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Old March 13th, 2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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A Second Chance - Short Film

Hey everyone,

I just shot a recent short for a competition and I feel it turned out very well with what we were working with.

Here is a short description of what we were going for:
"There are millions of homeless in America, and some do not have any means of sanctuary. Our film shows one example of the response probably many have when they see a homeless man on the streets. With the economy on a downturn, some might find themselves homeless. We feel that we need to understand what the homeless are going through and offer any assistance we can to help make their lives better"

Technical Details:
Runtime: 00:04:38
Canon XHA1 and Redrock (I only used it in one scene)
Edited in FCP2 with color curves.
I built a homemade dolly out of 36x36 plywood, angle aluminum, inline skate wheels, and pvc pipe.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have feedback, please be helpful as I will definitely consider it for future projects.

http://www.vimeo.com/782672

Thanks,
-Josh
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Old March 14th, 2008, 05:52 AM   #2
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Nice sense of pace. I liked your overall framing and letting the action take place. Nice choice of colour grading. Did you have it on auto exposure? I got quite a bit exposure hunting from the Vimeo download. Saw this on the "morgue-corridor" section and somewhere else too.

Grazie
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Old March 14th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. I used an Mp4 copy for the web and the exposure hunting seemed to be more noticeable with that than my H.264 copy. I will defiantly make sure it is off next time.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 04:21 AM   #4
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I liked the framing, the use of lenses (I guess that's the redrock in the hospital), the colorcorrection. Kudo's for that! Very pro looking.

But I did not like the acting (and for that matter, the actor-directing). The main character is not played well, with little acting-cliché's hidden in his movements. (The opening and closing of his mouth when disappointed, the way he looks around him when he calls, he 'freezes' when he meets the second homeless guy in the end, etc.)
I can see he's constantly aware of the camera. Maybe that's because the camera is placed too close in front of him (consider more long lenses) or there is too much crew on the set (that can distract).

So, again, kudo's for the professional look, but if you had invested more in acting, it would have been much better.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #5
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I like the sentiment the video has, i live in the country so when i go to Edinburgh and am asked for change i always give them some.....gave an older guy my burger king meal that i just bought once.

The way you filmed it seems to me to be very contradicting, you obviously went to a lot of effort to set up a dolly for those nice tracking shots and get locations like the hospitol or doctors office but you also had a few shots where the camera is on a tripod an locked off for the whole shot.

I think (imo) if you go to the trouble of setting up a dynamic shot like a track and dolly you should give more thought to "the simple shots" for example when he goes back to the wall where the homeless guy was standing instead of just a static shot i would have done that in two shots starting with a hand held mid shot from the chest up giving a bit of shallow depth of field and motion and then cut to a wide to show he isn't there.

As for the acting don't worry about it, good actors are not easy to find for free.

Andy.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivo van Aart View Post
I liked the framing, the use of lenses (I guess that's the redrock in the hospital), the colorcorrection. Kudo's for that! Very pro looking.

But I did not like the acting (and for that matter, the actor-directing). The main character is not played well, with little acting-cliché's hidden in his movements. (The opening and closing of his mouth when disappointed, the way he looks around him when he calls, he 'freezes' when he meets the second homeless guy in the end, etc.)
I can see he's constantly aware of the camera. Maybe that's because the camera is placed too close in front of him (consider more long lenses) or there is too much crew on the set (that can distract).

So, again, kudo's for the professional look, but if you had invested more in acting, it would have been much better.
Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. As far the acting goes, they all have little experience with film and were not paid (theater actors). The freeze at the end is meant to be his thinking of what had happened in the past and his chance to possibly save someone. What lenses do you recommend for those type of shots? Thanks again for the feedback!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Graham View Post
I like the sentiment the video has, i live in the country so when i go to Edinburgh and am asked for change i always give them some.....gave an older guy my burger king meal that i just bought once.

The way you filmed it seems to me to be very contradicting, you obviously went to a lot of effort to set up a dolly for those nice tracking shots and get locations like the hospitol or doctors office but you also had a few shots where the camera is on a tripod an locked off for the whole shot.

