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Old July 22nd, 2003, 04:34 AM   #1
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Our new film "At Confession" - please take a look.

Hi guys, well we've finally completed our most recent project called At Confession. I've received a TON of advice and help on this forum and I am greatful that this community is available to assist people interested in filmmaking. Thanks especially to Ken Tanaka, Charles Papert and Simon Orange who really helped me in a big way.

Here is the link

http://www.fusionarena.com/ac


A little info about the film. We shot it over a weekend last June. The equipment used was a Canon XL1s, 16x manual lens, Arri Fresnel Lights, and a Sennheisser ME66 Mic. Shot in 16:9 frame mode, edited on Premiere/Canopus DVStorm, and a bit of color correcting in After Effects.

It was my first attempt at lighting and I still have a lot to learn. A lot of the lighting was a last minute run and gun operation. I'm still a newbie to field and post audio as well so there may be some sound issues on different speakers. Hopefully all is well. I'd appreciate any feedback (positive or negative) or questions anyone may have.

Thanks!
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 06:53 AM   #2
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Since I'm reasonably inexperienced, take any of this with a grain of salt!

I liked the way the piece looked. I thought it was lit well and felt the background music fit perfectly. I figured out the story pretty early on, but it was interesting, none-the-less. I thought the sound was good.

My only thoughts of concern would be:

1. Some shots maybe should have been on a tripod - I saw camera movement when showing some scenes in the church.

2. At first glance, some of the opening scenes were cut a little too quick for my taste!

3. What he 'found' was cleared up in the end, but I felt a closer shot of 'it' would have been a little better.

Just opinions. Overall, I thought it looked really good. Congratulations.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:46 AM   #3
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Fabulous!

Dear Brad:

Your film has high production values. Wonderful. Better than anything I've done to date. It has ambiance. It has a moving story (infidelity). The locations were awesome, the acting good and the camera work was good (although I agree with Mark that a tripod might have been a good idea only because the frame movement came to attention and when I realized it had nothing to do with the story it detracted).

One question: how did you get to used a copyrighted short story? Did you actually buy the rights? I would love ot know because that is the road I will take next.

Thank you for your movie. I am in good company and you motivate me to continue my own projects. Keep it up.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 11:06 AM   #4
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thanks guys!

Yea about those shakey shots, we didn't use a tripod in the church and I wish I would have. Believe it or not, the shots were actually much worse than what they are now. I used SteadyHand software to try and stabilize them and it worked a bit, but not completley. Lesson learned: when using the manual lens, mount it! The lens is very unstable, especially at the telephoto end. :)

Mark, thanks. I agree with all your suggestions. I also feel the beginning is cut together too quickly. Reason why we did that was because we needed to time it out with the music, but now that I look back, I'd rather have not cut between shots so quickly.

Hugh, as far as the original short story we used, I was searching online for short stories in January. I came across the author's website and saw one of his stories. That story is basically the final 30 seconds of the movie. I decided to take a chance and email the author (H. Stanbrough) and tell him I was interested in filming the concept. He was very happy about it and was willing to let us take his idea and expand it however we wanted. His only requirement was a credit and for me to keep in touch with him on the film's progress. We spent the next few weeks kicking ideas back and forth. I really couldn't have asked for anything more from this guy. I'm glad we decided to ask him because you'd think most people are going to say no, but I think a lot of writers would love to see their short stories filmed. Though I imagine it get's more difficult when you're trying to clear the rights to a well known story from a famous author.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 12:33 PM   #5
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That was a powerful short. I love endings like that, where you don't know what to expect until the very end.

I guess I was too involved in the story to notice any shakey shots because I don't recall seeing any. The shot with the plane flying over was fantastic! The parallel storytelling was good too, I liked how the narraration was a slightly different story than the images we saw.

