View Full Version : CABIN by Matt Harris aka Defcon

Matt Harris
10-30-2007, 01:43 PM


10-30-2007, 01:45 PM
Wowa! Some of those photographs are breathtaking! Looking forward to seeing your short.

Cheers and good luck!

10-30-2007, 01:59 PM
Grabs look primo-stylized. Love the look. I look forward to watching it!

Brandon Rice
10-30-2007, 02:03 PM
Great thread, and can't wait to see your film!!!

10-30-2007, 02:10 PM
Sweet, Nice stuff! Can't wait to check it out!

Matt Harris
10-30-2007, 02:18 PM
Thanks guys, i've been staying up on all your threads but my current job doesnt enable me to make posts so I'm a bit late to the party. ;(

Michael Anthony Horrigan
10-30-2007, 02:27 PM
Can't wait to see it!



Brandon Rice
10-30-2007, 03:26 PM
I'm a bit late to the party. ;(


Welcome to the party (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=107454)


Matt Harris
10-30-2007, 03:32 PM
I totally set you up for that!

Brandon Rice
10-30-2007, 03:33 PM
Yes you did! hehe :)

Ben Sliker
10-30-2007, 06:42 PM
defcon, nice to see you made it in. as always, your graphics look awesome. nice presentation!

10-30-2007, 06:44 PM
Nice brocures, how much for the weekend getaway?

Michael Anthony Horrigan
10-30-2007, 07:34 PM

Nice editing and look to the overall movie. Some great camera work as well, really nicely shot.

Sounded pretty good as well.

I could have used a bit more shock at the end for this type of movie that you chose to do, but it was still great.
Really well done guys!



10-30-2007, 07:51 PM
Way cool.

I really like the style you guys went with on this one. Totally classic horror in the woods stuff. That must have taken ages to edit in all those little jitters and warps. I particularly like how the visuals matched the really good sound design. Ever little hop and skip that was seen, was matched perfectly by even the most subtle of sound nuances. Good stuff guys!

- Mikko

10-31-2007, 10:55 AM
I thought you had some excellent editing and sound design. It dragged a little in the middle but you had some gorgeous time lapse to make me forget about it. It was definitely original and I really enjoyed the old school feel of it.

Matt Harris
10-31-2007, 11:43 AM
I appreciate the feedback, thanks guys. I'm completley numb to my own film because
i'v watched it so many times, im glad some of you are enjoying it for what it is.

10-31-2007, 04:49 PM
yes, one of my favorites from this fest. It was well done and loved the 'evil dead' feel to it. but i didn't think too much of the visual effects though.

10-31-2007, 05:11 PM
I thought this film had a great style a polished, lush feel. I can tell you really have a good command of the visual language of contemporary horror films. The one thing I was looking for was something original or unique about the story. I had trouble connecting with the story and it seemed like a hash of standard horror scenes. I enjoyed this, but with a memorable character or a strong story it would have been a lot stronger.

Matt Harris
10-31-2007, 07:34 PM
I appreciate the comments both pro and con, and thank you for constructive critiism,
im always looking to for ways to improve.

10-31-2007, 07:50 PM
im a bit late but my hallowfest starts tomorrow. CABIN here i come.

Matt Harris
10-31-2007, 07:56 PM
Deedive you can totally rip on mine, no need to be easy on me simply because i love yours. :)

10-31-2007, 08:03 PM
i doubt if i would rip on it. i've hear good things.

10-31-2007, 09:00 PM
I swear I saw that same cabin in a horror flick I rented a few months ago!

10-31-2007, 10:08 PM
nice location. Haha it makes me want to go to the woods!

Kirk Attard
10-31-2007, 10:21 PM
Great job Matt.
Like the location and how the shots moved from one room to the next.
The visual is very polished. Love it.

11-01-2007, 02:47 AM
I've only seen two films so far, Cabin and Joel 3:15, and I can't imagine two films being more different. To summarize, one is style over substance, the other is substance over style. No insult intended, as both are very well made.

Now on to the details. Guess which of the two categories above I placed yours? :)

That's right! Wow, your film really moves! I felt like it was on fast forward! And the fx, this would make a great reel! Unfortunately, the story took a back seat to all the razzle dazzle. That in a nutshell, is my main criticism/contribution. Technically the film was great! I love that Tony Scott over the top flash - when it serves the story.

On a side note. The gore fx were not believable, and it took me out of the picture almost immediately. The blood looked like it was just splashed onto the actors. I would suggest checking out real crime scene photos for reference.

I love the pro look and sound of your movie, and I look forward to your next one. I would suggest more focus on story, and you'll have a winner.

My two cents.

Marlon Ladd
11-01-2007, 06:09 AM
I also really liked the style of this one. There were some very good shots in here and again, the location was great. It did get really creepy and I thought the suspense was well built.

