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#1 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 11:48 PM

Hi everybody,

Thought I'd put this link up - it's the teaser to this feature I DPd earlier this summer - we wrapped about a month ago. It was pretty darn low budget, we shot on the XL2 with the P&S PL mount adapter and a set of ziess superspeeds, as well as a 10.5 kinoptic (I'm very fond of these lenses) and a cannon telephoto... lighting package was a couple of kinos, mostly... We shot in Brooklyn and Jersey...

hope you enjoy!


http://www.transform...tions_m480.html



best,

Kitao
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 09:54 AM

Hi everybody,

Thought I'd put this link up - it's the teaser to this feature I DPd earlier this summer - we wrapped about a month ago.  It was pretty darn low budget, we shot on the XL2 with the P&S PL mount adapter and a set of ziess superspeeds, as well as a 10.5 kinoptic (I'm very fond of these lenses) and a cannon telephoto... lighting package was a couple of kinos, mostly... We shot in Brooklyn and Jersey...

hope you enjoy!
http://www.transform...tions_m480.html
best,

Kitao

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi Kitao,
I liked the desaturated look, however, and this may be the fault of my computer, it looks like you
uploaded the trailer at a very low frame rate and that made it irritating to watch. Each shot was onscreen for a second or less so I don't know how constructive the criticism would be.

It's good to see people out there with the XL-2, though. What frame rate did you shoot? Are you planning a film-out?
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#3 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 10:56 AM

We shot 24p with a 2:3 pull down, we're not planning a film out, but we'll most likely transfer the ungraded DV to Digi, then do a tape to tape, and screen/distribute from a digi master...

I didn't compress the movie or post it up, so I'm not sure of the settings, but there do appear to be weird jaggy frames that are actually in there, so I'm not sure that it's just your computer...

As for critiques, hmmm, it would be hard for something as brief as this, but I wanted to put it up somewhere so people could check it out... not sure where the best place on cml would be, so....

I'd like to post my observation on using this system on a feature... is this the best forum? Should I switch?

best,

kitao
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 10:57 AM

Looks pretty darn good, nicely shot.

What are the distribution possibilities? Pre-sold? Film fests?

R,
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#5 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 11:02 AM

Thank you!

when we shot, we were aiming for the festival route. There's just a rough cut that exists now, but I'm told that there's already very strong intrest from a couple "urban-drama" specific distributors, who, I'm also told, aren't used to getting stuff with any sort of production value, so they seem to be excited about the look of it.

k
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#6 Tim J Durham

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 02:59 PM

We shot 24p with a 2:3 pull down, we're not planning a film out, but we'll most likely transfer the ungraded DV to Digi, then do a tape to tape, and screen/distribute from a digi master... 

I didn't compress the movie or post it up, so I'm not sure of the settings, but there do appear to be weird jaggy frames that are actually in there, so I'm not sure that it's just your computer...

As for critiques, hmmm, it would be hard for something as brief as this, but I wanted to put it up somewhere so people could check it out...  not sure where the best place on cml would be, so....

I'd like to post my observation on using this system on a feature... is this the best forum? Should I switch?

best,

kitao

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I can only speak for myself but I always love to hear peoples impressions of their productions and I like seeing trailers/samples too. I can think of no better place to post that sort of thing either. I'd particularly like to hear how you think the XL-2 + PS Technik + primes stacks up against other systems and why you chose what you chose (as opposed to, say, an SDX900 or DVW-970 with Digiprimes or even an higher end zoom). There isn't much rental cost difference
considering you can rent an SDX900 and a Fuji/Canon HD zoom for about $550 a day in my neck of the woods (if you rent for a week at a time, that is) so what made you go with the XL-2? And so on.

By the way, it WAS my computer. I closed a few pages and it played much smoother and I STILL liked the look.

CHeers
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#7 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 04:18 PM

Oh great! thanks...

