June 2, 2015 at 1:25PM

21

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera - Short Film Thoughts

Hey NoFilmSchool friends! I always love getting your guys' feedback, so I want to share my new short with you, A Shadow Of Doubt.
Just something I did for fun over a weekend, two night shoot. Wanted to really test the pocket cam's limits...love that camera.
Of course mistakes were made, but I think it came out decent enough for a fun little flick!, what do you all think?
https://vimeo.com/129336045

30 Comments

June 2, 2015 at 8:45PM

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Tobias N
Director of Photography
1346

I do love a good gif.

June 2, 2015 at 9:01PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Oh Ben! It hurts me to watch it (I'm a BMPCC shooter too). Next time you use a tripod or a slider, please take the time to level it (or at least straighten your shots in post) - if 'dutching' the shots was intentional then take a page out of Sam Raimi's book and do it right ;) You really need to work on your lighting - horror films don't have to be dark - atmosphere is what you want. You really starved the camera of light and the PCC's wonderfully cinematic image just ended up looking like a cheap consumer video camera. On the positive side, hey - you made a film - congratulations! And your sound isn't horrible but overall I'm sure you can do much better - good luck with the next one!

June 3, 2015 at 7:04PM

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Survivor Films
Writer/Director
154

Thanks for the feedback. I've noticed some drastic changes in color and lighting within viewing it on different monitors. It seems most monitors crush a lot of the blacks and it appears extremely dark (which means my monitor settings were quite off), especially towards the end. Was displeased with this, but I'd rather journey on to my next endeavor and buy a new monitor than go back and change all of it, since it was just for fun.
The lighting in the kitchen and bedroom were actually quite great on set and in camera - just didn't translate in my edit with faulty monitor and some mistakes I overcovered. Definitely a learning process for me! Only my second short.
Respectfully disagree that I made it look like a cheap consumer video camera though; I don't quite see that :).
But thanks again! Feedback always fuels my next project and I learn from all of it.

June 3, 2015 at 7:43PM, Edited June 3, 8:27PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Calibrate your monitor!

June 9, 2015 at 1:02PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9065

On my list of to-dos, definitely!, haha.

June 9, 2015 at 1:41PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Just a quick tip, the first 2 minutes of the short is credits, which is ok for a feature with names that the audience might know, or if there's story-telling going on under the credits. But using a third of the run-time of your short for this can be frustrating for viewers, I found myself wanting to skip ahead to see the start of the story. Best to put it at the end.
(Also, multiple credits for yourself is very tempting, especially as you've done all the work yourself, trust me I've done it before too. But it's a tell-tale sign of an amateur and looks kinda self aggrandizing).
Anyways, sound design was good, acting was solid and a lot of the shot compositions were nice. Keep plugging away at it :)

June 4, 2015 at 7:36AM

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Graham Hughes
Writer/Director
171

Thanks man! I actually totally agree...to be honest...I couldn't help myself haha. I just really liked that intro. But you're definitely 100% on point there, and I'm certainly not doing that for my next short. This was a test a run of sorts. Appreciate the feedback!!!!!

June 4, 2015 at 12:14PM, Edited June 4, 12:14PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

I agree with this. Actually I'd go ahead and suggest that you just start the film as quick as possible since the "real estate" time on a short is very valuable. Just do the title and take us to your vision. Do credits at the end only and if you got too many titles, make people up. Otherwise, keep at it dude, the fact that you made something is great.

July 12, 2015 at 2:18PM

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Jorge Sermini
Producer
1

Not bad at all! A few very nice shots, good sound! Intensity got a bit lost at times because of too much darkness. Grading can be a real pain in the ass when you look your work on different monitors, televisions and projectors. It's a learning process to get somewhere in the middle. Good luck for your next work!

June 4, 2015 at 12:18PM, Edited June 4, 12:18PM

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Samuli Tiilikainen
Cinematographer
74

Ain't that the truth! Always a learning process. Thanks Samuli!

June 4, 2015 at 12:39PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Too dark, bad grading and unmotivated camera movement.

June 4, 2015 at 9:47PM

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Thanks! Not exactly constructive feedback in your opinion, but I guess you can't ask too much in this extremely subjective world of film and critics.

June 5, 2015 at 12:47PM, Edited June 5, 12:59PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

The scores were good, but kinda overpowering... Besides that, very good job indeed

June 5, 2015 at 2:05AM

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Karthik Nair
Editor
74

Thank you!

June 5, 2015 at 12:48PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

-

June 5, 2015 at 12:48PM, Edited June 5, 1:03PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Some lighting may have helped...just super black at points. A few editing mistakes/flash frames that are not acceptable. Titles are half the movie?

June 5, 2015 at 8:19AM

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Agreed, and thank you for the feedback. Titles...was a selfish move. I just loved the shots haha.

June 5, 2015 at 2:57PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

If you took the titles (0:00-1:50) and moved them to the end, this would be quite a bit more watchable.

June 5, 2015 at 5:13PM, Edited June 5, 5:13PM

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Tim McC
Director
81

The big thing that stood out to me was as someone else mentioned, unmotivated camera movement. Try not to move your camera just for the sake of having a slider and wanting to use it. Movement is based off the story's needs and too much of it draws attention to itself in a bad way. Do away with intro credits and jump into the story, you want to hook your audience quickly or they will get bored. Leaving things on the cutting room floor is hard when you want to use shots but if they don't serve the story, snip snip. Thanks for sharing, I know it's hard putting yourself out there but if you take feedback and criticism well you will get better and better with each film! Good luck with the next one, keep at it!

June 6, 2015 at 12:20AM, Edited June 6, 12:20AM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1662

Best feedback in this chain, appreciate it. Some of the dolly shots were definitely motivated from my view of the story but I know what you mean; next time more thought will go into that for sure.
Thanks!

June 6, 2015 at 3:21PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Ben,

The first thing I noticed was the (really) long introduction. I want to congratulate you for all the jobs you did, it's no easy task. However, your entire short film is 5 minutes, and your introduction takes up almost two minutes. In short films, time is precious, it's gold-like, don't waste your viewers attention. Second, I really like the shot in 2:23, the idea is cool, a (seemingly) red light illuminating the room. That was nice, and could've been used further for story-telling.

Did you use colour grading? In some shots the actor looks reddish, blushed, and in the next frame he is pale white, only to become red again. I'm new to colour grading, so I know it can be really hard, but try focusing on that a bit more.

Lastly, do things with purpose. Study about psychology, colours, sound, images, and how they all relate to the audience. You did a lot of camera moving but it felt unmotivated. There's always sound and that makes nothing really stand out. Sometimes, leaving a moment of silence can impact much, much more than an eerie arpeggiator. Play with these two. Silence is just as important in music as the notes playing, and it goes the same way with film.

It's all just an opinion, of course. I left some videos below that I think could help. Let me know what you think.

Take care

For sound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUrTRjEXjSM

Study about movement
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doaQC-S8de8

Video about psychology in horror films
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcAfzK4YPSI

June 8, 2015 at 3:21AM, Edited June 8, 3:23AM

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Thanks Nicolas, great feedback.
Very aware of these problems and it is all a great learning experience.
I am getting better at color grading by I noticed the red tint on other monitors is not apparent on mine - I need to get a more accurate monitor so this does not happen again. I was going for a warm feel, but on most monitors it came out a bit too warm.
Great point on the sound! We recorded to low during production and my only way to mask it in post was to kind of always have sound going, which was a bummer, but my only quick workaround. I totally agree with you, there, though.
Intro was far too long! I just really liked it. Selfish act on my end, haha.
And oddly that's the 3rd time I've heard some of the camera movement was unmotivated, which of course is a very subjective and hard thing to distinguish. Most of my movements were actually quite motivated on set, trying to get a feeling of the house itself moving, breathing, watching the lead character - slow dollys, slow pans, etc., is what helped me accomplish this. I personally thought it fit into the slow-burn style I was going for, but I will always take the feedback seriously and think about it on my next shoot! Maybe there is a better way I can translate my view of the camera movements to the audience. But as long as the audience got the vibe I was going for (which I know at least some did!), then it seems my camera movements worked :).
Great points here and I really appreciate it!

