Our new short: "on the FLOP" at DVinfo.net

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Old August 6th, 2003, 04:05 PM   #1
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Our new short: "on the FLOP"

To all:

Well, my good friend Adam Capps and I have been working on a short film the past month or so and I wanted to share it with you guys and get any comments and criticisms you had of the short. Brutal honesty is always welcome and appreciated. I plan to add this short to my portfolio as one of the main pieces for applying to film schools this December so I want to hear what everyone thinks.

To set it up: this short is the first part in a three part movie. At the conclusion of this part, the movie will cut back to a few days earlier and we learn of who the characters are in relation to each other and why certain things happened. Also, the title will make sense once the movie is complete as now, it doesn't really :D The third part will take us back to the end of this first part for the conclusion of the movie.

The short is 95% finished as we plan to reshoot one shot in the beginning when the main character is talking on his phone in the car, it was a shoot at dusk that day and when we got to this shot, it was too dark and we ended up with the grainy poor quality video shot that you will see. The rest of the short is pretty much complete and in its final stage though some tweaking never hurt anyone. There are also some little flaws that I'm sure people will point out ;)

BUDGET: zero dollars. We had a light kit from my school but on location, the only power source we were planning on turned out to not be connected so we could only run one light off of a power inverter we bought from wal-mart late that night. Note to self: always check a wall outlet before assuming it will work.

EQUIPMENT: Panasonic DV852 camera, Canon Wide Angle lense converter, Glidecam 2000, Lowell Light kit (borrowed), Premiere 6.5.


First off to my good friend Adam Capps who is a creative mastermind and always great support. Our ideas and storyboards really flow and we always have fun working together.

Supportive friends/actors: Geoff Bradshaw, Cori Farris, David Schlawbach - for staying calm and cooperative when the shoots would run till 3 and 4 am.

Cindy Johns: gave some film dorks a break by letting us shoot at a great location.

THE FILE FORMAT: I had to compress the file to a size of under 20 megs and I couldn't get Quicktime to get me an adequate compromise between file size and quality so it's in Windows media 9 format.

Here are some frame grabs for those who aren't sure if they want to download the short or not......


THE SHORT: Click and "save as" to download it to your computer or if you have a fast connection, it should stream it correctly but I'm not sure...

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~berobert/on the flop small.wmv
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Old August 7th, 2003, 07:43 AM   #2
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I liked it. I liked to shot of the ceiling with the Fluorescents. I can telll you liked it too. You picked some cool frames too for the action. I own a jeep, so I am biased.

I noticed a continuity error, I can remember is that the Jeeps headlights were off in one shot, and then on in another. It wasn't clear who turned them on, because the protaganist never returned to the vehicle. Also, the sky light doesn't quite match from the opening shots , or when he is driving. It's like he started at night, drove till day, got to the place at dusk, and worked thru the night. I would have liked to see some closeups of the bad guys when they spoke.

I liked the echo fade on the music, but the choice of music (golden brown) throws me a bit because I saw Snatch, so I will think of that movie for the next 5 years when I hear it.

Good work, show the next part here.

Why did you call it "On The Flop?"
Director: http://www.mediathreat.com
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Old August 7th, 2003, 09:23 AM   #3
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Wide angle lenses rule, especially in narrow hallways.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 11:29 AM   #4
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on the Flop - informal review

Bryan...Dude I liked the short so far...I'm glad I re-read your post, 'cause I was here asking myself...what happened? is that the end?...now I know that you have more to shoot and add...my bad.

I loved the music...it was perfect and appropriate. The shot of him breathing hard while hiding was right on. I also caught the product placement with the obvious WALMART box in the night scene. I didn't watch it for continuity like John, I was too involved with the suspense. But his points were right on.

Peevish - the footsteps didn't exactly make sense or stop right after the shots. The shooters didn't scare me...should they? I thought they should be ominous and threatening...can you shoot it with them wearing stockings over their faces, it sort of distorts the faces and makes them scarier than full face caps. He says 'man' twice in the same scene 'Yo man' and something like 'you alright man?'...not really what you and I would say is it? But that's me being too picky...

I've watched it 5 times and I still jump after he stops and the 'door kick' sound scares him.

Great job.

Hurry up and get the next piece out so we can see it!

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Old August 7th, 2003, 01:27 PM   #5
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first off - Thanks everyone for watching the movie and giving feedback!

John - I'm glad someone with a great eye is watching this!

Regarding the jeep's headlights, I believe you are reffering to when the two bad guys are approaching the jeep in their van as opposed to a shot earlier when the bad guy turns the corner and sees the jeep off in the distance. Well the headlights were actually off both times, the second time it might have seemed as if they were turned on but that was becuase the van's headlights were reflecting off the jeep's. I hope that isn't a widespread issue.

Regarding the day night thing - that is why I was saying in the intro that the shot of Adam talking on his cell phone must be reshot. In theory, the opening was supposed to start off during the day and work it's way to dusk/night. When it cuts from Adam on the phone to the storage space, the storage space shooting began around 11 pm so it was in fact night, though the bright lights could make it seem like a time change.