Well, hmm, to answer your question, I guess it has to do with my level of comfort with that particular system, and the fact that for me personally the P&S system's advantages outweigh its disadvantages... I've owned an xl1 for about 6 years, and I just feel very comfortable with the way it's laid out and the control over the images I can get out of it. I had done a lot of b-roll shooting with the xls in cleveland before I moved to NYC, and I guess I didn't want to have to learn a whole new video 'sysem' for the kind of shooting I was doing. I shoot a lot of film now, and I guess the P&S system with primes - I tend to never compose or shoot with zooms - gets me in a sort of 'film' mindset in terms of composition and actually having to light to an actual stop, etc... I've never used the SDX or digiprimes, so I can't say that it was a really informed comparison that drove me to the xl2 package, it was just something that, for me, allowed me to shoot in a filmic way on DV. I also think that, if you do it right, the DOF can work really, really nicely even with DV compression. I think that resolution and "percieved" resolution are two very different things... this is only my personal observation, but I feel that I can get a sharper "feeling" image on a 50mm prime, opened up to a 2, with a subject 4 feet away, (on the p&s) than with an equivalent perspective digiprime lens opened all the way up, even though there may be more acutal resolution, etc... I mean it has to do with your eye looking at what's sharp in relation to what's soft in the image, and I feel that I have much more of an ability to throw things really out of focus in a very pleasing way with the p&s system. I mean, if we're talking about SD stuff, especially... If I were using a digiprime on a system with more ACTUAL resolution that would change things a bit as well... You should have seen me and my first ac, Kate, trying to figure out depth of field for this system on the first day. trying to figure it out is useless, like they say, it's in focus when it's in focus...

I mean, it's finicky too, this system is NOT for everything. It just happened to suit what we were doing - mostly hand held, a lot of longer lenses close on action, not a lot of really wide, static shots, etc... If I was shooting on video and it had to look more... still, or if things played out in really wide masters, than the lack of resolution would really get me in trouble. If you use it, you've really got to work WITH it... What you lose in resolution you get back in shallow DOF and the character of 35 optics.... to a point.

But generally, I'm very pleased with the images and the way the camera feels. When I go hand held, it's important for me to really have firm idea about the form of the camera - as a former actor, I like to think about "performing the image" - so it's good to be able to hold it the way I want it... and I like holding the xl2...

okay, my 2 cents.


best,

kitao
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#8 david west

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 07:19 PM

just a thought.....


i like to dl the files and look at them at the resolution of my choice....


people with a super hires monitor are watching a tiny little clip...


other than that very nice...


i would have liked the shots in the car from a diff angle though....

the rest is slick...
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#9 Tim J Durham

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 12:23 AM

okay, my 2 cents.
best,

kitao

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Kitao,
That was a nice post.

Never having used a P&S, it seems like it would be terrible to handhold an XL-2 with all that stuff sticking out in front. I mean, the XL-2 is already terribly balanced to shoot on-the-shoulder. All the weight is on your forearm, none actually on the shoulder (I own one). Then you add to the Canon lens the weight of the P&S AND a prime lens. So it's interesting to hear you say that you LIKE shooting off the shoulder with that set-up.

I could see it with a bigger cam which is designed to be shot on-the-shoulder (like an SDX900). You must have forearms like Popeye?

Anyway, the results tell the tale and you've presented a pretty convincing case. I'm writing a short to shoot on my XL-2 if I ever get a couple free weeks. Now I'll have to seriously consider the P&S route. Thanks.
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#10 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 01:31 PM

Yeah, it's funny, at first I thought that there would be absolutely NO way I would be able to shoot a 90% hand-held feature with that rig, as it does seem really not balanced... Actually, I demanded that production get me the over-the-shoulder EZ-rig, which I had used on the xl2 p&S system before...

I found, though, that I really got used to using it without any sort of rig... If you're using superspeeds, which are pretty light (as compared to using S4 primes, which was my first experience on this system) and a clip on matte box, you situate the camera on your shoulder a bit differently, basically with the camera body scooched waay back on your shoulder, so it's more balanced. I would just hold onto the P&S handgrip and the rods on the bottom of the rig, and it was pretty okay. So no, I do not have popeye forearms... although I was a static trapeze artist for a little while... but the muscle groups are pretty different for camea work!

