Trailer For My Martial Arts-inspired Short Film at DVinfo.net

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Old January 26th, 2003, 07:21 PM   #1
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Trailer For My Martial Arts-inspired Short Film

I recently shot my short film THE CHINESE SHOES in Paris, France using an XL1, the Mini 35 and Cooke S4 lenses.

The finished film will be ready to be released at the end of February, but the trailer and stills are available for all those interested. Go here: http://thechineseshoes.com
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Old January 27th, 2003, 01:20 AM   #2
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Nice interior lighting. The look of the exterior shots could use some tweaking for a bit more drama.

Sure doesn't look like video, at least not what I can see from this trailer.

Nice work.

Dean Sensui
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Old January 27th, 2003, 01:49 AM   #3
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Don't know how I missed this when you first posted it, but I watched it now. The only comment that I have is that your trailer really doesn't generate any viewer interest, or give any hint of what the story is about. The footage itself looks fine, but personaly I'd redo the trailer. Just my $0.02
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Old January 27th, 2003, 06:34 AM   #4
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Mahalos, Dean.

What do you mean by tweaking? I mean, what would you suggest?

<<<-- Originally posted by Dean Sensui : The look of the exterior shots could use some tweaking for a bit more drama. -->>>
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Old January 27th, 2003, 06:38 AM   #5
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I appreciate your comments and having taken the time to watch my trailer.

Do you think that the fact that the dialogue is in French is the reason that the trailer doesn't seem to explain what the story might be about?

<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : The only comment that I have is that your trailer really doesn't generate any viewer interest, or give any hint of what the story is about. -->>>
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Old January 27th, 2003, 07:10 AM   #6
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Victor, félicitations et formidable.

Your trailer has a nice look to it. Nice rich colors and a certain softness. I agree with the other guys, though, that a little "tweaking" would help. And I'm referring only to the action sequences.

For instance, when the guy is flipped, that would have a lot more impact if you intercut a couple of angles...and more dramatic angles at that. Seems all the fight scenes are shot from an eye-level perspective and are rather static. There's a lack of depth since the fighters always seem to be perpendicular to the lens. Plus, the framing could be a bit tighter.

IMHO...I'd move in a bit, and move around a bit more when shooting fight scenes. Shoot it several times from different angles, making sure to get some perspectives other than eye-level. Put the attackee in the foreground and have the attacker swoop in and kick...something like that would add depth. Use a wider angle lens to enhance the lateral movement. And try not to follow a stunt from start to finish with one shot so much. Breaking it up adds energy. You might also want to consider using the 250 shutter speed technique that's been mentioned lately to add some intensity to the action.

The best way to learn how to shoot and edit fight scenes is by getting some "making of" videos or DVDs that show an action sequence being made and then comparing them to the final edited sequences in the movies. When you see action scenes made from an uncut, voyeur perspective, they often look dull and staged. Then, when you watch the actual film and see how angles, movement, and editing transform that same footage into something spectacular, it's pretty surprising. I recently saw a "making of" for the Bourne Identity. It showed Matt Damon knocking down a marine guard at the embassy, grabbing his gun and then starting to open fire. In the "making of" footage, it was about as exciting as a box of rocks. But the final edited sequence is pretty cool.

You said you wanted details, didn't you? ;) Don't take my nit-picking to mean I'm not impressed, though. You've done a great job! I'm looking forward to the next film you post for us already.

P.S. One more little detail. It looks like you've only added about 12 pixels height for the QT controller. To show the complete controller you need 16 pixels.
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Old January 27th, 2003, 08:42 AM   #7
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Merci beaucoup, John!

I wish I had you around when the short was still in it's rough cut stage.

In fact, there is a rough cut online (we're color correcting, editing the audio and mixing the audio now), and if you have 12 minutes to spare, I'd like to know what you, or Dean or Dylan, have to say about it. Should I post the link here or can I e-mail you?

As a sort of disclaimer, the entire fight scene was shot in two afternoons. The entire cast and crew were volunteers, although I was able to style them out with clothing from our costume sponsor G-SUS. I had a production budget of $1,000.

There is camera movement and there are different angles as well as framing, although few of them made it into the trailer. I'm going to go back and make some changes to the trailer.

