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Old September 8th, 2019, 01:31 AM   #1
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Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

I made one, that people say I should send into festivals, and the people I made it with, really want me to send it in, but I was wondering if it was the type that most festivals would accept, since it has b-roll footage from other sources, even though it's public domain I'm quite sure from all my research on each source, it's still not my original footage.

Here it is, what do you think?

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Old September 8th, 2019, 03:53 AM   #2
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

It depends on the festival rules, which are usually published from the entry perspective.

Not sure about some of the content though. Are you sure this is all public domain footage? I'll assume it is.

A few questions.

The slo-mo real footage of a guillotine? Is that appropriate?
The pink footage of a black guy presumably about to be hung? Setting aside the actual content, pink seems a very strange choice.

The thing that really got me, as I watched and listened properly to the whole piece was nothing to do with the shooting and editing - it was the content. Rambling and lacking focus. Up to through I kept asking myself what was the battle damaged link - which only resolved itself when we got to the cemetary. I hadn't made the link at that point. I think the guy who wrote it really feels it, and this kind of drove the flowery, emotive, but sadly pointless script. I quite liked the black shirt against white background, but found it overly dark. His skin rarely got more than mid gray. Some of the clips were clearly old movies but I found making the link difficult? What was the old footage? Nero in Rome, or something similar? The words being spoken and the Hitler translation people/state state/people? What had this to do with the point? as until later it's not resolved.

I have to say I hated the cemetery footage because nobody thought to bring a tripod?? The occasional out of focus moment also throws attention. It also looks like it's been stabilised on the pan through the graves as his head seems to follow a track that's level, but the edges of the picture seem to rotate and gyrate around it, as if it was very wobbly and then had been repaired?. The other thing is the saturation level doesn't;t match the rather washed out feel in the rest?

You've probably already realised that, but the question about B-roll is not about B roll at all is it? There isn't any B roll material, but there is plenty of archive material - some of which could be controversial if the source isn't attributed which lots of archive material does by way of caption or end credit "archive material courtesy of the imperial War Museum" or something similar.

In any form of competition or festival, the rules usually provide for giving credit for technical or artistic work created by the entrant. Using archive material, even if compliant, means the festival committee or judges close their eyes to that content, but how do they know which is which. Hitler is a giveaway, as is the old movies, but how about the shot with blue and red sectors? Did you do that, or is that archive? I guess you - but if that section worked/didn't work it sure puts it under scrutiny.

All I really know is that if I were in the audience, I'd have switched off. It was a bit like going to church and sitting through a boring sermon. The speaker made the classic mistake of not posing a question early on, then building to an answer. He rambled, didn't make any point at all, then sort of drifted to the end with no real direction or point. 5 minutes has elapsed since I watched it, and I can't remember what his point actually was? No matter how good your shooting and editing was, all people remember is the narrative and sadly, it didn't have one. Did it tell a story? Did it have an outcome? Was there resolution? What exactly was the purpose of the short? I have no idea. Rome, Hitler, Capital Punishment, Murder? What was the bit about Battle Damaged Souls meant to mean. Did I miss this bit? I can see this link in the cemetery scene onwards. Up to this point, I didn't see any direction in his script to get there? Would WW1 footage of the somme, or the American wars, or Korea, Vietnam etc have expressed this better than actors pretending to be Romans, or Hitler ranting when scenes from Germany Vs Russia on the eastern front would have told the story better? So much was just confusing or irrelevant.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 12:06 PM   #3
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
It depends on the festival rules, which are usually published from the entry perspective.

Not sure about *some of the content though. Are you sure this is all public domain footage? I'll assume it is.

A few questions.

The slo-mo real footage of a guillotine? Is that appropriate?
The pink footage of a black guy presumably about *to be hung? Setting aside the actual content, pink seems a very strange choice.