Also, it's just not that heavy... compared to the thing I had shot directly before the feature, which was a 90% hand-held short... on the arri 35-III (!!!!!) That actually DID hurt a lot.

Oh, looking at your post, though, I think you may have the wrong impression about one aspect of the system - unlike using the P&S on any other prosumer DV camera with fixed lenses, the adapter actually connects to the XL mount of the XL2 itself, instead of shooting the ground glass through the cannon lens. Does this make sense? There's like this little optical adapter thing, maybe an inch long and the diameter of the XL mount that focuses the ground glass onto the ccd of the camera, so you don't actually use the XL lens of the camera... To me, this puts the P&S + XL2 combo head and shoulders above any other P&S + dv camera combo in which you have to use the lens of the camera itself to shoot the ground glass...

If you do a rental, though, make sure the house has the P&S adapter MADE FOR the XL2. Otherwise it won't work...

Good system, though...
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#11 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 02:34 PM

Hi everybody,

Thought I'd put this link up - it's the teaser to this feature I DPd earlier this summer - we wrapped about a month ago.  It was pretty darn low budget, we shot on the XL2 with the P&S PL mount adapter and a set of ziess superspeeds, as well as a 10.5 kinoptic (I'm very fond of these lenses) and a cannon telephoto... lighting package was a couple of kinos, mostly... We shot in Brooklyn and Jersey...

hope you enjoy!
http://www.transform...tions_m480.html
best,

Kitao

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Harsh, cruel,noisy and dark, Like the scenario.
I believe they blend together, wich means u got it.
Congrats.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#12 Tim J Durham

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 07:05 PM

Yeah, it's funny, at first I thought that there would be absolutely NO way I would be able to shoot a 90% hand-held feature with that rig, as it does seem really not balanced... Actually, I demanded that production get me the over-the-shoulder EZ-rig, which I had used on the xl2 p&S system before...

I found, though, that I really got used to using it without any sort of rig... If you're using superspeeds, which are pretty light (as compared to using S4 primes, which was my first experience on this system) and a clip on matte box, you situate the camera on your shoulder a bit differently, basically with the camera body scooched waay back on your shoulder, so it's more balanced.  I would just hold onto the P&S handgrip and the rods on the bottom of the rig, and it was pretty okay.  So no, I do not have popeye forearms... although I was a static trapeze artist for a little while... but the muscle groups are pretty different for camea work!

Also, it's just not that heavy...  compared to the thing I had shot directly before the feature, which was a 90% hand-held short... on the arri 35-III (!!!!!)  That actually DID hurt a lot. 

Oh, looking at your post, though, I think you may have the wrong impression about one aspect of the system - unlike using the P&S on any other prosumer DV camera with fixed lenses, the adapter actually connects to the XL mount of the XL2 itself, instead of shooting the ground glass through the cannon lens.  Does this make sense?  There's like this little optical adapter thing, maybe an inch long and the diameter of the XL mount that focuses the ground glass onto the ccd of the camera, so you don't actually use the XL lens of the camera... To me, this puts the P&S + XL2 combo head and shoulders above any other P&S + dv camera combo in which you have to use the lens of the camera itself to shoot the ground glass...

If you do a rental, though, make sure the house has the P&S adapter MADE FOR the XL2.  Otherwise it won't work...

Good system, though...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Kitao,
You are correct. I DID think you had to shoot the ground glass with the 20x Canon lens. The fact that you do not have to do this makes it a much more attractive proposition. So... what does it cost to rent a set of Super Speeds? This is the first time I've considered it.

Also, one problem I had with mounting rods to the XL-2 was that the adapter plate precluded you from mounting the camera to the quick-release tripod plate. And you can't directly mount it to the dovetail plate because it drops down below the front of the dovetail slot and you can't meet the plate to the slot. How did you work around this? Or did you shoot the entire thing on-the-shoulder?

