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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #1
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DVC6 Feedback - PLAN B

PLAN B: The ‘challenge’ in a DV Challenge

Short version:

What a wild trip! Can't believe I did that! Have a beer! What's next for DVC7?

Long version:

What do you do with equipment failure and wind up with only half of your intended production material?

How do you meet an impending deadline when you realize that it will take nearly four weeks to complete, and you only have one?

That’s the DV Challenge, and for me, it was a challenge.

The original story was about an unusual sun flare that triggers a cataclysmic storm of earth-bound objects. Wherein a secret society of scientist and engineers, whom know of the impending doom, find the financial backing to build a kind of anti-doomsday weapon meant to pulverize a wide enough area to create a ‘safe-zone’ for earth.

However, this society, formed in post-war era, fell silent, it’s members, sworn to secrecy, died with the knowledge and the location of the device, entrusting it to only one man, even though he himself didn’t know it. A gift from a respected uncle was a glass ball with a light inside that represented the sun. Inscribed on the edge was the familiar sentence: “in case of emergency, break glass.” Though it was regarded as a joke, it was entrusted as an old family heir-loom that was meant to be passed on from one generation to the next.

The short is the action scene where our hero is unwittingly pursuing the message given during a real impending danger. Which leads him to a semi-abandoned, run down textile mill that is hiding an underground bunker to launch the device.

Unfortunately, I busted my camera mid-way and had lost two days in managing another to finish the piece. I had to cut many shots and improvise, hence my challenge, and the reason for the strange ending, which is somewhat of a joke. Even the few CG shots I did keep had to be rendered in low quality as ray tracing would have pushed the deadline.

I managed to finish the piece at 4am. So you could imagine that I was more relieved to have submitted ‘something’, and be done with it.

I was long past the idea of collecting any prize, and it became my own personal race to beat the deadline. Even though I confessed to giving in early in the game, it’s not me to quit so easily. In fact, many of my day jobs are not much different. There are things not in our control; other’s schedules, a constantly changing script, or even equipment failures that force one to improvise.

Dylan, you’re the man. I was waiting until today to watch everyone’s entries. I wanted to see them all at once, and it made for a long day. I’m just a casual observer, and you have quite a task ahead. I applaud you for this effort, and personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a challenge, now would it?
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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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I laughed at the beer CG. what a ride. Loved the duck taped remote. I was laughing my butt off. So Many Ideas, so little time.
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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:36 PM   #3
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(I was asked on other thread as to the location of my shoot, I'll answer it here to keep things tidy).

The location was on an semi-abandoned factory site belonging to the old wyomissing textile mills, a facility so large that at it's peak in the 1950's employed some 10,000 workers. A portion of that existing business, now a medical device company which grew out of the industry, is all that remains. The whole facility has a network of underground tunnels (most of them walled off) that connected remote locations, including a bank (for payroll) and a local hospital.

The walk in the abandoned factory was bewildering, and strange. You could almost feel the emotion of what it must of have been like in a factory that once never slept, and yet has fallen silent, it's paint peeling and metal plates rusting away.

The elevator is real, built in the 1920's and still works. I did some photoshop and comp work to fake a twenty story drop in an otherwise five story structure.

I also did a match move and locked-off plate for the missile silo. However, I stuck with the plate and dropped the match moving for times sake. In fact, here is a rendering of what the completed shot would have looked like provided I had time to finish. (It's a photoshop comp and I would have duplicated the process in AE for the actual footage).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/4537894...n/photostream/
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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fossenkemper
I laughed at the beer CG. what a ride. Loved the duck taped remote. I was laughing my butt off. So Many Ideas, so little time.
Thanks Michael, I wasn't sure if 'funny' would have been a result. I intended on being serious at first, then realizing I had to rethink the ending. While scratching my head I couldn't think of a thing, and while disgusted, I slammed my full beer down on the table on the table... : )
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #5
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Peter,

This is a GREAT looking short. THe location was fantastic. You were incredibly ambitious for a 1 week project, and you explanation of what went wrong explains why the story takes the seemingly out of place, comedic turn at the end. I'd love to see you finsih the piece as originally intended.

