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Old July 13th, 2003, 07:09 AM   #1
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Short movie: ZZZAP

Dear all,

The last few months a couple of friends and I have been working on a short movie called ZZZAP. This movie is about television: is it an informative window to the whole wide world, or is it just a dark mirror?

From now ZZZAP has on my website

http://www.orphic.nl/odm

a special section (check 'Videoprojects'). You can watch the movie online and find also lot's of background information.

Enjoy watching!

Best of wishes,

Peter Sieben
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Old July 13th, 2003, 07:51 AM   #2
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I thought it was shot well. The light and color came out really nice, except for the grey and overcast beach shot. What can you do? Mother Nature isn't on the payroll!
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:42 PM   #3
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Wow, I'm a big fan. This is the best thing I've seen posted around here in a while IMO. A little slow at the beginning but that set the mood. I really can't stand the title though, it makes me think of the gay guy from the Simpsons who had his retro toy store going "zzap, zzap". The TV parts with the crazy guy zapping things was really pulled off well as well as the trasition from TV beach to real beach zoom in. I also loved the dissolve/superimposition with the rotate around the guy whith the long shot...... Two big thumbs up....
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:56 PM   #4
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clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

I loved it Peter ! The effects and content were excellent.

(Another good reason why I should keep the remote away from my wife)
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:54 AM   #5
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Nice work peter!! Thought I had seen the sea location before,
but checking your behind the scenes I must conclude I haven't!
Looks a lot like a place north of Groningen.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 11:16 AM   #6
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Peter, I like your site, by the way. Very clean and light. My next version of my personal site will be like that.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 11:34 AM   #7
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That was a success, Peter. Excellent technique. Very inspiring. I loved your slow camera movements from the tracking to that sudden dash to the television. Great direction. I knew this was going to be a good one from the beginning shot. I'm a big fan of establishing on something very out of the ordinary like you did on the roof texture. Rather, the subject itself is ordinary but you make the audience wonder to themselves what this movie is about while the titles resolve.

(It's good that you logged your efforts on your website too. Useful information for us DV makers)

My only small problems with it were:
1) It's not really clear why the man sitting in the chair is so surprised when the sunglasses man appears on his TV. He seems too shocked. I think it would be more natural to build up his reaction so that at first he thinks it is just a special program on his TV. And then when he realizes it is something very strange his sense of disturbance increases.

2) Also, it's not really clear why this is all happening. I like the cleverness of the man inside the TV deleting things from the room but I wanted to know why this was happening. The thought in my head was that he was retaliating because this couch potato is somehow deleting things from the TV world.

3) You cross the axis a couple times. I wouldn't be too concerned about that.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 12:59 PM   #8
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Thank you all, and....

Thank you all for your responses.


Keith F, indeed is Mother Nature not on the payroll. None of the other helpful people either but somehow it was possible to manage them for 10% ;-)


Jim: you could consider changing your tv to a cheap portable model without a remote. That'll prevent her from zapping.


Rob: well most of our Dutch coast has these kind of places. Perhaps the next victim will zapped to Groningen!


Keith L: good you share these thoughts. They make me rethink of the process and results. I'd like to react on your comments:

1) You're right. I have to admit that most of my preparations didn't concentrate the tension development of the main character. By the way: was it clear for you that he sees himself? His dark mirrored version? In my opinion I would be shocked, especially if the tv would zap to that channel automatically and the guy on the tv is taking over control.

2) Well, this is my personal taste towards art. The meaning in this story isn't important to me, although I'd like to address an overal general statement about television. Has it a possitive influence on our life or is it an intruder that reflects on yourself?

3) I have read about this rule but didn't follow it on purpose. I 've read interviews with professional filmmakers who also do not bother about it. My photography background made me search for different angles for every shot to keep the attention of the viewer, otherwise the number of possible angles (without a wideangle lens) are reduced in the rather small room in which we shot the movie.


Again, thank you all. Inspiring to read your thoughts. Learning has to do with rethinking your assumptions and that is what you have have managed!

Best of wishes,

Peter Sieben
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Old July 14th, 2003, 01:20 PM   #9
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To tell you the truth, Peter, I totally missed that the man in the TV was the same as the man in the room. Perhaps I am not the most observant viewer... did anyone else not get this?
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Old July 14th, 2003, 01:25 PM   #10
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I caught it.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 07:36 AM   #11
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I thought as well the person on the TV was the same guy. But
only because his reaction was so "intense". Otherwise I would
not have seen it!
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Old July 19th, 2003, 08:01 AM   #12
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Also Quicktime version available!

For all those Apple people out there who asked for it....

A Quicktime 5 version of ZZZAP (20 MB, medium quality) is now available online. Check it out at:

http://www.orphic.nl/odm
(check ZZZAP at the Videoprojects, then click for the Media section)
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Old July 20th, 2003, 04:29 AM   #13
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Great job. Some of the best creativity I have seen in a long time.
two things that would of been nice to push.
when he put the bowl of chips in his lap it would of been nice to make it a totally extreme shot. Maybe put boxes under him and raise him up alittle more so as not to cut off the top of his head. Then when you have the CU of the mouth you could keep the same position as the lap shot but zoom in from that position.

