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Briefcase Chase


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#1 michael pfister

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 12:32 AM

A short about two guys from different agencies after one object. The briefcase, which is help by the VIP person. The inside of the briefcase is unknown, and the objective is to find whats inside. The two agents battle it out to try and reach the briefcase before the other does, but in the end, you don't always get what you want....

Ok, i'm only 15, and it's not like im in film school or anything, and i don't have all the good equipment.


Sorry for the lack of story because we were shooting in houston and then my parents made me come home before we could finish shots, and then the other actors had to go so i just tried to tie it in as best as possible. Most is explained above!

Please give me comments and suggestions so i can improve.

Thanks.

click
that is currently the only link i have. sorry for the quality.
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#2 Jay Cowley

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 11:47 PM

wow very impressive

how long have you been making films? it appears from this project that you do have some experience.

from what you had to work with, editing was good.




now for some constructive critisism...

i would advise not to use the zoom quite as much. it's fine when your zoom in a the suspicious guy walking or whatever, giving the 'spy', 'being watched' feel, but i wouldn't use it as much other than for that reason.

one problem that i would work on for your next script is trying to get more variety in the actual actions of the characters.

it seemed in this film as if you were just watching various people hurry around various places, and although this is fine, too much of the same things take away from the seeing the film as 'a progressing story taking place' and more like random shots. when the girl went in the car and looked at those photographs, that was good. but you needed more of that, and less people walking are running around.

the camera views were all very good, but they were all also basically the same. almost all of them were camera on tripod, with a medium range shot of the subject. get creative, i would have used the skaky camera effect numerous times, way more closeups, and views from different heights (ie all your camera views seemed to be from the same height, about 4 feet off the ground im thinking)

your night shots were very well done, this is a very underrated aspect in film making. i'm not sure if you used any extra lighting or if it was all whatever was there, but most of your night shots looked really good

overall, fairly professional, well planned and edited film. Again though, it was definitely missing variety and more interesting camera angles. This would eliminate any dullness that your movie had.



jay cowley

Edited by Jay Cowley, 19 March 2006 - 11:49 PM.

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#3 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 10:38 AM

I thought your short film was very good! (couldn't you of thrown some dialogue in there?) Other than that, it was very good. Thanks for sharing that with us and good luck to you!
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#4 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:19 PM

WOW!!! Takes me back...When I was your age me my friends made some films at the Water Wall just like you! :lol: Great location. We tried to get into Transco Tower at one point but they wouldn't let us in...bastards :angry: Great to see kids in Houston doing something besides skating and drugs...

Now to your film. I was not upset by your use of the zoom, but then again I love giallo films which are known for their myriad use of them. He was right about shot selection and variation.

Put the camera on the ground and look up at your agent as he peeks around the corner to view the action. Things like this help alot. Get a book like SHOT BY SHOT and DRAMATIC MOTION by Steven Katz. These give examples of how certain shots carry with it an emotional pretense.

This also goes for my thoughts on the "dialogue" question. Don't rush to put dialogue in your mini-movies. I argue whole heartedly against this. Learn how to tell a story with pictures first! I promise that it will make you a stronger filmmaker in the long run. The advent of "talkies" too soon permenantly augmented the future of motion pictures as we know it, IMHO. In other words, the silent cinema was unable to reach its apex before sound technology came around. This is my personal philosophy and you don't have to accept it, but my point still stands as far as your filmmaking right now. Words are words and acting is acting. Hone your skill at sound design and photography right now. Story doesn't matter. What you did in this film, people have been doing forever. It is called the "mcguffin" and is nothing more than a device or plot element that catches the viewer?s attention or drives the plot. Read about Hitchcock....

Here's a little more advice. Do drills. What are drills, you ask? Think about this. You already have advance knowledge of locations in Houston, right? Well, whenever you think up a scene or story action, storyboard it. Then, when you think it's just right, storyboard it again. Differently. Then do it again. Differently. You will gain a better understanding of film language this way. And your shorts will show a big difference. Don't try and make them beautiful, either. Just make them blueprints. No comicbook stuff needed. This will also sow the seeds for greater flexibilty in your ability to shoot film in a spontanious way that adds to artistic flair. Some of our greatest directors film without storyboards, like Spielberg, and when you see their finished product its astounding!!! Almost unbelievable....

After awhile show your parents what you've been up to and get them to invest in a super 8mm camera and some film for you. Perhaps a B-day? It's not as expensive as it seems. Ebay has viewers and nice cameras at reasonable prices. (but do your homework on the seller)

All-in-all you did a fantastic job for just going out there and shootin' around on a weekend. Take our advice and critiques to heart, it will only help you.

Please post whenever you feel you've reached the next tiny little rung in the ladder of maturation in filmmaking. It would/will be a great joy for us!