11-01-2007, 10:02 AM
Really great location. This one started out great and the about halfway through just fell apart. I realize there is a five minute time limit but I just didn't see a story here. The shot going from room to room was really well done, though.

11-01-2007, 11:44 AM
I loved the effects in this one. Very cool. The fast motion, the slow motion and the SPFX of the girl/ghost. I think this is a perfect example of using effects in a short film that would not work over the space of a longer film - the audience would find them too over the top - but in your short film they worked well.

Really pretty images.

Cool cabin location (can you imagine goin the th ecabin and playing this on a dark and stormy night? - cool!)

I remain uncertain about the story. No real surprises and nothing to make me jump out of my skin. I'm seeing a trend in these entries which is killer visuals and "less-than-killer" stories.

But I really liked this one and thanks for making it.

Matt Harris
11-01-2007, 12:17 PM
Thanks everyone, i appreciate your comments and don't disagree. We improv-acted a majority of the film and just went with it. For me this was an excercise in creating tension and atmosphere. Clearly next time i will have to emphasize story better.

I originally intended to go creepy-blair witch-ish. If you think
about that movie, all they do is present the witch "legend" at the intro of the movie,
they have the kids get lost in he woods for hours, and then they essentially get lured and trapped by the witch at the end, validating the legend.

so in CABIN, my answering machine at the intro essentially warns of not watching tv because "the cabin hates that". It also warns of a previous tenant who "went batshit and killed his wife". So what i was trying to do was show, through the usage of 3 portals: alcohol, water and telelvision, that my main character became posessed by the ghosts of the previous tenants, or posessed by the cabin itself.

Water: note the "cabin's POV" as soon as Jones climbs out of the lake.
the cabin is sizing up him up. then Jones uses water to clean his feet,
right after that we get another "ghost POV", this time from the dock.
and all the scenics of the lake fade in and out of Jones conciousness when he's sleeping or his eyes are closed.

Alcohol: the previous tenant drank red wine. Jones is guzzling beers.

Television: when you are at a cabin you should be enjoying the wilderness
and not be sitting on a couch watching tv, at least thats how i was raised.
and so the television is the main portal which my answering machine message warns of. note that as soon as Jones picks up the remote, the ghost appears.
and as the ghost fades away you see the effect that happens to Jones, that is a transference of spirit and energy from the previous tenant into Jones.

so all the jittery effects i used represented the cabin's energy, and i thought i was making it ironic by making the effects television-like, the one thing the cabin hates.

So in the end, this was a story of possession, and the point i was trying to make seems to be generally lost on people, but at least now you know what i was aiming for.

11-01-2007, 04:30 PM
Hi Defcon. This fell looked really good. The effects adn images really added to the production value. Good job.

11-01-2007, 04:51 PM
cool movie. i really liked the titles. the phone call/answering machine voiceover is a great touch. The shinning is one of my favorite movies, definitely got that vibe here too. to nit-pick i would say a few of the effects where distracting and took away for the impact of the story. in all great work. can i put a glassjaw cameo in my next movie too:)

11-01-2007, 09:08 PM
Nice little scary movie. A lot was crammed in but I liked the way the small visual effects worked into it. The editing during the last minute or so seemed a little rushed. I really liked the vibe of it. Good job!

Reading through the thread, I know what kind of project this was time and logistics-wise, and you really pulled off a decent short. Your cutting and ramping really added to keeping me on edge. Again, I thought the last minute or so was a little too quick in pace, but that's probably because of the amount of time you had to chop it together. Anyway, the atmosphere was right on. Again, good job.

11-02-2007, 09:03 PM
Loved the look and feel. Great atmosphere.

J.R. Hudson
11-03-2007, 09:50 AM
I loved the stylisitc editing and camerawork. Really beautiful and effective imagery. I ish the enitre short maintanined this atmosphere because at times, it would go to basic hand held, which seemed really unmotivated; and this took me out of the short at times.

The ending wasn't as effective as it could have been; lacking that climax or punch and the audio needs some tweaking; sounding too much like a videoshot small film.

Overall, I enjoyed it, think you have a great eye and your editing technique really works well.

The imagery of the woman being killed was chilling and effective. Your use of light and dark in your shots is awesome. Again, maintaining that flavor throughout may have worked better; shots of him sitting on couch or walking up stairs or many of the hand held shots just did not mix well with the other great compositions

I loved the John Carpenter fonts !

Nice job. I look forwrd to your next project and would like to see you maintain the creativity throughout the whole piece

Matt Harris
11-03-2007, 12:43 PM
Deedive you gotta put a nod to Glassjaw in all your future shorts!