As I said earlier, the fight scene was shot in two afternoons. They were also the last two days of a five day shoot due to bad weather. I knew I had to complete the fight scene during this time because it would have been next to impossible to re-group the cast and crew. My decision was to make sure the entire fight was shot and then go back and shoot close ups and different angles. As the stuntmen were volunteers, they didn't feel like repeating too many hard falls. Therefore, there are a lot of conservative shots, but I think it worked out well in the edit.

Funny, almost on cue, as we began packing our gear, it started pouring rain.

I'm going to look into this 250 shutter speed technique. I don't recall reading about it.

I've heard a lot of good things about the action in Bourne Identity. It's time for me to watch it, no to mention the behind-the-scenes video.

Oh, and I added some more pixels for the Quicktime controller:-)

Thanks for nit-picking.


<<<-- Originally posted by John Locke :
Victor, félicitations et formidable.

Your trailer has a nice look to it. Nice rich colors and a certain softness. I agree with the other guys, though, that a little "tweaking" would help. And I'm referring only to the action sequences.

For instance, when the guy is flipped, that would have a lot more impact if you intercut a couple of angles...and more dramatic angles at that. Seems all the fight scenes are shot from an eye-level perspective and are rather static. There's a lack of depth since the fighters always seem to be perpendicular to the lens. Plus, the framing could be a bit tighter.

IMHO...I'd move in a bit, and move around a bit more when shooting fight scenes. Shoot it several times from different angles, making sure to get some perspectives other than eye-level. Put the attackee in the foreground and have the attacker swoop in and kick...something like that would add depth. Use a wider angle lens to enhance the lateral movement. And try not to follow a stunt from start to finish with one shot so much. Breaking it up adds energy. You might also want to consider using the 250 shutter speed technique that's been mentioned lately to add some intensity to the action.

The best way to learn how to shoot and edit fight scenes is by getting some "making of" videos or DVDs that show an action sequence being made and then comparing them to the final edited sequences in the movies. When you see action scenes made from an uncut, voyeur perspective, they often look dull and staged. Then, when you watch the actual film and see how angles, movement, and editing transform that same footage into something spectacular, it's pretty surprising. I recently saw a "making of" for the Bourne Identity. It showed Matt Damon knocking down a marine guard at the embassy, grabbing his gun and then starting to open fire. In the "making of" footage, it was about as exciting as a box of rocks. But the final edited sequence is pretty cool.

You said you wanted details, didn't you? ;) Don't take my nit-picking to mean I'm not impressed, though. You've done a great job! I'm looking forward to the next film you post for us already.

P.S. One more little detail. It looks like you've only added about 12 pixels height for the QT controller. To show the complete controller you need 16 pixels. -->>>
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Old January 27th, 2003, 08:47 AM   #8
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Victor,

Count me in...I'd love to look at your rough cut. If you're not worried about bandwidth, why not post the link here so others can check it out, too? Your choice...if you prefer, just click my member info to send an e-mail.

There's a thread that discusses the 250 shutter speed effect...click the link below

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ight=gladiator

Cheers.
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Old January 27th, 2003, 09:35 AM   #9
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I'm not worried about bandwith because it's hosted by http://singlereel.com.

The rough cut can be seen online here: http://thechineseshoes.com/videos/shoes.html. Unlike with the trailer, there is only a broadband version of this rough cut. Be ready to download 30MB of video.

Nit-pickers welcome;-)

Please note that the sound is not edited and mixed. I apologize for the jarring and disrupting effect this may have on some of you.

P.S.: I highly recommend SingleReel.com to all filmmakers as a place to host your work.
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Old January 27th, 2003, 12:14 PM   #10
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I watched the trailer again. Being in French may contribute to me not "getting it" :)

I'm not an expert on shooting martial art scenes, but I second what John says.

I will watch the long cut when I get home from work and post some feedback for you then.
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Old January 27th, 2003, 12:25 PM   #11
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I love the lighting, it looks really professional! I agree about the fight scenes, they could use more work.

