DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh at DVinfo.net

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Old October 3rd, 2013, 01:27 PM   #1
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DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh


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Old October 3rd, 2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

This ended up being a rushed Plan B of a film. I actually got half way through shooting another story but ended up not being able to finish because of actor (un)availability. So what you're seeing here was a lightning fast turnaround to do something -- anything -- in just three hours, the time that I had available before the cast got swept away by their respective appointments, meetings, dates, work, etc.

I made a conscious decision this time to incorporate at least a bit of action. So even though it starts out with dialogue, it ramps up into some movement. My idea was to build the set up and atmosphere at the beginning then move things along to a faster-cut finale.... and along the way I did my best to make sure it didn't go directly in the direction it seemed to be set.

It's half in French, half in English. That's because, well, I'm in Paris so why not a bit of French (Toni already led the way there in her Glass entry)? And also the actress there was more comfortable in French than in English. The male lead is a friend who speaks fluent French with an accent from his native Ireland.

The moon shot was meant for the other film, and probably doesn't have its place in this one -- but hell, it was so beautiful and big when I shot it that night I just couldn't let it go somehow.

Because it was so shot quickly and so close to deadline, the edit was likewise a rushed job. I found iMovie has a decent orchestral set of music that can be used for dramatic shorts. I ain't no musician, so it was either that (or my Sony or Video Copilot or musopen or Incompetech libraries).

I was the sole technician on the film, so to get the sound I either used radio mikes on the talent or set up a radio handheld mike on a stand. Which ended up working OK, as the audio fed directly into the Canon C100 (no more juggling around with a Zoom recorder or synching in post, which is such a huge relief).

The jigsaw killer guy was another friend who kindly agreed to come at the last minute, and he played it just right. But I only had his availability for around an hour. So in the end, I had to shoot the whole thing out of sequence, then go back and shoot scenes from the beginning. In fact, I think it was done mostly in reverse order. And not much time to plan the shoot, so I was working out how to edit it in my head as I shot it -- quite a challenging proposition.

The original rough edit was too long, of course, so I kept turning screws here and there until the whole thing exactly hit three minutes, then tagged on the few seconds of credits at the end.

Don't hold back -- there are things to criticise and pull apart, I'm well aware. And that's how I learn how to get better for the next film. So let loose guys.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

LOVED the title sequence and the way it segued into the film itself. Really, really smoothly handled. Thought the initial false attack was superbly done as well and tricked us into letting our guard down before the actual horror started. The central idea of a kinky couple meeting a terminally kinky couple was good fun. Your jigsaw killer was suitably demented, although the "I want to see" girl on the laptop was what pushed it into being properly creepy for me.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Wow! Great work you have here, and considering the time constraints you mention makes it even more impressive!

Some great shots and lighting. I love the lighting of the man writing on the computer, very well executed in a difficult situation. The composition when they are lying on the floor is brilliant (1:50" when the camera is sideways... amazing shot, fits perfectly. Really well thought, I'll copy it when I have the chance!!) and maybe my favorite shot (and it's a really short one!) is with the shoes walking up the stairs... beautiful lighting and texture on the wooden steps. Does the C100 help with that? ;)

I love when the woman realizes she didn't open to the girl on the internet! Didn't see it coming at all. And the music is also very well chosen. Gives it a great pace in the action part.

There are only two things that I think could improve it: the noise of the images in the corridor (I'm sure with more time you would have sorted it nicely), and just the final shot where you can't almost see the woman trying to free the man. I firstly thought she had gone and left him with the psycho!!
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Yes, this was a great short. Very nice transitions and lovely moody shots with lots of darkness.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #6
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Thanks Henry, I tried to get a range in there: sex, violence, Skype... Made an effort to not make it clear about whether this was a story about the former or not before tilting it into something else, which was nonetheless foreshadowed.

Tim, thanks for the kind words. Mood was the key to a mystery, I figured, so I gave precious seconds over to quieter moments without dialogue.

Andres, you have an expert's eye, so I appreciate your comments. You're right about the noisy image in the corridor. It was the first time I'd taken the ISO so high on the C100 and I thought it would hold. The in-cam footage looked OK but the grading made it messy. I could buy a denoiser plug in, but think the answer is really just to light properly. Apart from that, I love the cam's images, like on the steps you pointed out. It isn't film, but it isn't clipped video either (I used to use a 7D and can't go back).
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Old October 4th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

I thought this was well shot and acted considering the time constraints. However, I'm still unsure why all this is happening. If the character motives were cleared up by the end, it would have made for a better film. Solid work, Marc!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #8
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

I found this film to be well paced, and nicely filmed in general. Editing was good too, and the general story was gleaned in the end. Still a little confused about who and what the women are.

I did wondered about the need for the moon shot, feeling that a little more explanation could have been used instead. I was interested to see you bring it up in your initial post. Its the old story of "killing babies". We all take these wonderful shots we think are fantastic and they become our "babies", but they add nothing to the story telling, or the film, but we keep them in because we think they are a great accomplishment. Its becomes a hard choice to make.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 02:12 PM   #9
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Indeed it does Chris... I shoulda just cut the moon. Soooo pretty, but useless. "Kill your babies" is good advice for the strongwilled. I'll be inured to it next time. Too many times, this being an example, we get caught up with the technical wizardry or pretty pictures, to the expense of what it's all really about: story.

