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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:23 AM   #1
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Hi,

48h Film Project is coming to my town and I thought it'd be a cool challenge to take on. So, yesterday I tried to do some shots with no clear plot to see how I'd make it by filming on counterclock. Watching the final result I can spot some distraction mistakes like unwanted reflections, scenes that were lit in a rush, out of focus talents, etc. It's hard to keep it all under control but I've been trying to delegate a lot of those responsabilities to my team.

Well, enough talk, here is video (please watch in HD):

YouTube - The Secret - Canon XH A1 (click 720p)

Thanks for watching :)
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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I saw the reflections, but only saw them after you pointed them out! Have you ever done the 48HourFilm Project before? My team and I participated last year in New Orleans. My team was mainly filmmaking newbies. I was teaching, directing, producing, and editing at the same time. All in all, it was a blast! 2 days.. no sleep and running on adrenaline.

The hardest part is writing the script according to the genre, line, and character you're given. FYI, Here is our entry from last year...


Good Luck! Your competitors have a huge challenge ahead of them!
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Old May 4th, 2010, 09:36 AM   #3
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Hi, thanks for watching. I'll watch your video tonight, as I'm in work and I can't watch it. Did you film in HD or SD? I want to film mine in 1080p as I always do but I don't know how to convert to 4:3 SD. How did you do it?
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Old May 4th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #4
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The "Murder in the Marigny" was shot on SD using my venerable Sony PD-170. Not a lot of special effects, just basic shooting, lighting, and editing techniques. Like I said above, the crew was myself and about 5 teens and young adults learning their craft. We spent a fair amount of time getting the lighting and audio right for each shot. Being on the street, we had to deal with the traffic a lot! The street band scene was shot with the band miming their song. (You can see them do it if you look close.) Also, the scene of the gambler in his room was shot around 9PM on that Saturday evening. We had to light the room AND add exterior lighting to simulate sunlight streaming through the window. Our crew of newbies really learned a lot during that hectic weekend. (Also, plenty of Abita Amber was consumed as well!)
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Old May 5th, 2010, 12:04 AM   #5
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Hi David and Bob,

My team just got done doing the 24 Hour Film Race here in San Francisco and are signed up to do the 48 Hour Film Project in June. I would love to hear what your insights for the whole experience are. How many people did you have on your crew and how much time did you dedicate to pre-production, principal photography and post-production?

And, the most important question, how much, or little sleep did you get? for this last 24 Hour film our core crew got about 1/2 to 1 hour of sleep.

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old May 5th, 2010, 08:55 AM   #6
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Garrett,
The 48HourFilm Project was one of the most grueling (sp?) times I put myself through! I taught an intro to video production class in June and convinced a few of the students to join the LaFilm team in the copetition. I had one of my co-instructors be the "producer" and the other be the primary D.P. and sound guy. I was the Director, secondary D.P., coffee boy, and editor. My crew consisted of a total 4 additional bodies who played grips, P.A.s, boom operators, camera operators, prop makers and managers, and of course beer chasers.

We got the genre, character, prop, and line of dialogue on Friday night around 6PM. I was at the location with one of the crew and the rest were at our production location/dorm/edit facility across town. We phoned in the info and drove over there. We had discussed potential story lines and plots to be used in the various genres but those went by the wayside very early on. The main part of the crew came up with the story and basic outline by the time I arrived, about 45 minutes! I was kinda miffed because I wasn't given any input. (place a pouty lip here) We wrote/rewrote the script for about another two hours. I then took two other crew members (the newbies) and did location scouting, shot planning, and storyboarding until about 2AM. The producer got on the phone and called our talent that we had lined up to tell them where and when. She also wrangled the band and had them ready to go at 8AM! (a side note: The band got a gig from a local bar that heard them play in our film! That never hurts!)

I got a couple of hours of sleep but wok around 4:30AM to begin setting up. We organized a few props and finalized the shooting schedule by 8AM and then waited for the talent to arrive. There was a lot of hurry up and wait involved. We began principal photography around 11:30 Saturady morning and wrapped around 11PM Saturday night. I showed one of the newbies how to be assistant editor and she captured the footage into the laptop we were going to use as I grabbed a quick shower...

Then the computer crashed... BSOD... (add wailing and gnashing of teeth here...)

My assistant then whipped out here laptop which had Premiere Elements on it and proceeded to capture the footage and make ready for the edit. I was planning on Premiere Pro CS4 but used Premiere Elements version 7 instead. We finished editing around noon on Sunday, made backup copies on tape and DVD and turned in the finished project around 4PM. We were the second group to turn in our project.

In all, I think I got about 3 total hours of sleep for the weekend. My crew averaged about 6 hours. Everyone was wired throughout the weekend and ready to go.

Will we do it again this year? YES!! Will I use the same people? YES!! And I'll grab a few newbies as well. It's a great learning experience! Will I have technical failures? YES!! I'm planning for it and making backup contingencies.

Hope this helps! But above all, enjoy yourself!
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #7
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David,

I apologize! I didn't intend to "jack" your thread! I'd love to see your finished project and hear your horror stories of the weekend! Good Luck!

Bob
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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Hi David,

I will echo Bob's comment regarding timing and how long it takes to get a good script down. I've competed in 10 and now 24 hour film making contests and coming up with a compelling story seems to be the hardest part.

You've got some nice shots in the video you posted. Even though I'm a cinematographer, when shooting a movie I really want to make sure every shot has a reason to be done the way it was shot. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of camera moves and feel that the best photographed movies are the ones where you don't realize how good it was done until you really sit down to analyze it. That tells me that the story was good and the cinematography told the story in a seamless and cohesive way.

Some small observations - overall very nice looking footage. Some of the composition seemed forced, maybe due to the limited space for shooting in that location. An example is at about :38 seconds when he stops to knock on the door. The angle at which he stops feels odd. Most people would be more square to the door. It felt like you cheated the actor over so that you could get a shot with a shallow DOF to show her in focus and him out. The question I would have is what is the motivation for this? Is it to draw attention to the female as she opens the door? Since it is an OTS you've already accomplished that and I think just the visual of the door frame and the male actors shoulder/head would frame her enough.

It might just be due to perspective but at 1:02 she sticks her hand outside the door, then in the next cut it appears he is reaching in through the door to hand her the shawl.

After the exchange of the shawl, I would have stayed framed on his empty hand as she pulled the shawl away but have her do it in a way that implies that she is really pulling herself away. That would emphasize the fact that she lives in this secluded world and doesn't want him to enter it. At least that was the message I though you were trying to convey.

The jump to his hand all of a sudden being on the door at 1:33 didn't work for me. Again it felt like you were trying to display the ability to get shallow DOF and rack focus. But for me it didn't add anything and actually created a distraction.

At 2:13 when the scene opens, it appears that the car is stationary to start with. This is more of an editing comment, but the car should have been rolling before the scene faded in.

Something comes into the right side of the fame at about 2:27. Looks like the tip of the mic. Also, this would have been a shot I would do another take on. Your camera moving back after overshooting your mark is distracting.

The reflection in the car was noticeable :)

Those are the things I noticed that I would look at. Keep in mind this is just my opinion. Overall very nice work. How long did it take for you to get this footage? How many takes did you do for each shot?

Garrett
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Old May 7th, 2010, 05:31 AM   #9
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Hi Garrett

First of all, thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you for most of the things you pointed out. This was mostly to put ourselves to the test and see if we could film something in one afternoon. We spent around 5 hours to shoot this. We didn't put any effort on the script as this wasn't what we wanted to test (but I agree it'll be the most time consuming phase of the 48hours project). I wanted to try and shoot indoors, see how the lighting would appear. Overall I really liked the way the image "feels", the color contrasts, the decors, the walls, etc. But I also spotted some errors and that's very good cause we'd be alert next time to avoid them (but I fear new mistakes will appear lol).

About the shot on the door, I wanted to have the actor placed on the other side of the camera, it'd be more natural. And it would've helped my camera shots to do it like that. But the actors felt more realistic to do it that way. Next time, we'll try it the other way.

I can't wait for the 48h project in just two weeks. Hopefully we'll be ready. The only thing bugging me right now is how I'll downscale my 1080p footage to 4:3SD, without jerky loss of resolution...
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Old May 7th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #10
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Hi David,

The color and lighting of your shots overall was very good. We had our screening for the 24 Hour Film comp my team did yesterday. Overall the movies were mostly the same. They are either all visuals or basically a one punch line script. Only a few had real plot development and those were the ones that stood out.

After talking to a few people who have been successful at the 48 Hour it seems that they all agreed that they set aside a good amount of time for post production and the other thing was leaving enough time for the composer to get a good score written and recorded so good post sound could be done. That is the one thing our movie was short on. We definitely did not leave enough time for good music to be written. One of the things we're going to do during the 48 hour is have our composer in on the writing session as well as have him looking over the shoulder during editing. That way we can give him some ideas of what type of music we want as early as possible. Then he can go write some samples and let us listen early in the process.

For the 4:3 SD it is my understanding that you don't have to actually turn it into a 4:3 cut. The rules say that it should be letterboxed which is much different. Just take your 16:9 and put it on a 4:3 screen with the black bars on top and bottom. As for downconverting to SD I shoot with an EX3 and our editor cuts with FCP. The SD DVD's look great. The BR's look a lot better though. I wish they'd allow HD submissions but I know that not all theaters they screen in have HD projectors.

When does your 48 Hour start? Good luck and keep me posted on how it turns out.

Garrett
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Old May 8th, 2010, 07:23 AM   #11
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Hi Garrett,

Problem is, if I put my 1080p video in a 4:3 project, the video becomes bigger than the project window. And if I scale it down in Premiere, resolution becomes terrible. That's the only part that I still don't know how to do. I'm using Premiere CS4, can you give me some help with this?
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Old May 8th, 2010, 10:04 AM   #12
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Unfortunately it's been many versions since I've use Premiere. Most of the editors I work with use FCP and I usually use Sony Vegas. In Vegas I edit all the way through in HD then when I render the project I put it on a 4:3 screen and set the resolution to 720 x 420. Then it basically comes out as a standard 4:3 SD cut with the picture in a 720 x 405 section centered (top and bottom have black bars). The down res'd pictrue looks really good.

I'm not sure how CS4's rendering works but you should try to tweak the settings. What is your biggest complaint about how the final rendering is looking?

Garrett
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