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Thread: First short film - film noir

  1. Default First short film - film noir

    Hey everyone

    This is my first ever short film. I am a student studying over subjects to just film and media, so this is something I have done in my own time

    I know there are mistakes in the short, but nothing that I cant learn from for next time. I would love to hear some constructive criticism for how I could improve for my next short film.

  2. #2


    Quite good for what it was. Just a couple of things firstly you may find showing images of famous people may have a copyright on them. You would have to look into this. The knife in the back didn't look right. Good sound recording but it would have been better with some "live sounds", typewriter etc. The images where a little washed out but some good shots and ideas. The pace of the editing and story was a little slow to hold interest.

    A very good job for your first film.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    I must say the voice-over was very good. The Gene Fowler text is very noir. Did you record it yourself?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Some nice images there. And as Rob Says a good V/O. But on with the constructive criticism ... much of this is personal preference so don't feel afraid to defend - I'm just questioning some choices.

    I wasn't taken by the sepia colour - although it worked well with the blood at the end. I always think of noir as very black and very white. Certainly I'd have increased the contrast so there's lots of shadow and just the odd bit of highlight blown out. Another thing often associated with this style is the use of Dutch tilt - shots where the camera is tilted 20-30 degrees from the level. I think this could have been very effective here as the actual content of the shots is fairly minimal and you need to squeeze as much out of teh limited subject matter as possible.

    My biggest problem with it, though, was the fact that we open on a shot suggesting it's 1941, but virtually everything we see is anachronistic. The typewriter and curtains are 1960s. The lamp is 70's/80s. There's a plastic washing basket on the floor. The wire paper tray is plastic covered. The radiator is 90s style. I'm afraid this rather spoiled the film for me before it had started.

    I speak as one who has learned this by experience. Not so long ago I was involved in a film set loosely in the early days of silent movies. Dispite being a very lightweight comedy and despite me painstakingly removing recessed ceiling spotlights in post and despite the house looking like it might be period "modern" it got slated because what to me looked just like a plain white door, ooked to everyone else like the uPVC door that it was.

    As I think Rembrant Rob has said in his 10 commandments elsewhere on this forum, "if you can notice it, the audience will".

    A couple of technical issues.

    Unless you are deliberately aiming for a Dutch tilt (in which case the tilt must be clearly intentional - at least 20 degrees, some wouyld say more) make sure the levels are level. There are a few shots where the vertical line of the corner of the room is not vertical.

    The cut from a pan left to right straight into a pan right to left (first cut) is not generally a good cut. Pans shoudl come to a halt before cutting anyway - the exeption being when you're following action.

    If that all sounds negative, I'm sorry. It's really not my intention. I really enjoyed the film and am just looking for things that in my opinion would have improved it.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    I must say the voice-over was very good. The Gene Fowler text is very noir. Did you record it yourself?
    Thanks for the reply, I didnt record the voiceover, I hired a professional to do it, I use a website called voice123, its great for getting VOs.

  6. Default

    Hey thanks for the reply, I think its great you wrote so much. I am not happy with the short film yet again it was my first real atempt, so lets face it, it wasnt going to be hollywood budget.
    With the props and set being from different times, I really couldnt help that, I couldnt get a location to film, and when someone from my local film club offered a room, I just took it as I was using not finding a location as an excuse not to film. I am happier that I just went out there and gave it a shot, than if I just wouldnt have bothered.
    And thanks for the tip on the panning and stopping before cutting, I will definitely keep that in mind for future films, thats a great tip

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