September 30, 2016 at 1:37PM

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Looking for Feedback

Hey all, this is a short film I shot earlier this summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMPg91GSB14

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on it. I was responsible for the camera side of it and also did some quick color-grading. It was filmed in one evening and morning for a film festival that was focused primarily on music composition (a composer friend is the one who originally got me on the project).

Anyhow, it was all put together pretty quickly and I was thinking I'd like to play around with it some more and maybe put it into more local film festivals once it was cleaned up a bit. What would you change about it? What did you like/dislike? Were there any shots you found particularly good or particularly distracting? Was it too long or short? Etc.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

8 Comments

Cinematically you have given us three puzzle pieces, with absolutely no clue as to how they fit together. Of course it can sometimes be cool to give the audience the chance to decide for themselves how to put them together, but when the whole story is subject to a completely different interpretation depending on whether piece A, piece B, or piece C is first, or real, or whatever, you haven't really told a story. There are certainly genres of films that are more about creating a collage of ideas rather than story-telling. But I prefer story-telling.

September 30, 2016 at 3:41PM, Edited September 30, 3:41PM

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Hmm. That's interesting because I hadn't thought that the story was unclear to begin with. Maybe there needs to be more establishing shots in the dance studio so that it feels less jumbled and more grounded in a location. It's supposed to feel like Piece A is where a passion is born (practicing in the studio), Piece B is why we follow our passions (takes us to a fantastical place), Piece C is the end goal of our passions (to be great/perform on stage), and the end of the film is meant to remind us that we only move forward if we pick ourselves back up even in the most difficult circumstances. How could I make that come across better?

Jeremiah Kuehne

September 30, 2016 at 6:52PM

Wow...I sure saw it differently! When the film cut from the studio (A) to the field (B) I wondered whether B was what she felt when she was in the studio, or was the dream that brought her to the studio, or was the true sense of who she was when she wasn't in the studio. Then, when it cut to the stage (C), I could not decide whether that piece fit with A or with any of the interpretations of B. As I was trying to piece that together, the wheelchair (D) made me wonder: did she ever really dance, or was it all just a fantasy? I absolutely did not get the "getting back up" thing because I saw how limited she was in the final shot. It left the ambiguity as to whether she could ever walk again, let alone dance. Thus, for me, it went from confusion (A+B = ?) to confusion (A, B, C, ?!) to confusion (A ? B ? C ? D).

September 30, 2016 at 9:45PM, Edited September 30, 9:45PM

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Hi,

I really loved the cinematography of the piece, how it is very tight tied to the music and the mood, and the concept too. I didn't find myself struggling to decode the story by myself but after reading your own view as creators, It got me thinking a couple of things. First of all, I think cinema has lots of trouble communicating very deep and abstract concepts as I think yours are, because of cinema's "literality", by showing instantly lots of information and very concrete images, so, my view of the story was of a dancer that really has given it entire life to her art and lives her life through it, just to find that in the end, she is unable to dance anymore as she used to and tries to keep doing what she loves even under those circumstances. In this way, the story has its flaws because we can see the dancer moving freely in the dance studio and there is no indication or clue that if those shots that happen with the wheelchair are in another time or if the first ones are fantasy/memories. I think it needs more clarification in that way. On the other hand, by thinking about working for your passion and getting over obstacles and all those things that you've said, I think that those are your themes but not the story itself. I don't know if I made myself clear. That's just my view but I really enjoyed your film. Congratulations.

October 3, 2016 at 9:59AM

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Ulises Bravo
Filmmaker, DP
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I agree completely that we dont have the necessary information to know the timeline, hence the story, the struggle, the meaning.

Michael Tiemann

October 3, 2016 at 1:36PM

I'm starting to see multiple meanings in this! It was supposed to come across as a "whoa" moment when she falls out of the wheelchair. We purposely didn't show the bottom part of her body in the studio in order to not reveal that she was in a wheelchair.

You're definitely right about how difficult it is to convey the deep and abstract concepts. We were trying to convey her feeling of freedom while she is dancing, even though she is in the wheelchair. Thanks for your insights!

Jeremiah Kuehne

October 7, 2016 at 9:20AM

I thought it was fantastic!

Perhaps it was because I knew beforehand that this had been made as a showcase for the composer, but I had no problem with the 'story' side of things. I can see why others here struggled in finding a consistent logic to it, but to me it was obvious enough that we were seeing the imaginings of the dancer as she moved with the music, and I thought the twist when she fell from her wheelchair was genuinely impactful and put things in a new perspective. For me, the emotional journey was enough without needing to understand the events literally.

There were a few small things I might have done differently but that's just personal taste really. However there was one thing it might be worth considering: I love how the opening moments don't give you a good look at the dancer's face, it gives a subtle tension that draws the viewer in and fits with the music, but I think her face should stay obscured all the way up to 0:41 when the music hits that big chord. Even on my first viewing, I found it a little jarring seeing her full face on the bridge at 0:34, it doesn't follow the flow of the music to release that tension there. Less noticeable is the focus rack into the mirror at 0:21, but if possible I'd avoid that too. Of course it depends on what other shot options you have for those moments, but I think it would do a lot to strengthen a really nice dynamic that's present in that opening section.

More importantly what did you film it on?? It looks really good and I'm guessing I couldn't nearly afford whatever gear you used but it would be nice to know!

October 5, 2016 at 11:01AM

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Thanks, Ed. From what I'm hearing I think I need to establish her more in the studio practicing for the whole thing to be less jarring. Or even establish the studio as the location before bringing her into it might help. Interesting thoughts!

I would say it's less important what it was filmed on, but I was using a Sony a7S ii on gimbal and a7R ii on tripod. With a couple drone shots on the Phantom 3 Pro.

October 7, 2016 at 9:14AM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
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