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My First Project on Film


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#1 Colton Davie

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 12:43 PM

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to shoot a short film on 35mm. This was my first time really working with film of any gauge, so it was very much a learning experience. Now that the short is finished, I would like to know what you think about it, the good and the bad, so that I might take that advice to hopefully improve the quality of my next project.

You can see it here:
Windows Media (25 MB) http://openlightstud...io/ANewPage.wmv
Quicktime (23.4 MB) http://openlightstud...io/ANewPage.mov

Thanks.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 06:42 PM

Other than some timing mismatching (some cuts of the same subject change in brightness), technically it's fine, well exposed, sharp, etc.

My main criticism is that it is overlit, especially at the desk. If he's working at the desk at night, the desklamp should have had a brighter bulb and been the main key light for him, if not for real, at least the additional light should have come from a similar angle, with much less fill.

Or conversely, the desk lamp should have been very bright but only on his hands, typewriter, etc. and his face could have been keyed (but more dimly) by another believable source like a floor lamp. The lighting was too hard, too bright, and too filled-in for a realistic night interior.

The exterior shot of the building and window looked good in terms of balance.

"Barton Fink" for me is a textbook in how to shoot someone sitting at a desk at night with a single table lamp source.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:28 PM

The desk lamp was an issue for me as well. I saw him switch it on, but didn't notice any light actually coming from it. A nice hot photoflood in there would have been a nice touch, as David said, if not as a key but it definitely would have been nice to have some overexposure in the frame around that working area.

The lighting of both the writer and the desk itself seemed very directional and unnatural, and I would be more wary of how your actors shadows are being cast onto the walls and such.

Was it shot in sequence? Because to me, it seemed like you were learning and getting better and better with each shot. Almost as if you were finally getting a feel for what you wanted, only it was while you were shooting instead of during pre-prod.

In the future, I would rehearse lighting setups, just on your own, a bit more to see what you could probably do better once shooting commences.

Still, well done for a first! And how awesome that your first experience with celluloid is on 35mm, how'd you manage that!?

btw, is there dialogue sound in the final edit?

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 14 April 2007 - 07:30 PM.

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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:36 PM

My wife watched it with me and said "sweet". Keep up the good work. The shot where you panned right from CU on the girl to him in the background at the desk would have been a nice one to have used a dolly to the left and pivoted around her. I learned about pivots from a BBC friend a bunch of years ago, they really add a nice feeling of depth.
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#5 seth christian

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:20 PM

shots were decent. I like the ones in the stairs.

the short wasn't too bad...but the music was cheezy for me.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 12:56 AM

Good work, continue to work on the craft.

Seems like you had a limited lens selection (was there more than one lens?) which, in the no budget world can be forgiven. The stairwell seemed to have overlapping shadows indicating multiple light sources, but again, not bad.

The only question I would ask myself is "did I take advantage of the benefits of shooting 35mm?"

So tell us, what camera, what lens, what film stock, who processed, transferred down to which medium, etc...
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#7 Colton Davie

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:06 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone, they are quite helpful.

David, the thought actually flashed across my mind while I was thinking of how to light the scene of making the light look more like it was coming from the lamp. Unfortunately, I'm kind of at a point where I think of everything in terms of 3-point lighting, thus I quickly replaced that thought with a more standard set-up. Thanks for pointing that out though. It would be good for me to learn how to successfully deviate from the standard set-up.

Johnathan, the film was actually shot in nearly reverse sequence. I think what happened was that I had so much more time to do the first set-up that I could get it just how I wanted, while the later shots were more rushed. As for shooting 35mm as opposed to something smaller, my film professor owned a Konvas which he let me use for free. Plus I only shot about 1200' using all short-ends. It was a great experience. Finally, no; there is not dialogue sound.

Bill, I used 3 lenses, a 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm. I had a few more to choose from, but I am a bit new to using primes, so I stuck with what I was comfortable with.

Camera: Konvas 1M
Lenses: Lomo 35mm, 50mm, 75mm (can't remember their speeds)
Film stock: Vision 2 500T short ends from Film Emporium
Processed by Cinefilm in Atlanta
Transfered to MiniDV at MPL Media in Nashville

Obviously I have a lot more to learn. Thankfully, everyone's comments have helped illumine the areas that need the most help.

Thanks,
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#8 Bill Totolo

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:42 AM

Bill, I used 3 lenses, a 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm. I had a few more to choose from, but I am a bit new to using primes, so I stuck with what I was comfortable with.


Shows what I know.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 10:08 PM

Unfortunately, I'm kind of at a point where I think of everything in terms of 3-point lighting, ... It would be good for me to learn how to successfully deviate from the standard set-up.


Probably one of the most important cinematography lessons you'll ever learn... ;)
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#10 Dan Goldberg

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 10:21 PM

shots were decent. I like the ones in the stairs.

the short wasn't too bad...but the music was cheezy for me.


I personally really enjoyed the music. I thought it was simple and innocent, like the film itself.

Awesome job for first time. Other than a bit too light at the desk and perhaps the double-shadow in the stairwell, it looked really great :)

Keep it up!
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#11 Algis Kemezys

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 10:16 AM

Shooting on film must certainly been nice. I wish you had shown us the outside of the building.The room is way too bright esp with the old typewriter.I agree with DM here. I didn't believe the actor for some reason. I watched it without sound unfortunately. Other wise sharp with some good angles. Somehow could have been alot more just using alot less.
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#12 Josh Brokenbourgh

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 01:46 PM

I know I'm late, but I love to critique work- and I just became a member of this site- so I'm looking at everything. I've never shot on film before- so my view isn't as insightful in the film chemistries. ;)

The music was the first to go. So I watched for light and turned the sound off after the first minute.

I thought the light on the stairs gave me a good sense of space, but it was too hard, it was like there was a fill right behind every set of railing from every direction.

Great selection of cu's, good variety.

The way the girl peeks in from the door:

It just looked diffused right. It was soft and comforting, the hair cast shadow looks right. Maybe a bit hot for continuity on that shot, the scene 'seemed' a little warmer, but that white door is there too.

There are figure shadows throughout. Which can be a creative decision, but I think if you soften them up they would be less distracting.

I do agree with what the others say about the desk.

One shot I really liked is when she walks through the frame to his left after looking at the sculpture on the shelving, the focus is interesting to watch but at the same time it works.

Very cool. I can't wait until I start working with film. It looks so good, it has life and clarity that is far from the norm. I'm happy for your adventure in it- from what you've done I think you are pretty happy too-

Congrats.
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#13 Damien Bhatti

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 12:54 PM

I liked the part where the girl walked into focus and the sharpness of her hair glinted from the light. The colours were nice as well with the red and brown.

To ask a question, do you think that music hinders the possibility of interpretation from the viewer? When I watched it I was half expecting something horrific to happen, because I initially watched it with no sound. With the music guiding me somehow it became less open. I know that you had an angle to push but in films in general, not specifically your film, music seems to be a means to stop possibility for its interpretation. I think music could play a lesser role in film but then who am I to say such things,

Thanks for the film,
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#14 Gary Lemson

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:41 AM

Regardless of the lighting, I found your work on this very inspiring.

Thanks for posting it.
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#15 Tim Terner

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:46 AM

There were some nice shots in there Colton, especially the lighting on the young girl and coverage was good. A fine first effort, well done.
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#16 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:23 PM

Nice Work!!!!!

I had a few problems with the lighting, story and a little bit of the acting

The girl steals the show.....

Still keep it up, make the pictyure with the lighting, sometimes a 3 light position doesn't work. I mean observe life, and check how much light you will have on a scene like the desk on .... pre plan extensively

Any how

Good work

Best
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