DVC7 - Bill Gardner - Tanks for the Memories - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old December 27th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #16
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Okay, let's get down to business. "Tanks for the Memories" is a nice pun, but too cute for a serious subject, in my opinion. I can't blame you for taking advantage of the obvious (the movie features tanks, it's supposed to be about memories, it's staring you right in the face, who wouldn't want to use that title?), but I think "horrors of war flashbacks" is a touch too heavy an issue for that name.

I'll echo what others have said about the treads on the tank; I would have tried to hide it somehow, keep the body in frame, but leave the treads down below. And maybe work on the vehicle's assembly, it was wobbling pretty good at some points.

Another, fairly minor, thing that struck me were the rather dark muzzle flashes. It looks like the white-hot center portion was already clipped, and when you brought the brightness down it made them a flat grey. That's the nature of clipped whites, I guess, I just don't think there's a need to darken muzzle flashes. They're mini-explosions, right? They're supposed to be bright, and with this footage (that tends toward darkness) it seems like they should be brighter than everything else in the frame.

My only other problem with the movie is the sound design, though it's a big one. Most of the effects are incredibly wimpy, I'm sorry to say, and the others sound like canned cartoon sounds recorded (poorly) in the '40s. Everything sounds tiny, weak, and distant. Regarding the tank, I would like to have heard the treads squeaking and squealing as it was moving along. And, most unusual of all, the tank's gun sounds like it's firing bullets. Not a terribly intimidating vehicle.

Add the fake grandpa voice on top of all that, and I hate to say it, but the sound ruined the entire movie for me. I think it could have been great with more selective, careful shots of the tank's body, a real old man for the grandfather (his voice, at least), and some more serious, powerful sound effects. I'm impressed at what you were able to achieve with the limited time you had, but as it stands, the film is underwhelming.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #17
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Hey Bill,
It always amazes me how clear your images are. Is it the camera or the compression?

I want to congratulate you for such a tremendous effort. Doing that war reenactment took it to another level. Despite minor flaws it is still a well done short, and I liked the cinematography through out the film and how you pulled it all together in such little time.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 01:25 PM   #18
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I watched "Tanks..." last night and my jaw dropped when i saw the war scene. Now that I know how fast you cut this together I have to say I'm very impressed (and somewhat intimidated) by your skill.

I do agree with the other comments aboutthe wobbling of the tank, maybe some cross bracing or making a more stable frame would help with that.
As for the treads not moving i would suggest maybe adding some heavy smoke around them and i think that might create a better illusion.

Again, my hats off to you and your entire crew.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #19
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i don't know that i have much new feedback to add, other than that i admire your ambition! staging a war re-enactment scene in the midst of holiday activities takes some fortitude....
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Old December 29th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
i don't know that i have much new feedback to add, other than that i admire your ambition! staging a war re-enactment scene in the midst of holiday activities takes some fortitude....

I agree! Perhaps there were a few minor issues with the war scene, but all things considered very very well done in such a short timeframe!

On a different note...I really liked your opening section too! Very nice job using the Christmas tree visual and only the sound of the boy playing with the tanks. Its pretty dramatic...and fun at the same time...you're not sure what's about to happen, so it really pulls you in.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 12:41 PM   #21
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Bill,
what kind of lights did you use in your battle scene? it looked like they were pretty freakin big. I'm not all that hip to different lights. I know the little ones I have and then I've seen the gigantic ones they use on films to light whole streets, but these looked like they were somewhere in the middle? Also, what did you use to light the gunner in the bunker? it's dark but not too dark.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 08:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fossenkemper
Bill,
what kind of lights did you use in your battle scene? it looked like they were pretty freakin big. I'm not all that hip to different lights. I know the little ones I have and then I've seen the gigantic ones they use on films to light whole streets, but these looked like they were somewhere in the middle?
The lighting class had a few 2k Fresnel lights that were perched on stands and shot down the hill. That created 90% of the main key light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fossenkemper
Also, what did you use to light the gunner in the bunker? it's dark but not too dark.
The "bunker" was actually just a simple painted frame: two pieces of wood nailed together in an "L" shape, tipped on its side, and held in place to frame it around the machine gun. It was a last minute thing created by the teacher of the lighting and staging classes (literally, it showed up to my surprise 5 minutes before we shot the thing, and when I moved it around my hands got wet paint on them). There were no walls or ceiling to the bunker. The bunker frame and the gun were lit by a distant Fresnel light on the left and we used a reflector to throw some light on the right side of the gun.

Bill
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Old December 31st, 2006, 09:52 AM   #23
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that illusion that it was in a bunker looked good. 2k lights, ahhhhh. how nice that would be to have. I have 250w lights. hahahaha.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 01:37 AM   #24
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Wow, kudos on those crane shots. Nice job Bill and crew.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 02:23 AM   #25
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Well Bill.

I was overwhelmed with what you achieved. Your kid's acting (I assume Alex is yours!) was really good, he pulled his part off great.

The battle scene:

We have two choices with something like this. We can go for realism, or symbolism or a blend of both and that blend is what you have going for this.

Unless you have good connections at a large National Guard armory there is no way you are going to get access to a real tank.

So you have a "prop" that doesn't look that real, the treads don't turn, the guns don't look all that accurate...

...And yet for me it works. There is just enough detail on that thing to anchor the eye to the concept of tank. The lighting mood and action works very well, and the whole thing is supposed to be symbolic anyway. I don't expect absolute realism here, but the overall mood presents enough of the illusion of such that it says what it needs to.

I've watched it several times and cannot find anything I want to offer "constructive critique" on.

I thoroughly enjoyed your concept and it's presentation. Great job in my opinion.

Bruce
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 02:58 PM   #26
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Very strong, and I love that it tells the whole story in just a couple of minutes. How cool to get to have a real tank. The only obvious thing I noticed was that when you pull to the wide shot of the kid playing his lips aren't moving even though the sound has him making tank noises. Very good lighting and smoke in the battle scene.

Smile,
Kris

PS: while I agree with Robert that the effects sounded a little tiny, I liked it. It made it sound old to me, like the 40s, which I assumed you did on purpose since the Grandpa would be of an age that the memory would come from WWII (though I suppose then it wouldn't have been a Soviet tank he was battling.)
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 08:08 AM   #27
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Bill,
pretty darned good. To make better use of motion and to not give away the tread issue, you might have simply shot it tighter against the background to see movement there. Really, for me, it didn't have to move at all. Not bad at all.

I don't know that seeing the grandfathers face would have made anything more or less for me. This way sort of makes me wonder if he wasn't hurt or disfigured in the war.

Only little comment other than the tank stuff was the voice of grandpa sounds kind of young for a vet. The tank could have been brown/desert colors to use a younger sounding grandpa perhaps?

Over all, really nice for the time and how lucky to have that tank hanging around. Very nice.

Sean McHenry
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