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Old October 18th, 2005, 10:42 AM   #1
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New XL2 Short - The Confession...

Hi All,

I wasn't sure where to put this, please feel free to move if it would be better somewhere else.

As for the short, I almost didn't post it because I feel I've learned so much more about the camera since I shot this (six months ago) but here it is...

I know I screwed up in a couple of places and the audio could have been better, but for most of this little ditty, I was the only crew. This isn't going anywhere it was simply done for my own learning and amusement and I don't think I could secure the music rights even if I wanted to. Just wanted to post it and see what you guys think.

Be warned, I also need to learn more about compression! This is 5 minutes long and is about 64meg...

Please right click and save as:

http://www.birthofthecool.com/Movies/theconfession.mov

Comments are of course, not only welcome, but mandatory..

Matt
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Old October 18th, 2005, 12:49 PM   #2
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hey matt that was awesome. im at school in the library and dont have any headphones so i missed the sound. but i really liked the image, the dolly shots at the beginning were perfect in my opinion. Did you shoot it with the xl2 alone or did you have a mini 35 or what? oh ya and what lens or lenses did you use? when i get outta here i am gonna go watch it at home with sound! but great job man.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #3
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Well, thanks, I can't understand how anyone could enjoy it without hearing it, but actually I kind of like that you did (if that makes any sense). I suppose since this is a visual medium, it *should* work that way. Hopefully you could follow the story a bit. I'm actually kind of pleased with the mix, other than a couple of sound issues with the dialog, but I don't think they're *too* noticeable. Let me know what you think when you listen to it.

I shot the whole thing with the XL2. I used the 16X manual lens and for a couple of shots the 3X wide angle lens. I used a very slight black promist to soften the footage a bit. I use Digital Film Tools plug ins extensively throughout the post process. For example, the scene in the kitchen with the warm sunset light coming in through windows and trees, was all done digitally using their stuff.

For the rest of it, I used a simple Lowell light kit and a lot of shapers (foam core, black wrap, gels, etc.).

Matt
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Old October 18th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #4
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Loved it man. Change the music and send it to contest. It's a great witty look at relationships and how the average man feels when it comes to finding that right woman. I really think a lot of people will relate to this and find it very amusing. Good job man.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #5
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I wonder what/how much it would take to secure the rights to these songs (only two would need it) for festival use?? I've never done it, but I may look into it.

To me the music really makes it. No?
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Old October 18th, 2005, 01:23 PM   #6
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It has a big impact yes, but I'm willing to bet that getting the right's to use a song from the King of Rock n Roll wouldn't be to easy. I'm sure there would be another song out there that would fit. Know anyone who is in a band? Write the song yourself even. I do know that I wouldn't walk away from it. Some of the films I see in festivals make me want to stab a pen into my throat. They are terrible. This is quality man. Go with it. Make more........
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Old October 18th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #7
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i've only attempted to secure rights to 2 songs, but it's pretty expensive ($500 and $1200, respectively, one from a lesser-known artist with a strong niche following, one from a famous "name"). it is easy to get attached to particular pieces of music, but there's usually some sort of substitute available for a lot less money. for the classical piece, there are quite a few well-known classical pieces available on royalty-free sites, possibly even the one you've selected. you should look around. would probably cost you about $20-$40 for a single track, and fully licensed.

try this: http://www.uniquetracks.com
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Old October 19th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #8
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Hey Matthew, my wife and I both thought your short film was very nicely done. The lighting and color were awesome and suited this piece superbly.

Small point on composition -- and this only the non-expert opinion of one person (me) -- but I thought some of the shots had just a bit TOO much "dead space" in center frame...for example, I thought your distiguished man was too close to the right edge of the frame and the lady-friend's blonde mane appeared too far to the left edge of the frame, leaving what I thought was an uncomfortably wide gap between the two subjects across center frame.

Big point...this is up to your own comfort level, but I gotta really discourage the unauthorized use and internet posting of other's copyright material...eg The King's music. Dangerous ground. I'm sure you've read many of the numerous threads on this subject but here's the most recent example:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=52793

My own threshold is rock bottom. I simply won't use anything I don't have the legal right to use. Since I'm not at the point of being willing to track down rights-holders and pay them, my wife and I are gradually getting better on creating our own music with audio looping software.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for the comments Pete. I have a friend at Warner Bros, who is going to try and help me to secure festival rights.