Dick
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Old August 27th, 2006, 08:07 AM   #6
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I agree with Dick, the story as you describe it above, at whatever length, would be a fun watch. Be sure to let us all know if you make the whole thing.

I loved your location. It was very intriguing and drew me right in even though I wasn't quite sure what was going on. Did you have to ask someone's permission to shoot there? I think I'd have been paranoid of being caught the whole time.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 08:21 AM   #7
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I originally thought that "Always have a plan B" referred to the beer bottle; suggesting that they'd tried other means of getting rid of the problem, and spraying beer into the sun was their backup. That it was in reference to the actual contest makes more sense, though it's not as funny this way.

As you say, you only had so much time to render, so the lack of raytracing is understandable. About the only thing I really didn't like was when the guy first enters the building, and is startled by the door closing. Seems a little hackneyed, and inappropriate given the circumstances; the door closes very quickly, and I don't think he really has enough time to be mesmerized/enchanted/awed/distracted by anything in the room to the point where he'd forget he just walked through a door that's about to slam shut.

Great story, and I too want to see you finish Plan A. Oh, and did Korey get his allowance as promised?
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Old August 27th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #8
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Peter I like the nice vibrant colours. Excellent location. There were some real cool shots in there from the location, nice choice. The ending, was hilarious. Great job.

Justin
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Old August 27th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #9
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What Justin said. By using animation in the beginning, you made the ending, besides funny (loved that bottle opener!) fit in just fine.

After reading the work you did on the elevator shot, I'm even more impressed!
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Old August 27th, 2006, 11:00 AM   #10
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Dick, I'd like to finish as soon as my HC1 is repaired. Although I am getting a new camera for work, it's only proper to ask for permission for personal business, and I'd rather avoid such issues. Besides, the image from the HC1 is fantastic. It was perfect for the outside stuff. Inside was an entirely different manner, but I was willing to drag some umbrella lights out and fix that. I'm just sorry I could shoot any green screen with it yet.

Kris, I did have permission for the most part, as most of the scenes are within my employers property. I made sure to spend my off-time in doing it. Folks here are used to me carrying a camera around and doing stuff anyway, so I didn't draw unwanted attention. The abandoned structures are truely abandoned and were unlocked (no fences and no signs of trespass). There are other floors to venture into, but I won't be doing it alone. (Hmmm, the upper floor is very dark and creepy... a good location for a thriller).

Robert, "PLAN B" did refer to the beer bottle and was so named as I coined the phrase in saying that I needed a "plan b", and I thought, why not? Sorry if it took some of the punch out of the punch line, but "PLAN B" was meant for the comical ending.

I'm only sorry that I didn't finish the scene with the 'beer stream' hitting the objects and deflecting them away from earths path. I was leaving it up to the viewer to get the point.

My son helped with the rig and he did pretty good on his first outing. Most movie shots are locked off, but some follow and pan is to be expected and you can't do it alone -though that was part of the challenge. He gets his allowance, despite the fact that I can't keep enough milk and cold cereal in the house. A growing soccer player has to eat.

Justin, the location is what made this piece work, and helped to form my original script. I wanted to shoot the place and worked the script in so I could.

Lorinda, animated bottle openers are my specialty : ) Now if I could just animate a beer keg...

To all, I'm very pleased that you liked the short. I was getting cold feet in thinking my piece was not up to snuff. I almost gave up. I can breath a sigh of relief. Lesson learned: Always have a PLAN B.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #11
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Peter, yes, quite ambitious. I'm betting you scale back a bit on the next one? You did good with what you were able to do even without raytracing it looked pretty good on You Tube.

I too would think you might like to do a better fuller version of this story.

Looked good but I did have a little trouble hearing the gentleman in the phone when he was at the door, not facing the camera. That's it for tech issues.

Looked pretty good.

Sean
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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean McHenry
Peter, yes, quite ambitious. I'm betting you scale back a bit on the next one? You did good with what you were able to do even without raytracing it looked pretty good on You Tube.