I tried an Easy-Rig once with a Sony DSR-570WS and once I got used to it, thought it was very helpful in certain circumstances. In others, it took up too much real estate and I had to take it off. How didd you like it? It sounds like you, too, found it too cumbersome in situations?
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#13 drew_town

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 10:28 PM

I like your shooting style. I think it compliments the narrative well. I'm also a fan of the darker silhouette styles.

Kudos on what appears to be an interesting movie.
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#14 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 11:07 PM

"Also, one problem I had with mounting rods to the XL-2 was that the adapter plate precluded you from mounting the camera to the quick-release tripod plate. And you can't directly mount it to the dovetail plate because it drops down below the front of the dovetail slot and you can't meet the plate to the slot. How did you work around this? Or did you shoot the entire thing on-the-shoulder?"

Tim,

I'm not totally sure what you mean by this - are you saying that you used some kind of rod system that attached under the camera - but that wasn't the P&S system?

With the P&S, the rods are built into adapter/camera support itself (the adapter screws into the camera and the XL mount, so that the bottom of the adapter is what you are mounting any support system into). I've never had any trouble mounting it to a quick release or a dovetail. It sounds like you maybe had a bad experience with some other purely rod-mounting system.

The cost to rent a set of superspeeds? Well, you would try to get a quote with the adapter included, as well as all of the support/camera stuff you would need... I've found it to be in the range of five, six hundred bucks, I think.... Including the camera body, so you could expect to spend one to two hundred less than that, if you already had an XL2.


Ah, yeah, the EZ rig... The last time I had used the EZ rig was during a shoot on a rooftop in New Jersey during the wintertime, and then it was great - I had a 150mm cooke S4 on the P&S and had to shoot take after take of this Reggaeton group performing. The rig worked very well, and kept me very warm because the body mount was so thick...

This summer, though, there is no way I could have used the EZ rig... It was just so hot I would have passed out from heat stroke, I think. The rig hadn't actually been picked up for me to use for the first few days of the shoot, so after the first day or two I said forget it with that big rig... it just wouldn't have worked... I think it would be just plain scary in humid conditions over 90 degrees.

Instead of using the rig, then, you just have to be really tight with your camera crew to make sure you never have to hold the camera a second longer than you need to, if you're doing a lot of handheld stuff. Common sense in the film world, but I could imagine a lot of people moving up from having done mostly dv stuff to the P&S rig and being taken off guard by the weight. You have to use the same protocol as if you were shooting with a moderate super 16 camera, say...

That said, though, I'm a really big fan of bungee cam systems. I used one for the first time this summer, and I think that they're really swell. It's a length of speedrail fixed onto a dolly onto two junior stands so you can raise and lower the speedrail. Onto the end of the rail, there are a number of bungee cords (or elastic sash cord, as some prefer), and attached to the bottom of the cords, a plate that you mount the camera onto. It allows you to position a camera of any weight (pretty much) and move it with the ease and directess as a camera that weighed nothing.
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#15 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 05:55 PM

Hello,
Nice work!! it looks like it has a way higher production value than it probably did, the story was intriguing aswell, some nicely delivered lines too! seemed quite real. The look was cool I would guess most lay people would think it was film, the only give away is the blown-out highlights in certain parts, but on DV with a small G&E package theres not much you can do about that, and it didn't bother me too much at all. On the whole a very pro looking, well styalized piece, well done!.
I have used the P+S on HD (F900) and XL2 and although sometimes (depending on the particular adaptor you get) the back focus ring can be a bit sticky and is somewhat subjective (focusing on the grains of the ground glass as opposed to using a back focus chart or a zeiss sharp max for example) I love the look that the adaptor allows you to get, I think it goes way deeper than just DOF.
Cheers.
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#16 Tim J Durham

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 08:20 PM

Tim,

I'm not totally sure what you mean by this - are you saying that you used some kind of rod system that attached under the camera - but that wasn't the P&S system?

With the P&S, the rods are built into adapter/camera support itself (the adapter screws into the camera and the XL mount, so that the bottom of the adapter is what you are mounting any support system into). I've never had any trouble mounting it to a quick release or a dovetail. It sounds like you maybe had a bad experience with some other purely rod-mounting system.