JR, next fest i will take your advice and probably give my shots a cleaner smoother look.
I don't think theres anything wrong with handheld but i've exhausted that sort of low budget technique, i need to rig up a cheap dolly.

cinealma, the ending was not as i exactly wanted it. i needed one final quick shot of posessed jones attacking me but he had to leave town last minute and i was un-able to shoot the final shot i needed. bummer.

blaine, you are one of the hardest critics on this site so im flattered that you didn't COMPLETELY hate my hackfest.

again, thanks for viewing and commenting.

11-03-2007, 05:09 PM
There were some really beautiful shots in this one, and some creative camerawork. Also, the effects with the ghosts were very cool.

Cool Lights
11-03-2007, 09:47 PM
Looked great but for some reason on my download the ending was garbled so I never saw the last minute or two--but very professional looking shots, lighting, titles, and especially loved the super timelapse effects which I'm sure took a lot of patience.

11-04-2007, 06:11 PM
Woohoo! Loved that Glassjaw reference. Fabulous looking short, I love the colors and composition. Everything looked and sounded professional. The part where he goes upstairs and sees the ghost - not a very strong scene. I think it kills the short - what I'm trying to say is that up to that point everything is top-notch.

Some real eye-candy here! Thanks for making this.

Brandon Rice
11-05-2007, 08:56 PM
Good work here... nice shots and compositions... your colors worked well too... I thought the story was building to a payoff, but it didn't do much for me when he found the ghost... I mean, I felt like there should have been something more to it... maybe I missed it... but still, a stand-out in the fest, for the cinematography alone.

J.R. Hudson
11-05-2007, 09:04 PM
Is the strobing evident with you Brandon ? I can't even watch it without it doing this weird strobing jittery effect ?

Anyone ?

Brandon Rice
11-05-2007, 10:02 PM
Is the strobing evident with you Brandon ? I can't even watch it without it doing this weird strobing jittery effect ?

Anyone ?

Yeah, but I thought that was a compression issue.

Matt Harris
11-05-2007, 11:28 PM
thanks everyone for posting, whether kudos or boos. brandon and JR, if you two are talking about the strobey flickering that occurs throughout some of the scenes in cabin... thats just a few layers and alpha channels of "old film effects" i layered up to give that look. its a personal preference, i like the old school scratchy vintage look so i tend to push it bit.

11-07-2007, 06:06 PM
Hey Defcon,

This piece started very strong. I loved the intro and the camera work was very good. I mean really good. I like handheld...it has a very good energy to it when used well, like in this case.

The story started to lose me after the guy was watching tv. It seemed like you could have gone straight to the ghost stuff after the guy started watching tv...you didn't need a passage of time. For me there wasn't enough tension after he woke up. I think if you maybe just had ambient sound instead of music that may help too. Also, you cut back to the flashback of the bloody guy and the dead woman which is okay, but it kinda foreshadows too much about what is going to happen and you stay on the shots too long. I think a flash of a few frames with some sound accents would make it a lot more effective and scary. After the guy is possessed and the friend arrives, you could probably tighten up the editing there. I was thinking it might be scary if you had the guy possessed standing at the window facing away from the attic entrance. Have him completely unresponsive to his friends call and then have the friend make the long trek across the room to touch him on the shoulder...then whammo the possessed guy turns and you see the women's face flash in and out or something. Cut to outside of the friend screaming.

Sorry, I'm getting so specific. I just like the story that much. I think if you could get a couple pick up shots and edit the end down some you probably could make it really quite good. I know you had to hurry to get done and the actor had to leave, but it seems like you got everything there to work with. Good job.


Jack Daniel Stanley
11-11-2007, 05:32 AM
I thought this had a great look to it.

As I said in a PM I may be hitting you up for some editing / compositing advice.

THe only misstep in terms of horror choices for me is that there is one instance where the woman's ghost appeared very bright with a heaven like aura and while it looked great I don't know if it was a scary, or intense choice.

I didn't follow the story 100%, but I still enjoyed it and was impressed with your skillz.

The shots and CC of the lake were just awesome. You really have mad post skillz.

Matt Harris
11-11-2007, 11:23 PM
Thanks to everyone or anyone who voted in my direction for cinematography. Also thanks to Jack Dan and Deedive for getting DQ'ed otherwise i'd of been toast.

Big thanks to the mods who, we forget, have lives beyond this website.

Thanks to my Co-Producer Chris Jones and my VFX original gangsta Graham the man Wilson.

Love fest is ON!

11-12-2007, 12:30 AM
congrates, man!
You deserve it!

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-12-2007, 01:30 AM
Congrats. Like I said. Great looking filck - obviously I am not in the minority in that opinion :grin: :beer:

glad you got your well deserved props

11-24-2007, 11:48 AM
Nice job. One thing I noticed was when the guy jumps into the water, with the way the music and tone were set up, I think it would've been more interesting if you'd have cut the sound of him hitting the water. Not completely sure why, just a thought I had while watching.

As a few others have said the story is a little hard to follow, but visually it's great.