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Just a short film I shot...


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 01:48 AM

...for a UC Santa Cruz student's Senior Thesis.

Most of it turned out pretty well. I especially like the church stuff. I'm waiting to get my copy of the tapes so I can save the takes that I wanted to keep in it :/

Have a look and lemme know what you think!

"Pro-TV"


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#2 Matthew Buick

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 08:57 AM

I liked your work. But the film made fun of Jesus and as a christian I find that intolerable.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 12:42 PM

I liked your work. But the film made fun of Jesus and as a christian I find that intolerable.


Thanks Matthew!

I understand your POV Matthew. But try and watch it as a manner of "Christ Cleansing the Temple" type of story. Like in the Bible, when he found merchants disrespecting the temple, he became enraged and whipped them out. He does a similar thing with the Priest and what the church has historically done to Christ's doctrine.

Anything that seems completely disrespectful to his image was unscripted and not meant to be in the film. But the director maybe had a bit too much fun in the editing room.
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 12:56 PM

It's funny how things come around. I was talking with allessandro about shooting this, but there was definately nothing to offer in my perspective. I think you did an alright job. You could have tightened up some shots, lit a bit better, and pulled your actors away from the greenscreen a bit more.

His script has some alright ideas. It's a good time for something like this, but the writing is very mediocre, and the acting doesn't hold up as well. There is no moral or message.

My response is geared more towards the writer director. Don't worry about it.

Keep shooting!
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 01:48 PM

You could have tightened up some shots, lit a bit better, and pulled your actors away from the greenscreen a bit more.


They actually were quite a ways away from the greenscreen and didn't have any green bounce on their backs or anything. It's just the way the effects were created that's the issue on those shots.

I'm really surprised on some of the takes he put in the final cut, the one shot of the girl & the potsmoker in fact was a throwaway because the camera was bumped and we even reframed that shot and did more takes.

For the debate & news stuff, I didn't put much effort into as I wanted them to look as plane & bad TV like as possible, ha ha

I just shot it :)
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#6 ros lea

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 01:40 AM

it was mildly entertaining. story was disjointed and amature. you might consider
putting more thought into making things more fluid to increase the entertainment
attention span. some strengths in a couple good lit scenes...like priest on chair
praying. very well lit. good job.
weaknesses consist of HORRIBLE acting and directing in my humble opinion. and
what i mentioned above about the editing arrangement and story.

learn from this and move on to bigger and better things! keep it up! :)

Edited by ros lea, 03 June 2007 - 01:41 AM.

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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:48 AM

it was mildly entertaining. story was disjointed and amature. you might consider
putting more thought into making things more fluid to increase the entertainment
attention span...

learn from this and move on to bigger and better things! keep it up! :)


I only shot it. I claim NO responsibiity for the final product, ha ha

Oh, plus, it was an undergrad's project with student talent...so please forgive the bad acting, lol
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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 06:30 AM

Thanks Matthew!

I understand your POV Matthew. But try and watch it as a manner of "Christ Cleansing the Temple" type of story. Like in the Bible, when he found merchants disrespecting the temple, he became enraged and whipped them out. He does a similar thing with the Priest and what the church has historically done to Christ's doctrine.

Anything that seems completely disrespectful to his image was unscripted and not meant to be in the film. But the director maybe had a bit too much fun in the editing room.


Yes. I can see what you mean. I don't think it's too disrespectful. Your work was brilliant, by the way. It had nice clean camera moves, brilliant subtle lighting. It was also nice to see a bit of movement from the standard ''sitting in chair'' shot. Perhaps the news scenes were a little too subtle (watch BBC news). ;)

Loved it. :D
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#9 ryan_bennett

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 10:47 AM

Hmm... It was okay. Your work was fine but the short is really hard to watch, it's like a SNL skit that goes on way too long and doesn't have a nice flow to the story. I think this was a really hard script to pull as its got a lot of ideas, lots of different people and other effects, just lots and lots that aren't needed.

You guys should've posted on a website or contacted SAG and got atleast a few older actors because they were pretty bad. Also why does most student films always have to have someone smoking pot?
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 12:43 PM

Also why does most student films always have to have someone smoking pot?


Well, I can tell you why this one does...it was shot in SANTA CRUZ! Notoriously the home of many marijuana crops which are tucked away in the SC mountains.

What the director was trying to do with that segment was kinda parody those anti-pot smoking commercials, for example the one where the kids are getting high and one just takes a gun and shoots his friend. Don't know why he broke things up so much, I agree it's kinda hard to watch since it's so jumpy.
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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 01:45 AM

Hey Jonathan,

Nice work -- I like the contrasty lighting in the church scenes, and the backlit Jesus effect worked well. I agree with some of the other comments that the writing and directing could have been stronger, but I think you did the best you could with the material. I'm having to make a lot of similar excuses for the stuff I show people now as well, so hopefully we'll both get to shoot some better scripts in the near future!

About the lighting: I think some hard backlight would have looked nice on some of the CUs and two shots, especially the man and woman in the dark theater. Then you could have underexposed the key a bit more and have gotten a more three dimensional look. I would have liked to see the background a bit more too, maybe a soft 3/4 backlight raking across the seats?

Can you tell us a bit about how it was shot, ie. how many days, location difficulties, budget, equipment?

Also, the director misspelled your name in the credits -- you should definitely get him to fix it, that's just unacceptable on his part.
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:47 AM

I would have liked to see the background a bit more too, maybe a soft 3/4 backlight raking across the seats?

Can you tell us a bit about how it was shot, ie. how many days, location difficulties, budget, equipment?

Also, the director misspelled your name in the credits -- you should definitely get him to fix it, that's just unacceptable on his part.


Thanks Satsuki!