Regarding the close ups of the bad guys talking - you're right, and the place that looking back where I'd like to have them the most would be with the long glidecam take when they get into the van. Some close up shots intercut here would have been a great touch, I think somtimes I get too into long takes and forget that a close up with dialogue would add a level of professionalism to a situation such as this :)

Regarding Snatch Golden Brown - sigh. This was a major fear I had when choosing this song for the ending. I tried many different songs but none had the ironic but yet subdued effect that Golden Brown had when showing these cuts. I was hoping that it's recognition with Snatch wouldn't get in the way but I think that with true fans of Snatch and film people alike, it will. When I cut part one and two together, I'll change the song to avoid this problem.

Regarding the title - "on the FLOP" as a title will make sense once part two comes out. The title is actually a slang term for the poker game "texas holdem" and there will be slight reference to the title in part two.

Kalmin - thanks for the feedback. I didn't understand what you meant with the footsteps not making sense or stopping after the shots. If you could explain further, I'd love to fix this as I can't stand continuity errors, they're my biggest annoyance. The two shooters weren't really supposed to be THAT scary. You learn exactly who they are in part two and I think it'll make more sense. When he says "man" twice, I can see your point. None of us ever thought this was wierd because we do kind of talk like that, saying man and cussing alot but our ages only range from 21-22. I'm glad that the door kick sound was effective, I think it sounds kewl.

Thanks for everyone's feedback and time to watch the short!
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Old August 7th, 2003, 01:34 PM   #6
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Bryan, don't get me wrong...the cussing was right on...we all say it, especially if something has scared the #$@ out of us. So on that note it was right on.... I'll look again about the footsteps.

Please don't let my comments disturb you, your film has personality, and that's what counts.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 01:46 PM   #7
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Kalim - your comments don't disturb me at all. I really enjoy any feedback I can get because it helps me look at our work from different perspectives....Thanks again!
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Old August 7th, 2003, 01:59 PM   #8
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You didn't include the mic in your setup list. What kind of mic did you use? Shotgun, on-camera, etc.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 02:14 PM   #9
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Downloaded the film, but only get audio with WMP for Mac.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 02:26 PM   #10
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I thought it was fantastic for a short. Even compressed it looked great. The thing that really made it stand out, was the scoring. Background music makes all the difference. The area kinda looked familiar... where did you shoot it?

Kalmin- as far as the dialogue you commented on... in a situation like the guy was in, adrenalin and nerves are taking control, and there is no telling what anyone might say or do. It was real enough.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 03:20 PM   #11
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Kalmin - first sorry for mis-spelling your name in the last post :D - Well we HAD a sennheiser shotgun mic but after shooting the first take of the driving scenes, the damn thing shorted out on us. SO.... the entire short that you see is all onboard mic sound, the best way to go if you ask me (I'm kidding, on board mics suck).

Keith - I'm glad you liked the short. I hope you realize that I didn't compose the musical score but took bits and pieces of about 6 or 7 songs by the Music Bakery (musicbakery.com) and Freeplaymusic.com and made them fit with the story. The songs I used were actually quite cheesy but hidden within the songs were a few bars each of decent sounding stuff. I hope the strength of the short wasn't the actual scores themselves as I had no part in them; I only picked/choosed/blended and slightly altered them and made due with what I had. As for location, the short was shot here in Raleigh NC. The opening was shot behind a closed down supermarket and the rest was shot in a local storage space. I had to store a good deal of my furniture when I changed roomies about 3 months ago. When I went inside to store my stuff I saw the extremely long cooridors and cold flourescent lighting and said "damn, this is scary in here". I was in the process of brainstorming for my next short and the idea was born (but the original concept was too far fetched. after some toning down, this is what we ended up with).

Peter - I'm sorry man, I don't know what to tell you. I compressed the thing using the free WM encoder provided by microsoft and the other users here seemed to have good luck with it. I guess try changing some settings or see if it works on a buddies computer.

Thanks everyone, all feedback is appreciated......
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Old August 7th, 2003, 04:25 PM   #12
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This is just a quick note: My compression advisor :) Peter Sieben informed me that Windows Media 9 compression WILL NOT WORK with MACS as of yet. I'll work on a solution but with extremely tight web hosting space (it's on my school account) I don't know if a solution is in grasp as of yet. Sorry mac users...
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Old August 10th, 2003, 07:20 PM   #13
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Once again proven, it is the story, direction, editing and mixing that makes the movie, not the camera.

The best (my opinion) 1CCD cam is yet again proven! Makes me feel like keeping my MX8...

Although undoubtedly non-professional, my wife liked the suspense very much. Keep up the good work.

As for continuity, the jeep's headlight really needs a little touching up. Any possibility of filming a short clip and editing it in to fix up the lights on and lights off problem?

You can also try the DivX compression, able to squeeze filesize down 30 times with minimal loss in observed quality.
Cam: Panasonic MX350EN, SOLD my MX8EN
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PC: Pentium 4 2800MHz, 512 MB, WindowsXP
SW: iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Ulead Video Studio, various little utilities
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Old August 11th, 2003, 10:15 AM   #14
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I enjoyed this one, you have a good eye and good pacing going on. I would love to see all three parts when you're done. The Golden Brown song threw me as it did others, but perhaps it makes more sense when the story is completed. You have a lot of guts putting out what is basically a third of your movie out for critique. Good job.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 08:02 AM   #15
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good pacing, good suspense.
The boxes that just happened to be strung out in the middle of the alley way seemed contrived. Were they supposed to be trash? I don't know of any storage place that would allow that.

Using the edge of a building would have worked just as well. Other than that minor nit pick, great work.
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