Does anybody else notice this problem with Quicktime 5, in that the frame seems to jitter? I've had this problem a lot watching trailers on Apple's site. It seems that whenever there's something like that copyright bar Victor has there, the movie seems to "jitter" up and down a bit.
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Old January 27th, 2003, 04:49 PM   #12
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OK, I watched it all. I wasn't looking forward to it, because I wan't big on your trailer, but I was pleasently surprised. I thought the full length movie was great, and I'm glad I got to see it. Thanks!

What I liked:
Camera work/cinematography.
Editing was very good (although the fight scenes needa little work).
Loved the opening to the point where he meets the gang.
Liked the actor you chose for the role.

What I don't like:
The Kung Fu Fighting music. Everyone's used it. Maybe it's just me, but I'd get someone to make some music for it. Even just drums would be cool.
The fight sound effects. I guess you wanted it to sound like old school kung-fu, but I'd rather hear something more realistic.

What I would change:
I'd add subtitles for us westerners. My French isn't very good, but I still followed the plot easily. The sign of a good movie!
I'd crop the scene where he is walking and you can see your lens hood in the bottom right corner!
The fight stunts are great, but the view doesn't get into the action because you aren't "close" to the action. You need closer shots and reaction shots. Maybe you could crop some of the scenes to make them closer, I dunno. You obviously aren't going to be able to re-shoot it. I'd probably just be happy with it and chalk it up to experience.

Thumbs up!
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Old January 28th, 2003, 06:01 AM   #13
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Wow! Thanks, Dylan!

I gotta laugh at your comment about the fight sounds. You are sooo right. My sound editor's working on it.

About the walking scene where the lens hood is in the bottom right corner, I'm getting someone to remove it with Flame. I'd thought about cropping the shot. I'd also considered cropping other shots, like the fight scene, but I'm concerned about the drop in resolution.

Do you know how much resolution will be lost if I crop DV? I'm planning on projecting this on the big screen and even transferring to film, so I want to keep the resolution as high as possible.

Sub-titles are on their way.

I will have a talk with my editor about the fight. I think we used everything that was shot.

Thank you again for your compliments and your critiques.
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Old January 28th, 2003, 08:30 AM   #14
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Victor, more thumbs up here! With Dylan and I both holding our thumbs up, you can put "Two thumbs up!" on the DVD cover.

I also enjoyed it overall. Like Dylan said, I like the part leading up to the fighting most. Here are some thoughts...for what they're worth...

The opening seemed a bit slow and lacking impact...in fact the long shot of the TV show and the main character at the mirror could have been cut way down. I'd have added some irony, too. For instance, start with a black screen and the karate sounds, fade in close on the main character, looking as though he's beating the heck out of someone. Then, reveal he's actually just fighting along with the TV characters.

The introduction of the shoes seemed a bit of a stretch. Why is he drawn to them? There needs to be some type of providence in action here. For instance, why not have one of his shoes fly off when he's practicing in front of the TV, while he says something along the lines of needing fighting shoes. Or, at least have something make him come to an abrupt stop in front of the store window...something that unmistakeably gives him a sign that he needs to go in and buy those shoes. A little Deus ex machina perhaps...à la kung fu movie style.

I like the scene in the store although the line "Ils sont très jolies" struck me as a bit odd. Would that be the reason he'd buy them? The scene after of him kicking his way down the street is great, though! It cracked me up. Also the running shots leading up to discovering the shoes are well done.

The girl does a good job... did that kick really connect? Looks like it! Actually, now that I've seen the complete fight scenes, they're not so bad. A bit of editing could make those come across pretty well, I think.

The ending though is a problem for me because it's just too dark. I couldn't see what was happening. And in a story sense, it seems as though the final resolution is lacking somewhat.

Sounds like a lot of negatives, doesn't it? I'm just "nit-picking" since that's what I like for people to do to me...that's the best way to learn and improve.

Negatives nit-pickiness aside, I enjoyed it...and I'm looking forward to seeing your next films.
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Old January 28th, 2003, 08:25 PM   #15
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John's comments reminded me of a few things I forgot.
The ending was too dark, and the opening shots were a little slow/long.
The movie did seem to run a little on the long side, with the slowest part being the end. However, since my French is so bad, I wasn't following the dialogue, so that could have been the problem for me. I'll reserve final judgement on that point until I see the subtitled version.
Anyway, let us know when you have the next version up!
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