DVC16- LIFE by Craig Bellaire at DVinfo.net

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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #1
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DVC16- LIFE by Craig Bellaire

Background--At first I was excited to be back into the contest... then "FOOD" come on... FOOD...So I set out to get an Idea... after throwing it off a few people I couldn't figure out what to do, and the help I thought was gonna be there wasn't... I've always known I am my biggest asset so I'll make it by myself... so... Off to Walmart I go... Looking at cookies, candy, and then I found the Butterfly Crackers... After that it hit me to go with the old school magic since I used to do magic...1 weeks latter I had the poem and off I went... Since I have all the stuff at work "I do media" I was able to mix a bit off real video, green screen, and audio. I also was able to make a GIF of the butterfly into video and key out white...Other then that I was able to K.I.S.S. and with that I am the most proud of.... I shot with the Canon XHG1 HDV..."HDV Sucks" and settled on 720P to be able to crop... I like it... Is it the best? I don't know... and if by chance I don't win...
I still like it...

OK Hit Me with your thoughts
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #2
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I must admit to being a little lost on the story of this one. Between the poem-format voiceover and the title of the film I'm assuming it's all a metaphor, but I've watched the movie a few times now and I'm sorry to say I'm having trouble deciphering things.

You have a way with facial expressions and body language. Even watching the movie with the sound off I still get a strong sense of the magician's character, something I can never pull off. I can't count how many times I've tried to express something physically in one of my shorts and ended up with either a deadpan, empty stare on my face or an over-the-top goofy caricature. Bravo!

On the technical side of things, those keys make me jealous; a couple of them could have been graded to match the backgrounds a little better, but the edges seemed pretty crisp. May I ask how you went about pulling your mattes?

I'd also like to know what that "clear plastic stick" is. Joseph called it a Hot Rod in the other thread, I take it that's a recognizable item in the magic world?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #3
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Matts

Well after a bit of trouble with after effects and HDV or the trans coded HDV to Canopus HQ I had to use/stack the color Keys in Premier CS3... they did come out OK, but I'm not good with the grading process... or at least most of my educational Videos never need it.... As for the metaphor... Yea... The magician was trying to bring to life a trick that he forgot... or bring to life the cracker, as a trick...The title could be the life of the trick or the magicians current life.. I thought that might be a problem for some but anyway that's the way it worked out. thanks for the feed back...

PS: The Hot Rod is a standard trick that can be purchased on the net or most magic shops.... a clear stick that changes colors....
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Old May 5th, 2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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Hi Craig,

I liked your idea of using a poem for VO. Even though I am impressed with your green screen work and other technical achievements the words matched with the expressions are my favorite part of this piece. Loved the credits, too!

Robert makes a good point about your facial expressions. They’re quite pleasant to watch.

It’s so good to have you back in the Challenge! Hope you'll be back for more. :)
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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I was a little lost and didn't really know what was happening. I really enjoyed the whimsical read of the poem. It gave the whole piece a very nice rhythm. The credits had me doubled over in laughter "Couldn't have done it without..." Very Funny.

The keys didn't do much for me because they stood out a little much. A little color correction could have gone a long way in this piece. I did enjoy the key where you pulled in the background flattening the overall image a bit. That is one of my favorites done in camera, but your key for the effect wasn't bad.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 08:08 AM   #6
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Craig,

I expected the cracker to come to life, in his hands, and then I think at the end there is a butterfly on his face. So maybe the trick works as he is sleeping? Is magic something the magician has to believe in to make it happen? If so, then it may be sort of like "method" acting.

Like Robert, I had to watch this several times to develop an opinion. Then, I lost the opinion and went back and watched it again. So my opinion is that it is very watchable. But difficult to understand exactly what you were going for in the piece.

I don't know anything about green screen, or keying, but I wanted to hear the sound of the stream in the background. Looked like a peaceful place to take a nap, while trying to make a cracker come to life.

