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Dark Reprieve


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 06:30 PM

Greetings,

I'm in the home stretch now on my feature, it's cut and awaiting auto assembly from the HDSR masters. Then the audio guys and the composer can get to work. There is also some VFX work that needs to be done.

I have cut together this little trailer from the video in my FCP time line. This is not an official trailer, just some thing I hacked together to give people an idea. It's DVCAM quality...this is what the footage looks like with no DI and coming right off the DaVinci. Stock was Fuji 35mm 250T and 500T.

9/10 PCs should play this, there are a few that won't, sorry.

Go to this link and hit download, it's only 3.5MB. For a variety of reasons I can't actually post it to the web right now. It will download fast, then crank your speakers, and enjoy 47 seconds of free entertainment.

http://www.yousendit...35FF3694F6AC7A3

See what you think.

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#2 Daniel Smith

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 08:26 PM

I thought the cinematography had a suitable, claustrophobic feel to it. Especially with the shadows of wire meshing on the walls.

The only things I wasn't so keen on about the 'trailer' was the text, seemed too clean. And no offence but the actors seemed pretty shocking...

Overall it seemed very 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' style. (Which isn't a bad thing.)
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 08:54 PM

So when you preface "shocking" with "no offence" I assume you mean you don't like them?

Well of course it's very subjective. Most film execs in LA that have seen the first cut where very complimentary on their performances. One of them now has an interview with on of the "BIG" agencies in LA on Jan 26th as a result of some one there seeing the trailer. So they are flying down for that.

Every one has a favorite actor, and they are all different choices :)

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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:03 PM

Hi,

I'd like to see it properly graded. It's so hard to tell now with more or less complete flexibility available and the modern filmstocks and transfer devices being so flawles they're almost characterless (not to say your photography is!). So much of this sort of thing - and I'd say especially this sort of movie - is graded in. I have no idea what I'm looking at anymore!

I'm probably more interested in the route you're going with it commercially.

Phil
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#5 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:18 PM

I get "Document Contains no Data" :(
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#6 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:38 PM

Nice.

There are so many other horror/thriller movies out there that you might have a tough time setting yourself apart from the rest.
But given your story of how you went about pulling it all together, I think it turned out really great.

Congratulations

Edited by Daniel Sheehy, 17 January 2007 - 11:38 PM.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:40 PM

I seem to only be able to play the audio of the file.
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#8 Mike Rizos

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:45 PM

I get: "You may not have appropriate permmisions to access the file."
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#9 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:02 AM

Looks awesome for a DVCAM raw neg trailer Richard. Can't wait for the trailer off the timed HDCAM SR.
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#10 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:26 AM

some of it screams low budget (and i know it was) but some of it has very good production values and actually looks like a "real" movie. nice work. the last shot is freakin creepy and now i have to go to sleep with that image in my head...

congratulations
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:38 AM

My apologies to those who have tech difficulties.

David M, that new .mp4 format from Apple causes some computers fits, sorry. QT 7 from Apple should play it though if you want to bother downloading and installing it.

Frank B, which shots fall into the "some of it screams low budget (and i know it was)" category? I'm not offended by your comment at all, just curious which shots look that way to you.

"Fresh" eyes are always good.

Thanks
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:19 AM

I just watched it on my Mac laptop instead of my PC...

It looks very good overall -- obviously 35mm is a great format to be able to work in. The location is great.

I liked the lighting for the most part, especially the more contrasty shots (and I know that you will probably time other shots darker later).

The criticisms:

The trailer starts to feel like a random collection of weird things happening after awhile; the "mystery" of the film has to be presented in a more enticing manner that builds to a "I want to know what happens next" reaction in the viewer when it ends, as opposed to a "I wonder what that was all about?" feeling, which is a similar reaction but the first is more of a hook to get you to rent or see this movie. I think one solution would be to focus more on a recognizable person throughout -- I started to get confused as to who the main character was because the trailer makes you think it's the girl but the second half seems to be mostly about the guy.

There are also probably too many nice shots in the trailer that don't serve the purpose of hooking you -- for example, the shot of the wolf is nice, but not scary or exciting. Maybe I don't find a calm wolves to be frightening; they remind me of my dog (I must admit that on "Solstice", the New Orleans film I shot, we had a pit bull that was supposed to be scary... but was one of the sweetest dogs in the world; our heroine was more likely to be kissed to death by the dog, so it was very hard in editing to generate much suspense from the dog.)

The red/blue color-gelled shots get a bit cartoony when you don't have a frame of reference for why the strong colors are being used in the room. It's a little out-of-character for the grim desaturated look of the location but I'm sure in the story, it makes sense, but out-of-context, it seems like a stylistic jump.