I think (imo) if you go to the trouble of setting up a dynamic shot like a track and dolly you should give more thought to "the simple shots" for example when he goes back to the wall where the homeless guy was standing instead of just a static shot i would have done that in two shots starting with a hand held mid shot from the chest up giving a bit of shallow depth of field and motion and then cut to a wide to show he isn't there.

As for the acting don't worry about it, good actors are not easy to find for free.

Andy.
Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it. As far as dollys go, this is my first time using one and I had shot most of the street scenes before I built it. Since we have just completed the regional competition level today (first place), we will move on to our state competition and I can reshoot items that I feel worried about. I'll defiantly consider doing more dynamic shots with what you said. What do you think about the wide church shot? I feel as if I've cut off the top portion.. do you think it would look better from an angle and the whole church in frame? Thanks again.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #7
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I think the wide shot was fine however i personally never stop the camera moving, my advice is use your dolly as much as you can, use it in different ways with varied speeds.

Obviously picking your shot is important but i tend to spend more time thinking about how the shots cut together, if i see a beautifull shot but can't find a way to cut it in i won't use it for the good of the film.

IMO Making a film seamless so the audience is never aware of the editing is the most important part of filmmaking and its the thing that people do wrong in 90 percent of the films i watch on this site.

I'll give you some basic advice that will change things for you, first you need to dump the tripod unless of course your on the dolly or are using a large still wide for dramatic effect, hand held is perfectly good and it allows you to move with the character in a more dynamic way although you need to remember to keep it level and keep it controled, never roll the camera.

Then you need to cover the hell out of a shot, do the ones in the shot list then do a few more with close ups, extreme close ups and anything else that looks good on the day giving you plenty to work with in the edit suite.

Thirdly and this is where most people go wrong is the editing. Editing isn't just sticking images together, the more you make films the more you will realise that every project evolves away from the original concept and that is because the editing is really where the story telling is happening. I have two basic rules when i edit and they are 1)always cut on an action and 2)never let the character completely leave the frame unless he/she is going to come back into it.

Here is a promo i shot and edited to gain funding for the project. I know its quite a large file but i think it would benefit you to see what i mean by always cut on an action and never let the character leave frame. I also never used a tripod except on the dolly.

http://www.box.net/shared/static/rp7see9x4s.mov

Hope this in some way helps you in the regional competition and congrats on first place in the local competition.

Andy.
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Actor: "where would that light be coming from?"
DP: "same place as the music" -Andrew Lesnie-
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Gooden View Post
Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. As far the acting goes, they all have little experience with film and were not paid (theater actors). The freeze at the end is meant to be his thinking of what had happened in the past and his chance to possibly save someone. What lenses do you recommend for those type of shots? Thanks again for the feedback!
I'm not a DOP, so not an expert. As a director I would give an actor (especially someone with theater background) more room to move in. Putting the camera close (using a 35mm lens or less) makes an actor who's not used to working with a camera quite nervous. My advise would be to find a better actor, or train the actor that you use. If there's no time or money for that, I would switch to a telelens (100mm or so), so you can put the camera at a distance making it less present for the actor. If you really want to film with a wide-angle lens, that would be a problem. But in my opinion, acting comes first.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivo van Aart View Post
But in my opinion, acting comes first.
Your absolutely right, a bad actor will kill your film no matter how well filmed it is god knows iv worked with my fair share of terrible actors. The only thing is as i said before a good actor is very hard to come by for free. Iv held audditions where most of them had been to university and they were still bad. That says to me (although iv never tried it before ) that trying to train someone isn't going to do anything unless they are quick learners and have natural talent and you have to be very lucky to find a diamond in the rough that hasn't been noticed by agents yet and thats why at entry level filmmaking theres not much you can do about bad acting.
__________________
Actor: "where would that light be coming from?"
DP: "same place as the music" -Andrew Lesnie-

Last edited by Andy Graham; March 16th, 2008 at 05:12 PM.
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