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Thread: Sword Fighting Group Demo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Great Lakes, US

    Default Sword Fighting Group Demo

    I would appreciate any advise. I am very new at this, and while I know there are serious issues with this video, I am not sure what they are. I have made a couple of different promos to play with style, and I am about to make our official demo. I got permission for better music (Abney Park), and I need to have the video finished by mid-November so that we can mail our demo packets. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    I have been working on Windows Movie Maker, but tomorrow I am switching to Adobe. There will be a learning curve, but I am hoping that this will give me more options. I feel like wmm doesn't have the options I need. That or I don't understand the full utility of the program.

    Thank you for your help.

    10 minute demo for 2013 - YouTube

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Hi CND and Welcome.

    First let me say you've come to the right place for suggestions on how to improve. More importantly you've overcome the first big hurdle in recognising that there IS room to improve and being man enough to ask for help. I'm not kidding, when you've worked long and hard on something it is often difficult to admit to yourself that there's room for improvement.

    Secondly, please don't take any criticism here as personal - it's criticism of the video, not of you and don't worry if it sounds harsh/negative - people posting are not trying to slag off your work but point out thibhs that don't work so you can improve on them or eliminate them next time. No-one here is going to waste their time simply "dissing" someone else's work

    Just to get the ball rolling:

    1. Take a look at the length - this is far too lomg. You are just showing people fighting. You can do this in 30 seconds. If it's really, realy good you could stretch it to 2 minutes. If I was a potential member, event organiser or potential spectator, I'd want to see a taster leaving me wanting to see more. Here the message is "this is what we do, and here's some more of the same, and some more" - I'm left with the feeling I've seen all you do so I'm less inclined to come along andjoin/book/watch.

    2. All the shots are the same - they are all "wide shots" showing the whole of the action (the full height of teh participants). Contrary to instinct, this does not make an interesting film. Watch any action movie (actually any movie) and you will see that ful shots are rarely shown. More often you will get lots of fast cuts mixing wide with mid (top half of body), close (eg faces, arms holding swords) and extreme close ups (hand holding sword, the point where two sword clash, a participants eye, mouth, foot) and cutaways (paraphenalia, spectators watching, scenery)

    3. Put something behind your titles so they are more legible (sonme "Drop Shadow", border, Google "lower thirds")

    4. Drop the names of the participants at the beginning (put them in the credits at the end, if you must). From the point of view of a demo - who cares? We don't know these people.

    5. Try to build some sort of narrative. Take the viewer through a "journey" so they want to see what happens next.

    6. This seems to be lacking in any information. Who are you? How often do you meet? Where are you based (I know it's in the credits, but I'd have to wait 10 minutes to find out). Get someone authorititve to explain this either to camera or in voiceover.

    7. Get some interviews with some of the participants - what sort of people do it? How long have they been doing it? What do they get out of it etc ...

    Remeber the goal of the demo is to get people interested. What you have produced so far is a "vanity film" for the participants - and there's nothing wrong with that at all. But it's not something which will generate as much interest from outsiders as it could do.

    Hope this helps & good luck.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 09-22-2012 at 08:05 AM.

  3. #3


    Hello and Welcome

    The important thing is with a video like this you need to make your audience think they are in the thick of the action. Like you are one of the opponents. So use full facial close up shots to record expressions of terror like your fighting for your life here. Plus close ups of swords crossing, foot and hand movements etc get creative. Then use cut a ways. showing close ups of the on lookers etc. then cut back to the pair. This will help to keep the audience engaged.

    I only viewed about 3 mins of your video. It looks as if you were filming just as a spectator from a distance. You must have the right footage to start with if its going to be a show piece. You can then edit in wmm taking out camera shakes etc. Don't zoom in then pan back in the same scene. its one or the other. Remember any editing software is only any good if you have good footage to start with.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4


    Tim has said most of the points. I will just add try to use a tripod for the long shots. Don't use zooms cut from the long shot to the close up in editing we don't see the travel of the zoom in Hollywood movies do we.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Agree with all posts, esp #3 - IMHO you will need to learn that (all) good films are faked - If you want to be "in the action" (and the viewer will like that!), then you need to stage the sword-play and match the shots in Edit....but you need a detailed story-board (shot by shot) + cutting list so all the bits are recorded.
    I noticed that some shots were against the light (this messes the exposure) and some were taken in shade (was it?).... this makes "matching shots" difficult and some way round this need to be found.
    Watch some films of the sword-fighing era . . . . like Henry 5th (black and white, was it?)

    Perhaps OP can say if this "promo" is to encourage others to join the fencing-club . . or are you re-enacting famous battles, perhaps?

    Join a filmMaking club and learn from those with experience . . . The video is only part of the story, Audio is another layer alltogether...... This sounds like fun to me.

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