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Old August 12th, 2004, 10:16 PM   #1
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Sous Le Jour - A Canadian French Film

Below is a short film I completed near the beginning of the year which screened at the 2004 Kingston Film Festival here in Ontario... and rejected at many others.

It was shot using the mini35/XL1 edited in Premiere 6.5 and then Colored using After Effects 6.0.

One unique aspect of this film is the fact I chose to shoot it in the French language which I do not speak or write. I orginally wrote it in English and had it translated to French. My goal was to produce a European type looking and feeling film that would simply stand out for a "Canadian" production.

www.starcentral.ca/trailers/SousLeJour.wmv Runtime: 5:00

Enjoy, and feedback is always welcome! Thank you.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 10:41 PM   #2
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Hi Denis!

I watched it two times, and it is definitelly a good movie And unlike you when you watched my short, I can actually understand yours very well!!! :)

I loved the composition of your shots, the editing is also really well done, and the DOF of the mini35 really add to the visual aspect. If only I could have the money to buy or rent one...

Your actors are very good too, particularly the woman. The man is not bad, but his strong english canadian accent had the effect to scrap the european feel for me. But probably only french people will notice that.

The story was somewhat classical and a bit foreseeable. I think the story would have more consistency if you had more developed the reasons which led this poor man to not leave his wife.

But overall, great work, its a visually really good piece. I enjoyed watching it.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #3
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Well Jean, it is much easier to pull off a short "short" so still I commend you on your short film, it is a really great one and your effort shows. I admit Sous Le Jour was nothing more than a fragment of time, I wish I had made it longer when I wrote it but time was running out so it is what it is.

Yes the male actor definitely takes away from the Euro feel for the French viewers, I agree so I pretend that he was an English chap who tried hard to please his French mistress by speaking it!

The composition was pretty standard I think, nothing daring and mostly played safe. I would like to change that more in my future films. I edited the short for the first time and then had another editor/filmmaker make suggestions which truly made a huge difference. This was the suggestion I made to you on your film as well, it really did help me. The DOF offered by the mini35 definitely helps lose some of that video feel, and obviously isolates the characters in the foreground from the background.

Having spoken about the visuals however, I wonder if English viewers are too busy reading the subtitles to notice these observations? hehe
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Old August 17th, 2004, 08:21 AM   #4
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A simple question Dennis,

How have you managed to get the right to use the mucis? Is it complicated? How much does it cost?

Thanks!
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Old August 17th, 2004, 08:35 AM   #5
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Hello Jean, thank you for asking some questions. I have to openly say that I'm quite disappointed that no one is checking out this thread, probably because I used the film title and said it was a French film. It has subtitles, it has subtitles!. Maybe I should have put "MINI35 short / official festival selection" ?

Anyway the easiest way to obtain rights is to first contact the record label, and also the publisher. Finding the record label is easy, just look on the CD. But to find the publisher start off with www.cmrra.ca since you are here in Canada.

Once you contact them, they you will go through the process and fill out a form for quotation which can take up to 2 months. This quote will be valid for 90 days. In the form you describe where the song will be used, how the song will be used, what markets the film will be screened it, etc..

For a 1 year term, North American film festival market only I was quoted approxiatemly $1000 in total for both of the songs. The first song used in the opening was $750, the song for the credits was $250.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #6
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Good job. I agree with Jean-Philippe that the acting of your female lead was really good. (I don't speak French). Enjoyable to watch.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for your feedback.

Truth is my strength is more on the production end, not really writing so what you see is a real short slice of time. For my next film I will make it a longer one with a little more story and substance. This film was also my first time shooting using the mini35 and Canon XL1 which technically posed a wide range of challenges so I'm still getting the hang of that end too.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 01:55 PM   #8
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It wasn't really my type of story and ending but you did a good job and the video quality is good. I can't put my finger on it but the scene with the dialog going back and forth felt like it needed something ... different camera angles/POV or ??. That may just be my preference though because I'm not an expert by any means.

The shot of when he was walking, did you use a dolly or steadicam type of rig? Building a dolly is on my list of projects for this weekend.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #9
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Hey it wasn't really my type of story either but I really wanted something dramatic complete with the English subtitles. I like the imported feel so next time around I might try Japanese or something.. ?

As for the back/forth shots I thought of over shoulder shots and using a dolly but it's such a short conversation that takes place in the park too much camera movement would have been distracting I felt.

