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Old December 6th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #1
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Finished Second Movie

Hey, I'm back! This is my second movie from September 2007. I'd like some feedback on the project. I did this project when I was 14. The sound is an improvement over the last movie but the wind noise is a problem. Any suggestions other than to shoot inside?

You can go directly to the video here: http://gallery.mac.com/royermedia#100043

Or visit www.royermedia.com to see the full website.

Give me some feedback please.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #2
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Nick,

You did this when you were 14? I'm impressed!

As far as the wind noise, yes, I think it is distracting. Also, it appeared to be at a slow framerate or perhaps have some sort of fake '24p effect', is this due to encoding for web? If so, that one is of course forgiven. :D I thought that overall the colors could have been a little bit more saturated, a little bit darker and contrasted. How are you color correcting?

All in all, it seems like you're really off to a wonderful start. You're taking the time to get the shots that you want. I look forward to seeing more of your work as you progress as a filmmaker!

Carl
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Old December 6th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #3
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It appeared to be at a slow framerate or perhaps have some sort of fake '24p effect', is this due to encoding for web? If so, that one is of course forgiven. :D
It's because of the web uploading. I did shoot 24p with a Canon XL2 but the effect you noticed is because of the web encoding. I didn't do color correcting on this picture because I didn't really know how to at the time but since then I've upgraded to Final Cut Studio 2 so now I'm learning Color for my next movie. Thanks.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #4
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Definitely looking forward to it. You also may want to invest in something like Magic Bullet Looks or a similar product - I've found that one greatly helps me with professional color grading, good stuff!

C
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Old December 7th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #5
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What is Magic Bullet, what does it do, and how much does it cost? Is it an advantage over Color?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #6
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I've never used Color, check it out at http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/magicbulletlooks.html :)
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Old December 7th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #7
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I've never used Color, check it out at http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/magicbulletlooks.html :)
Thanks Carl. I don't think I'm going to spend $400 when I already have Color though.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #8
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As far as wind noise goes, you pretty much have to record it without the wind noise. costume fur around your microphone will help diffuse the wind and is cheap. Just sew a sleeve to fit the mic with long haired costume fur (as realistic as possible either gray or black as a neutral non-light altering element on set.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 09:47 PM   #9
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Thanks. I'm used a Rode NTG-1 but not always on the boom pole because I thought I would do ADR later. Next time I'm using it the whole time. I'm also looking to buy a light kit from Lowell before my next movie, although I wouldn't have been able to use those on this movie anyway because it was made in such remote locations.

Also could I get some comments on the overall movie too please?
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Old December 8th, 2007, 02:44 AM   #10
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Alright, the sky seems a bit overexposed in some of the shots...you could help bring those down more by being very careful about where you put the sun in relation to your actors...you'll note that the shot by the tractor had a blue sky, while other shots had a blown out white sky. A Polarizer filter and bounce cards (sarcasm: especially in that wind) will help dial the sky's exposure down a bit and the reflectors, the actor's faces up a bit. By getting the exposure of the faces closer to the sky, you'll be able to close the expose down slightly to tame the sky. White shirts create their own problems in DV as it tends to blow out quickly, off whites and grays can stand in for white and look better in a DV camera.

The acting looked like inexperienced actors, but I've seen worse. A trick for that is to have them rehearse the lines with the camera rolling, but don't let them know it's rolling, the camera stress off of them, you'll get nice relaxed performances out of non actors who tend to clam up when you say action...make sure the crew knows to be quiet during these times so you can get usable takes...and stay out of frame as a director during these times as well.

A couple of extra takes each and getting cutaways to kids playing or picnicers arriving/milling around/chatting could give some editing options to cover jumping from a good delivery of the beginning of a line in the first take to the good delivery of the second part in the third take...little things like a fist tightening on the steering wheel during the admission that he wants to go away, or the bit about his brother missing. Shows the manifestations of the internal emotional state of the character.

Shot choice was good, the frames were pretty, I'd have liked to have seem some slightly tighter shots...but if you've ever seen my shorts, you know I'm partial to tighter closeups. Partly due to the fact that I shoot in DV and I'm spending as many pixels as I can on the subject. But your shots give a great sense of scope. Love that shot of the 3 older women against the corn with the bratty kid setting fireworks off behind them...cool picture.

The music starts to wear a bit in the middle as it doesn't change throughout the entirety of the unfolding drama.

Editing was a bit table tennis. During the conversation in the truck, you cut between every line of dialog. You can hide these cuts a bit by letting the next actor start talking before cutting to them, it makes the viewer want to change viewpoint to see who's talking...you can also mix it up a bit by having the character just speaking offscreen. Standard verbal responses "uh-huh" and "yeah" in the middle of a conversation interrupt the flow a bit. I'd have tried to stick a little more the a traditional monologue with just the questions/comments that drive/motivate the next bit of the monologue.

tripod moves were a little jerky, more practice with the tripod...or putting hair binders or rubber bands around the end of the tripod handle and using that to pull on the handle will smooth out the camera moves without spending more than a couple of bucks on a bag of hair binders (I like the Goody brand thick metal free elastic hair binders in black).

Start playing around with camera motion (build a dolly and a crane, they're not that hard to make)...this will take the nice framing you've got and the good sense of photography you've got gong on and move it into a more cinematic feel (a great and necessary book about this is Stephen Katz's great treatise: Directing, shot by shot...and the second book in the series: Cinematic Motion. I consider these two books absolutely necessary to any starting filmmaker.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 06:45 AM   #11
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Actors

Yeah I've never been able to get trained actors before for various reasons but on the next film I am going to do casting ahead of time and then have a professional actor that i know help them make it better.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #12
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I think non-actors really hone your acting chops by forcing you to figure out how to get an honest performance delivered by someone with no training in how to do so. The guy doing the prayer is a perfect example, he reminded me of my father in law saying grace before holiday family gatherings...I was sold on his performance. How ever you got that performance worked for that character...figure out what the magic was on that one and keep building up a toolbox of directorial technique that you can pull out whenever you need it.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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Carl (the guy who gave the prayer) did a good job in part because he was also in my last movie so he knows what to expect and also I just had him say a praye, the words weren't scripted. I find that when working with non-actors having them improvise the script usually turns out better. For example, the scene at the tractor with Steve (the dad) and Cole (the kid) turned out preety good cause I just had them look over the script and then do the scene without brakes, although I kind of wish now I would have shot some more angles on that scene too.

My mom's friend has directed a couple of plays as well as high school movies, so next time she is going to help by having the actors rehearse ahead of time.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 11:01 AM   #14
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Out of all the non-actors (excluding Carl), which do you think did the best job?
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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #15
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Love that shot of the 3 older women against the corn with the bratty kid setting fireworks off behind them...cool picture.
Yeah I was the kid in there. It was my little cameo appearance. There is also a silver case in the night fireworks scene for a split second that was significant in my last movie.

Speaking of the fireworks scene, that actually ended up really good I think. The fireworks were from July 4th and the actors were shot in my basement two months later with a computer monitor flashing colors on them.
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