I can't tell too much about the acting one way or the other -- not enough on display to judge. I would say that the ordinariness of the girl's looks perhaps is what makes some people think "low-budget" (or "indie") even though it also adds a realism that perhaps a cute starlet would detract from, but these horror films these days are populated by fairly attractive young people. Some of the angles on her face make her look a little chubby.

But if her acting is good enough, I'm not sure it matters if she's not a knockout, but if she's the lead, then the trailer needs to keep reinforcing that she's in some sort of danger.
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:24 AM

Thank-you David.

Re:

"I would say that the ordinariness of the girl's looks perhaps is what makes some people think "low-budget" (or "indie") even though it also adds a realism that perhaps a cute starlet would detract from,"

Yes a "model" type of lead female would not have worked for this movie. I was purposefully looking for a female that did not look like she came off the cover of a fashion mag. I think I know the shot you mean where her face looks "chubby" it's where she says, "I certainly believe in evil." I think this occurs as a combo of lighting and that her head is turned against the direction of her body. I can always pick a different SOT.

On the other hand, the "blonde girl" in the trailer was cast specifically for her glamorous looks. As the role demanded that sort of look. Hugh Heffner agrees with me, she has been in Playboy a few times. And a Sunshine girl for the Toronto Sun three times.

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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:43 AM

I don't think it matters one way or another just how attractive she looks as long as she carries the movie emotionally and the audience cares about her.

But sometimes that's easier with an attractive girl -- sad but true. I don't mean attractive as in "super-model" attractive (that can be distancing), but more "girl-next-door" attractive.

You want a face that you don't mind spending two hours staring at (I feel that way about Naomi Watts...)
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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:48 AM

Hi Richard,

I think the lighting looks great overall, and I like the camera movement - the dolly/steadicam shots are atmospheric. The shots with the Skeletor-esque villian were cheesy, except for the one near the end where he's in the priest outfit (great make-up job on that one). I also didn't like the shot of the girl where she says, "I just woke up and I was here" - it looks a bit like a press-kit, behind-the-scenes interview. I like how you used the audio from the shot as voice-over though.

Structure-wise, the trailer starts to fall apart after the "I believe in evil" shot (which is a bit over-lit, IMO). I like how you use quick cuts of MOS shots over the music, but I think you need to add more story moments and quick flashes of your set pieces - guy and girl get together, guy and girl get chased, guy and girl get separated, villian appears, monster jumps out at them, etc. I would take suspenseful static shots like the girl on the staircase from the 2nd half of the trailer and insert it into the 1st half, then include more fast moving dolly/steadicam shots to the latter half. I also thought the "bimbo" shots stuck out like a sore thumb.

Hope I don't seem too negative to you, because I'm really impressed with what you've been able to do on such a small budget, self-financed no less. It's good to hear that the film is getting some industry attention. Good luck!

David, maybe Richard will be able to get Naomi for the sequel, a la "El Mariachi"/"Desperado"? :)
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#16 Daniel Smith

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 08:00 AM

Yeh, it opens up with Quicktime no bother.
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#17 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 10:23 AM

My "screams low budget" comment comes from the following:

The first line that the girl gives. It looks like she is smiling. Maybe she isn't. But it sure looks like it to me. It makes me think that what I am about to see is going to be quite amateurish. It sets the tone for the rest of the piece.

Then the shot over their shoulder where she says,"I'm just trying to figure it out." Again it feels amateurish. Her line seems redundant and doesn't add to the "mystery". Yes there is a mystery. But I already knew this. Odd framing with flat green lighting = low budget to me.

Then the pin up girl and her spin looks completely out of place and again amateurish. The flat lighting doesn't help either.

Now, other than that everything else looks very nice. And professional.

I think that a trailer should be 100% stregnth. You should cut out the weak stuff. The idea is to attract attention and interest. You don't need to show that you made a sophisticated casting decision with the girl. If she is good we will see that in the feature. As a viewer I don't want to get caught up in figuring out,"Why did they cast her? Is she a great actress or what? Because she certainly doesn't have the typical look for that part in this genre. And why is she smiling?" And then the trailer is over-

I would go with professional voice over and try to scare the hell out of the viewer with your beautifully creepy imagery.

overall- very good stuff.
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#18 Justin Hayward

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 11:20 AM

The lack of sound doesn't help. Trouble is, the sound only kicks in when someone is about to speak and then all we hear is music. An overall rough sound mix will help immensely.
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#19 Matthew Buick

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:08 PM

I thought the titles were a bit cheap.

Apart from that I found the film prevocative and entertaining. The cinematography was highly impressive, you really should show that to the ASC. I eagerly await the full thing.

What camera did you use to film this?
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#20 John Holland

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:14 PM

Matt. you mean B.S.C. i hope . John Holland .
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