Derwin, your comment is valuable. I could tell you the gist of it (kinky married couple try to get online girl to come over but fall victim to that girl's own, more perverse, appetite as executed by the guy she sent in her place) -- but in the end, I think it was John Ford who said, you can't be sitting next to each audience member explaining what you MEANT by the shot -- either it is self-evident, or you failed. So I might have failed there. I'll try harder next time to be a little clearer....
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Old October 4th, 2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Oh okay, I get it now! You might be missing a shot or a sound clip of the call girl being satiated watching at the end, but that's just me. Thanks for clearing that up!
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Old October 5th, 2013, 01:40 AM   #11
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

What a deliciously eery film Marc, well done.

Your story flowed very smoothly and you did a wonderful job with your shot selection/editing/music.
You may have not needed the moon shot, like you mentioned, it didn't feel out of place at beginning and honestly I had forgotten about it by the end. Though I suppose one could argue that if it's not needed then you don't use it. Don't you just love having those thoughts and/or realizations AFTER you've "finished" a project, lol.

Was there any reason that you chose a gig-saw in particular? I am just curious if it would have played as well/better going the simple way of a large knife. Being rather unique the gig-saw likely had a bit more "whoa, that's not good" feel to it and was more memorable. I just see the logo/writing on the side of the saw when I go back and visualize it in my head. Maybe a quick After Effects work and matting that part out ;-)

In any case, overall you made a great piece and I enjoyed watching it... and even more so the second time!
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Old October 6th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #12
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Nice work Marc!

Great story, great acting all around. The guy with the jigsaw was really believable. I was watching his face the whole time and he looked pretty set on chopping someone up. In hindsight, a jigsaw might be last thing I'd choose to attack someone with (they always seem to jam, or when the going gets tough the blade comes off, etc. But it's probably just mine), but the noise it makes is awesomely scary for sure!

The shot where the English speaking woman starts to choke the main character was fantastic. The classic trick, and perfectly executed.

It was fun to see the shots in a Paris apartment, the cool staircases and characteristic light switches and door handles etc. Makes me want to visit again! How long have you lived there?

You probably know this, but if you ever need to, the C100 has a variety of levels of internal noise reduction which you can crank up when you decide to use the really high iso. Neat Video also really works well, and is pretty inexpensive for how good it works. All that being said, the noise in those few shots in your film didn't bother me.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 04:19 PM   #13
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Hi Marc,

You know you have a good movie, here. Of course, I love the Parisian/European feel of the set/characters and the computer woman was well cast.

The music went well with the tone of the music.

For me, the jigsaw was a good choice because I would imagine she would want to dismember him- maybe not even kill him. However, the only thing about the jigsaw was that you could see the cord swaying while the sound of it was going. It wasn't plugged in. How could it work? Just a minor detail...

I was a little confused why the guy went to get a couple of aspirin and a cup of water- or were they Viagra? Wouldn't he be anticipating the woman? Also, did he know that his wife was home?

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Old October 9th, 2013, 01:30 AM   #14
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Marc, this is the very reason I don't watch mystery/suspense/thriller movies! The whole thing had that really sick, icky thing going on that makes my stomach churn. Which means...you did a GREAT job!

I'll admit that the camera noise bothered me but that's already been addressed. Every other aspect is just what I have come to expect from you, which is excellence. For the record, the moon shots set the tone for "mystery" very well, in my opinion. I wouldn't have wanted you to leave that segment out, because the story didn't suffer with those few seconds devoted to setting the tone for your film.

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Originally Posted by Andrew Bove View Post
In hindsight, a jigsaw might be last thing I'd choose to attack someone with (they always seem to jam, or when the going gets tough the blade comes off, etc.
Very funny, Andrew!
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Old October 9th, 2013, 12:45 PM   #15
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Re: DVC23 - A Voir - Marc Burleigh

Back after a brief trip to Spain.... And seeing so many more comments on all the films. I gotta say, it's quite a line-up this time around, some really high-quality productions coming in.

Regarding the jig-saw, Adam and Andrew and Toni, well that was a directorial last-minute judgement call! In fact my script called for a drill to be used (because I wanted to finish on the sound of the tool, and leave what it was doing up to your imaginations, and I guess also as a sort of homage to the 1979 flick "The Driller Killer", which was pretty bad overall, but unforgettable, and pretty much launched Abel Ferrara's career -- and we'll be hearing about him again next year when his film about DSK, "Welcome to New York" comes out).

Anyway, my friend who was in the movie said he had a drill at his place, so I didn't take mine. Only when it came time to pull out the drill, he couldn't find it, so, with the clock ticking, we asked the next door neighbour if he had one. He didn't, all he had was the jig-saw. Lucky he didn't have only a chainsaw, otherwise my short would have been very derivative. (And I guess if he didn't have that, then I might have been reduced to having my killer use a blender or a really mean looking soufflé whirler or something. I didn't want to use a knife if I could avoid it.) But it is true, Andrew, that those damned jig-saws keep failing on the flimsiest of jobs, so I don't think one would be much chop on a male body with bones.... But anyway, it's the thought that counts, right?

(And to answer your question, Andrew, I've been living in Paris for almost 20 years -- although have been on some expat gigs for a few years of that time, too, having just returned this year after living in Iran, and before that Brazil.)

Toni -- he was actually making a rather nice cup of herbal tea (our set beverage of choice). I may have fluffed it, but just wanted to show the passage of time before the doorbell rings.

There we go. I really enjoyed this contest: a good prize, a lot of new blood, a bunch of really good entries. I'm already planning ahead to the December DVC/UWOL joint contest. Absolutely ready to put all the things I learned on this shoot to work....
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