I really enjoyed this and liked the effect of going through the television into the beach. It would of been nice to do that shot slow and stead then speed it up and shake it in post. You might of then been able to make it seamless.

Enjoyable.

Rob:D

DVD- is it in PAL? and how much?
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Old July 20th, 2003, 05:54 AM   #14
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Peter,

Really entertaining film...and inspiring. Here are some comments...negatives first, then positives.

Negatives:

1. It wasn't clear to me either at first that it's the same guy. Maybe having him dress the same way and sitting in the same way or even the exact same setting (mirror image) would help clarify it.
2. I'd like to see the low angle of him eating chips raised a bit higher.
3. Sicco's shocked expression is a bit over the top. Looks cartoonish.
4. It bothers when he first sees himself on the TV until his TV-self starts zapping things. Just seems odd that he looks so shocked at first, then simply clicks off to another channel (would you click away if you saw yourself?). Then, there's a strange "not shocked anymore" moment before he's shocked again. I think it'd be faster-paced and more dramatic if you had him (1) see himself and appear shocked; (2) without clicking away appear more confused and inquisitive than shocked, kind of leaning in and peering intensely...and having the TV-self doing the same thing; (3) then have the TV-self suddenly zap a couple of things in the room; (4) have him try to click away; and (5) TV-self clicks back and zaps a few more things, then zaps him.

Positives:

1. Great lighting. What did you use in the room?
2. Nice camera movements.
3. I especially like the transition from outside the window looking down, to face on inside the room.
4. Love the zapping sequence and the part where he's zapped into the TV.
5. The dreamy pan around the room followed by the TV changing to the beach scene is one of my favorite parts.
6. Nice ending shot on the beach and I also like the video image zapping the film to a close.
7. Really nice music and sound effects. Where did you get your "pulsating hum" sound effect? And how about the music?
8. Other than the "shocked expression"...Sicco did a good job...especially as his menacing TV-self.

That's my 2 Gelder's worth. But really...I love it as it is regardless of my negative comments above. They're just feedback is all.
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Old July 20th, 2003, 06:47 AM   #15
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Robert,

Thanks for your message and remarks. Always welcome. Please find my respons on them below:

* Your suggestion of raising Sicco in his chair is a great idea, to make the shot more extreme. You're right. I felt and feel a bit limited as I only have the lens in my camcorder and am thinking of buying a wide-angle lens. Funny is that the way it is in the film is exactly like the drawing in the storyboard, including not seeing his eyes but just his mouth. You can see the comparisation from the Production Notes section of my ZZZAP website.
By the way, the close up shot of his mouth was taken from the same camera viewpoint, using only the zoom function.

* The flowing to the tv and in the tv to Sicco in his chair was made faster in during editing. I would have wanted a more stable flow (no shaking) but I couldn't, because on the beach the rocks were very slippery due to the rain and I wore old shoes with hardly any profile. So walking slowly and filming towards Sicco was still a risky business as I didn't want to fall and destroy my camera.

* The dvd+r and dvd-r (PAL) will cost a couple of dollars, just the costs of a disk, envelop, box, color photocopy etc. If you are interested, just send me an email at pesie@worldonline.nl .


=================

Hi John,

Thanks again for your remarks, positive and negative. I'd like to learn from them. Below my reactions/answers:

Negatives:
1. Something we took for granted but wasn't clear for everybody. We know Sicco, but who else? ;-)
2. See above.
3. What can you tell: an inexperienced director and a newbie actor....
4. Yes, it could've been more tight and more interactive. This is something I have to work out better next project (Lady X!).

Positives:
1. No extra lighting. Just the indirect light from outside, that was dimmed a bit by the small open place between the buildings. I did manual expose on the camcorder and "underexposed" most shots a bit during shooting.
2. Thanks to Sophie!
3. Something that was not in the script. A spontaneous idea when I filmed outside. Originally I had the idea of fillming close ups of Sicco's preparations before watching tv (filling a glass with coke, taking the crisps, putting the tv on, etc. Some of them were shot and can be seen on the dvd version.
4.-6. Thanks.
7. All "music" during the movie came from Jan Schermer, a freelance soundengineer. I had access to his own library, which is a paradise for us low budget filmmakers. Check the production notes for more info. The drumtrack of the music during the endtitles is what was left of my own attempts creating music for the opening titles. A more dark monotone intro suited the opening titles better. I also tried to make some experimental high pitched sounds to add at the empty room panning shots. These didn't fit with the dark groundtones you hear in the final version. So I added the experimental sound-sequenze to the drumtrack during the endtitles and it pan around the 5.1 speakers setup. Very easy in Vegas 4!

Thanks and greetings,

Peter Sieben
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