The thing that really got me, as I watched and listened properly to the whole piece was nothing to do with the shooting and editing - it *was the content. Rambling and lacking focus. Up to through I kept asking myself what was the battle damaged link - which *only resolved itself when we got to the cemetary. I hadn't made *the link at that point. I think the guy who wrote it really feels it, and *this kind of drove *the flowery, emotive, but sadly pointless script. I quite liked the black shirt against white background, but found it overly dark. His skin rarely got more than *mid gray. Some of the clips were clearly old movies but I found making the *link difficult? What was the old footage? Nero in Rome, or something similar? The words being * spoken and the Hitler translation people/state *state/people? What had this to do with the point? as until later it's not resolved.

I have to say *I hated the cemetery footage because nobody thought to bring a tripod?? The occasional out of focus moment also throws attention. It also looks like it's been stabilised on *the *pan through the graves *as his head seems to follow a track that's level, but the edges of the picture seem to rotate and gyrate around it, as if it was very wobbly and then had been repaired?. The other thing is the saturation level doesn't;t match the rather washed out feel in the *rest?

You've probably already realised that, but the question about B-roll is not about B *roll at all is it? There isn't any B roll material, but there is plenty of archive *material - some of which could be controversial if the source isn't *attributed which lots of archive *material does by way of caption or end credit "archive material courtesy of the imperial War *Museum" or something similar.

In any form of competition or festival, the rules usually *provide for giving credit for technical or artistic work created by the entrant. Using archive *material, even if compliant, means the festival committee or judges close their eyes to that content, but how do they know which is which. Hitler is a giveaway, as is the old movies, but how about the *shot with blue and red sectors? Did you do that, or is that archive? I guess you - but if that section worked/didn't work it sure puts it under scrutiny.

All I really know is that if I were in the audience, I'd have switched off. It was a bit *like going to church and sitting through *a boring sermon. The speaker made the classic mistake of not posing a question early on, then building to an answer. He rambled, didn't make *any point *at all, then sort *of drifted to the end with no real direction or point. *5 minutes has elapsed since I watched it, and I can't remember what his point actually was? No matter how good your shooting and editing was, all people remember is the narrative and sadly, it didn't have one. *Did *it tell a story? Did it have an outcome? Was there resolution? What exactly *was the purpose of the short? I have no idea. Rome, Hitler, Capital Punishment, Murder? What was the bit about Battle Damaged Souls meant to mean. Did I *miss this *bit? I can *see this link in the cemetery scene onwards. Up to this point, I didn't see any direction in his script to get there? Would WW1 footage *of the *somme, or the American wars, or Korea, Vietnam etc have *expressed this better than actors pretending to be Romans, or Hitler *ranting when scenes from Germany Vs Russia on the eastern front would have *told *the story better? So much was just confusing or irrelevant.
Okay thanks, but some of the festival rules are kind of vague, and I want to send it out to a few of them before their deadlines are up.

For some reason there are asterixes in my response. Not sure why, but this site seems to put them there after I post my response, so sorry about that.

I'm pretty sure the footage is all public domain, a couple of the photographs I could not get sources on. We were originally planning on this being a youtube piece. The producer is the one speaking in the video and he produced and wrote the script. A lot of the archive footage decisions are his, and they were in his script, where as some were decided by us later, with his approval.

I just did the short for something to do for experience, and trusted his script. *We were originally going to have it be just a youtube piece to show our work. *Some people told us we should send it into festivals, and he really wants to do it now. *I didn't think this was the type of film that was for a lot of festivals, but he wants to do it, and wants me to work with him on it, so since it's my project as well, in the sense that I did the directing, I feel I should participate in sending it to festivals as well. *What do you think?

I don't think that footage was Nero in Rome but just some footage of religious leaders I found, if that's the footage you mean?

As for the black guy being hung and the footage being pink, the original footage was actually color tinted pink. *I was thinking of changing the footage, to black and white or sepia more, but other filmmakers said they felt I should keep the original color of the footage, out of respect. *Should I?

