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Old January 16th, 2003, 04:03 PM   #1
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My debut short!

Hi all!

I've been lurking around the boards for about close to a year now, picked up lots of tips for DV filmmaking and the XL1S in particular, I've started hanging around before I bought my XL1S last June and so in a very large way, this board has grown with me and my 'XL1S life'

So, I've finally finished my first short film of 15mins. It's shot in Singapore and I did all the post production in London, please have a look and let me know what you guys think, I'll be more than happy to answer any questions, about the story or about technical issues.

my kit for the shooting

XL1S, stock 16X lens
selection of Cokin filters
two el cheapo video lights (300W floods)
Audio Technica AT815b shotgun mic
homemade boompole
a few gels for the lights
Manfrotto 055SSB tripod with 501 head

http://www.ilovedumplings.adrianseah.com

I've managed to squeeze the 15min film down to about 20Mb so it shouldn't be too much of a pain to download.

Cheers!

Adrian
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Old January 16th, 2003, 05:44 PM   #2
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Great you finished something Adrian!! You had some very nice
shots in there and some nice cinematography. It looked great
(even with this high compression!). Also liked the story.... Oh,
and I've never heard of a UDD before. Very funny!

I did find it a bit slow though (story isn't moving along very much
in my humble opinion) and I thought more music and perhaps
a little bit different music would have been nice. This is just me
ofcourse.

Overall I really liked it! Great job and good luck in the future!
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Old January 16th, 2003, 06:29 PM   #3
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Very impressive, Adrian! Especially with such a modest budget and for a first effort! Your framing and shot movements were excellent.

I thought the music was spot-on for the piece, perhaps (as Rob noted) adding a bit more or making it stronger in a few spots.

Its pace is a notch slow, probably accentuated by several shots which, perhaps by visual precedents in film, suggest that something's about to happen shortly. I'd bet that if you walked away from it for a month you'd find your edit selections to be a bit different. I'd be tempted to give myself a much shorter duration (say 10 mins) and cut it to that limit. I think you'd be amazed at the results.

Congratulations Adrian! Bravo!
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Old January 16th, 2003, 06:50 PM   #4
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Just finished watching it. Thumbs UP!
The start was a little slower paced, but I forgout about that once the story got going. I liked the cinematography. THe editing might be a little smoother, maybe more dissolves in between cuts that show an extended period of time.

Why did the shop keeper speak English?
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Old January 16th, 2003, 07:17 PM   #5
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I can't seem to see the movie. When I acess the page it downloads and I hit play. I hear all the audio, but all I see on the screen is white. That is the way it is for the whole movie. What is wrong here? I am on a PC with XP Pro. Thanks!
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Old January 16th, 2003, 07:43 PM   #6
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Hi again all,

thanks for all the constructive comments. As for the shopkeeper speaking 'english', well... actually its sort of a dialect of English spoken in singapore, we fondly call it 'Singlish'... probably due to our colonial british past, English is our first language in Singapore.

I've been staring at it for some time now and I guess its numbing my brain. Like Ken said, if I left it alone for a while, I might get a different perspective on it. will try to do that!

Scott, I'm not quite sure why you can't see it... I'm uploading on a Mac but I don't see why you are unable to watch it, I've tested it on my flatmate's PC.... hmmm... maybe download the latest version of quicktime?

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download

Adrian
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Old January 16th, 2003, 08:35 PM   #7
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Scott, it sounds like your problem is with Quicktime, get the newest version and it should be alright.

Adrian, I loved your cinematography! Every so often in movies there are shots that make me smile, there were definitely a few in this one (the one I can remember really liking is towards the beginning, when he runs out the door and rings the bell I believe?)

And thank you for bringing the knowledge of a UDD to the overseas crowd! :D
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Old January 16th, 2003, 10:03 PM   #8
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Nice job, Adrian. I note your address is listed on your web site as London--did you have to budget travel to make the film?
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Old January 17th, 2003, 04:10 AM   #9
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Actually I'm from Singapore, I've just been studying in London for the past 4 years. So I'm sort of London based at the moment. The film was shot when I went back for my summer vacation.

The film was shot with a non existent budget, apart from feeding the cast and crew. After shooting this, I have a renewed respect for producers... they have a tough job! Doing all the crappy work and running around all the time!

