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Thread: Silent Box

  1. Default Silent Box

    I made this video for a class that I'm taking. I made it to try to improve on my cinematography. So any advice on improvements would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,

    Keller






    Last edited by kellersmeller; 01-04-2010 at 12:16 AM.

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    I've no idea what that was all about, but apart from a lot of the shots being held for a fraction too long for comfort, I rather enjoyed it.



    Positives:
    Good mixture of shots
    Generally well composed
    Some consideration was clearly given to ensuring it was lit OK
    The night effect was well done (I presume you shot "day for night")
    Good use of sound (hardly a silent film though!)

    Areas for improvement:

    Many of the shots were held for a bit too long to hold my interest. I'm only talking maybe half a second per shot (eg where the talent is walking through the woods) but I was itching for the story to develop.

    Watch for cutting too early - at 26 secs the talent walks halfway out of the picture before the cut. He should really be allowed to walk out (or possibly cut before he starts to leave the shot). Contrast this with the cut at 0:30 where he is allowed to leave the shot - much cleaner. I'm not 100% sure he should entere screen left IMMEDIATELY after that (0:30)shot - but it didn't jump out at me when I first watched so it's probably OK)

    Watch for continuity of action & "crossing the line": Two cuts in particular stood out:
    1. The shot at 0:26 shows the talent's feet walking away from the camera towards top left, the following shot has him walking towards camera towards bottom right. You need an insert "neutral" shot between these.
    2. Similarly the cut at 2:44 is between two shots of the talent's head at 180 degree opposites.

    In case you're not aware the reason this is wrong is because, in life, when we observe something from one side we cannot see the other side without one of two things happening - either the subject turns/moves or we move around the subject.

    Therefore, when editing a film, we need to allow for this: We have four options: show the subject turning, show the camera moving around the subject, cut via a "neutral" shot of the subject (face on) or use a cutaway to somethin entirely different (when we see the following shot we can "assume" the subject has moved or the camera has moved during the interim)

    Hope that helps a little.

    Now will you explain what the film is about?
    Tim

  3. Default The Film

    First off thank you very much for the reply Tim.

    I see what you are talking about with the shots at 0:27 and 2:44. I had really limited footage for the scene at 2:44 but i will see if i can insert something into that cut. I also have felt that some of those shots are to long but now after hearing a second opinion I will defiantly trim those up.

    The overall idea of the film was that a young boy had just witnessed some kind of war and that he was one of the only survivors. He had a box that contained the last seed plant (seed plant is a term often used by farmers to describe a plant that produces a food that humans can eat). Now as far as whats chasing him goes, I mostly left that open for interpretation. My brother (The little boy in the video) suggested that he wasn't being chased by anything, that it was just paranoia from post traumatic stress disorder, So that part is really up to the viewer.

    Thanks,
    Keller

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    Thanks for the explanation. I'd pretty much got the message from the film that this was post traumatic stress related paranoia (full marks to your brother - much better than really being chased), but the seed plant business totally threw me and made me wonder whether I'd missed anything. Probably not then! But it does beg the question how do we know this is the last seed plant? We realise the content of the box is important because of the attention paid to it (good filming/editing) but even at the end I for one failed to undertand the significance - particularly as the film is shot among lush foliage. Probably just my ignorance.

    Back to the length of shots. This is very difficult for an editor to get right. I felt each cut was a tad too long because I had the advantage of seeing if for the first time. When you're editing you're seeing these edits for mayve the 100th time. You KNOW what's in them and so it's very difficult to see them as a fresh viewer would.

    It's a very difficult call. Make the shots too long and the viewer loses interest out of boredom, make them too short and the view loses interest out of confusion from being bombarded by so many shots.

    Add to that the problem that one person will take in much more from a two second clip than another and you realise that there's no such thing as a perfect cut for everybody, but everything must be a compromise.

    But certainly have a try at trimming these shots a fraction and see what you (and others) think.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by kellersmeller View Post
    I had really limited footage for the scene at 2:44 but i will see if i can insert something into that cut.
    Have you got (or could you shoot) any shots just looking up through the trees - a POV from the talent's position. That might work and add the feeling of his disorientation/panic.
    Tim

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    Hi Keller

    I was really impressed by this film and I think its a nice example of the variety of shots that are available to you if you stop and imagine them.

    Tim's comment about different viewers taking in different things is spot on. I thought the shots were the right length, and on first viewing I wouldn't change the length of any of them. Tim has a much better eye for the detail than me so I am certainly not saying his comments are wrong.

    The only mistake worthy of note is that you said it was a silent film when its not, but then again even the old black and white silents had a piano accompaniment, so maybe it is!

    Good effort, well done

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    Nice work but...

    I found it slow going. There's a difference between building tension and having the viewer reaching for the fast-forward button. It took a lot of self control for me not to FF and, for a lot of the time I was thinking "Oh, get on with it!". The "observational" night vision shots, for example, went on for ages without anything actually happening.

    In my viewer the screen was flattened, giving a tubby kid and dwarf trees. It doesn't happen with other youtube vids, so I assume that either something went wrong in the upload, or you're trying too hard with the "cinemascope" look.

    Finally, the "seed" idea didn't come across. My final thought was, "Why is the kid sticking a leafy twig into the forest floor?"

    Oh yeah, and it's not "silent", the sound effects and music add a lot to the film. If you look at it with the sound turned off, ie: truly silent, it makes even less sense.

    Not a bad effort though. Just remember that movies are a form of communication. Just because you know what you're trying to communicate, doesn't mean that the audience will understand it.

  8. Default

    my 2cents. i also had a hard time figuring out what it was all about. before reading any comments, my first impression was, its about a boy who is trying to protect the box from some kind of unknown entity (not human?). has some sci-fi feel to it for me. kind of like in a world without 'life' - except for the plant in the box. for me, its a great concept, except the location was in a forrest, and birds were singing, and there was life all around. if it was in an industrial place, with no people around, just deserted, then i could see an impact of somesort. please note, this is just my first assumption at the meaning of the short film.

    as far as length of shots go, i think they were comfortable length. for me, it takes too long to get to the climax. i think it starts from a level 2 or 3, and goes to 10 way too fast. maybe a 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10...would be better? not sure if that makes sense. but it would keep the viewer intrigued more. how to do this, you probably know better than me, but that is what i thought.

    i like the final shot a lot, it just sticks with you. overall, i liked this and was definitely worth watching, thanks for making the video!

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post

    In my viewer the screen was flattened, giving a tubby kid and dwarf trees. It doesn't happen with other youtube vids, so I assume that either something went wrong in the upload, or you're trying too hard with the "cinemascope" look.
    The reason the video seems so stretched is because I re-rendered it to a different format than what I usually use for Youtube. I didn't think that it would be pulled it out so much but I apalogize for that.

    Also I guess I was confused on the meaning of "silent film". I thought it could be a film without dialog along with being one without sound altogether. But again I apologize for the missuse of termonology.
    thanks,
    Keller

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