Rob Lohman who rounded out the judging with Guy Cochran and myself. Judging this one was tough, and these guys put a lot of work in their decisions. Also a second round of thanks to Rob Lohman for helping out with web rendering questions.

And since all you participants have thanked me at one time or another, via email or the forum, I'd just like to say, you are all welcome! It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, and it also got me off my own butt to shoot something.

And finally, thanks to all of you for entering. If it wasn't for you all....judging would be a lot faster. :) But thanks.

First, and just because I can, I have come up with three special awards this challenge. These are not regular categories, and I'm only giving these out because of extraordinary effort on the part of the producers.

Outstanding Visual Effects
Jeff Sayre-
Gardens of Tomorrow

This was an easy decision to make. Fantastic work Jeff. Well deserved.


Best Score
Chris Thiele
Secret Fear

While not technically perfect, it was, ahem, unique. J


Best Something

Mike Teutsch
Secret Lies And Obsessions

Ok Mike, Im not sure what award you are getting, but youre getting something because that was just too damn funny...



And without much more ado, we begin with the top awards:
Best Cinematography

As you've seen in the other thread, the nominations for Best Cinematography are:
Michael Gibbons The Cask Of Malta
Benjamin Durin - The Secrets
Jon Jones - Secret Recipe
Daniel Kohl The Secrets of The Manfrotto 501
Sean McHenry Secrets
Fredrik Larsson The Secret Of The Ale Stones
Stephen Van Vuuren Lost Souls

The competition was so close in this category, that we actually ended up with a three way tie between:
Sean McHenry
Daniel Kohl
Fredrik Larsson

Resolving this issue is what took us an extra day. To decide, all us judges re-voted on just these three films and

THE WINNER OF BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IS:

Daniel Kohl -
The Hitherto Unknown Secret Function Of The Manfrotto 501



And now...

Best Picture:

The nominations are:
Mitchell Stookey Monday At Office
Sephen Van Vuuren Lost Souls
Sean McHenry Secrets
Jon Jones Secret Recipe
Michael Gibbons The Cask Of Malta
Fredrik Larsson The Secrets of The Ale Stones

This category was tight as well, with judging balanced between story and production, but the top two stood above the rest when the points came up:

The Runner-Up for Best Picture is:

Mitchell Stookey -
Monday At The Office



And finally, the big winner:


BEST PICTURE

SEAN McHENRY-
SECRETS


Congratulations to our winners, please email me at thedvchallenge@hotmail.com to claim your prizes! To everyone else, even for submitting a film you are a winner, since the ultimate goal is just to get you out and shooting. But now that youve done one, the next, about 7 weeks from now, should be a whole lot easier. See you on the next one!

Dylan Couper
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:08 PM   #2
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Congratulations to everyone, especially Sean and Daniel. Great job you guys. Also thanks a ton from Guy Cochran, what a Guy! Seriously, that' super cool that you would donate prizes like that. Awesome work everybody, and now that it's official I just want to say I LOVE Daniel Kohl's cinematography and am glad that it was recognized. It was most certainly my favorite. Great fun and I can't wait for the next one.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #3
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I would like to publicly, once more, thank Dylan, Rob, all the judges in the panel, the Academy, my 7th grade science teacher Ms. Tina Gheres who gave me that autographed copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, my wife, my lovely daughter Natalie for helping out, the musicians of unsignedbandweb.com for lending me their music and the cast of this tiny epic.

But seriously, thanks to all the entrants. I am very happy that is was so tough a decision. I am <u>nearly</u> speachless.

I look forward to seeing you all right here once again at the next gathering.

Until then I will be doing a rewrite of "War and Peace" for a 5 minute short with William Shatner as the narrator only my version will be in the year 2910 with robots...Tolstoy, that hack couldn't write a screenplay if it was chasing him through the woods in the dark with an axe and a night vision scope - hey wait a minute. That's a great idea.

Thanks again to everyone. Lets all try to find a project to work on together.

Look for the polished version of the short to show up on the web site I threw together for this occasion at : http://www.surgetechservices.com/smchenry/

Humbly yours,
Sean McHenry
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Last edited by Sean McHenry; July 19th, 2005 at 10:35 PM.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:31 PM   #4
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Congratulations to all the winners. I look forward to next time.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:51 PM   #5
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Congratulations to the winners and all the others. There were pieces of such quality that I want to complain. How can I hope to win if at each challenge the level is so high ?

I know, Dylan, you will tell me the important is to participate and to have fun. And I agree. But how am I gonna tell my wife that I won nothing ? I think she will be very disappointed and I am going to have a hard time cheering her up. Dylan, I could use your help here. If you could drop by Taiwan 5 minutes and tell her a small positive thing about my movie, like I am probably the next Spielberg, I will pay you a beer (made in Taiwan !).

What about that ?
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Old July 19th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #6
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Actually, I plan on writing up my thoughts and feedback on at least the nominated films. Just start a seperate thread for it like others have and I'll be glad to add some thoughts for you wife. Or send me tickets and I'll fly out and do it in person. :)

Oh yeah, and I have some thoughts about leveling the playing field between the "pro" entries and the "amateur" entries, but we'll save that for next time.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 12:30 AM   #7
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First, thanks to all who organized and partipated - we had fun making our film and watching everyone else's.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Actually, I plan on writing up my thoughts and feedback on at least the nominated films. Just start a seperate thread for it like others have and I'll be glad to add some thoughts for you wife. Or send me tickets and I'll fly out and do it in person. :)

Oh yeah, and I have some thoughts about leveling the playing field between the "pro" entries and the "amateur" entries, but we'll save that for next time.
Hmmmm....

I would be very interested in judges feedback as you don't normally get to hear why judges or festival director like/don't like your work. I am ALWAYS surprised by what places like/dislike my shorts.

Also, I'm not sure it's correct to call some entries "pro" and some "amateur". As far as I know, there are no "professional filmmakers" in this contest (and precious few on dvinfo.net or in wide world at large), if you define professional as "working in the field" or "getting paid". My guess is most people here are like myself, we have a day job not in video/film. There are a few that work in industrial or commercial video production but that is not directly applicable to creative narrative or experimental short films.

I would love to earn an income making short films, but I currently don't know of anyone other maybe Bill Plympton & Jib/Jab who gets most of their income from shorts.

Two obvious differences caught my eye:

(1) Some people were making their first or second short
(2) Some people (like me) had made several short films before

However, why "level" the playing field? Both of those efforts should be celebrated and judged in different ways.

Finally, the other difference appears to be age and/or aethestic goals. Those of over 30 and/or interested in the art side make very different kinds of films from those under 20 and/or interested in entertainment. There are exceptions at both ends of course, but clearly that's a difference both in audience and creator.

I don't think one is "better" than the other, but they definetely are different.

my two cents,
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Old July 20th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Actually, I plan on writing up my thoughts and feedback on at least the nominated films. Just start a seperate thread for it like others have and I'll be glad to add some thoughts for you wife.
Oh, that would really be great ! My thread is here.

Thanks for your precious time.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 03:05 AM   #9
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Congratulations to all the winners.

Sean, is this the point were you re-open the debate with Dylan of Canon or Sony?
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Old July 20th, 2005, 04:20 AM   #10
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Well done all,

It was particularly hard to judge this time round. Not only because there were 20 to judge, but because of the great quality and story lines involved.

Bring on DVC #3...

All the best,
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Old July 20th, 2005, 06:47 AM   #11
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Yeah, come to think of it Dylan never did take the bait on the Canon vs Sony issue...

On the idea of seperating out the pros, sounds OK but what will be the criteria? This was actually my first short or complete video of any type that I have ever done. I have been in TV for over 20 years but, film making is definatly not the same as TV. Or that should be the other way around I suppose. Either way, I have worked on large scale daily productions like the evening news for years as Camera or Technical Director or Tape guy but I have never had to write a story and produce it from begining to end. I have had peripheral work in the field but really, this was my first effort.

I have been lucky in that I edit somewhat professionally from time to time for a few local producers but it is commercial or industrials they work on. I have used every cent I have made in that extra ciricular activity to surround myself with some low level but decent gear. You can see the list on my web pages.

The gear may be semi pro but the guy, well, maybe I am, I am not sure.

I do pride myself on the saying that if I am going to do it, I am going to stick within the bounds of what I can do well with what I have around me. That's why I didn't attempt any CG even though I have dabbled in 3D Studio for years. I have played with Blender and a few other high level applications that would have put me in a different spot than I am now.

I stuck to finding a good story with some emotion and filmed it with a perhaps more critical eye than some might have. I can be very patient, if it is going to make the idea work. I shot one scene twice. It was my scene where I am on the cell phone. I didn't like the direction the dialog went in the first version so Friday afternoon, I reshot that with a different spin.

Anyway, I am all for making it as fair as possible.

So, is a Libec tripod better than a Manfrotto (Bogen) or is the XL2 better than a PDX10? Dylan...


Sean
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Old July 20th, 2005, 07:13 AM   #12
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Thanks!

Dylan,

I want to thank you for the acknowledgement. I means a lot after the time I had just to get my unfinished short into the competition. This was my very first time shooting anything. I will finish it and then I will have one short to my credit. I will get better.