The only equipment used outdoor was a light reflector, and fluid head tripod. The shot where the guy walks down the hill was just a subtle tilt and use of good editing (ie. cutting to a shot that is already in motion, then slowing down to a stop). The profile shot of the guy walking was done with about 20 takes shooting outside the sunroof of my car (with separate driver of course). The bedroom scene used a home made dolly system consisting of skate board wheels at 90 degree angles to eacho ther attached to your typical spider type dolly. Just remove the stock wheels and add your own as seen in these photos www.starcentral.ca/images/DSC00574.JPG & www.starcentral.ca/images/DSC00576.JPG. I have to say this version of the dolly is somewhat rocky/shakey so my new version is 4 sets of wheels on a rectangular plywood sheet. The rails or poles I used are 3/4" electrical conduit purchased for $4.18 each (including tax). Also not seen in the photos are the rubber bands I recently siliconed to the wheels for a smoother ride. Just get an old bicycle tube and cut in strips enough to cover the center portion of the skate wheels - you'd be surprised at what a difference it makes.

Next on my list of projects I'm building a jib/crane arm so I can at least get some vertical travel in my shots, nothing crazy just a couple of feet of travel.

Oh the joys of indie film making......
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Old August 20th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #10
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Ouaaaa! you are a courageous guy! Putting so much money (camera, mini 35, film lenses... 20-25000 $ ?!?) on an home built crane... I hope that you have good building skills! :)

Anyway, good luck with your projects!
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Old August 20th, 2004, 02:35 PM   #11
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You've got it all wrong Jean-Phillipe, my life savings for the mini35 has left me having to build my own production equipment ;)
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Old August 20th, 2004, 07:23 PM   #12
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Hi Dennis,

Nice short. I liked the shallow DOF a lot. It is a nice simple story. Good choice of music. I had no idea paying for rights was that expensive.

Silence can be a good thing, but during the conversation, some of the cuts could have been a bit faster; there were some silent moments that felt a bit awkward. For the ending scene, it would have been better if it wasn't cross faded to the picture, but rather, you should have continued your traveling to the end. I agree with others that the English accent does throw things off, but it's easy to interpret it as an Anglophone wanting to communicate with his mistress in French to the best of his abilities.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #13
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Fredric,

Thanks for your feedback.

I am definitely one for fast cutting in films. I notice when film makers edit their own footage the 1st cut can be long and drawn out. With that in mind I did the first cut myself and as I mentioned had it reviewed by someone else for a "fresh" perspective. A few changes were made to some of the locations of the pauses and which angles we were seeing, but the length of the pauses weren't lengthened or shortened. Perhaps there were some moments that didn't need that extra dramatic emphasis though.

Yeah that end scene was a bugger I have to say. Because of the dolly contraption I had to pan, tilt, dolly out and then back in again all on my own in one contiuous take. I couldn't possibly pull focus with the lens too so I placed the dolly in a 45 degree angle in such a way that all focus points were equal distances thus avoiding the need to change focus. What a bloody pain in the ass that was! What resulted was the final shot of the table being what I thought was too far from the lens to make out the picture frame, so I felt there was no choice but to use the emergency close up footage I shot - but never intended to use. That cross fade bothered me for the longest time, now I'm just use to it.

Great comments, thanks I appreciate them.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 03:18 PM   #14
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Dennis,

I liked your piece a lot and if you don't mind I'll give you just a couple of editorial sort of suggestions.

In the conversation on the bench, don't feel that you must cut back to the person saying the line. I got the ping pong sort of feeling in that exchange.

In the final shot, I would have like to have seen a dissolve into a closer shot of the picture just to confirm that it is the two of them. I don't know how it would look on a larger screen but on my (21") computer screen I pretty much guessed it was her and it was him because the guy in the picture had a beard and glasses.

Liked the DOF a lot, the piece looked good!
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Old August 24th, 2004, 06:26 PM   #15
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Really good short short :) The DOF was a nice touch.

Regarding the conversation on the bench, I think the pauses were meant to be semi-strong reactions from the actors, and if the acting from the Male was better, the pauses would've been more effective, but some pauses were, indeed, necessary. (like right before the female says, "I don't care.") Just my opinion.

For the ending, I would've held the first shot of the picture a bit longer, (or a lot longer), then do a clean cut to a super close-up of the photo -- kinda like Kubrick did with the HAL 9000...just kidding ;)

Nice film.

- Robert
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