"Cold War" by Tom Sherwood DVC/UWOL Challenge at DVinfo.net

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Old January 6th, 2009, 11:31 PM   #1
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"Cold War" by Tom Sherwood DVC/UWOL Challenge

This was a lot of fun, hard work, but a ton of fun.
We are all very new at this and it was an honor to cut our teeth here.

Thanks for any comments.


*edit* My apologies for no HD. I haven't figured out how to upload it in HD.

Last edited by Tom Sherwood; January 6th, 2009 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Add a comment
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #2
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I was excited to see your feedback thread pop up, 'cause this movie was great!

The acting I could go on about forever; some of the most realistic performances I've seen, and you're "new at this"? I'm jealous.

Is it my imagination, or were the shots of the thermostat changing color? Cold blue when the women changed it, warmer red when the guy was there? I noticed a couple of issues with the fluorescent lighting (either white balance or just flicker), I suppose it could have been that. Or my eyes.

My only real criticisms would be a couple of off-level shots, and for the ending I think it'd look better to cut to black a frame or two earlier, while she's still swinging the extinguisher at full speed. As is you can almost tell she's slowing down to avoid really smashing the box (which I loved).

All of that falls by the wayside in light of the cast, of course. Your female lead (sorry, beside Mark I never caught the characters' names) was incredible! Both confrontations with Mark were hilarious, first standing incredulous while watching him on the phone, ignoring her, and then "Oh, no you didn't" and the gloves come off. I thought she was going to pop him one.

This contest seems to attract an awful lot of talented first-timers, and you're no exception. Very, very good work, and nice job with the title! I'm just as guilty of ignoring my typography as anyone else, the ice/fire "Cold War" opening was extremely cool.

As for HD, both Vimeo and Youtube give great results with a 720p, 29.97fps H.264 file, in either an mp4 or mov container, with AAC or MP3 audio at 48khz and 128kbps; I'd recommend a three megabit per second single pass encode for these sites. If we were encoding final, deliverable files, multipass VBR would make sense, but since it's all going to be recompressed by the system anyway, you can save yourself the time of two or more passes. For 720p H.264 at that framerate, you won't get much increase in quality using multipass encodes at bitrates like this. If it were 700kbps, sure, but once you get up to megabits per second there's no effective difference.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #3
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Boy did this one hit home! You can hang meat in my office! I enjoyed your conflict escalation and the pacing was nice. You used a well chosen and talented cast, lit your scenes perfectly (in my opinion) and even pulled off an “Office Space” kind of feel. Is that what you were shooting for? Your camera placement showed a lot of thought and you put a lot of work into this one. This entry was great!
Interesting, if true. And interesting anyway.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #4
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This is one of your first films???? It was terrific! I was so pleasantly surprised and thought it was hysterical! Your title was of course perfect, but it threw me all the same. I actually hesitated to watch your clip thinking from the title that it was going to be a piece on the "heavier drama side". What a hoot! And you are right that it seems that us females tend to be more cold-blooded than guys ;-).

Feed back on how to make this better? Boy, I don't know... perhaps that kind of feed back needs to come from the heavy weight film critics from DVC. I just thought it was fun and I think all your hard work really payed off.

Nice editing, acting, and production.

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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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Hi Tom,

This is your first film? Wow, that is hard to believe. You did very well!
I think I have to visit the DVC more often, as I'm an UWOL guy myself.
Thank you for sharing!
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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I’ve watched your movie several times and realize more and more how much work went into it! Wow! I take it that is your workplace and you’ve got a great boss? :)

The actors and their timing were impressive; they look like pros, right down to the boss at his desk. Your antagonist did a great job of acting like another word that starts with an A. ;) But I loved the segment with him peeking through the blinds (great editing there). Plus I agree with what has been said about the female lead; she did an incredible job.

Are you wanting some nit-picking, and I mean fine-tooth comb nit-picking? If so…

Someone on this forum once told me to be careful with my use of fades so I’m pretty cognizant of them now (even though I still use them a lot). I’m not sure I’d have taken any of them out of yours, except maybe at 1:47. The only other little thing I noticed was what Robert mentioned about the color changes.

But nothing takes away from this piece--you and your friends did a wonderful job.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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Very accurate portrayal of thermostat wars. We go through it daily in our complex. The fireextinguisher is a drastic measure. With various paper clips, metal pieces, etc, you can devise a way to change the settings....:) I recognize a lot of work went into that shoot. A lot of set ups ! Nice job.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #8
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Tom, I can't believe that this is your first...?? Absolute stunning work. Very good talents, good camerawork and sound. The light flicker has been mentioned.
I had a good time watching, and I learn a lot from your piece.
- Per Johan
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Old January 8th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #9
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You are all too kind

Thanks everyone.

Robert - I'm blushing... I read this comment just after you posted it and I was on my way to bed and had a hard time sleeping because you were so gracious. Thank you. You really have a good eye. The shots of the thermostat, were changing colors... I did a subtle color correction to make it look cold, blue when the girls were at it and warm, red when the guy was there. I wanted it to sort of match the opening title. I didn't think it was noticeable in SD on vimeo. I'm still just starting to scratch the surface with apple Color. And yes the stupid florescent light was flickering. I didn't notice until the second night we were shooting. The supporting actress wasn't available the second night so I had to work with what I had.

