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The DV Challenge
An organized theme-based competition where Content is King!


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Old July 21st, 2005, 03:29 PM   #16
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I think that the three minute limit should be maintained for several reasons. Some of which have already been mentioned. "Brevity is the soul of wit". And I over maxed my volume limit by almost a 100% at my provider from uploading my piece and downloading all the other pieces. Shorter spots would mean better looking pieces with the same bandwidth.

The challenge is a challenge because of its limits. I would hate to see them lost. I saw this challenge as an exercise, like an obstacle course. The stakes are low, so I wasn't afraid to experiment, and take chances.

Taking part was just as important as "winning". I think keeping the stakes at a "just for fun" level is very important, so that no one, regardless of experience level should feel intimidated.

I also want to express my approval of Dylan's constant "tweaking" of the rules and limits during the process. This includes extending time limits (even though that frustrated some participants because they worked so hard to abide by them) and creating unexpected winner categories in the end. Doing this, reinforced the feeling that this event is for fun and learning, and shouldn't be taken too "seriously" (sorry for all the """"). This also brought life into the event (made it an event). I would like to see that continued in the future.

Creating a way to subsidize this event is a good idea, and I am in favor of some way to make a voluntary donation to a pot for the organizers. Paypal sounds like a good idea. I don't think that a mandatory entry fee would be a good idea though, only because it could potentially discourage participants.

I am also in favor of giving the "corporate" sponsors of this challenge lots of publicity.

***Thanks, Guy Cochran at the DV eStore! Excellent demo video for the FS-4! The eStore Rocks!*** (for example)

I feel like the DVInfo net is a consumer forum (or at least it started that way) and I think that the providers of the goods and services related to this field should be encouraged to peddle their wares here, and stay involved.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:03 PM   #17
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Time limit

I wanted to touch on this again. I think increasing the time limit will increase the quality and varience of the competition. Different filmmakers have different ways of doing things. Some are better suited to a fast pace, others move slower. As for brevity being the sole of wit, well, sometimes- Would "Seven Samuri" or "Lawrence of Arabia" have been better if they were shorter? Not in my opinion. For some of the filmmakers creating a story that can fill a five minute piece will be quite a challange in and of itself.
And of course, one can always choose to make a three minute film if that is what one wishes to do.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:14 PM   #18
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But I think that the point of the challenge, is not to make "Lawrence of Arabia", or "Seven Samurai". Filmmaking is often about packing information into time frames. The exercise is to work with a set of givens, and make something out of that. I don't think the challenge should be about showcasing what one can do.

One sharpens ones skills by having to use the tools one has (or not yet developed) to adapt to the unexpected. That is the reality of filmmaking in the real world. The "crisis" created by the limitations of a challenge is fertile ground, to discover what one can, can't (yet) do.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:29 PM   #19
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I disagree.
And, obviously, I'm not suggesting that anyone make Lawrence of Arabia. I am saying that the increased time limit will give some of the entrants room to experiment that they would not otherwise have had. Experimentation is also a conducive to learning. AND ultimately at three minutes or five or two hundred each creator decides what challanges She/he will face for themselves.
Once again, if one wishes to make a three minute film one can. One can easily impose that limit upon oneself, imposing it upon others seems, to me unneccesary.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:46 PM   #20
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I see your point. I really do. I don't even disagree.

What I liked about the challenge, with it's time limit, was that I was not afraid to make even a thirty second spot. If Dylan had said that there was a time limit of ten minutes, I'm sure that I would not have participated, even if he had said ten minutes or less. The suggestion of ten minutes alone would have been too big for me. I see my piece as the first two scenes of a longer film. I see Dylan's and Chris Thiele's pieces as portraits. I don't think that the challenge should require that the entries be complete stories - unless that happens to be the challenge. This time it was cinematography, the next time costumes, and after that a complete story.

I also feel like any challenge over a max of four minutes would require entries to be sent in on CD or DVD for them to look decent. But maybe I am wrong about that.

I agree though, that people should not feel confined.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 06:47 PM   #21
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My story would have benefited from an extra minute or two of time. However, the purpose of this challenge was to tell the best story you could, based on the given theme, within the 3-minute time allotment. From that standpoint, I probably picked the wrong story, wrong genre, or both.

