DVC #17 Amsterdam- Craig Bellaire at DVinfo.net

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Old October 13th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #1
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DVC #17 Amsterdam- Craig Bellaire

Amsterdam

Take 2 guys knowing each other since the 7th grade “Craig and Kevin”, 30 years ago… One being into paranormal crap and the other an ordained minister and major doubter of the paranormal. Get these guys together for a way over due road trip in upstate NY sleeping in old Armories and Castles; add a video challenge #17 and you have the making for a movie straight from the box…

Yep, That’s how it started… from there I was going to do a Movie about 2 guys wanting do start a TV show about paranormal activities, this would Kill 2 birds with one stone so to speak… NOW before you say a word I did find out about the movie “Paranormal Activity” AFTER I was done shooting and trying to figure out how to make a trailer... So No the Idea I had was not influenced by the other movie…..

I was going to shoot the movie with my Panasonic ZS3 P&S, use an Old Sony Hi8 with IR night vision and some new IR $85.00 HD cameras 1 frame per second for over night shooting for some ghost hunting we actually did…

NOW How can I fit the whole thing in 2:30 seconds? I couldn’t… So I took the out takes from the castles we stayed at, used the IR footage from another place we actually did a Ghost Hunt at, did the edit Magic and ended up with the current Amsterdam Trailer.

The Good… we had fun, we didn’t act, and the actual video was usable. I took to heart the things I learned from the last Challenge.

The Bad… ZS3 uses 720 60P in a 30P wrapper, I transcoded to Canopus HQ and placed on a HDV 720P timeline with MPG2 from the hi-8 and the MJPEG from the new cameras all in PPCS3… The work flow was fine… BUT the export didn’t work do to the 60P footage… BUT I found a work around and fixed the audio and feel pretty good about it… Now if I can get the footage all together for a premier of the movie, that would top this off…

Music---Digital Juice Back Tracks

Anyway Thanks for watching and looking forward to the comments...
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Old October 13th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #2
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Interesting premise for a trailer, using outtakes. It hints at the interaction between you two and does peak interest in the full feature.

Camera work looks well done to me and the effects are consistent with the theme. For me it "harks back" to my DVC10 entry where having the local paranormal group "re-enact" an investigation for me led to my doing a short documentary on their attempts to contact the ghost of a 13 year old who supposedly still haunts one of the officers quarters at Ft. Concho.

I still had one camcorder that did the "green" IR nightshot thing.

I do want to see what you guys turn up with.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #3
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I love the idea of a believer and a skeptic checking out supposedly haunted buildings together. The back and forth was funny; your paranormal friend so convinced he was feeling and seeing things, you making light of it. Then the trailer ends giving us the definite impression that...perhaps the little animal on the mantle was actually a vicious monster? :)

Actually, I thought you did a nice job of creating suspense there at the end so like Bruce said, I would like to see more, which is exactly what this challenge was about.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thanks Bruce

You know I haven't looked at all the past entrees and this happened last time with Tran and the Magic theme I used...

As for the past 2 Challenges I have been in I have forced myself to KISS.. use only the minimal I need and not over think or over plan... For me I'm less stressed and feel better... This is a similar work flow I've used for the last 20 years doing Educational video because no one has a clue and I've been a one man crew.. So I wing it and I fix it in post.

The key to Educational video is "The Higher The Degree, The Dumber They BE"

I liked the quality of your footage and I miss Texas "I'm from Central Texas" and wish i had your camera... I'll be back at Christmas to see family and have some Mexican food, BBQ, Kolaches, Banana Pudding Blue Bell Ice Cream and friendly People.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #5
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Lorinda

The back and forth was the REAL parts... friends for this long and been through so much... It was funny because we've been wanting to do something for so long.. Another Country was plan 1... BUT money wise I made him come see me... And yes what you see is what you get... We found out we are the same old Craig and Kevin of OLDER but in OLDER body's ...
Funny stuff...

Anyway I hope to finish the Movie Soon... OK I haven't started...
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Old October 13th, 2009, 11:04 PM   #6
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That was great. I prefer making documentaries over scripted pieces, and originally I was trying to think of a way to make a trailer for a documentary, but it seemed really hard to make it all work. I think you pulled it off.
I am excited to see the full thing.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #7
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Craig I thought this trailer was great. The interaction between the two characters was sincere and the location was awesome. I really like the move from friendly banter to spooky investigation. The moment when he is standing and talking about how the energy he can feel is identical to the paranormal shows you see on TV. Well actually all the footage from inside had the perfect look and feel.

One idea I have that you could take or leave is that I didn't think it was necessary to go back to you singing in the car to end the trailer. I wish that I had been left in the suspenseful/mysterious atmosphere to ponder what might happen in the movie to come, but going back to singing made it all light-hearted again. Just a thought. Either way, awesome amount of character developed in under three minutes!
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Old October 14th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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Mitchell Stookey-thanks,

thanks, going back to singing was a toss up... I figured I could mix the light and scary parts a bit with leaving this in as maybe like a cliff hanger... The interaction was real... no acting because we actually did a Ghost Hunt and my friend is into the Ghost Hunters heavy..