Congratulations to all of the REAL winners, and to all who entered. Special thanks again to Dylan and all of the others who put so much of their time and effort into making this posible. And, thanks to Chris for this fourm, it is the best. By the way, I have this t-shirt for sale! :)

Mike
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Old July 20th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #13
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Dylan (and Guy, Michael, Ed, Rob also):

Thank you for the special award for VFX. It was unexpected and much appreciated!

I also would like to reiterate everyone's sentiment about how thankful we are that you, Chris and the judges have graciously volunteered your time to orchestrate these challenges. Without this most recent challenge, I would not have been inspired to make my first movie short. The experience was so rewarding that I have a new creative outlet to explore. I look forward to the next challenge in--did you say 7 weeks? I better get some sleep.

P.S. For all of those interested, please monitor my Gardens of Tomorrow thread for an announcement of my "Making of Gardens of Tomorrow" QuickTime commentary that will be posted on my website this afternoon. Also, now that my QuickTime Streaming Server is fixed, I will be posting a higher-quality version of G.O.T. on my website this afternoon as well.

Sean, Daniel and Mitchell:

Congratulations! Your movie shorts were all exemplary. You have set the bar high for the next challenge and I imagine have inspired many more to join in the fun for DVI Challenge #3. I look forward to seeing more of your work (through the challenges and outside of the challenges) in the future.

Mike and Chris:

Congratulations to my fellow special award recipients. Mike, your efforts at getting something produced and posted under adversity is inspiring. It kept you off of the Wall of Shame. And, if it is anything like Chris depicts in his short, it is a good thing you succeeded.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 08:41 AM   #14
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Thanks Jeff,
Having dabbled in 3d before using Bryce and 3D Studio, if there is anything I can help with or give suggestions on, let me know. I have 2 small demos I'll post at the bottom of my page on "Secrets" maybe as soon as tonight that show some of what I have done in 3D. You might like it. Check http://www.surgetechservices.com/smchenry tonight about 9pm or so. I have to find the old MPG files now.

Sean
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Old July 20th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #15
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First off I wanted to thank those who completed a project. Anyone can buy the fancy gear and put some quick footage together, but to actually script, shoot and edit an entire project by yourself puts you in an elite group. Fewer than .01% of the civilized world can say they've done what you have so congratulations to all.

It was a tough decision judging these. It gets you back into good storyline, cinematography and good cutting. I mean the guy with a 1 chip camera and iMovie can win just as easily as the guy with an XL-2 and a full blown Avid. These are just tools, but placed into capable hands they have the ability to create magic.

I would really like to acknowledge one that did not win, but was top game in my book because of how easy it would have been to cut based on the footage acquired and how it was produced. Jon Jones' "Secret Recipe" stood out in my mind as a strong candidate for Best Cinematography. Watch it again and look at the composition of each shot. Really nice use of the rule of thirds. Lot's of close-ups. Although I would have liked to have seen more matched action shots. Basically, have your actors repeat the same scene *one more time* and choose to shoot the whole thing as a close-up. This works easier if you don't film their mouth so, the over-the-shoulder shot, feet walking, twiddling thumbs etc. All of this needs to be in the shot list after you script. So when you're on location and you have the scene of the guy pulling away in the getaway car, you remember, "hey let's get that shot of him quickly shifting into drive, or the foot smashing the pedal to the metal. These shots give you critical options in post, now you have somewhere to cut to. It's always nice to have too many options in the edit suite at 4am. By the way, take the shot list with you to the shoot and if you can, have someone PA and check off the shots to make sure you got 'em. It's also a good idea to ask this person to watch for continuity. Did he grab the ice cold bottle of Corona with the left hand or the right hand?

One last thing, if your camera shoots in 24P or 30P, take advantage of the filmic look it provides. Also consider using a plug-in to add a film look in post. If you know how to use the color correction feature of your editing software, try duplicating your final project and pumping up the saturation for vibrancy, darkening the shadows for deep blacks, pushing the mids red-yellow to add warmth, and lightening the highlights without clipping to add sheen. These adjustments can give your final a more polished look. Those who have seen even the raw film footage on a behind the scenes DVD know what I'm talking about. The difference can be jaw dropping.

Wait, there is one more thing that I'm big on - backlighting. Study the next movie you watch. 95% of the time you will see strong backlighting. This helps clearly separate the subject from background and gives depth to the shot. I myself like the inexpensive Lowel Pro light with barn doors pointed at the back of the subjects head with the fixture positioned slightly lower than eye level, or up high at about a 30-60 degree angle. A $15 large spring clamp has been getting an enormous amount of use in my kit lately. Experiment. And remember the goal of lighting is not to make it look "lit" but to subtly enhance where the light naturally would have been in the shot while layering and adding depth. In my mind, every frame shot should look like a photograph you could enlarge and hang on your wall.

Hope this helps and thanks again for all that entered, cheers to you. Pat yourselves on the back, you deserve it!
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