But congratulations on the courage to tackle a magician piece. Joseph crushed us all with his first DVC entry and I could never have the guts to follow the Tran act.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #7
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Tran act

Joseph---Tran act. I never heard of this one... anyone have a link to it... GGGEEDE I can't believe I missed it
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Old May 6th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Bellaire View Post
Joseph---Tran act. I never heard of this one... anyone have a link to it... GGGEEDE I can't believe I missed it
YouTube - DVC12 - Metamorphosis
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Old May 6th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #9
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Metamorphosis

Dick.. you're right... WOW what a great job he did...that's about all I can say... If I would have known this I might not have gone the Magic route....
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Old May 6th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #10
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I love magic

I thought this was well done. It is short, so it is hard to develop the idea and the character, but it was fitting with the poem. The first shot of him sitting outside caught my attention a little bit. I think a little color correction on that shot could have made it fit a little better with the other shots. The chromakeying parts looked very crisp though.
Thanks.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #11
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reviews

yep I guess this is what makes the contest so good... allowing others to help you/ review and point out things in the videos to see what others have thoughts on and even trouble with.... Looks like I need help with the story development and other stuff that goes into a script... anyway thanks again...
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Old May 6th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #12
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I think this is a great piece -- very Robert Louis Stevensonesque. I didn't have a problem with the keys, nor do I think it needed much color correction. Consider the feel of the poem -- I think the slight "artificialness" (for lack of a better word, at the moment) between the original and the plate makes a good directing choice. It's a poem, it's in this guy's head, so the world around him is in his head, too!

While many short films suffer from being too long, I think this one suffers from the opposite -- it's too short. I think that's where people have problems with forming their opinions... they want to see more of the story, they want to see more unfold. That, ultimately, is a good thing, Craig. Because that means you have a good story to begin with for which the audience wants more exploration. What happens to that butterfly? Perhaps he does dream about it coming to life? We really like your character, and we want to see more!

I think the magic effects could be longer, too. They happen so quickly, that the effect itself doesn't sink in with the audience. For example, perhaps you can try showing the 4th coin on the opposite card first -- let the audience know that there are 4 coins total, in the beginning. By cutting out that fact, when you reveal that the 4th coin has joined the other three coins (without showing there were 4 total), it doesn't register with the audience. Same with the Hot Rod -- the audience doesn't know what the object is, so the effect doesn't sink in with the viewers. Try showing both sides with a slightly wider angle, perhaps? Show the viewers what this piece of treasure is -- once they understand that part, they will understand the magic part a little more.

I'd definitely like to see this story unfold more in the future. Thanks for the the "Metamorphosis" nod. But, and I'm sure Dick and attest to this as well, "Life" is a nice piece that stands well on its own.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #13
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LOVED the 1st shot of the magician in front of the curtain. Very nice. That shot looked like a commercial. (in a good way!) Also i liked the opening title and music you chose at the beginning. You lost me at the end where the poem says "And to not eat."
I'd have the magician wearing different wardrobe in the forest. It looked too much like a regular dude sitting down. I'd probably keep him in the same outfit the whole time...
Can't tell if it's my computer screen or not (it really might be cuz I didn't notice it the other day when I watched it the firswt time and some other stuff has been looking funny to me too on my toolbar) but your coloring all looks slightly green. IS that just me?
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Old May 9th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #14
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Life Video

As for being green.... I don't think it is but others say it needs color grading... again I have to work on learning how... As for the clothes... I never even thought about it... But yer you're right it would have been better to have to same clothes or different clothes...

1. Curtain... Green Screen
2. fled to the wood... 2 scenes... straight video
3. tricks and all hand are straight video
4. Living Room Green screen
5. sitting next to the stream.. green screen... NO Glasses.. in the first video they were dark...
6. sleeping... Green screen

PS: I am a regular dude sitting down... 8^)
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Old May 9th, 2009, 10:09 PM   #15
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It's a nice little story this one. The visuals complement the VO. I think Joseph is right - it could go longer. Lengthening it more would help things sink in more the first time. You can lengthen the VO with pauses in the right places.

I quite liked the living room shot - it creates a nice visual effect, and creates a focal point - drawing the attention in. And the compositing worked well for it. The green edges are noticeable if you look at times, but you're dealing with video people who look for that sort of stuff. I haven't done any green screen before so I'll probably have the same challenges when I get around to trying it.
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