I too would think you might like to do a better fuller version of this story.

Looked good but I did have a little trouble hearing the gentleman in the phone when he was at the door, not facing the camera. That's it for tech issues.

Looked pretty good.

Sean
Sean,

I didn't hear the mumble at the door when he opens it, but editing at 3 AM in a blitz kinda wears one out. I was jamming to Itunes to keep awake. Only when I reviewed it later did I realize the speaking parts and the mumble at the door!

I have about four scenes with CG that flat didn't make it. I also have a few that required green screen. Yes ambitious. However, after years of doing various animations and video, and reading up on behind the scenes, and watching all the 'how they do that' features I can get my hands on, I realize that much of that technology is installed on my PC. What's needed was a willingness to try. (I can only appreciate what it takes to make a full fledged movie by doing it).

I would love to do a more complete version and plan to do so when my camera comes back.

I appreciate you taking the time to watch and give feedback.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #13
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I think a lot of folks out there have some inherent ability to do film and video but may never attempt it. Someone in one of those "How I made a Feature Film for $29" books, actually, I think it was the modern father of it all, Robert Rodriguez that said things like, if you have thought about it and watched a movie of your own on the movie screen in your head, you're a filmmaker. There is some truth to that, but I would feel guilty about calling myself a "filmmaker" until I at least get some good use out of my Super 8 camera and edit something interesting, which I plan to do this fall with a script called Dislocation on my web site by the way.

Here's a quick story, I read this years ago:
a group of folks were studied on ways to improve baseball pitching. The group of subject were split into 3 groups. Group 1 practiced all the time. Group 2 only thought about the pitching and occasionally threw a ball to test their ideas on how to improve. The 3rd group did some of both. The group that did the thinking only came out on top, only slightly ahead of the group that practiced all the time.

I think we all absorbed a lot of technique and general knowledge about what makes a film or television show good and so for some folks, all they need to do is tap into that information and put it to the test. I like to think that's what folks are doing here.

Keep up the good work. It took me a lot of BAD television and movies to get where I am in my day job. I want to get much better at this film and video thing. Hopefully anyone that has followed my little works will see some improvement over the past year plus.

See you at DVC7. Everyone that submits wins, if they choose to improve.

Sean
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Old August 30th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #14
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I loved the location in this film, I wish I could find someplace like that where I live. Very good lighting as well, suited the film.

Nice effect at the end too... ;)
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Old August 31st, 2006, 12:18 PM   #15
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Thanks Mike, glad you liked it!

The lighting was crucial for the indoor stuff. Especially with the HC1, which was used in the entry of the factory complex. I visited that site throughout the day and noted when the sunlight would filter in, and shot at the optimal time. Since the building was right up against another, I had about a twenty-minute window before I'd have to gain up -which is a no-no with the HC1 and would look horrible for an otherwise mid-day shoot.

Deeper in, and within the lower levels I was planning to bring in a light kit and a few hundred feet of power cable. However, those shots had to be done with the XL1s in lieu of the breaking the HC1, and the canon was more forgiving being able to use the available light. I didn't worry much about the grain then, so long as you could see what's going on, and I plan to reshoot in HDV later.

My son noted that shooting even a small production was a lot of work. We had to revisit locations as certain times due to lighting, activity or both. However, he was into the scene thing, and thought the location was cool. Industrial, old and still working.

It's interesting to note that in various areas one could find writings from workers past, mostly maintenance folks whom scratched notes and numbers on the walls and pipes in the course of their business. Some of these date back to the 70's. One said 3/15/26, but I'm not sure if it was a date or a code as it appeared to be done in marker ink. Creepy.

Another thing, on the last night of the shoot in the tunnels, there's was a tunnel that was completely unlit and that ran the opposite direction. There's also a lot of pipes down there, and these usually resonate all kinds of sounds. Mostly ambient noise, and you get used to it. So, your in the middle of quietly thinking the next shot when, CLANK! ("Oh jeesus!") "Cut! That's a wrap -let's go."

The things I'd do post a film...
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