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Old 05-19-2017, 02:12 AM   #1
ZMY
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THANK YOU to this forum! My FIRST short is updated/done!

5-21-17 UPDATE: I filmed a few extra scenes to break up the static shots + added a brief piece of dialogue to add some depth

5-20-17 UPDATE: I read more about color grading so did some of that + changed the tile font + added in a sound effect I originally took out

I've learned so much over the past few weeks. What an awesome community.

Mega thanks to Scoopicman for dealing with my incessant messaging

I have a LONG way to go but I am proud of my first attempt at writing, shooting, and editing.

http://vimeo.com/zmyounus/theauspice

Last edited by ZMY; 05-21-2017 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Updated video - FINAL EDIT :)
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:40 AM   #2
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Interesting choice. What made you decide to go with a silent film?

And congratulations That first one is always a huge learning experience.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:40 AM   #3
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Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment and it's great that this forum was helpful (seriously!).
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:25 AM   #4
ZMY
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Thank you for watching! I went silent for two reasons:

1: way too many John Carpenter films as a child

2: severe inexperience, I had never even owned a digital camera before this.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:27 AM   #5
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Mlesemann, I appreciate your kind words! I put a special thanks to the forum in the credits. I would not have finished this without it
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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I'll give you a little constructive criticism but please keep in mind that other film makers are the absolute worst audience for indie films. We're the most critical and we're likely not your target demographic. This is something I learned that hard way posting my own work hahaha.

Okay so here's some criticism. First a lot of your lighting is too flat.
Learning about the concept of "negative fill" helped me improve a lot.

Learn from the masters!!
Check out how cool the lighting is in this picture and try to figure out how yours can be better next time

Image source: Full Metal Jacket



^^^ Look at the wall on the background. Even a plain blank wall can be super interesting with a little bit of shadow.



The dude sitting outside holding a beer, you should put the beer in his other hand. It would be a lot easier for the camera to see.

And one opinion of mine: At the end when he pulls out a knife thats a great opportunity for a Foley sound of the knife unsheathing. It would be even more effective due to the contrast of having the film silent.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:15 PM   #7
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Constructive criticism is exactly why I am here so I appreciate your efforts in providing some. Totally understand your point on lighting, I noticed how static the images were. I will be working on that for sure.

How funny you mentioned the knife sound. I actually had a traditional sword unsheathing clip to fit with the retro feel but I took it out because it made me feel less confident in the final piece. Maybe I should get it back in there...
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:26 PM   #8
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Depends on why it made you feel less confident. Sometimes I have ideas and i try them and they don't work like i hoped haha.

Here's a BTS shot i took from last year.

Notice behind that ceiling fan - I have light box attached to a pole. It's pointing straight down with a funnel of blackwrap around it. Then I draped the coffee table with a black cloth so that when i filmed them sitting on the couch no light was bouncing up from underneath. This let the actor lean forward from complete darkness into the light.

Halfway through the scene someone flips a light switch and i turn on the light you see on the left. There's a big black cloth on the left side of it (also used a lot in negative fill) that prevents all that light from spilling into my background


Last edited by sfoster; 05-19-2017 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:12 PM   #9
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That is a great example and something I could easily replicate at home. Nice.

The most effort I put into lighting was the backseat scene at the gas station (00:52) and the scene with the captive bound (2:34). I had old lanterns, lamps, and flashlights with me.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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I'll give you my comments from the audio perspective.

I realize that you're using canned music for your score, but it's too monotonous. There needs to be a more distinct change of mood/emotion for each sequence - Preparation, Process, Progress, Purpose; each should have its own theme.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMY View Post
How funny you mentioned the knife sound. I actually had a traditional sword unsheathing clip to fit with the retro feel but I took it out because it made me feel less confident in the final piece. Maybe I should get it back in there...
In a film with no dialog there is lots of room for some interesting sound design. Your "sword unsheathing" sound didn't work because the protagonist is not unsheathing a blade; he's pulling a switchblade from his pocket and opening it. So the sequence of sounds should have been the removal of the knife from his pocket and then the snap of the blade opening. There could be a very short unsheathing type of sound as the knife opens to enhance the dangerous nature of the weapon.***

I will give just a few more examples of how sound could have greatly improved your short. For instance, the cinematography in your Preparation section is very static. Your protagonist could have been putting things into the plastic storage bag, picking up the car keys, picking up the knife and closing it, and the sputtering & guttering of candles, allowing more opportunities for sound design. I would also Foley everything and use non-dialog vocalizations (breaths, grunts, sighs, etc.).

(BTW, putting the knife in his pocket and the collection of cleaning supplies should be in Preparation, not Process).

Vehicle sounds can also be quite effective. You could also have used a navigators voice when the GPS/map is seen. Gas station sounds @ 00:53. Again, Foley and vocalizations at 01:19 when he is laying on the car seat.

I won't continue, but you get the idea. Non-dialog vocalizations, Foley and sound effects (including ambient/background sounds) can hugely enhance a project, providing character & plot information/motivation and heightening the tension.

For a first attempt you did quite well, so don't take critiques negatively. Our critiques - or at least my critiques - are aimed at making you a better filmmaker.



***Solid sound design is not about choosing one sound, but working with layers and sequences of sounds. To further my example of the removal of the knife from his pocket and then the snap of the blade opening the clothing Foley would give more menace and purpose. Just for fun, it would probably take me 20 to 40 minutes to put all the sounds together; it takes some time just picking the proper sounds for the correct emotional impact, then they need to be synched properly.

Last edited by Alcove Audio; 05-19-2017 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:26 PM   #11
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Thanks for your insight. All good points for future projects. I definitely need to work on my shots not being static.

Definitely agree on the importance of synchronization!
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:57 PM   #12
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It's actually kind of refreshing to see someone new thats genuinely interested in feedback and trying to get better. I'm looking forward to your next film.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:06 PM   #13
ZMY
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I'm grateful to be breaking the norm. At the same time it blows me away that people don't keep themselves open to constructive criticism. I have no idea what I'm doing so the input found across this forum is invaluable.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:27 AM   #14
ZMY
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sfoster, I decided to go with your advice and added in that foley sound. I think it is here to stay! Plus I did some more research on color grading. Skin textures seem less harsh now.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMY View Post
sfoster, I decided to go with your advice and added in that foley sound. I think it is here to stay! Plus I did some more research on color grading. Skin textures seem less harsh now.
Cool I'm glad you like it. I almost suggested a death rattle too
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