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Why so many low-budget shorts look like !@#$

youtube kickstarter low-budget short films

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#1 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:07 PM

So I found this video on the Kickstarter blog and the "advice" these people give is a perfect example as to why the democratization of filmmaking has been its downfall.

 

The most disturbing comment comes at 1:01.  Just listen to what this guy says.  I almost put my fist through the computer screen...

 


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:15 PM

Unfortunately, the audience will complain about the sound before the picture.


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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:20 PM

Unfortunately, the audience will complain about the sound before the picture.

 

Another reason I agree with Vilmos Zsigmond's comment in Visions of Light when he said sound was basically an intrusion on a visual medium.


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:53 PM

Film was never silent, there has been music, if nothing else, since the days of silent cinema. The verbal aspect can be an intrusion if over done, non verbal communication is what we pick up more than the words actually spoken. 


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:21 PM

Film was never silent, there has been music, if nothing else, since the days of silent cinema. The verbal aspect can be an intrusion if over done, non verbal communication is what we pick up more than the words actually spoken. 

 

An instrumental soundtrack is far different than dialogue.  A soundtrack has always acted as an accompaniment to the image.  Dialogue is a different beast in that, since it is more of a diagetic element, the focus of story-telling has shifted greatly over the decades from a visual language to a verbal one.


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#6 Dan Finlayson

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:35 PM

The most disturbing comment comes at 1:01.  Just listen to what this guy says.  I almost put my fist through the computer screen...

 

I would hardly consider that "disturbing".  He's right.  Audiences will be more sensitive to bad sound than bad picture.

 

We know what peoples voices are supposed to sound like because we have a lifetime of experience hearing people speak.  On the other hand, we see bad lighting all the time in our daily lives and cameras "perceive" in a significantly different way than our eyes do.  We don't have a built in set of rules about how things should look the same way that we know how voices should sound.


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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:40 PM

A good soundtrack is more than an accompaniment, even silence is an integral part, it affects an audience's interpretation of a scene . A sound track also consists of effects (which may or may not be realistic) it's how everything is used in combination that can make all the difference.   


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#8 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:45 PM

A good soundtrack is more than an accompaniment, even silence is an integral part, it affects an audience's interpretation of a scene . A sound track also consists of effects (which may or may not be realistic) it's how everything is used in combination that can make all the difference.   

 

Which is exactly my point.


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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:35 PM

I wouldn't separate good dialogue from the the rest of the soundtrack, although television tends to be more reliant on this than theatrical films. especially in mainstream dramas.  


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#10 John E Clark

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 04:43 PM

 

An instrumental soundtrack is far different than dialogue.  A soundtrack has always acted as an accompaniment to the image.  Dialogue is a different beast in that, since it is more of a diagetic element, the focus of story-telling has shifted greatly over the decades from a visual language to a verbal one.

 

From the 'silent' era... probably only really 'silent' in a theater that couldn't afford such...

 

l.jpg


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#11 John E Clark

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 04:45 PM

I wouldn't separate good dialogue from the the rest of the soundtrack, although television tends to be more reliant on this than theatrical films. especially in mainstream dramas.  

 

Traditional television is Illustrated Radio... There are some shows, and some movement to break that stereotype, but not on fare destined for 'broadcast' for the most part...


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 06:16 PM

It's rarely an either/or scenario where you have to chose between good sound and good images so it's sort of an imaginary conflict unless you plan on no post sound work at all and have to capture perfect sound on the set for everything.  


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 07:07 PM

To respond to the original propostion, I think the reason they look bad is because of poor (or effectively zero) production design. I mean to take nothing from the photographic community when I say that a lot of what's widely interpreted as good cinematography is actually good production design.

 

There is only so much one can do with a white-walled apartment.

 

P


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#14 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 07:16 PM

I gave up on the idea long ago that you can do a good short and submit it to a real established film festival and have a prayer that it would get reviewed and given solid consideration without knowing someone there personally.   There are simply too many submissions for festival screening personnel to watch them all.  Check out Official Rejection  for a great documentary on this subject.

 

The reason it's tougher now for an educated filmmakers festival submission to be given a chance is demonstrated quite painfully in the clip above.  It's the giving of horrible advice to wannabe filmmakers. Which causes an avalance of submissions to all the big festivals of utter garbage which in turn buries an educated and experienced filmmakers genuine effort under a lot of clutter making it that much harder to get viewed.

 

Empowering amateurs is really counter productive to professionals who are trying to make a living doing this. who've spent tens of thousands on an education and real equipment.  It's absurd why anyone would want to make filmmaking seem easy or cheap.  Benefits nobody in the end.  


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 02 February 2015 - 07:19 PM.

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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 09:06 PM

 

... educated filmmakers festival submission....


One could hope... that festivals, if they are doing a useful job, are illuminating raw talent, raw brilliance rather than that which is educated. Where else does the new come from?
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#16 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 02:39 AM

Given the amount of powerful software available for free these days, there is little excuse for not coming up with an interesting looking and sounding film these days on cost grounds. Although, having a good story/script and performances is a difficult as ever.   


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#17 Miguel Angel

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 08:52 AM

I have to agree with Phil, as almost always, on the production designing part.

It seems to me that production designing (and locations) is the most important part of the visual style of a film.
You can create a beautiful photography or have the best actors but if what it is in front of the camera is shit, your project will look really bad.

Have a good day.

Best.
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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 12:53 PM

To respond to the original propostion, I think the reason they look bad is because of poor (or effectively zero) production design. I mean to take nothing from the photographic community when I say that a lot of what's widely interpreted as good cinematography is actually good production design.

 

There is only so much one can do with a white-walled apartment.

 

Yep… production design is pretty much everything. All cinematography does is capture what exists. 

 

Still some of the tips the guys in the video above talk about, are very valid. I think it's funny they steer potential filmmakers towards "dialog" driven films instead of "action" driven films. People want to see something happen, not see someone who can't act, talking in an echoey room about nothing. It's the wonderful thing about shooting on 16mm with a Bolex… good luck capturing decent sound. It kinda forces you to develop a story around action instead of dialog. 


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#19 Ravi Kiran

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:03 PM

The most disturbing comment comes at 1:01.  Just listen to what this guy says.  I almost put my fist through the computer screen...

 

I'd put it a slightly different way than that guy. I'd say that audiences are more accepting of a range of styles/qualities in the visuals than they are in the audio. You can have blown highlights, flares, grain, etc. in an image throughout a movie (i.e. things that are "mistakes" or anomalies often used for stylistic effect), but a soundtrack with clipped levels, inconsistent room tone, unwanted noise, etc. will put people off pretty quickly.


Edited by Ravi Kiran, 04 February 2015 - 01:03 PM.

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#20 John E Clark

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:04 PM

 

I think it's funny they steer potential filmmakers towards "dialog" driven films instead of "action" driven films. People want to see something happen, not see someone who can't act, talking in an echoey room about nothing.

 

If you frequented script writing fora, you would realize that there is a tendency of writers who have never made a film, to be dialog heavy... some perhaps are trying to emulate Quintin Tarantino, but achieve nothing close... and others are infused with TV, especially 'traditional' broadcast TV, and do not typically measure up to even that standard.

 

To the 'uninitiated' it would seem that 'talking heads' is easier to write and shoot than creating actual 'visual' stories.

 

But even with that... crappy sound usually is held to be the more significant factor in someone 'appreciating' a clip... well for some... since I watch short films often with the sound off... if I can't follow the visuals... I rate accordingly...


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