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The Electric Ant


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#1 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 10:49 PM

So for about a month, I have been in production on a short film called "the electric ant", it's a phillip K. Dick adaptation, and It's been a whole lot of fun.

I'm looking for some feed back, so feel free to let me know what you think, what I can improve on...etc because we still have 1-2 weekends more, and I want to finish strong.

I hope that you have the motivation to not just look, but to also comment back here.

Thank you,
Jamie

Here are 5 links to 1 minute videos that show the camera/lighting/blocking ...etc. It's not an edit, just an assembly of the shots I like.


http://video.google....519511707360513
http://video.google....530736165653857
http://video.google....000616337073485
http://video.google....675490155195933
http://video.google....315920120615154

And here is a link to the screen caps:
http://picasaweb.goo...836081886776114
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#2 Josh Brokenbourgh

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 02:18 PM

I'm surprised nobody has touched this.

Maybe it's because you asked them to comment. Or it was the music. Who knows :)

Anyway there is a lot to cover on this. I have class in about 45 min. so I will get what I can out before then.

1st thing that I noticed:

Color balance and harmony. It seems like you are going for a vivid pop on EVERY shot. This has a lot to do with set design, but since your mixing so much it's visibly busy, and it's really really loud. It seems like every light composition is confusing my eye, like looking at all the paints at a paint store and trying to make sense of it. Bring in some consistency within a room. Take out some of the gels or mute them a bit. Try a theme, instead of a rainbow. Keep it simple. Setting a mood isn't a problem for you, it's choosing one and sticking with it. IE: the very first picasa photo, just making her key a muted tint of green would be a complimentary instead of a triad. If you use a bold triadic schemes then that's what I'm going to look at, not the piece itself. Go for monet water lillies, or even van gogh, Cafe terrace- not neon signs.

Frame composition. Your lines also have a way of leading my eyes away from action. The structure, like your use of color, seems over complicated, there is a large amount of human interaction in the first link, but to make sense of it all act like your telling the story only with light and no dialogue or sound. Slow things down.

I've got to go to class. I'll come by Monday and finish up.


:::
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#3 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 02:47 PM

Hey,
Thanks for the response. It's what I asked for, and I'm happy to read another point of view.

I did read that you thought the color harmonies were off, and the moods weren't consistent; maybe you misunderstood me, or vice versa.

A lot of those scenes look visually different, because that's what the director and I had strived to do before we began shooting. I let him know that I didn't like the main room that we would be shooting in, expecially the paint on the walls, and it needed set designs. We had to work with what we could, it was his parent's house.

I tried to make the scenes have thier own look, with the base of consistency in the locations. One scene, it's 6:30am and I used Chocolates (maybe even double chocolate!), and for a later scene in the same room, I used 1/4 CTB and Chocolcate. I did mix up the color temps and the palette quite a bit, to ensure that things stayed visually interesting.

I haven't heard anyone comment on my composition; ever! Haha. I'm finding it hard to see what you mean about the leading lines, and confusing comps, maybe you can tell me a more explicit list of the shots you don't like. Bearing in mind they aren't matted with 1.85, and they have a bit more headroom for post vfx...etc.

Thank you for commenting. I'm very happy with the footage, and the director agree's with me that it's what we wanted, and it fits the story just fine.

Let me know what else you are thinking.

Jamie


I'm surprised nobody has touched this.

Maybe it's because you asked them to comment. Or it was the music. Who knows :)

Anyway there is a lot to cover on this. I have class in about 45 min. so I will get what I can out before then.

1st thing that I noticed:

Color balance and harmony. It seems like you are going for a vivid pop on EVERY shot. This has a lot to do with set design, but since your mixing so much it's visibly busy, and it's really really loud. It seems like every light composition is confusing my eye, like looking at all the paints at a paint store and trying to make sense of it. Bring in some consistency within a room. Take out some of the gels or mute them a bit. Try a theme, instead of a rainbow. Keep it simple. Setting a mood isn't a problem for you, it's choosing one and sticking with it. IE: the very first picasa photo, just making her key a muted tint of green would be a complimentary instead of a triad. If you use a bold triadic schemes then that's what I'm going to look at, not the piece itself. Go for monet water lillies, or even van gogh, Cafe terrace- not neon signs.

Frame composition. Your lines also have a way of leading my eyes away from action. The structure, like your use of color, seems over complicated, there is a large amount of human interaction in the first link, but to make sense of it all act like your telling the story only with light and no dialogue or sound. Slow things down.

I've got to go to class. I'll come by Monday and finish up.
:::


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 03:43 PM

It's hard to judge things based on soft compressed You Tube clips, but I like a lot of what you're doing. I had to turn off that awful repetitive music you put under everything though.

The best shot was the first, under the soft blue flo practical with the red accent in the background. I also like the use of the mirror for framing near the end of the last clip.

I'm not so much into the wide-angle handheld approach being used too often (though it worked for "Children of Men"...) -- it becomes hard to control the lighting & framing for one thing.

The frame grab I saw on the screen cap page (didn't trying logging in) showed that the shots looked good.
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#5 Bill Totolo

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 12:03 AM

Well the screen grabs gave me a lot more info than the YouTube videos.

I like what you're going for, particularly the noirish hard lighting.
Some of the color schemes reminded me of "Das boot". I'd say
this will really benefit from some time spent in a telecine bay with a good colorist.
That will give you the polish you're looking for.

I love the props and the hair, make-up and wardrobe. I don't like the locations or the music.
But you asked about the lighting and I like it along with the rough handheld work.
I'm more a fan of the hard lighting you did on this than the soft light, but that's just a stylistic opinion.

Nice work.
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 12:29 AM

It's hard to judge things based on soft compressed You Tube clips, but I like a lot of what you're doing. I had to turn off that awful repetitive music you put under everything though.

The best shot was the first, under the soft blue flo practical with the red accent in the background. I also like the use of the mirror for framing near the end of the last clip.

I'm not so much into the wide-angle handheld approach being used too often (though it worked for "Children of Men"...) -- it becomes hard to control the lighting & framing for one thing.

The frame grab I saw on the screen cap page (didn't trying logging in) showed that the shots looked good.


Sorry for the music. What I posted is just an assembly of the footage, and I slapped random music on there just for music's sake.

Thanks for looking at the screen caps. they are a better representation of the quality. I've realized how bad it looks on youtube, but those files are still over 100MB, so think how they'd look with more compression!

I keep hearing about the hard lighting, but I can't think of anything where there is hard lighting?
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 02:14 PM

Well the screen grabs gave me a lot more info than the YouTube videos.

I like what you're going for, particularly the noirish hard lighting.
Some of the color schemes reminded me of "Das boot". I'd say
this will really benefit from some time spent in a telecine bay with a good colorist.
That will give you the polish you're looking for.

I love the props and the hair, make-up and wardrobe. I don't like the locations or the music.
But you asked about the lighting and I like it along with the rough handheld work.
I'm more a fan of the hard lighting you did on this than the soft light, but that's just a stylistic opinion.

Nice work.



Hey bill,
This is HD :)

Where is the "hard lighting" you are talking about?
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#8 Josh Brokenbourgh

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 02:39 PM

Hey it's me again :)

Wow, so I was going to finish this up a long time ago- And when I went back (like two months ago) I couldn't navigate this forum like I can now. So I apologize about that.

So I reviewed it again keeping in mind what you said about your aspect ratio and the direction etc. I think that you have a solid mix on the your framing: contemporary. I also did a little research on P.K.D. to catch up on the story as much as possible (just wiki though...)

Also I realized that without actually knowing the story itself really well it's difficult for me to judge it the emotional content- and I'm a firm believer that emotional content is the most important. I went off on design elements on the first post because I'm always focused on that, but don't get me wrong I think your work shows, and it's very nicely done.

On the end of the second clip "tea2" where it's a man and woman on the hillside- I really like those shots. I think that the online format does not do it justice. But I did notice that there is a huge difference in the range of values from the first shot to the second. The first, we are rather warm and I notice that the sun is to our left. The second, the clouds have covered you/it's a different time of day/something changed.Also, we have opened our perspective of the horizon to go beyond the mountain and into the sky. Is this a creative choice? If not- easy post fix. I learned a great deal analyzing your work. There are no rules, but the focus is clear- I understand what is going on in the frame emotionally regardless of "design elements" so the visual statements work well. Let me know when it's print I'd love to watch it :)
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Metropolis Post

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Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

CineTape

The Slider

Glidecam

Visual Products

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks