DVC12 - "No Quarter" at DVinfo.net

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Old March 10th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #1
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DVC12 - "No Quarter"

What a great contest. This is my first submission and, just like everyone else I'm sure, a few things worked out better than I'd hoped but most of this piece has been a study in compromise. Anyway, I'd certainly love to hear any feedback or input you guys have! Thanks!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #2
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Alex

A really funny story, enjoyed this one. As far as improvement, maybe control the lighting a little better, and a different effect for the reversal of time say blurred streaks moving into frame?

Just some thoughts

Jim
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Old March 10th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Lighting

Jim, Thanks for the feedback! I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the lighting, etc. as I feel this is probably my absolute weakest area. Thanks again!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #4
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OK I will try to go through it piece by piece

The interior of the store was not consistant throughout, from a pale green (fluorescents) to a warm feel, where you do a wide on the customer.

The exterior could have been shot earlier or later in the day, the magic hour, to give it a little more depth.

The night scene was almost perfect, with the balance of light between the arm and face was off. The most important part of this scene is the actors' faces not their arms, light accordingly.

At the end (quarter on night stand) you needed to place the practical light so that it reads, meaning not blown out but turned on. Bouncing a light from the ceiling would have implied the light coming from that lamp, created a sculpturing effect to the lamp itself and created a space for that lamp by casting some interesting shadows. Replace the light in the lamp with a lower wattage to make it appear to be on, not lighting your scene.

I found this site very helpful in both lighting technique but in actually seeing the process of making a movie. The tutorial is worth the price of admission.

http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/index.php

Jim
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Old March 10th, 2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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Good advice. Thanks Jim! I definitely hear you on the "magic hour" shoots. That's one of the "compromises" that had to be made this time, unfortunately. I only had my actors for a few hours, alas. In the middle of the day and in the middle of the night. Thanks for the tips!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #6
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Another first submission that makes me jealous. It's becoming a trend, new people signing up and putting me to shame. Stop doing that.

I'm with Jim on most of those points, but I actually can't see any problems in the supermarket. Maybe it's my monitor, or my eyes, or something else entirely, but the lighting seems fairly consistent throughout the scene. Mismatched white balance or not, I didn't mind it, and the whole thing played out quite nicely. The cashier was great, as short as his role was. Seems he's got his rhythm down, as I guess they tend to. And I didn't expect the girlfriend's second rejection by the car. Much as I hate goofy acronyms, I did indeed laugh out loud when she complained that they'd only been dating seven months.

I must ask, did you do anything special for compression before uploading, or is the quality of your picture merely a product of shooting in some HD format? I know those cameras make pretty pictures, but hot damn, this is some crisp Youtube material.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #7
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Robert, much appreciated thoughts. Thank you. I tried an experiment with the Youtube upload this time. I encoded an .mp4 file (apparently .wmv gives inferior results after they process it) using the Youtube preset in Adobe Premiere Pro. However, I tweaked the resolution and datarate up before I encoded. I put the resolution to 640x360 and just slid the datarate up arbitrarily. That way, when Youtube "processed" it, it was the first time it had been encoded at that resolution. I think I lost less data that way. Thanks for noticing! The whole thing was shot on my XH-A1 in Hi-Def at 24F. I shot using Steven Dempsey's VIVIDRGB preset. Thanks again for your thoughts and feel free to send any more advice that may occur to you in my direction!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #8
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I loved the idea! Good use of simple special effects to get the point across!
Some lighting issues I would work on. The biggest thing of all I would say to work on is that this was such a good idea it needed a bigger ending! Like he loses it and gets stuck marrying her or somehow he screws up time! you know what I mean? Seemed anticlimactic to me? But we would hate to have to hear the alarm twice! I agree

Overall great job and a very clever idea
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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Next contest I'm doing my best to finish earlier than the day of the deadline so I have time to play around with my compression. I always wait 'til the last minute. Matter of fact, I'm going to go try some things right now, just for curiosity's sake. Thanks for the tips, Alex!
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #10
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Jesse, Thanks for the input! In a perfect world, I'd love to have time to go back and do this concept again with a bit longer cut. That would be a cool idea for an ending (getting stuck marrying the wrong woman).
Robert, Let me know how your experiments with compression go. I'm always interested in making these things look a little better. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old March 11th, 2008, 12:33 AM   #11
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*Possible spoiler, so don't read if you haven't watched first* :)

Okay, Alex, I have to admit that the whole movie made MUCH more sense to me the second time around when I read your description on YouTube. I could see that the coin was different, but I couldn’t tell he was losing 5 cents at a time. Once that came into focus, the ending worked for me. If I understood it correctly, who would want his last “wish” to be wasted on a few seconds more before the alarm goes off? Arrrgh, is right!

Great concept and well shot/edited, too!

By the way, I took your title in the military sense: no mercy. Hah! :)
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Old March 11th, 2008, 01:25 AM   #12
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I didn't quite get that he was losing money every time he dropped the coin until I read about the 5 cent thing. that would pretty much be my only qualm but as far as production quality, it puts my video to shame haha
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Old March 11th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #13
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Yeah, the specifics of that were rather lost with the resolution, I'm afraid. I've just sorta been hoping that people notice he starts with several coins and ends up with one (that's also why I inserted a shot of one nickel specifically disappearing) alas. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old March 11th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #14
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Alex,

Really fine little short film. We should all get a couple of "do overs" when talking to women. That is the universal truth that really makes your short work for me. On an Acting/Directing note, I would have shot some closeups. When the guy says each line, I'd have a still shot close on her face for a moment. Some time like she is processing what he said. And then cut to the explosion.

My trick is to sometimes use reaction shots that are taken before we even begin the scene... Always a real reaction.

I totally got the wasted wish on a snooze moment. Funny, I thought.

Dick
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Old March 11th, 2008, 11:32 PM   #15
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Dick,
I'm glad you got that. That's some sound advice with the reaction shots. I normally try to get my talent to do all of their scenes completely through multiple times so I can get different angles, but I didn't do that on a few of those scenes, alas. Next time. These Challenges are really educational aren't they? Anyway, I really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!
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