When I was growing up in Singapore, I never really realised the absurdity of things like the UDD, its only when I have left for a while and come back that I see things with a 'fresh pair of eyes'.

Thanks all for the comments, keep them coming!

Adrian
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Old January 17th, 2003, 08:25 AM   #10
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actually.. we need a urine detector here in new york.


i thought the film was brilliant and a loved the pacing. This was a very tight and important film. I think you did an excellent job. I loved the music and your dramatic dolly backs to fade out were superb.


scenes that stuck out to me

- The sink where he brushes his teeth

- a cut away to a ceiling light with a short

- a shot of some wires coming out of the wall which were in focus and the hallway in the distance out of focus, nice depth of field working from the stock canon xl1s lens.


- nice lighting that was dark, but yet still had dimension, highlighted by scene such as the boy hero sitting on the steps tying his shoes.

- the scene of him standing in front of his loves door. before she is formally introduced onscreen.

- excellent cut-away and establishing shots (city scape at night, egg crate buildings, assembling dumplings, clothes out in the wind to be dried, calendars, ceiling fans)

- a frame up of the shopkeeper talking to the hero, and when he is craning his neck in fantasy time looking at the hero walk off with the girl

- the end, where it is like he has become the fish, and one swims by after the girl walks off living in reality with another dude.


it's hard to think of anything negative, the only thing is I personally would have matched the soy sauce bottle breaking to something breaking or falling from the dinner scene. However , that is rather cliche now, so it's not a con to me. I remember that the film opens up with the hero as a kid breaking something and his mother yelling at him, as though that was the catalyst that put him into this catatonic state of talking with fishes. a con has now turned into a positive!

the only scene that doesn't look good under compression is him under the ceiling fan at night thinking. This might look better on a NTSC monitor.

im not super fond of arriflex shutter flash type effects, but they didnt even bother me here. I hate dumplings now too.

thanks for sharing this film. I have to show it to all my friends. You should enter this in festivals right away! I would love to see more work from you. Once again, absolutlely brilliant.
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Old January 17th, 2003, 10:45 AM   #11
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I agree completely with John Threat. Your film was excellent, regardless of budget size and crew. After a couple of minutes I had already forgotten it was MiniDV streaming over the internet and I just watched it like I would any film.

Loved the fish "talking" scenes, and the beautiful shots of the city where the boy lives. I really liked that you didn't put subtitles for the boy's mother as she yells at him. The moment where he sees the big aquarium in the mall was also striking.

Very impressive work.

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Old January 17th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #12
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I got it working by downloading QuickTime 6. It was very good. I really enjoyed it. The things that I noticed mostly were you cut aways. They were great. They fit right in with the shots and everything flowed smoothly. The variety of shots you had was very good. They worked welll to suit the current mood of the video and there were some very creative shots in there. What software did you edit this on? Also, how did you do your credits? I have been trying to do those two colum credits like you had (the role is right justified and the name of the actor is left justified) but I can't figure it out. Thanks for sharing your work. Great job!
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Old January 17th, 2003, 06:07 PM   #13
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Adrian,

That was an excellent piece. Very nicely cinemagraphed.

I'm intereseted in knowing a couple of things:

1. Is your camera PAL or NTSC?
2. Did you Color Grade, and if so what program did you use?
2.1 If not, what did you white balance to?
3. Did you shoot in FRAME mode or Normal mode?
4. Did you shoot 16:9, or 4:3?

-Nori
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Old January 17th, 2003, 06:16 PM   #14
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Hiya!

ok, to answer the questions...

Nori:

I shot on a XL1S PAL (frame mode)

Yes, I did quite a lot of colour corrections/ grading, all done in FCP 3 using the colour correction tools (very powerful indeed)

my white balance was not always perfect during the actual shoots but I tried to match the colours during the correction stage.

I shot in 4:3 but 16:9 protected and I cropped the top and bottom bits in post.

Scott:

I actually did the credits in photoshop, sort of have a long list (it should look like a tall rectangle) and manually align the text, then animate the image to move ('scroll') in FCP. That way, you can pretty much have it any way you want, different fonts, alignment etc. just save it as a 72dpi jpg file and it should be fine.

Adrian
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Old January 17th, 2003, 06:50 PM   #15
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Thanks. I thought about doing it in photoshop but then I thought that there must be an eaiser way, but I guess not! Thanks, great movie!
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