DVC 17 - Guitar Man - Lorinda Norton at DVinfo.net

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Old October 15th, 2009, 03:19 AM   #1
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DVC 17 - Guitar Man - Lorinda Norton

As you may have gathered we had a pretty good time making this. So I felt bad that the guys involved were less than enthusiastic about the finished trailer. Looks like I let down my end of the deal.

For starters, many challenges ago I promised here that I wouldn’t try doing VFX on my own anymore. I kept that promise until this one. A friend in WA who I just knew would be able to help me was too busy, so I did the best I could with the non-skills that I possess; but how do you fake an arc of electricity running up a mic cable? (Robert, if I had known your trailer wasn’t going to work out I’d have been begging for help...should have called you anyway, I guess.)

The mixture of drama and light-heartedness was supposed to somewhat mimic Iron Man, but was the mission accomplished? I’ve been told it wasn’t. Further, I thought that even though it ends with the “apparent” destruction of our hero everyone knows that’s never the case and, therefore, there is still much to be disclosed. Once again, one of my film savvy friends said I told the whole story and it didn’t make him want to see more. *sigh* Thank goodness one of my sisters likes this trailer or I would have been completely depressed...

Even so, I’m thinking about re-shooting the mic cord segments and re-cutting the whole thing, so with the suggestions I’ve received from the guys plus whatever you tell me perhaps I’ll come up with something they’ll be more apt to show to their friends. Or if it’s a lost cause I’ll just let it go. :)

Two things I want to point out: DV Info’s own Greg Boston provided the great VO you hear. I just sent him the words and he emailed the files back without benefit of seeing the trailer. Thanks, GB! Also, all of the explosion effects are real, though smaller because of the model cars. Three of us were up ‘til 2am causing a bit of noise and smoke out in our shop. I have to say it: We had a blast! I got a few fun pictures of them in the process. What I didn’t get was video of them telling me my camera would be fine ten feet away, then standing about 30 feet away behind some stuff for the countdown. :)

Thanks for watching!
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #2
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Hilarious! Great gag with the extension cord! This one made me laugh the most out of any trailer.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #3
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Lorinda, i loved that it was lighthearted compared to the other trailers. It took me a couple of viewings to grasp the story though. I think you've point out most of the flaws, i would say recut and cut it down a bit (i keep saying that to everyone geez)
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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:23 AM   #4
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Ha ha! Maybe that's because it's what most of these trailers need! Thanks, I will certainly keep that in mind, Sanjay.

Glad you thought it was funny, Clint. Crazy coincidence on that cord! AND the blowing stuff up. We must run with the same kind of friends/family. :)
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Old October 16th, 2009, 09:44 AM   #5
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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.

Act #1 set up the premise in good order. Act #2 created a sense of the action we were going to see in the final movie. And the idea of completing the story (Act #3?) with a juicy little joke was great. This it seemed to me would be a great trailer for a TV series where you could elaborate the concept over and over again as you build familiarity with the principal characters.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #6
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I'd have been glad to try helping out. I don't have any personal experience with electricity effects, but Googling "force lightning" digs up a few tutorials on achieving the Emperor Palpatine style effect as seen in several of the Star Wars films. It's basically what I imagine you'd be going after, though I suppose there wouldn't be as many tendrils for one mic cable. I may have attempted it from a particle effect standpoint, but the use of expressions in combustion to randomize the frequency and amplitude of a straight line may have done something similar. I'm noodling around in the software right now to no avail, but I'm sure with more time a solution might present itself. I know After Effects has a prepackaged lightning effect in there somewhere, if you have access to the software you might try looking into that. Ultimately, the lack of the desired visual for that shot isn't as bad to me as the absence of a sound effect to match Guitar Man's shaking; if you added in some sort of buzzing to suggest his electrocution I think it'd go a long way toward selling the idea.

I have to admit I'm still having a hard time figuring out who's who in the story, and I didn't pick up on any "drama" countering the light-hearted silly stuff, but you had an ambitious variety of locations, and I laughed at the guy rolling the amp along the sidewalk. Those Batman sound effect titles were fun too, although they could have shown up more, if you ask me. "Whammy" was okay, but I'd really like to see a "widdly" in there to accompany at least one of our hero's riffs. There is no funnier word to associate with playing the guitar: see my attachment for reference and tell me you can keep a straight face looking at that picture.

All in all, as much as I empathize with being disappointed in the final results of one's work, try to remember it could be far worse. This could have turned into a movie about the music of Bread. Though to be honest, I am rather fond of "Guitar Man".
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DVC 17 - Guitar Man - Lorinda Norton-358_image.jpg  
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Old October 16th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #7
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Gotta admit I have never seen that word associated with guitar playing! Come to think of it, I have never seen that word. :)

To those of you who took the time to comment, thank you. This may have been a misfire but I needed to learn some things and I most certainly did. So I hope it wasn’t a complete waste of anyone’s 2:04.

Robert, starting with your comments I will try to rework the whole thing so it makes more sense and add the effects you mentioned. As I said before, I’d like for my friends who helped me with this to be happy with the finished trailer.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #8
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Too bad to hear the cast wasn't happy with the final product! That's really surprising to me actually. There was an amazing amount of content/shots/scenes for a dv challenge, and I thought the story was great. The best part was how charming it was, and that I find is a very hard characteristic to develop in film, so props to you on being able to pull off charm and sincerity. Also, the real explosions and Greg Boston voice over were great! Awesome stuff as always Lorinda.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 03:50 AM   #9
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Thank you so much, Mitchell. “Charm and sincerity.” You really know how to make a person feel better. :) They are all great guys and they mean a lot to me.

Here are a couple pictures from late-night fun in the shop.
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DVC 17 - Guitar Man - Lorinda Norton-dsc00325.jpg   DVC 17 - Guitar Man - Lorinda Norton-dsc00338.jpg  

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Old October 18th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #10
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What A "Twist"

You came up with a concept that really rocked me back on my heels. I would never have thought of a "guitar man" with "super" powers.

I found it highly entertaining.

The exploding car would have benefitted much from merely slowing it down, to about 40% or so (I did something like that with the explosion and flames in the last scene of my entry). Gives a "heavier" feel with more power. The sound may even have sounded more like a bit of a drawn out explosion but if not you can do your own sound effect with a voice over microphone setup and trying various explosive breath sounds until something works.

On the "spark" travelling along the cord, you might find an electric bluish indistinct blob on black (done in PhotoShop) and using lumikey position it on the cord almost frame by frame. Tedious of course but you might be surprised at how it looks.

What you did got the idea across to me, though

Good job, definitely would entice me to see the feature.

Bruce Foreman
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Old October 18th, 2009, 09:08 PM   #11
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This was so funny Lorinda! LOVED the electricution acting...SO funny. The shot with him still smoking is so on point- great lighting and hilarious. Also, I lost it at the "capo" pun. You have a lot of really great and captivating shots! ("If you hurt her!" shot- was that the sky in the background? It's so beautiful and trippy! Also how did you do the smoke coming off him in the doorway?)
I think if you do go back to re-edit and just tighten a few places here and there then this would be AH-mazing. If you are looking for a place to cut it- then I'd take out most of the answering machine message and just leave it at "We're going to have to let you go" and then cut to his reaction blasting the car then that would be enough. Also I think you can probably just have one scene of the good guy rescuing someone from a badguy...so either the first daytime one or the night capo one.
I really enjoyed this and think you should be proud of it!
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Old October 18th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #12
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Hey Julia—thanks so much for watching closely enough to catch my two favorite parts! I’m with you; loved the sky in the background on “if you hurt her.” It just happened to be that kind of sunset. It’s a shame our villain didn’t show up until later because I would love to have set up a really creepy scene showing him against that weird sky.

As for the hero still smoking in his doorway, we lit incense sticks that were taped to a microphone stand.

I totally agree with your editing ideas; unfortunately, one of the comments I got from the guys is that I didn’t show enough of some scenes! Hams, I guess. But I will definitely cut down the answering machine scene partly because Brian thinks he looks fat. (He’s actually pretty ripped.)

One reason we left in so many hero scenes is that the guys thought it would be hilarious to have Tyler (BMSAD) start out with a humongous amp then have them keep cutting down the size ‘cause it’s too much for the little guy to push/carry. Maybe I'll cut that down, then give them some extras at the end so they can laugh at themselves. :)

You are so right about the audio on the explosion, Bruce. I sweetened the one at the end but neglected the other. Around 4:30 on Sunday morning I decided that with the awful flu that’s going around I wouldn’t be good for anyone if I got sick, so I slept. By the time I got everything cut and wrangled with other things I was out of time...and patience.

Interesting idea for the electricity. I tried something similar with keyframing in the days before we shot. It didn’t look half bad, but barely half good for all the trouble it was going to be frame by frame, so I scrapped it. Hoping that last minute necessity would be the “mother of invention” I put it off ‘til Sunday. It didn’t work out that way...
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Old October 18th, 2009, 10:45 PM   #13
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Wow, Lorinda.... that was a lot of work... I couldn't count how many set ups you had. All calling for some challenging lighting as well. Nicely done.

All the commenters have noted and said the same things I would have. I think 2 minutes is a little long for a trailer actually, and your crew was probably expecting a 5 minute short, content wise.

The VO was awesome. I am jealous.

Well done. It was a fun trailer to watch.

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