Yeah,
My mistake. I have a mattebox adapter that doesn't work the way it's supposed to. I'm sure the P&S version is manufactured to a higher standard.
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#17 Kitao Sakurai

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:26 PM

In case anybody is interested, here is the link to the new, extended trailer to the Transformations feature. It's maybe 2X as long as the previous one. So you know, all of the footage went through Magic Bullet (or is it silver bullet? I can't remember the name of the program, but it's an after-effects plug-in).

All the best,

Kitao



http://www.transform...tions_m480.html
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#18 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 05:11 AM

Yes, that was really very good. I liked the feeling. I have to think of criticism which, in itself, says something I suppose. I tell you what comes to mind....if this movie has some good *whitty* and *funny* and even some *light* dialogues, as a contrast, as opposed to just *loads of violence* then good for you. Although you appear to just 'sell' it as a *violence* package.....mmm...shame...

Some of the characters appear quite young....their faces look to freshly-pressed. Might this have been more believable with some baggy eyes, wrinkles, maturity, harsh light.....etc?

It doesn't smell of a major production. You say, it's low budget. Looks good for a low budget. Some good shots.

The leaves falling at the begining looks cheap...mmm...why not choose something else?

I don't like the way her voice *sounds* to my ears when she says "how you gonna uplift your people"

Then instead of shots of those faces that we see next, you should be showing more of who he is because he says "it's not about me because I've accepted who I am" (well,...who is he?) -- You fail to answer this, instead you distract us at that point with various faces which gives me more to process *on top of* who he is. Who is he? I might of had him talking a bit more beyond him saying "it's not about me because I've accepted who I am" (even if you leave those faces there). I'd of had him do a voice-over with a bit more of his 'home-baked urban/ghetto philosophy' You could of even spiced up a bit more with some hard rap & tough-don't f**k-with-me faces...whatever...

You might have edited this by cutting back and forth from slow/moody/philosophical to vicious fighting.

The following shots of him (?) in school and then on the bed with his chic (why?) ... I dunno... you might have put some of those tougher fighting scenes in first because of the contrast. Plus, being in bed and thinking, which is what he appears to be doing, should come after, I feel.

Then we swith to "Ryan" mmm...dunno if I like the way you switched because there was no real connection.

When (his mum?) says something to him in the car about learning a lot about himself and he responds. What does he say? It's not so clear. We don't see his face. Why not? Why is the shot from so low down? Is Ryan flat on his back looking at his Mum? I don't like this Mummy stuff either...

By the way, for *such a tough* place, these guys look very clean and showered. Why so clean? They obviously also iron their clothes too....or is that thanks to their Mum? See what I am saying? Beat them up a bit!! (or get their Mum to do it!) I've seen tougher teen girls! Really I have. Visually they don't bother me, which they should!

Those wide shots of the streets, same goes... too clean! Lets (at least) see a shot of a crumbling South Bronx, smoke, poop, piss and dirty-looking gangs snashing their teeth at you as you pass by.....in their c'mon f**ker way. I think New York in the 80s might have helped you a bit more here.

In those upbeat fighting scenes that follow, why no blood flying? No teeth falling? nothing but not-so-bad acting punches? Too tame.

The gun shots followed by the guy sitting on another guy punching him is good. followed by the baseball bat and then the woman in the bathroom is relentless and nasty. Why isn't their more blood coming from his face as he's facing the floor? Maybe trickling along the floor in between ceramic tiles..

Why does the "white boy" say nothing to establish himself before giving us that liddle 'ole whistle? It's a good whistle but it comes out of nowhere. He goes from a mute to a seemingly confident quasi-ghetto-whistling-warrior!

The whole thing is ok, but, for a trailer, only big words and big images please.