My capabilities were really limited as there wasn't any space large enough or anywhere I could rig another light. Otherwise, I would have done that :)

And yeah, I called him out on the spelling at the YouTube page. It's a common occurence, for some reason people have the tendency to spell it "JonathON", I've never understood it. Big boo boo that will be fixed.

So, details on the shoot, I'll just pick a couple scenes. Shot on a Canon XL1s. I shot the scenes on location in "Frame Movie Mode" in the hopes of creating a different look from the studio scenes which I shot at normal interlaced mode to give a more standard TV quality to them. I used my Spectra IV meter and rated the XL1s at 320 ASA, then underexposed my readings by about 1 stop for the majority of the time.

I was lucky enough to get a couple of Photoflex softboxes and an Octodome for all but the debate scene. You can really see how soft these lights are in the potsmoking scene. It was meant to have the feel of a "This is your brain on drugs..." commercial (specifically the one with Rachel Leigh Cook that caused so much controversy) only in a party setting. I just set up two side keys with no fill. If I could, I would show you the master shot where both the guys are well lit on one side, but then on the girl's side it's darker, their dark influence is taking over as the light "or conscience" strikes both sides of her. I really liked how this scene played out originally, and I LOVED how soft the light was. I just hope to get my raw uncut footage soon.

The church scene was really simple. One Photoflex Octodome with a 1k bulb and diffusion with eggcrate, set up about 10 feet high and tilted down illuminating the priest frame right. Then I set up a 650w open face kicker, gelled with 1/2 CTO which added a great dynamic and dimension to the composition. The lights on the wall behind him were the church's own practicals. The smoke for Jesus' appearance was from a cheap $20 water vapor fogger I got at Target, with a MR 1k fresnel on a dimmer behind him, the same 650w open face light was used as well, which he leaned into as the light behind him was shut off on cue.

All in all, it was a good experience. Despite the fact that I had NO crew, but I was given ample time to set my lights since I didn't have a chance to scope out any of the locations beforehand. The only real bad thing that happened was probably at the "party" scene with the potsmokers. There were too many people there as spectators, and a roommate who just wouldn't keep quiet. Not to mention, it was a typical student apartment with trash and beercans everywhere. I just bit my tongue, set up my lights, shot it, then got out of there.

This was probably the last time I'll work on an undergrad film, at least at a school where there's just no chance in getting a quality crew together. At one point I asked them if the school had any "flags" or "silks" at my disposal in their facility or studio...nothing but blank stares from these film students, who (might I add) were about to graduate with a BA in film. This happened early on, so I knew what I was in for as the shoot went on.

But like I say, every bad experience is a learning experience, and I've moved on to more projects. One of which is happening this upcoming weekend! I'll post a writeup next week on how it went.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 04 June 2007 - 03:50 AM.

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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:50 AM

As a film student I can say we're not all bad. I know the names of most of the more commonly used equipment. . .it help, though, that my dad was a "lighting director" as his business cards always said, for a good 30 yrs.
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#14 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:59 AM

As a film student I can say we're not all bad...


I wasn't saying that Adrian, I've worked with some great student crews. But I'd have to really meet that crew and know for sure that everybody at least has a clue before jumping onto another student project like this one.

You have to admit though, as a student, there are a lot of clueless kids who just float through the program without ever gaining any work experience or industry & equipment knowledge...as with any major I suppose.
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 04:07 AM

I wasn't saying that Adrian, I've worked with some great student crews. But I'd have to really meet that crew and know for sure that everybody at least has a clue before jumping onto another student project like this one.

You have to admit though, as a student, there are a lot of clueless kids who just float through the program without ever gaining any work experience or industry & equipment knowledge...as with any major I suppose.

I'm sorry Jonathan, I didn't mean to insinuate you mean all of them. I was just sticking up for myself! A prime example of this phenomenon is my friend Phil, Ba in film and all, very proud of himself as an editor, yet has no idea about editing anything but MiniDV. I shot him a question about the P2 on the HVX and he gave me that same blank look.
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#16 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:23 PM

Yeah, I suspected you were under constraints like that. I'm surprised that as DP you couldn't bring on at least one crew member of your own though. (Well, I guess if it was a freebie then it would be hard to get somebody experienced to help out).

I guess I've been pretty lucky, but the two shoots I've done that I'm most proud of were freebies where I've been able to get a lot of favors from City College cinematography classmates, one of whom contributed his HVX camera and his pickup truck for hauling equipment, and another who works at Lee Utterbach and was able to contribute some filters. They camera op'd and gaffed for me so we could build our reels. That was six months to a year ago though, so now I'd only call them on paying jobs as they need to make a living as well.

Anyway, feel free to give me a call on these sorts of gigs if you need an extra pair of hands -- I'd like to continue building my lighting reel, so maybe I could come on as your "freebie" gaffer. :)

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#17 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:35 PM

* Just to add: Keep on him about getting your copy for your reel -- I've had to do the same recently, and you have to be very persistent or they'll forget you. My camera op. buddy who worked on the two shorts I shot got his footage immediately since it was shot on his camera, while I'm still waiting for mine 6 months later! It's on his reel already, which I'm sure will bite me in the ass later on when I get asked by potential clients, "We saw this footage a year ago, did you steal this from somewhere?" Oooh, BURN. :angry:
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#18 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:45 PM

Sorry for the triple post! I keep running out of time on the Edit Post function ...

Here's my buddy's home page with his reel: http://www.jeffdeveraux.com/

The film we worked on, "Mercy and Tides" is the one with the dolly shots, the night int. dinner table scene, and some of the ocean footage.
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#19 Nick Mulder

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 05:24 PM

I liked your work. But the film made fun of Jesus and as a christian I find that intolerable.


Good ol' Christian intolerance ;)
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#20 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 11:21 AM

hmmm..... :blink: what was that?
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