February 21, 2015 at 2:33AM


Need Some Constructive Criticism

Hello fellow filmmakers, I wrote and directed my first short film a couple of months ago and would like your constructive criticism. What can I improve, what works, what doesn't work, etc... I shot with a Canon 7D and used Zies lenses.

Link: https://vimeo.com/102414506


Please do not take anything I say personally, it's just one person's opinion...

- I am not a fan of slow tracking shots, unless the scene has already been established by other shots. ( I need context to be able to appreciate the slow tracking shot )

- I did not like the "blue" grading of the hospital shot, and would have gone with something that looks a little more realistic. ( even a slight green fluorescent look would have been preferable for me )

- I would have tried to connect the two "worlds" in the first part of your film, even hints about memories of the man's wife and child would help to illustrate the anguish he is feeling while trapped.

- I am not a fan of the soundtrack either, as I think you could have chosen something that would illustrate your character's frustration without being so heavy handed.

- I would also have your main character be physical and active, to show that he's fighting to get out but nothing is working.

- I would shoot the hospital "reveal" differently, to show what his wife and child are feeling. Your approach is very "antiseptic", which does not draw me into the tragedy that is happening in that room.

- I really like the concept behind your film, but I think you have to find a way to get the viewer more involved with what is happening. Right now it's shot like the camera is a third-person standing in the room just watching what is happening from a very clinical perspective, with no emotional attachment to anything going on.

February 21, 2015 at 12:52PM, Edited February 21, 12:52PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thank you Guy,

I agree with all those points, and you helped me realize the flaws I knew this film had but that I just couldn't out a finger on. Very good point on the "blue" grade for the hospital room. Also, I never thought of the camera being a 3rd person view but I see it now, and I will definitely be keeping these points in mind during my next project!

February 21, 2015 at 6:28PM

You voted '-1'.
Hovig Kazandjian
Writer, Director

Since I'm not exactly sure what your specific goals and intentions were for making the film, I'm going to judge it based solely on what it communicates to me, in terms of story and production.

Visually, I think it's well done overall. There are a couple of shots where maybe you're a little too wide on the man and it drew a little bit of attention to the infinite black behind him, but overall, the cinematography is nicely done given a perceived limited budget.

The short does a decent job of presenting a mystery and then explaining that mystery without using words. At the point that it might have become confusing, the reveal happens and everything is clear.

That said, I agree with Guy above, that you need to connect the two worlds somehow. I don't know if there were any limitations you were given beforehand but some sort of visual connections between places or clues early on would be make it a richer experience. I also agree with Guy that there's not enough for the man to do in the first part. His scribbling in the notebook seems arbitrary; instead of writing, "I can't get out," he might try more actively to get out. (Again, I don't know if you had any limitations on production or just wanted to play around with editing techniques.)

I think you should consider taking a deeper dive into color grading for your next projects. I personally read the blue grade in the hospital room as a sterile fluorescent light so that didn't bother me. However, in the infinite black, the color of the light on the man is a little flat. This is the place to make the colors more stylized. So dig into FCPX or Adobe Speedgrade or Resolve Lite (which is free) and just learn what you can do to your image with these tools and have fun with it.

February 23, 2015 at 11:57AM

Alex Chancey
Editor, Filmmaker

Thanks Alex, this really helped a lot! I'll definitely be looking into more color grading!

February 23, 2015 at 2:44PM, Edited February 23, 2:44PM

Hovig Kazandjian
Writer, Director

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