Having written all this..phew...it *is* good...sorry, if my personal critique seems harsh..but nothing for these tough guys.
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#19 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 06:58 AM

"""Yes, that was really very good. I liked the feeling. I have to think of criticism which, in itself, says something I suppose. I tell you what comes to mind....if this movie has some good *whitty* and *funny* and even some *light* dialogues, as a contrast, as opposed to just *loads of violence* then good for you. Although you appear to just 'sell' it as a *violence* package.....mmm...shame...

Some of the characters appear quite young....their faces look to freshly-pressed. Might this have been more believable with some baggy eyes, wrinkles, maturity, harsh light.....etc?

It doesn't smell of a major production. You say, it's low budget. Looks good for a low budget. Some good shots.

The leaves falling at the begining looks cheap...mmm...why not choose something else?

I don't like the way her voice *sounds* to my ears when she says "how you gonna uplift your people"

Then instead of shots of those faces that we see next, you should be showing more of who he is because he says "it's not about me because I've accepted who I am" (well,...who is he?) -- You fail to answer this, instead you distract us at that point with various faces which gives me more to process *on top of* who he is. Who is he? I might of had him talking a bit more beyond him saying "it's not about me because I've accepted who I am" (even if you leave those faces there). I'd of had him do a voice-over with a bit more of his 'home-baked urban/ghetto philosophy' You could of even spiced up a bit more with some hard rap & tough-don't f**k-with-me faces...whatever...

You might have edited this by cutting back and forth from slow/moody/philosophical to vicious fighting.

The following shots of him (?) in school and then on the bed with his chic (why?) ... I dunno... you might have put some of those tougher fighting scenes in first because of the contrast. Plus, being in bed and thinking, which is what he appears to be doing, should come after, I feel.

Then we swith to "Ryan" mmm...dunno if I like the way you switched because there was no real connection.

When (his mum?) says something to him in the car about learning a lot about himself and he responds. What does he say? It's not so clear. We don't see his face. Why not? Why is the shot from so low down? Is Ryan flat on his back looking at his Mum? I don't like this Mummy stuff either...

By the way, for *such a tough* place, these guys look very clean and showered. Why so clean? They obviously also iron their clothes too....or is that thanks to their Mum? See what I am saying? Beat them up a bit!! (or get their Mum to do it!) I've seen tougher teen girls! Really I have. Visually they don't bother me, which they should!

Those wide shots of the streets, same goes... too clean! Lets (at least) see a shot of a crumbling South Bronx, smoke, poop, piss and dirty-looking gangs snashing their teeth at you as you pass by.....in their c'mon f**ker way. I think New York in the 80s might have helped you a bit more here.

In those upbeat fighting scenes that follow, why no blood flying? No teeth falling? nothing but not-so-bad acting punches? Too tame.

The gun shots followed by the guy sitting on another guy punching him is good. followed by the baseball bat and then the woman in the bathroom is relentless and nasty. Why isn't their more blood coming from his face as he's facing the floor? Maybe trickling along the floor in between ceramic tiles..

Why does the "white boy" say nothing to establish himself before giving us that liddle 'ole whistle? It's a good whistle but it comes out of nowhere. He goes from a mute to a seemingly confident quasi-ghetto-whistling-warrior!

The whole thing is ok, but, for a trailer, only big words and big images please.

Having written all this..phew...it *is* good...sorry, if my personal critique seems harsh..but nothing for these tough guys."""

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a word of advice that I'm slowly applying myself..

When you critique someone's work or reply to a post in general, think about what you have to say... edit it in your mind... and most importantly use the least possible amount of words to convey your message.

There are some interesting thoughts in your post, but there are also a lot of 'verbal dingleberries' and you seem to be suffering from a slight case of oral diahrrea.

The less you write.. the more they'll listen ;)

Edited by TSM, 16 November 2005 - 06:59 AM.

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#20 Kitao Sakurai

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  • NYC

Posted 17 November 2005 - 06:45 PM

Thanks for your post and for your words, but most of what you commented on, re: the structure and pacing of the trailer, I don't really have control over as the DP... I shot this film, but I didn't cut it...
  • 0


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rebotnix Technologies

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Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Opal

CineTape

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio