Posted 16 February 2016 - 07:00 PM
I think the main problem with the shot selection is that there are no wide shots. Everything feels very tight and claustrophobic. Also, you are often shooting against close backgrounds which doesn't give the audience a sense of the depth of the space. With more visible depth, there are more opportunities to light with contrast in separate planes, to have more focus falloff, to make things come alive visually.
In order to show wides, the space first needs to look good. There is a lot of clutter of objects in the near background that is distracting. It would be best to sweep out everything that doesn't need to be there and start with clean frame. Then add appropriate stuff back into the frame one at a time. The background towards the blinds could look better and have more depth if you shot during the daytime and cracked them open. Or if it is supposed to be night, then take a light outside and light up some objects out there. Anything to create depth.
As for lighting, one of ways to create more depth is to key a character from the off-camera side of their face. So in your first close up of the puppet, if your key light was on the opposite side, then the light would wrap around the face more, leaving the side closest to the lens dark. This gives a sense of texture and three dimensionality. Watch any movie and 75% of the time that is where the key light is placed.
For lighting backgrounds, imagine that every light source you add into the scene as originating from a real source in your story - hard sunlight, ambient skylight, a practical table lamp, streetlights, overhead fluorescent bulbs, the glow of a cell phone, whatever. This should help you keep the look grounded in reality.
Additionally, watch out for reflections of your lights like in the chrome in the kitchen, they can be rather distracting. I've found that one of the tricks to good camera operating is to constantly be scanning the edges of the frame for distracting objects. It's amazing what you'll find even after staring at the frame for 20 minutes - lights, cables, sandbags, c-stand legs, etc.
Basically, the process of movie making on location is one of subtraction. Real places are full of distracting stuff that often has nothing to do with the story you are telling. Get rid of that stuff, move it around, make it fit the story. What you have left over is only what the audience needs to understand the story you're telling. Story, story, story.
Anyway, it's not a bad effort - just keep making more stuff and improving as you go. On the plus side, the editing is pretty snappy and keeps the story flowing. Build on that. Good luck!