My feelings are this, and they are only mine and I don't expect to change any minds. I was a musician who made his living as a performer and arranger (mostly a performer). I have earned royalty payments on studio work I have done. I only say this to offer some perspective for my point of view. I have no problem with someone using copywrited music if the project is, as mine was, for their own amusement and learning. I would NEVER enter a piece into a festival or sell it, or otherwise make any money off of it without first securing rights. Perhaps the real question here is posting it on the net. I don't view this as "distributing" although perhaps I should. I see this in the same vein as if I had you over at my house and I said, "hey watch this stupid thing I did". I also have a pet peeve with how copywrite law has been continually extended and expanded in this country (another topic all together). I certainly believe in artists being compensated for their work, but there are limits. This does not speak to my use here, but certainly speaks to what I've been reading about various documentary filmmakers going through hell just to use a six second clip of Happy Birthday, or a Ring Tone from a cell phone....
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Old October 19th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #10
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i'm a musician, too, and am totally with you on this one, from a personal standpoint. non-commercial distribution shouldn't be held to the same standard as commercial distribution. i used copywrited material for a short film i did in a DV challenge here and got 1/2way-DQ'ed for it. there were no written rules about it, and i did it under the same concept of "limited, non-commercial audience." but in retrospect, it was probably a poor decision, because a) i own an entire royalty-free library, i just liked the music and b) given what the law is, i don't want dvinfo.net to have to absorb any risk on my behalf. so, since that experience, i've been good and used only purchased, licensed music for any web delivery, especially here. i would go so far as to say that chris and co. should post a sticky about the use of unlicensed copywrited material and agree to pull anything we post which does this....there's no point in putting our best resource for all things video at risk.
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Old October 21st, 2005, 02:03 PM   #11
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226 views and only a few comments???

Did the rest of you think it was that bad?
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Old October 21st, 2005, 02:10 PM   #12
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Naw, they're all out doll shopping. ;-)
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Old October 21st, 2005, 08:15 PM   #13
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The only thing that I can mention is about 3/4 of the way through it you did somewhat of a closeup of his face and cut off his chin as opposed to his forehead which is usually frowned upon. I did like the composition other than that and the dialogue was very well written, and performed by the way (which is always a huge plus in a no budget film). Keep it up.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 03:32 AM   #14
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I really liked the opening and all of the dolly shots. Perfect. The lighting was good too, for the most part. There was one shot during the dinner scene where it was so dark I couldn't tell what I was looking at, but maybe that was partly the compression.

I did figure out almost immediately that the 'girl' was going to be a blow-up doll. I hope that doesn't say anything about my personal life, because I don't own such a thing, but for some reason, I figured it out really early. I think the reason was that the conversation was so obviously one-side. Maybe if he started off by commenting on how quiet she was that night or something. I don't know, maybe I just got 'lucky' (so to speak, heh).

Overall it felt very film-ish, which I liked, so I hope you were going for that too. Those filters must be worth the money.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 11:46 AM   #15
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Overall, very good. The look is very nice. The early dolly shots are great and they give the impression of high production value. However, they make the shaving bit look cheaper in comparison, though it has very tight editing and works great with the music. The cooking scene has the same problem, except for the initial wide shot which is beautiful. The editing of the cooking scene should have been tighter to match the previous scenes.

I really like the atmosphere of the dinner scene. It brings a nice change of pace. I thought the dialogue and the performance were great.

I agree with Pete about some of the composition. Take the first shot of the dinner: it's a great dolly shot and I love that you hear the guy before you get to see him, but the composition at the end of the shot is weaker. I feel it should have been more behind the woman, with less dead space. But the cut to the close-up is great.

I do have a problem with the choice in angles in the dinner scene. I can understand that you were limited, this being a one-sided conversation.

Mostly, you cycle between 3 different shots: 1) a wider shot a bit from the side, which is also the end of the dolly; 2) a head-on OTS close-up (which has a more extreme close-up variation); 3) and a 3/4 close-up. There is also an insert or two.

Going from the OTS close-up to the wider side shot is jarring to me, and I don't like the 3/4 close-up at all. The reason is a question of perspective. When you change the angle on a character, you also change the perception that the viewer has on that character. The OTS close-up makes you feel as though you are right there, as you're almost on the axis between the 2 characters. The other shots move you too far away from that axis, and change the tone of the scene in a way that doesn't seem intended. That switch happens 4 or 5 times in the scene and I feel it hurts the mood.

I think every shot should have remained closer to the central axis, with slight variations, and maybe one or two more inserts. Of course, it's all a matter of taste, and not everyone likes axial cuts, but I feel it would have given the piece a more consistent feel. Another way would have been to use longer sequences, but that might be harder depending on the performance.

Now, I did like the movie a lot, so my criticism is relatively minor. It's just something that bugs me a lot when I see it.
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