I agree that some flexibility, say between 3-5 minutes, may allow for producers to express their ideas and creativity better. I guess the question to ask is, what should the purpose of these challenges be? Is it to learn the art of making shorts? If so, what length of short? Is it to get out and make movies to learn new skills or hone existing ones? If so, does the time limit really matter (other than from the judges' standpoint)? Is the purpose to compete with others for prizes? If so, then a set of strict guidelines is necessary to offer a fair, competitive field.

I see value in allowing for a degree of time flexibility, but I believe the purpose of the challenges may need to be better fleshed out to allow Dylan and the other judges to decide on what factors should be set in stone and which ones should be left to the producers to decide.

Time is probably the most crucial factor when it comes to giving producers creative flexibility. Perhaps there could be 2 or 3 categories:

a.) Movies of 1.5 minutes or less
b.) Movies between 1.5 and 3 minutes
c.) Movies between 3 and 5 minutes

This would require more time on the judges' part. However, I believe a 1 minute short could be at a competitive disadvantage when compared to a 3-5 minute short.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:59 PM   #22
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New time schedule

You should consider releasing the topic on a monday and ending on a sunday; this would give people a more logical time to think about their film ideas, and then when thier off work on saturday and sunday, they can shoot and edit. Thats what killed me from completeing my video; by the time i had it everything planned out, i could not get anyone/including my self to give up work to shoot and edit before friday.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:49 AM   #23
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3 minutes is an interesting length. It reminded me that the old rolls of 8mm and super 8mm came in 3 minute loads as I recall. But then, I'm old. I always wanted a film camera with single frame function to get into animation.

I liked 3 minutes and I too think the situation was intended, or at least worked out just right to introduce a certain amount of stress. I liked that part. I don't think it's so much about getting a polished piece I think as it is about getting folks to think and move. If it was 5 minutes and I had a month, I think I could have done so much better but then, I would almost be treating it like just more work to do rather than working off kinetic energy (and donuts).

I think it would be fine if it stayed just like it is. I'll work around the issues and make the best video project I can. I actually built the timeline and laid in the sound track to exactly 3 minutes initially. The lengths of the shots and timing issues made the rest of the decisions pretty much on their own. I came in just over 2:58 as I recall.

Anyway, flawed or not, I liked it. Change it or not, I'll be in the next one. Someody call Sean Penn and see if he want's to compete next time.

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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:26 AM   #24
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[QUOTE=Wes Coughlin]You should consider releasing the topic on a monday and ending on a sunday; this would give people a more logical time to think about their film ideas, and then when thier off work on saturday and sunday, they can shoot and edit. QUOTE]


I think this is an excellent suggestion. Maybe post theme on Monday night or Tuesday morning and close say 12:01am or 9am Monday. Part of my problem getting help was the same thing, the people were working. You would have the weekdays to think and plan and then shoot later. Maybe a lot of very tired people on Monday morning, but that happens anyway.

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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:57 AM   #25
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I definitely second that (or should it be " I definitely third that" ??? hmmm). Anyway, I think it's a good idea to have the competion run from monday to monday.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 10:20 AM   #26
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i actually like the three-minute limit, but i violated it with my nearly five minutes of a dog running around. here's the thing, though, they let me keep my video in the competition but without outrightly DQ'ing me, they eliminated me from contending for the prize, which was fine with me.

i thought my idea was a 3-minute idea, but i didn't not like any of my 3-minute versions, so ultimately, it was more important to me to make (and complete) the video i wanted to make than to compete for glory or prizes. my (IMHO more important) prize was making something i'm sorta happy with.....

i thought their compromise was very fair. keep the video listed as a participant video, but put it out of contention.

i think the spirit of the challenge is to encourage folks to complete a video in a brief time frame, and i am all for keeping this spirit alive. i think they handled it perfectly. no wall of shame, but no prize contention either, but also recognizing full participation and completion of a video designed for the theme.

so i think they should keep the three-minute rule, and if it is violated (or if any other rules are violated but otherwise the video is complete), label the entry into a separate category "for exhibition only"--as out of contention but not on the wall of shame either (where is that dreaded wall, anyway??)

i think that keeps the spirit of encouraging folks to make stuff, but keeps the rules for competing intact as well. the winners should follow the rules, but the non-winners should be honored for having taken on the challenge.

there are plenty of very competitive film festivals out there. it is nice to have something here which just purely honors the effort to complete a film, in which participating can be its own reward.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 10:42 AM   #27
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I really do fail to see how an additional two minutes is going to somehow ruin the competition. If the competition is set at three minutes, I will make a three minute movie, but I do not agree with the philosophy that a five minute film is inherently less challenging than a three minute film. More challanging for some, yes, but not for everyone.