As for the female hitting the thermostat she actually did and broke it. I intended on returning it but it was cracked after that. I will post some additional footage of our outtakes later on. It was really funny how she reacted when she hit it. I passed your comments on to the cast and you really made their day.

Hugh - My fiance actually came up with the idea. She actually lived it once upon a time. Not sure I was going for "office space" but it did kind of shape up that way, not sure as I don't watch that show very often.

Cat - I'm glad you watched it, thank you for the kind words.

Trond - Thank you for watching.

Lorinda - None of us actually work in the office we used. Its a our friend's office and I'm pretty sure she has a great boss. The shot of the blinds was a suggestion by Darren the supporting actor. Turned out to be a real hit with the whole crew. As far as fades I didn't have any the first edit and the time passage wasn't happening so I used fades to accomplish that. I don't have the skill to pull off complicated transitions at this point. I'll work on it, thanks for the input. The color changes were intentional, except the flickering light that was not.

Chris - Thanks. It seems a lot of places go through the thermostat war. I was explaining to the, male, office manager about the story line of our movie and he looked at a female employee, who was eavesdropping, and they exchanged looks. It was hilarious.

Per Johan - Ok, I've seen your film so I can only surmise that you've "learned", what not to do.

Thanks to all of you. I hope you don't mind if I quote you guys and gals on my website and maybe on the DVD cover that I intend on giving the cast and crew this weekend?
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Old January 8th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #10
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You DV ers have great ideas!!!! I have been through battles like that in the past!! I just couldn't help laughing through it!!!

All your actors did great jobs!! However, your leading lady was awesome!!

I was so enthralled with the story that I did not even think about the shots, imagery and compositions!! to me that says a lot about a production!!!

Top shelf stuff!!!

How do you people get all these people to act for you??? Out here in conservative/ville most do not want to even be infront of ones camera.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old January 8th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tom Sherwood View Post
Robert - I'm blushing... I read this comment just after you posted it and I was on my way to bed and had a hard time sleeping because you were so gracious.
You're quite welcome, Tom, you sure earned it. Reactions to my comments may not usually be as positive as yours, but causing people to lose sleep over the things I say is one of my specialties.

That and Tiddlywinks.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 08:29 PM   #12
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Excellent!! The acting was top notch.... something on occasion lacking in our productions here using friends, family and whatnbots to work for our non SAG wages (grin). I agree with everyone else... your female lead was fantastic.

I noticed a couple of the little things that others have commented on, but overall small items in the bigger scheme of things. I'd add the lack of "room tone" after the "jerk" makes the rude comments to the receptoinist in the early part of the film caught my attention.... it was a little too quiet for a short spell.

But it is a terrific film. Well paced, well scripted, extermely well acted and ... gosh... a winner!

Chris Swanberg

ps. I too wondered about the similarity to "The Office". This one could have been filmed for TV and I bet practically no one would have thought it an amateur production!
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Old January 9th, 2009, 02:55 AM   #13
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Dale - Thank you very much for the kind words. I am extremely lucky that I have such wonderful friends. I asked them to participate and be apart of this for me and they totally stepped up and jumped on board. They are special people. It didn't hurt that this was for charity, they will do just about anything for charity, so I used that to convince them to do it. To their credit they didn't need much convincing. After all of your rave reviews and our other friends hearing about it, I don't think I'll have a problem getting help on the next one. Now getting performances like Wendy Boloz (lead female) and Mike Magin's (lead male), that will be tough.

Chris S - Wow... I'm speechless... Thank you. Another night of no sleep.

Again a big thanks to everyone. I really appreciate all of the comments, especially the ones about Wendy, Mike and the other actors. The folks behind the camera did a great job for them to shine as they did. So kudos to my friends, I definitely proved to be the week link and they deserve every kind comment that has been written. So, again, thank you.

After the contest I would like to post my own review of my movie and ask you all what I can do better as far as what I felt was wrong with this piece.... and there is plenty.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:23 PM   #14
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great film - witty concept and really good acting and shooting
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Old January 12th, 2009, 05:09 AM   #15
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I agree with the others, Tom. It looks like you've been doing this for years already! Good attention to detail with exposure, composition, and a great story to boot.

I wanted to add to Lorinda mentioning fading in and out. While it is definitely warranted (and required) in certain situations, I always like to try cross dissolving first to convey passage of time. If it doesn't work, then I'll go to a fade out, fade in. For example, I generally use the prior to convey 'later that day', and the latter to convey 'the following day'.

This can get tricky, though, because you'll have to remember to roll an extra few seconds after you shoot a scene. That is, after your actors finish their lines, you'll want them to continue their activity as you roll for a little bit more before yelling cut. That will give you the extra time needed for a cross dissolve.

Again, excellent work -- keep going, don't stop!

P.S. I like the kicker at the end!
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