July 7, 2015 at 9:02PM

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Constructive Criticism Guys?

So I just made a little minute and a half short. I posted before asking for help with ideas and for the most part it was "Just keep thinking of what you have and try and make something out of it."

I tried with what I had for this short! Just a camera, shotgun mic, and tripod! -I may have made a prop for the short...-

If you all could just watch it and then leave me some constructive tips that would be great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11zdpJsaZuo

Reminder:
I literally only had ME and my camera. So if you're going to leave a tip like "should've made some camera movements" or "you should've gone to an acting agency" then just don't bother. Because I'm trying to be a better filmmaker and using what I have at my disposal is my best option right now.

Anyways I hope you liked it!

15 Comments

Good idea, very original.

July 8, 2015 at 6:20AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7476

Thank you!

July 8, 2015 at 9:27AM

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Kyler Wagner
Director/Cinematographer/Video Editor
229

Looks good visually, but I would get rid of your dialog and go with voice-over by your main character. This would greatly improve the audio quality of his voice, and make things a little more believable to me. ( most people do not talk to themselves when there is nobody around, unless they are holding an audio recorder that they're using to make audio notes )

July 8, 2015 at 11:04AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32025

The mic on the character's shirt was supposed to signify that he was taking audio notes as well. But I suppose I didn't explain it enough visually. But it's interesting to think of what voice-over would've done to it!

July 8, 2015 at 6:24PM

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Kyler Wagner
Director/Cinematographer/Video Editor
229

The sound was the major issue for me too and is the trickiest to get right. "Most people do not talk to themselves when there is nobody around", That's just what I said to myself the other day but I disagreed with me.

Nicely done though.

July 9, 2015 at 4:14AM, Edited July 9, 4:14AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1037

Do you have access to an external monitor? This would help with some framing issues. Do you know anyone that can help you out? Friends are always willing to help out on little projects. Use them as actors or crew. I would suggest networking with others who can help you out and then you can help out on their projects as well. This will help you get better as well.

July 8, 2015 at 4:32PM

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Bryan Tosh
Director of Photography
457

I don't have one yet, I was thinking of getting one whenever I had the chance. Thanks for the input!

July 8, 2015 at 6:23PM

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Kyler Wagner
Director/Cinematographer/Video Editor
229

its cool man

July 8, 2015 at 9:38PM

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Nice try, though there is room for improvement.
- Script : I had to watch it two times to understand the story (maybe it's because of the sound).
- Sound : the voice is not clear enough, I had to really focus and push the volume up to understand. You have to find a way to put your mic closer to the talent's mouth. The ambiance sound is not consistent. Try to record separate ambiance sound of every location.
- Image : Be careful for the framing and the light. I don't now where or what to watch. You are also underexposed.
- Editing : It's ok, but the jump cut is weird, you should avoid it if it's not a narrative choice, you could have avoid it by doing a close shot of the sheet.
- Music : good choice, it fit well the story.
For the future watch carefully and analyse the videos and feature film you like, try to see what makes the images you like, how is it frame, from where comes the light, etc and try to reproduce it. We learn better from our mistake, keep trying different stuff. Good luck and have fun :-)

July 9, 2015 at 6:50AM

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AvdS
1177

Thank you so much for your reply! It was a first, so thank you for helping me figure out exactly what I should be focusing on first.

July 9, 2015 at 9:32AM

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Kyler Wagner
Director/Cinematographer/Video Editor
229

NIce for a first.
It could use some color correction (to give it additional oomph and to sort out some exposition issues). And practice on your camerawork in order to get more fluid movement (that tilt was a bit jerky). Framing was a bit off, as someone already said, an external monitor could help.

Editing-wise (although it is not my field), you could've put some symbol of passing time between the tilt to notebook and picking it up - fade out/in, passing clouds, landscape pan... anything that could indicate that the time has passed. The jump cut (additionally enhanced probably because the camera was moved when you locked the tripod) only confuses the audience (although people used such editing in movies - read something about french "new wave" movement - you had to film everything in such manner).

July 9, 2015 at 8:13AM, Edited July 9, 8:18AM

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Srdjan Bozinovic
Director of Photography, Head Cameraman
227

Thanks! I'll check out the New Wave movement later on tonight maybe that'll help me get a feel of how I should be taking my shots

July 9, 2015 at 9:33AM

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Kyler Wagner
Director/Cinematographer/Video Editor
229

I mentioned "New Wave" as example. Maybe I made a mistake since english is not my native language.

It would be great if you liked it, but maybe it is better for you to stick to more conventional film styles for now. You should know the rules perfectly in order to break them properly (I bet that some will disagree ;)).

For now, maybe it would be best that you focus on your camera work, sound recording, post-production (editing and grading) etc.

July 9, 2015 at 11:39AM

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Srdjan Bozinovic
Director of Photography, Head Cameraman
227

Hi Kyle. I think you have a nice little film. I don't have a problem with your production (well, only the jump-cut on the slimy notebook). But I don't think the pay-off is enough. I was half-expecting a creature to jump down on him and pluck out his eyeballs, which would have justified watching the film.
But the character's happy realization that there's alien life? Not enough. Going back inside the house and realizing that Dad is an alien? Getting better. Story and film theory is where you need to focus. Reading short stories, analyzing tv shows and shorts will help. "Every Frame A Painting" is a good web series to check out for film theory.

July 9, 2015 at 4:11PM, Edited July 9, 4:13PM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
342

Didn't read others' replies, apologies for any redundancy.

Side CU could use shallower depth of field. The complexity of the background is distracting as I imagine focusing on the protagonist is intended. I was personally trying to discern what the ambiguousness behind the trees is. Note that this is even more important when you shoot actors in profile, since it's psychologically harder to connect with them and/or infer their feelings because we can only see one of their eyes.

The camera jerk on the notebook dropping hurts your film because all prior shots were rock solid locked-off.

The tilt down shot is so wobbly it feels like a POV shot (again, compounded by the locked-off early shots).

The jump cut at the end of that tilt down shot is jarring and hurts your film.

The centered closeup: composite patch over that flying insect or add a sound effect of it. To see something like a flying bug and not hear it is something that almost never happens in "real" films so it feels very strange to viewers.

Your cuts from centered closeup to hand-on-tree and back generally have too much head and tail. The viewer doesn't care if you didn't have an operator and thus couldn't follow pan as the actor takes a step forward. We can't see how close the actor is to the tree. Showing him take a step forward to get to it isn't important, so just cut on the action of him reaching (showing just the background after he leaves screen is counterdramatic to what's happening at the moment), then cut to the tree as the hand is already in screen, moving. Use the same cutting principle when going back to the centered closeup, or probably what would work better is to have the same out point on the tree shot, then cut to him already with his hand in front of him (his settling into place is awkward and seems to counter what is happening emotionally).

The sound design needs to be finessed a little. If you're not using "flat" pro headphones (like AKG K240s) or monitors, you may not be hearing all of the audio spectrum, thus unknowingly having audible "seams" in your audio cuts.

Overall, your shot selection and sequence of those shots is very good I feel, but just your execution has some flaws. The good thing is that those flaws that are relatively easy to avoid.

Hope this somehow helps and best of luck.

July 9, 2015 at 4:16PM

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Jaan Shenberger
designer/animator & live-action director/DP
1272

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