I don't know if B-roll is the right term, it was just the term used in the film school course I took for any footage, that is put over a speaking host in a video.

As for the guillotine footage, it was his idea, in his script, for when he says 'off with his head'. *It was the only footage I could find that was public domain of a guillotine execution, real or fake. *So I am just doing what he wants in his script.

For the cemetery scene we used a gimbal and a jib, cause when he enters the cemetery, I wanted the camera POV to move up to reveal more of it as we walked in, and I wanted the gimbal to follow him walking but also rotate around him to convey certain emotions in a couple of shots. Is that bad that we used a gimbal or a jib instead of a tripod? We actually brought a tripod, just in case, but none of the storyboarded shots called for it, since all the shots had camera moves in mind, that a tripod couldn't perform. I thought it was okay, since lots of movies use those devices to create certain feelings. And you see these moves done in movies all the time, so was it bad to not use a tripod, which couldn't perform those moves, therefore?
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Old September 8th, 2019, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Well - if you used a jib, it shouldn't have wobbled, should it? It looked hand held, so maybe just a bit more practice holding it steady. Gimbals can look really weird when the gimbal itself goes up and down. I thought not just looked odd. I'd say submit away, as the worst case is they won't use it or accept it.

The fact I missed the religious leaders bit, and thought they were Romans means it isn't perhaps as obvious as you think? On the guillotine front, consider that a quick painless death is reduced a bit by the blade going down slowly and slicing the head off gradually? Maybe a bit gory at that speed?

I do think that pink is a very strange colour to choose. It's usually a happy, gentle, passive colour - in the middle of a virtually monochrome piece? Keeping the colour out of 'respect' seems to generate little respect at all, to be honest.

B-roll is stuff you shoot ancillary to the prime product. I was shooting parachutists last week. My B-roll included filler material - refuelling the plan, shuts being packed, a helicopter landing, some of the parachutists eating lunch, students getting instruction and the windsock blowing. I even got a few birds flying out of trees. In the edit, when you need a cutaway, or distraction you go to B-roll, as in the A-roll being the idiots jumping out of aeroplanes. Footage that has a voice over, is rarely filler, but the thing people are watching in primary mode, with the voice over as the secondary content.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 01:30 PM   #5
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Oh okay thanks. We put the gimbal on the jib, but maybe we should have taken the camera off completely.
How does a gimbal look strange when going up and down exactly? I ask because one of the next projects I have planned, we will most likely use a gimbal to go up and down in some shots.

Is there anything I need to be aware of when moving a gimbal up and down, or is there something bad about it?
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Old September 8th, 2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

No you've got confused again. The idea of a gimbal is that it remains in the same orientation when the angle it is being held at changes. They react badly to physical movement up and down or sideways. In your video the movement seems to be up and down. It remains locked onto the head of the subject, but if you watch the bottom of the frame you can see it going up and down in some shots. To me, this signifies hand held, not on a jib. If you have a proper jib, then using a gimbal is really just using the gimbal's pan and tilt facility, assuming it has both. You're not really using the full feature set of a gimbal, and a pan/tilt head would have been just as good for the shots. If it has to move up and down, a job will be fine. The trouble with hand held shots is simply that when you walk normally, YOU go up and down. The gimbal won't take this out. Most gimbal operators have developed the old hand held cameraman technique of walking with knees never locked - so your height remains constant. It was vital with shoulder mounted cameras because walking makes the camera lurch up and down. They walked very oddly, walking with bent knees and it kept the camera level.

Watch your video again - the cemetery sequence and see if you can spot it as the camera and subject moves left.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 02:10 PM   #7
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Okay thanks, I'll watch it. I don't know how the gimbal works as much, and a separate gimbal operator who has his own did it all for me. I can try to read more about how to use a gimbal though. Which shots in the video particularly, is this happening in?

