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Thread: 'Black Ribbons' My first DSLR film

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Manchester, UK

    Default 'Black Ribbons' My first DSLR film

    Hi, this is 'Black Ribbons and it's the first time I've used to a DSLR (canon 550D) to make a short. I learned a lot making it mostly don't use the Magic Lantern firmware. It was okay but not very reliable so we had to use a back up sound recorder which had loads of wind noise on it but what can you do. It was an experiment and learning curve.

    Short film about a mother who has to justify her actions some time after losing a child but not every detail can be clearly remembered. Shot at Ryburn Reservoir, Ripponden in West Yorkshire. It's a good story and hopefully you'll make it to the end (even I find it a bit slow in the middle) as there's a twist.

  2. #2


    I thought this piece had very good acting and directing standards, as I would expect from you. I like the opening shot panning from the car mirror. I'm not sure about the cut away of the trees during the conversation. Your right that it needed some thing but when it cut away to the trees and started panning down, I thought it was going to pan down to the couple. It just seemed a little odd to me but not a big issue.

    The one issue which distracted me was with the sound, The volume of the conversation was very quiet, I had to turn the volume up quite a lot and you suffered a lot from wind, Well you know what I mean. I hope this is something you can fix in post, as I feel the film is very much worth fixing.

    I did enjoy the over all performance despite the distraction of the sound issue.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Can't add any real praise to what Midnight has already given. Well done.
    I don't kno what your relationship with the actors is, but have you considered a bit of ADR. I really think it might be worth it as the wind noise and inaudibility of the talent in the early scenes is a real distraction and a great shame.
    What happened to the framing at 2:30? If thtis was intentional, what were you trying to convey? If not - hey, we all screw up from time to time

  4. #4


    What happened to the framing at 2:30?
    Ha Ha, I totally missed that Tim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Manchester, UK


    To be honest I don't know what happened at the 2.30 as I edited it a couple of months ago. I know when I was filming we used one camera shooting from two angles with the idea of cutting between them. This angle was focused to see his reactions and dialogue and I can only assume when I shot from the other angle something probably went wrong with either the sound or continuity. Believe me if there had been a shot I'd have used it.

    Same goes for the cut away where you expect it pan down to the couple although I think it was probably a script error. You know when you're filming and it's all going well but then your actor says '...what's the line? Oh yeah...' and then they carry on as if nothing has happened. That happened and rather than leave the jumpy edit I covered it up with really REALLY bad (but almost forgivable if you're not paying attention) jump cut. It needed something in there anyway to break it up a bit... just not what I put in. May be a close up of her hand fiddling with a wedding ring would have been much better.

    As for the sound I did what I could but it's like trying to take the water out a loaf of bread when it's been cooked. It was windy when we filmed and we don't really have the appropriate sound gear for shooting outside. I know it's very easy to blame equipment and actors which is why I'm doing it

    In retrospect I think the story could have been better too. Had it been a car crash for which she can't remember the last few seconds but she knows she wasn't negligent there would have been a reason for the husband being dead... a ghost... a haunting in her conscious if you know what I mean. As it is it's left pretty open and vague.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about fellas. Constructive as always and taken on board but I don't think I'm going to fix it as there's too many issues so I'll move on to the next one.

  6. #6


    I understand why you feel you want to move on and not fix this piece, which I think is a shame because I thought it was very touching, with great performances, but your the boss.

    I'm sure you learnt a bucket load making this one and the next will be great.

  7. #7


    I really like this. Well acted and nicely shot and edited. I'm not too bothered about the wind noise as I think this adds a certain something to the remote location setting. The only thing I'd pick up on would be the use of a good stabaliser. DSLRs, especially the 550D, are so small and light , even the slightest handshake can turn the picture into an earthquake. That's definately something I've learned these last 12 months from using a 7D.

  8. #8


    i did like the look of this, but i did find myself skipping the middle, anyway it had a great start and that's possibly the most important thing considering the short attention spans we have these days
    I know nothing about youtube, even less about video

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