Thanks again...
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Old October 14th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #9
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Good Stuff

The Idea was very intriguing and I loved how you used outtakes! I think I was completely engaged up to the point when the ghost actually flew at them (camera pov shot) Maybe I'm weird but it was actually scary until that point. Then it became a gimmick? I mean no offense of course. Just my suggestion would be to not actually show the antagonist. Like M Knight Shyamalan in "Signs" (well up until the crappy ending!) Just let the perfect location and casting scare the heck out of us!

Great trailer though. You have a talent for creating tension!

Good Luck My friend,
Jesse
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Old October 14th, 2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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I agree that you created tension right up to the end. Not sure about the car ride thing, with apparent looking directly into the camera at both ends. I felt like it kind of hurt the suspense for the rest of the thing. Felt like it took the viewer out of the suspension of disbelief which went well in the rest of the piece. I do want to see the whole thing, and that is the goal of the trailer.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 10:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Stookey View Post
One idea I have that you could take or leave is that I didn't think it was necessary to go back to you singing in the car to end the trailer. I wish that I had been left in the suspenseful/mysterious atmosphere to ponder what might happen in the movie to come, but going back to singing made it all light-hearted again. Just a thought. Either way, awesome amount of character developed in under three minutes!
I absolutely love that you went back to the car at the end. You built the tension, had us nervous, hit us over the head with something bad, then immediately reminded me of better times. It told me that something bad is about to happen, but I don't want you to feel it quite yet. I thought it worked perfectly and don't think I would have liked it as much if you took that part out. Plus it just made me think a little bit more about what I had just seen.

The banter between you two was good stuff. Even funnier knowing that it was acted.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #12
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Hee hee ... a recent South Park episode touched briefly on the Ghost Hunters and now I can't help but remember it when the subject comes up. But that's neither here nor there.

As far as your ending is concerned, I plant myself firmly in Jeremy's camp; I didn't at first, but the more I watch this trailer the more I appreciate going back to the singing in the car (and, in general, the more I just love the trailer). If anything, I might have ended with a fade to black instead of the abrupt cut, to try and reinforce the idea that we're seeing the characters before they arrive at their destination, and there's a host of unpleasant experiences awaiting them. A fade would, in my mind, drive home the notion that their journey is continuing, and there's more to come. Then again, it works well as it is, and it's just shy of the time limit, so I don't know if I'd really suggest any change to the ending.

I did notice a few shots weren't deinterlaced, but that didn't bother me as much as it usually does. Between that and the variety of cameras used, your trailer has a texture that screams "DIY first person documentary" in the best possible way (welcome to the point-and-shoot movie crowd, by the way; wrangling those files is fun, huh?). Your authentic interactions sealed the deal, this really does feel like a trip into supernatural territory. Of all the elements, though, I have to mark the monster's breathing as my favorite. My biggest criticism would be during those breathing scenes, in that although I gather that it's supposed to be sneaking up on and attacking the two researchers, and I can see some sort of movement in the shot that I believe is someone's elbow, I'm fuzzy on the geography. The ghost's relationship to the guys at the bar (or table, or whatever they're sitting at) is hard to make out, and I was taken out of the moment somewhat while my brain tried to model the space of the room. Beyond that I have no complaints.

It took me a while, for some reason, to figure out that Amsterdam's the name of the town upstate where this is set. May I ask where exactly you stayed for these various clips? Any famous haunted locations I should visit if I'm ever up that way?
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Old October 15th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #13
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Castle

Ok for the opening shots and outside shots we stayed at www.amsterdamcastle.com

This was purchased and turned into a B&B we stayed 2 nights and just hung out... Ever wanted to sleep in a castle... well this is as close as I could get 2 old friends... We had the top floor to ourselves. we did monitor the Castle both nights and found NO Activity of paranormal.. The only part of the trailer other then the outside was the shot of Kevin with a monitor focusing on a raccoon or something...

The rest of the interior scenes where from Victor, NY Historical Society - Valentown - Home here in Rochester NY area... this is a great museum after being inside and learning of the history... we did a real ghost hunt or paid for 6 hours inside alone and got the rest of the footage... Ghost Hunters has been here and confirmed this has Paranormal Activity... we found a couple things BUT I can't say for sure/matter of fact that there was something going on...

The shots with the titles of us were shot in an abandoned Button Factory in Amsterdam NY that we somehow found ourselves in. "No Signs were Posted to Stay Out"


Again Thanks for the Compliments...
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Old October 16th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #14
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I would cut the car scenes, totally didn't work for me. The suspense builds the interest for me, not the comedy. Plus it was a one note gag. The night vision stuff was great though. and the documentary aspect was really intriguing
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Old October 16th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #15
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Being new to fiction on films (my background is science documentaries), I had to look up the definition of a modern fiction trailer: 2 minutes 30 seconds max, 3 acts - #1 sets premise, #2 moves story forward dramatically, #3 wraps with dramatic scenes and music to recap and entice.

I am really hesitant to comment because of my lack of familiarity, but I had trouble sorting out the plot. The opening act #1 is a singer in a car (lots of fun). The second act is searching for paranormal evidence (which was great). The wrap-up is the singer again. I believe a trailer could have been made from the act #2 just by itself and save the singer for another movie.
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