That's great that you got to use the short story! I agree with you, I think a lot of authors would love to see their stories come to life like that, especially if it's as well done as yours was.
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Old July 23rd, 2003, 04:54 AM   #6
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I like the story too and think you did a good job at everything. I especially liked how the movie on your page loaded quickly and played smoothly. That doesn't always happen. I would have liked to see a dialogue scene between the husband and wife, but thats just me. I enjoyed it. Congrats. Hope I can do as well on mine.
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Old July 23rd, 2003, 11:10 AM   #7
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Nice job. My only complaint that hasn't been addressed yet was the bedroom scene. I felt like they were sleeping on a futon or something but maybe that's just me. My favorite shot had to be the plane shot as someone else said. Nice work.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 12:22 AM   #8
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Ecellent job! It took an unsuspected twist at the end for me. How did you mic the actors in the booths with the ME66?
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Old July 24th, 2003, 12:38 AM   #9
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Good stuff. That was great. I thought I knew what was going to happen about half way through, but that didn't happen. :D

The only thing I would of liked to see, is him actually getting shot, full with blood special effects and a bullet hole, and a nice dolly/zoom shot of him lying in the corner dead, instead of the sound and going to white, but thats just me.

The lighting on some of the shots looked great also, mainly the confessional booth shots.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 10:48 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the constructive criticism guys. Any and all feedback is always appreciated as I think it makes us all better filmmakers in the long run. The way the confessional scenes were mic'd was from below using a boom. Yes, I do agree the bedroom scene could have used a nicer bedroom. Next time we won't be using that bedroom again. The tripod is a good suggestion for future similar shots we'll be doing, We'll try incorporating a steadicam to add some movement. We just don't happen to have one at the moment.


Thanks again! And keep your comments coming! :)
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Old July 24th, 2003, 12:08 PM   #11
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Hi guys, thanks again for the comments. Yea regarding the mics in the booth, we had to mic them from underneath as Steve said. Reason why we did this was because the boom up high was creating some bad shadows and we didn't want to change the lighting setup.

Though I would highly recommend against this technique unless you really have to do it. The mics really should be placed above the actors at an angle, and since they were underneath, we had a lot of sound problems to contend with. Every time the actors breathed out through their nose or mouth, the mic picked it up in a very bad way and I had to go in and delete all that in Cool Edit. It also picks up more clicks and pops in the actors voices than when you mount the mic from above. We recorded all the narration/voiceover for the whole movie that same day in the booth in our house. The woman who lived in the apartment above was stomping around in her high heels on her hardwood floor. Since the mic was pointing up, that sure didn't help. Along with cars driving by outside, it was a major headache recording the sound but we eventually got through it.

The booth basically consisted of a barbecue grill as a screen, a wooden border, and some tall wooden planks which we stained. There's actually only one side of the booth, we just had the actors switch around and changed the lighting setup between takes. Building the booth ourselves instead of using a real booth allowed us to practice different lighting setups the week before the shoot.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #12
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That's pretty interesting about the booth. It reminds me of my only short (not nearly as good as yours!). It was set during The Depression and had two boys sneaking into a funeral home to touch a dead body. I had to build a coffin from scratch for the scene. Four sides of plywood with an oak veneer tacked to the front, stained very dark. No bottom and no body either! It sat on a table so you couldn't tell.

For the lid, I hinged it, but only so it would raise only about 1-1.5 inches. I did this because I didn't want anyone to see that nothing was in it, so I stained the first two inches or so of the inside, so that when they opened the coffin, you didn't/couldn't see the white plywood!

In the scene, the boys close their eyes to "listen" at the coffin and the undertaker comes in and slams the coffin closed, scaring them out of the room. As I didn't want the boys to have their fingers smashed, I had to put a black knob on the lid so they could hold on to it! The things you think of at the last minute!!!

Anyway, the coffin is one of the first things I built during pre-production and it sat on my Mom's back porch for nearly two months! What the neighbors must have thought!

Great job on the short again. I did enjoy it.
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Old July 25th, 2003, 12:07 AM   #13
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haha that's a good story Mark. Do you have the short online?
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Old July 25th, 2003, 07:41 AM   #14
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Nah. As a first attempt, it wasn't too bad, but there are many mistakes that I would prefer to keep to myself!!! I had some very experienced individuals that helped me with the piece. If these people had not volunteered, it could have been more disasterous!
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Old July 25th, 2003, 08:47 AM   #15
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Nice short indeed. I agree with tripod as well. Use it more often :)

Did you color correct any of this? I personally would have given it
a much darker look I think.

Good job!!
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