June 8, 2015 at 12:47PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Hey Ben,
Good job on the short

I really liked the first shot (felt like a james Wan...insidious feeling) and the old record playing was perfect
The camera movements were smooth and well paced too
I agree with others that the intro was long hehe - a tip and a personal preference in my films is to put all credits including the title at the end
I think it looked quite cinematic; especially the intro sequence
I also agree you need to tone down the camera movement or at least have a reason hehe
At about 01:42 at the intro title and change in music - it kinda killed the feel for me. I feel it started pushing the intended emotion too much. (I've been guilty of this as well lol) Sometimes just silence and ambient noise is adequate to heighten anxiety in the viewer

The living room's soft light was really good but the source from the left was quite hard - kept distracting my eyes

Didn't really like the rack focus; unless you wanted us to relate the drink to whatever He seems to be hearing

I agree the skin tones were quite reddish but now you know and next time will be better

Again the zoom out (like james wan) although I think it was too much hehe
I like the shot at 04:19 - gave me an idea for a jump scare

And finally the last shot - really liked how you used the shadows; however I feel it was on for too long maybe start it about halfway through the movement so that he door closes sooner...just a thought

Overall; Nice job man
I recently just got a bmpcc so its nice seeing what can come out of it
A quick question though; did you use a speedbooster? If you didn't, was the 18-35 wide enough? Because I also have an 18-35 but I've been looking to get something wider (at least 12mm)

I also did a short recently and looking for reviews to develop myself as well
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21MIyjTQF28
http://nofilmschool.com/boards/discussions/please-destroy-film
Would be glad to hear your comments

July 11, 2015 at 4:32AM

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Luke Oyovbaire
Filmmaker
27

Thanks for the feedback!!!
And yes, I pretty much always use a speedbooster (the bmpcc specific one) with my 18-35. Best purchase ever. Having a 1.0 and being able to go wide is quite nice, makes that pocket camera an entirely different beast!

July 13, 2015 at 1:15PM, Edited July 13, 1:15PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

Shot 1 - What are we pushing into? I was waiting for something, you should've pushed into the Vinyl player, as that's where the music is coming from and it's the only source of information in the shot. Information, key word. Randomness is not acceptable by audiences, you'll lose them early this way.

Shot 2 - Establishing shot? I'm not sure of it's purpose, but I can see the white balance is off from the previous interior.

Shot 3 - What are we supposed to be drawn to? My eyes go to the duck head, but its at the bottom of the shot. Terrible framing. There is no motive here. If you are simply establishing the environment, then use interesting things to cut to/from. Making the audience look around for something of relevance is like "Where's Wally", but this is a film.

Shot 4 - I can see a house, but the movement is strange, no clear intentions for why you chose this angle.

Shot 5 - Here I thought. Finally! Could this be a shot pushing into something of relevance? But no, you pushed too far, and repeated the same fade, which has been agonising to endure through thus far.

Shot 6 - What?

Shot 7 - You cut the shot before we got a moment to fully observe the house, the setting of the film, I assume? Why?

Shot 8- Here is where you lost me.

Good luck for the future.

July 11, 2015 at 9:50PM, Edited July 11, 9:50PM

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Zachariel Shanahan
Writer/Director
1044

Yeah, basically all intro shots w/out true purpose other than establishing a mood. Was kind of just for fun, but thanks for your comments regardless.

July 13, 2015 at 1:17PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1120

November 19, 2018 at 7:47AM, Edited November 19, 7:47AM

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Grover Ramsey
Reporter (Las Vegas Sun Newspaper)
81

This camera is brilliant. When I saw what it can shoot, I was really shocked,)

November 19, 2018 at 7:52AM

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Grover Ramsey
Reporter (Las Vegas Sun Newspaper)
81

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