You say a pan and tilt head would have been fine, but for the shots, where I want the camera to move forwards and backwards, such as following the subject from behind him, and following him from in front, wouldn't a pan and tilt head, not work for those shots, since the camera is moving forwards and backwards?
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Old September 8th, 2019, 02:14 PM   #8
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Cemetery - wobble cam - watch the background, not the centre frame subject - nothing is smooth - lots quite jerky and some very distracting.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Oh okay thanks, I see what you mean in some shots. Could this be because of the cameras image stabilization perhaps? Could it be fighting the smoothness?
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Old September 9th, 2019, 12:16 AM   #10
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

I really don't know ryan, but it's not nice to watch, is it?
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Old September 9th, 2019, 07:00 AM   #11
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Hmm... I don't have a problem with the look being gimbal moves, but I guess that's just me? It's just I have seen the gimbal being used so many times in movies before, that I am fine with it, but should I not be?
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Old September 9th, 2019, 07:05 AM   #12
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Well - if you wish to be an amateur film maker, and are willing to accept your current problems in your work - like poor sound, poor camera work and poor lighting and poor planning, then it's fine - but why would you submit your work to festivals where it's under scrutiny I have no idea. If you have learned so little from our discussions over the past few months, is there any hope.

You try hard, but are making no progress. If you really are happy with wobbly footage, and your clients are happy to accept it, then we're all wrong Ryan, and you are right - but why ask if you won't listen?

I see or hear no progress.

Name me some movies I can examine where faults like this are generating awards?
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Old September 9th, 2019, 07:06 AM   #13
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

For sure, I want to make progress, it's just I am not sure what to do. What can I do to make the gimbal footage look better? You said to use a tripod, but are you only saying that cause you don't like gimbal footage, and the tripod is your personal preference, or do you like gimbal footage as long as it's good?
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Old September 9th, 2019, 08:22 AM   #14
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Let's start off with the positives. Creating any sort of movie takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, so congratulations. You'll be better for creating something even if it doesn't succeed than to not taking a risk.

Now lets talk about the flaws. First there are lots of "little" technical problems that I won't repeat. If you're goal was to highlight your skills as a cinematographer then this is more of a problem but at this level I think creativity is more important than technical excellence. That brings me to my second point. If the technicals are weak then the artistic aspects then need to be strong. I have more of a problem with "big picture" aspects of this film. I feel the goal of any independent film maker submitting to a festival should be to tell a story visually in a unique way. To me this movie doesn't do that. You 're basically interviewing a person rambling about an overly broad subject, his feelings on war, politics, and the environment, with b-roll from other sources, then him walking in the cemetery, with patriotic music in the background throughout. During the interview you're taking odd angles with the hope of creating some sort of artistic interest but it's heavy handed and doesn't work. It should have occurred to you at the planning stage that using archival footage shouldn't be used for a film festival.

The movie lacks depth, mystery, complexity and a style/viewpoint unique to you. It's a good start and something to build on, but I'd look at previous festival winners/finalists and ask yourself why did they win. I feel you need to put in more time and effort at development and planning stage. If you had shared your plan for this movie with competent film makers they might have brought up the issues I discussed.
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Old September 9th, 2019, 08:56 AM   #15
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Re: Would festivals have a problem with this type of short film?

Pete's comments are very accurate and fair.

It's not that I don't like gimbal images - I actually have one, but I use the right tool for the job. I also have a jib. Most of my work that pays the bills comes from the tripod. If I wanted to run the camera backwards, retaining the distance from the subject, then I would use the gimbal I think - but I'd be prepared to repeat the sequence three or four times till I got it right, and each take would be looked at there and then. I know what would happen. I'd step back and put a foot in a divet and trip or stumble, I'd drift off line, or somehow the direction would creep. However, I'm pretty good at keeping it at the same distance from the ground. You also could perhaps have done the shot with a zoom out to keep the subject height the same and retained perspective. In honesty, I don't know which one would look better?

I like shots of any kind that work - I don't care how they were done - but it's the right tool for the job.
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