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Old January 30th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #1
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Bad day for Chuck

As mentioned in the honour and glory thread...
Here is the new cut for my entry.

EDIT: This is my third attempt at making a short film. It was shot with my Sister's older camcorder which has a weird widescreen setting that outputs 704 x 480.

http://www.morecowbellpictures.com/downloads/Chuck.wmv

The story is that of a Doctor who avoids telling his patient some bad news. It is a dark comedy with a few quirks. ;)

The aspect ratio is fixed and there is some new footage in this one. I would really appreciate any critiques that anyone can offer. I'm looking to learn from my mistakes.

Thanks,

Mike
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Last edited by Mike Horrigan; January 30th, 2007 at 07:07 PM.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 08:33 PM   #2
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Haha, Crown Royal, my fav :)

I liked the story... but I did notice a few things, and I may be too picky here because they're all technical.

The audio: It sounded like you used the on cam mic... is this right? the doctor sounded a little distant at times, plus there was one scene where it faded to black in mid-sentence, it kinda threw me off. I really can't make any suggestions because I don't have enough experience with audio... but even if you used some cheap wireless lavs it might come out better than the on-cam mic.

The lighting: The mix of the overhead fluorescent lights and the halogen or whatever desk lamp was terrible... Consider turning off the overhead lamps and lighting the entire room with your own lighting, or put some of the color filters on the fluorescent lights (I forgot which one, maybe someone else can help).... it will make the florescent lighting look more like the desk lamp and it will match up much better if you don't have the option of lighting the entire room yourself.

I thought the camera angles were pretty good, it kept everything interesting. I also liked how the doctor kept calling the receptionist names, that was funny

Other than that I think it was good, especially for a third try. I know its probably better than I could do at even my first attempt :)
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Old January 30th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #3
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You called it! Everything was recorded with the cam-mic. To make things worse there was this "whining" sound that kept coming on and off in the ceiling duct work. Very hard to tweak out...

There was no lighting to speak of, we just shot with what was available in the room. I really need to pick up some lighting and sound equipment... I'm just starting out and this is more of a hobby for me.

BTW, the reason why that scene cuts during mid sentence is because he turns and looks directly at the camera... :)

I really need to bite the bullet and try to get things "lit" better though. I may also pick up a USB mic that I can hook up to my laptop. That should help a little...

Thanks again, I really appreciate all of this!
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Old January 31st, 2007, 01:56 PM   #4
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This is funny!
I have noticed that the part where the doctor is pouring a drink for himself was a bit too long, almost 19 sec. it could be broken down to shorter pieces with 1 close-up shot. that's just my feeling, some other folks may not agree with me :)
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Old January 31st, 2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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Mike,

Both this version and the shorter version work. The music added to this version may be quite a bit too loud, I'd pull the level back at least to 75% of where it is maybe even 60%.

Just a suggestion, try and see what YOU think, though.

Bruce
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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I liked it. Funny concept and performance but I think that the video could be tightened up a bit. The pace needs to be quicker throughout. As they say, "Brevity is the soul of wit." Unfortunately, the pace of the acting needs to pick up as well. I think there's only so much you are going to be able to do with editing. Still, it is an enjoyable piece and with a few trims would be much more watchable.

I also agree with the sound comment. Better mic-ing would help.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 01:50 PM   #7
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Thanks guys, I agree completely. The first "shorter cut" was better in many ways. I'm going to re-cut the entire thing, keep a few changes, but keep it short.

I'm also going to work on the audio...
It's tough though, the camera mic picked up a lot of noise.

I appreciate all the comments. The editing practice will be good for me.

I can't wait to get my first camera in April! I'm thinking of going with the HV20, a few lens attachments, and the boom mic attachment.

Mike
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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What is that noise in the background? There's someone talking and I spend most of the video trying to figure out what he was saying. Did I miss something?
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 02:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Sprinkle
What is that noise in the background? There's someone talking and I spend most of the video trying to figure out what he was saying. Did I miss something?
LOL! Sorry, it's a British radio station that he's listening to. I think I'll remove that in the new edit.. :)
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 04:02 PM   #10
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Hey Mike what are you using to edit this with?
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Weeks
Hey Mike what are you using to edit this with?
Premiere Pro 1.5

Why?

Any tips you can give me?

Mike
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 10:52 AM   #12
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The editing part is good, and I really can't remember but I think PPor 1.5's audio tools were pretty limited. I use FCP 5 myself, but I came from PPro 1.5 a year or so ago.

Do you have Audition 2? I think Audition 2 has a nice noise removal similar to Final Cut Studio's Soundtrack. In Soundtrack it's called "Set noise print" and "remove noise" or similar. If you have Audition, try that... but I think you'll need the latest version.

Basically, for the background noise, you just select a portion of the noise that is noise only, then Audition would use that "print" to cancel out the noise in the rest of the clip, sorta like those noise canceling headphones work.

I've had very good luck with removing similar noise on my audio with Soundtrack Pro. I wish I could tell you more about Audition, but I haven't really used it that much. If you don't have it I would suggest getting a demo version. If you work with audio a lot it's well worth the $400.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 11:46 AM   #13
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I have Audition 1.5 but I'll upgrading the entire suite soon.

I'll have to see if I can do as you mentioned. Thanks!

Mike
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:14 PM   #14
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Beside the aspect ratio business, I actually liked the original version better. For the most part, anyway. I definitely like Richard's exclamation in this updated cut; I think hearing him from the waiting room is much funnier.

I would have left the x-ray alone, though. The static shot of the big blob in his brain is effective enough as it was, I don't think the effects or sound added anything substantial. Seemed a bit out of place, really, what with the glow. Everything else in the film seemed fairly believable, down to earth, realistic, but I've never seen an x-ray do that. It called attention to itself, whereas the first iteration of the shot fit in rather naturally.

I'm in agreement with the comments about the radio station being removed. I figured it was either that or a TV offscreen, but it's a little distracting. It's never seen, it isn't terribly important to this story, and it sounds like it's only a small section of speech that's been looped, so I think you'd do well to eliminate it. Also on the audio front, the page at the beginning is just a bit too difficult to understand. I'd tone down the reverb (or is it just echo?) a little.

I must strongly disagree with Nick, however, with regard to the lighting. The only time you would really need to match color temperatures is if you're using unseen lighting equipment to supplement existing illumination. If, for example, you're in a room with sunlight coming in through a window, and you need to fill in some of the darker areas in the room, you'd want the color to match, so it seems natural. But in a situation like this, the mismatch is expected: a doctor's office would have fluorescent lighting, and a desk would have an incandescent lamp. It's a natural part of the scene's setting. Whether or not we actually get to see the source of the overhead lights, we assume they're there, and it's not strange to see the two kinds of light together like this.

Beyond that, I'd tend to feel that keeping everything the same color would be a bit dull. The way it is now, there's some separation provided by the two lights. The background is blue, and your doctor is ever so slightly red. Lighting your scene in this way is the textbook example of using color to bring something important to the foreground, as a matter of fact. I like it, and I think it gives the shots a touch of depth I don't believe you'd have if everything were matched to the fluorescents.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
Beside the aspect ratio business, I actually liked the original version better. For the most part, anyway. I definitely like Richard's exclamation in this updated cut; I think hearing him from the waiting room is much funnier.

Thanks, I agree completely!

I would have left the x-ray alone, though. The static shot of the big blob in his brain is effective enough as it was, I don't think the effects or sound added anything substantial. Seemed a bit out of place, really, what with the glow. Everything else in the film seemed fairly believable, down to earth, realistic, but I've never seen an x-ray do that. It called attention to itself, whereas the first iteration of the shot fit in rather naturally.

I just thought I would try a little something "over the top". I'm not sure which way I'm going to go on this one...

I'm in agreement with the comments about the radio station being removed. I figured it was either that or a TV offscreen, but it's a little distracting. It's never seen, it isn't terribly important to this story, and it sounds like it's only a small section of speech that's been looped, so I think you'd do well to eliminate it. Also on the audio front, the page at the beginning is just a bit too difficult to understand. I'd tone down the reverb (or is it just echo?) a little.

I agree and I have removed the radio station in the new edit that I'm working on. The "page" is supposed to be like that. I want it to be hard to understand. :) I think that it is like most hospital pages... very difficult to understand. ;) Might be a bit too much echo though.

I must strongly disagree with Nick, however, with regard to the lighting. The only time you would really need to match color temperatures is if you're using unseen lighting equipment to supplement existing illumination. If, for example, you're in a room with sunlight coming in through a window, and you need to fill in some of the darker areas in the room, you'd want the color to match, so it seems natural. But in a situation like this, the mismatch is expected: a doctor's office would have fluorescent lighting, and a desk would have an incandescent lamp. It's a natural part of the scene's setting. Whether or not we actually get to see the source of the overhead lights, we assume they're there, and it's not strange to see the two kinds of light together like this.

Beyond that, I'd tend to feel that keeping everything the same color would be a bit dull. The way it is now, there's some separation provided by the two lights. The background is blue, and your doctor is ever so slightly red. Lighting your scene in this way is the textbook example of using color to bring something important to the foreground, as a matter of fact. I like it, and I think it gives the shots a touch of depth I don't believe you'd have if everything were matched to the fluorescents.

Well, not much I can do about the lighting at this point. I must confess, I really didn't attempt to light any of the scenes very well.
You guys have been great! I'm going to be posting a "final edit" in the next few days. Hopefully some of you will give it one last look and final critique.

Thanks again,

Mike
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