Take a minute and think about it.

If one watches the entries and comes away with the idea that some of the entrants had difficulty cramming their story into a three minute slot, one would not be mistaken; but I would urge that person to take another look, there are easily as many entries, that despite their other merits, do not have anywhere near enough story to fill a three minutre slot- for these filmakers finding five minutes of content would indeed be a challange. Look at how many people ended up on the wall of shame- they did not get there because they had too much content, but because they had none.

I submit that for many of the entrants and prospective entrants, five minutes would be considerably MORE challenging than three. If it is decided to keep the three minute limit this decision should be done with the understanding that it is with the idea of making the competition more accessable, not because of some misguided idea that making a five minute movie is by its very nature unversally easier.

BTW, I am just arguing a point here, regardless of how this all works out, I fully intend to compete next time.
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Last edited by Michael Gibbons; July 22nd, 2005 at 11:31 AM.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:18 PM   #28
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The other extreme would be to have everyone do a 45 minute film. Now that would be tough. Even if we had say 3 months, just getting a plot and story line complicated enough to roll that long and be decent fun to watch would be a real challenge too.

I'm flexible. 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 week starting on Monday or Friday, whatever. I'll be there. I will say I think releasing the topic on Monday makes some sense. I spent the first day plot hatching and the rest of the weekend was a wash by then as I still had to get a rough outline on paper.

During the week, we can all steal away at lunch and write or plan where to get props from. Scour the internet at night for ideas, etc. Then that would give you the next weekend to put it all into action.

That might also teach us a lesson on pre-planning. I failed to get 2 important shots that would have made the concept of my entry so much easier to understand, without giving it all away till near the end.

If you forget to preplan a shot and you finish shooting Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, you may not be able to get it. Good way to make sure we storyboard and set up a good shot list.

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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:01 PM   #29
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Ok, I've given some thought to the suggestions here, and my repsonses are:

Start day:
In terms of the starting day, it doesn't matter to me. I picked Thursday because it gives you Thursday night to come up with your idea and write a script, Friday to get everything in order, Saturday/Sunday to shoot, since that's when most people have time off work, then Mon-Friday for post production, which you can do by yourself.
If we announce it on Monday, you probably still won't be able to shoot until Sat/Sun (for most people), which leaves you at best Sunday for post production, and if anything goes wrong, you don't have time to fix it.

Running Time:
There is a psychological deterrant to shooting a longer run time. I think we'll keep a *suggested* time limit of three minutes, with a cap of four minutes, should you need to squeeze a little more story in there.

First timer's category:
I'm not sure how we'd police this, but it would exclude anyone who works in the professional industry, from wedding video, to a TV studio, and especially Sean McHenry. :) I want it to be for people who have just bought their first camera, who want to take a shot at making something, without any pressure, and without the need to compare what they make to seasoned videographers. Love to hear more feedback on this!

Entry fee:
BEST IDEA EVER!!! Who suggested it first? I love you.
Not sure what to charge but a couple thoughts are; entry fee could cover building and maintaining the DV Challenge website, with permanent links to films. Small cash donations to the judges for helping. Maybe a little advertising. Slush fund for Dylan's annual bender in Jamaica. Maybe even get some t-shirts printed for the winners.
If we broke it down into the seperate categories for first timers vs the rest of us, then I'd keep the first timer category free or next to free to help get people shooting.

Oh yeah, although you can shoot on any camera, only films shot on XL2's will be elegible for winning.... Just kidding. :)
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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Oh yeah, although you can shoot on any camera, only films shot on XL2's will be elegible for winning.... Just kidding. :)
How about baby brother, XL1s?!

Sounds good Dylan. Lets us know the details.

Mike
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