Thanks for posting and have fun :P -Jonnie

Edited by BARCA, 22 March 2006 - 04:29 PM.

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#5 michael pfister

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 05:17 PM

Thanks for all of the comments! It's really encouraging me. I've recently just started making videos like this in the past couple of months. I have shown my parents most of my videos and they really like them, but i would most likely have to buy my own camera. I'll definantly look into some of those books. Also, can you give some examples of the super 8mm camera? Because i've been looking around but i don't know which ones are good or not.

Thanks

Edited by pfista, 22 March 2006 - 05:22 PM.

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#6 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 07:30 PM

Do research. Google your head off! Here are some links I found on Google that will get you started:

http://home.pacbell....yberg/super8mm/

http://search.ebay.c...0QQfkrZ1QQfnuZ1

http://www.city-net....mm/cameras.html

http://www.rivalquest.com/super8/

http://www.newenglan...gust/super8.htm

http://en.wikipedia...._8_Film_Cameras

http://www.thevideoj.../s8/s8stock.htm

http://www.super-8mm.net/2.html

These are expensive (overpriced) but are the best cameras around in the super 8 format these days. Practically brand new! The company has its detractors (I, for one) but there is no doubt their cameras are nice. I put this link here just to give you an idea of how pro super 8 can be. These cams can take some good mods.
http://www.pro8mm.com/main.php

There you are my friend!!! :D

My personal favorite is the Beaulieu series of super 8 cameras. But some peeps like Nizo and Canon...Like I said research is half the fun, so get to it...

Edited by BARCA, 22 March 2006 - 07:31 PM.

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#7 michael pfister

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:06 PM

I have to ask why super 8? Is it because quality? Does this mean that i will have to buy lots of film and such?

And how do you get this film on your computer?
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#8 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 12:27 AM

Knowledge will come...Do research. When we were your age we did not have this thing we call INTERNET. Take advantage of your resources, dude.

Q-Why S8?

A-Because it is a fabulous school in itself. A microcosm of the film world.


Q-Because of the quality?

A-The qaulity is the lesser of the film formats. BUT, it beats the crap out of MANY more expensive dv cameras. IF you want to work in film you must learn how to use film. How to manipulate film. Filmimg with S8 opens a gateway to a cherished world of alchemy and art. Know the roots of image capturing! FILM!

Q-How do you get film on your computer?

A-By a process called TELECINE, aslo known as TK. Again, do research on the internet. The internet carries much knowledge...go to Kodak and select the cinematography tab. Then choose the "motion picture imaging chain" button.

You're a big boy and, believe me, you know more about navigating the web than I do. Get to it.

Don't go out and buy a camera right away. Work on the things we all mentioned above FIRST. Yes, film is too expensive to just buy and go out to bulls**t with. Keep practicing your craft with the friends you have. Build a stable, by which I mean a dedicated group of friends, and keep shooting short projects. Try out things. But just keep coming up with new ideas and shooting them with your video camera for now. Keep doing those storyboarding drills I told you about and watch your progression. It does not happen over night.

Later on ,in a year or two, down the road in highschool, when you guys have a more than rudimentary idea of all the aspects of filmmaking, and you have a film worthy story, then invest in film and such.

This is pretty exciting for you, no? I know it is, but be patient and don't waste your hard earned money right now. You have everything you need with that video camera at the present. Keep reading stuff on the internet. With reading on filmmaking forums like this one and others knowledge will come. There's alot to digest!!! People making good livings at film still learn something new everyday. Every art form is this way, so just jump in and emerse yourself. Don't worry so much about the things you don't know now...it will come.

Now go to bed, it's 11:26 at night. :P -Jonnie

Edited by BARCA, 23 March 2006 - 12:36 AM.

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#9 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 12:43 AM

I meant "immerse", not emerse. I'm a horrible speller. Sometimes I catch it, sometimes I don't...
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#10 John Lasher

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 08:45 PM

Cool!

Nothing wrong with a film without dialogue. In well-made films, you can turn off the sound and still get the basic skeleton of the plot. Rent Jabberwocky, watch it without sound at least once.

Now to the cinematography. In well shot movies, if you were to freeze-frame just about anywhere, you should get a picture that's interesting to look at and worth studying. While you're at the video store, pick up Die Hard (Widescreen Edition). If your parents object, tell them you're renting it to study the cinematography.

Now, notice at the beginning of the movie, Bruce Willis' character is usually on the left (the "weaker" side of the frame). When we hear the first machine gun blasts, then he moves across to the right side (it's actually a camera move that facilitates this).

Also, watch the scenes with Hans (Alan Rickman) and his henchmen. Hans is usually the larger and more dominant figure in the frame because he's in charge (incidentally, most of this pictoral information is lost in the FOOL-screen edition).

Edited by John Lasher, 19 April 2006 - 08:48 PM.

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Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape