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View Full Version : First day of shooting for my next short (please critique)



jonE5
11-06-2009, 09:39 AM
EDIT: Here is the finished product, give me some feedback.

http://www.vimeo.com/8065204


-----------------------------------------

Just threw together a really quick rough edit of some footage from our first day of shooting.

These shots are not neccesarily in sequence to the story, and the opening shots are not going to be used in the final production, they are more like a video storyboard for what i want to do. The finished product will be much more stable and better.

Our sound guy had some issues outside so some of the sound has gaps and i had to use camera sound (the outside scenes)

The long monoluge represents only one angle of the scene. The guy reading with him is not the actor playing the other role he was just standing in to get this actors lines on camera. I am going to shoot the other half of the conversation on monday, and then get some middle and wide shots and some face closeups to show expression reactions and edit it all together.

Please be harsh, let me know if my lighting, sound, shots, composition etc.. suck.

http://www.vimeo.com/7461702
password: daily

Shot on a D90 with 28mm 2.8 lens (going to do the closeups with a 50mm 1.8)

I did some light color correction, and on the breaking in scene i actually tried a couple of different color options, so if they dont all match that is the reason (to get feedback on which people like better).

thanks

jon

dvbrother
11-06-2009, 10:43 AM
Keep in mind that I've been shooting video for 25 years, so I've gained a little experience. That's one reason why my "Candy Apple Red" footge may, in your words, look better than the footage you shot. The other reason is that I have access to professional lighting equipment and had a skilled crew. But believe me, I'm no stranger to making movies with no money, no crew, and no equipment. :-)
So, let me offer a little constructive criticism, because your footage doesn't suck, it's just a little rough around the edges.
First, it's always tough to shoot in apartments with white walls. White walls are a curse. They overexpose very quickly, especially where your floor lamps are. So, a lot of it is about where you place your actors. I'd suggest moving the couch, etc. away from the walls so your actor isn't backed up against an ugly white wall. Then, instead of aiming your movie light directly at your actors, thus brightening the white wall and creating a big shadow cast by your actor, try maybe top lighting them with the light. Any way to hang it from the ceiling? Or just put it really high on the stand and aim it downward. Use some black foil or use the barndoors on the light to keep it off the white walls as much as possible.
Another trick is to try to key your actors from a direction other than dead-on from the cameras POV. Try some sidelighting or even backlighting. It's moody and cool and keeps offensive shadows from hitting the walls on the background.
Just my two cents. Keep at it!

edsonkwushu
11-06-2009, 11:26 AM
Definitely dig DVBrother's tips. I posted this on the video, but I would also add:

Use a light with a "sharp" beam and blast it through some blinds or a blind pattern (I hear you can put electrical tape on clear transparency or a clear lighting filter to use as a gobo/cookie) to break up the white walls by casting some cool shadows on it. Something like that would really help the look. The outside stuff looks fine, maybe some "blue" color correction for "night" light?

Jester2138
11-06-2009, 04:09 PM
Another trick is to bounce lights off walls which makes it much more diffuse and flattering. Just be sure you don't bounce light off a wall that's in the shot :)

dvbrother
11-06-2009, 05:26 PM
Yep. All good ideas. Bounced light is good. Using a cookie to create a pattern that breaks up solid white walls is a great idea. I'd forgotten about that.

John Caballero
11-06-2009, 09:49 PM
That's one reason why my "Candy Apple Red" footge may, in your words, look better than the footage you shot.

There is a huge difference with your film: it was shot with the GH1 with excellent lens. It is impossible to shoot anything close to pro quality with the D90.

Jester2138
11-06-2009, 10:11 PM
It is impossible to shoot anything close to pro quality with the D90.

Eehhhhh.... I wouldn't say that! :D I've seen some incredible stuff with it. If I find this one video I'll post it here.

jonE5
11-09-2009, 07:05 AM
There is a huge difference with your film: it was shot with the GH1 with excellent lens. It is impossible to shoot anything close to pro quality with the D90.

Ehh, i wouldnt go that far. The shortcommings are with me and my workflow and other equipment (ie: ikea lights instead of real lights) rather than my camera.

I have seen many many people produces professional looking results from the D90. In fact if i had the choice (which i did) to get a D90 or GH1, id pick the D90 time and time again (then again id say about 40% of why i have a camera is for stills.)

If we talk something like hte Canon 7D, then yes give me one, btu as of now they are still more than 2x when i paid for my D90.

Just check out the D90 forum ifyou want to see some impressive stuff.

Thanks so much all you guys that commented and gave me some tips, this is all REALLY helpful. I am a huge movie buff, i have literally seen a huge selection of movies from the 30s to today. And I am more of a writer than a director (at this point anyway), so i know how to tell a story, and i know how to show something visually, its the lighting that has proved the most difficult thing for me though. Its something you can never see when watching a movie, where they put the lights.

All of your tips at pointing at the wall, the ceiling etc, lighting from outside the blinds, and making fake windows... are really helpful, i shoot tonight so i will try more of those.

I will put more dailys up as i film them.

thanks again guys, any more advice you have is more than appreciated.

dvbrother
11-09-2009, 09:19 AM
[quote=jonE5;1806887]I am more of a writer than a director (at this point anyway), so i know how to tell a story, and i know how to show something visually, its the lighting that has proved the most difficult thing for me though. quote]

One possibility is to actually hire a director of photography, or at least find a partner in crime who knows a bit about lighting. Most directors are not their own DP. I'm an exception, but other directors I have worked for wouldn't dream of having to worry about the lighting. If you feel the final result is suffering because of your lack of lighting skills, maybe it's best to hand that responsibility off to someone else. There's nothing wrong with learning lighting. That's cool. And I have no doubt you'll just get better and better. However, if you make the jump to shooting a feature, let's say, don't sabotage it by trying to do everything yourself. Find somebody who's passionate about lighting to handle those responsibilities. As the writer/director you'll still have final say over the look of your movie, but you'll be freed to concentrate on your actors' performances and on the story.

Peter J. DeCrescenzo
11-09-2009, 09:45 PM
... It is impossible to shoot anything close to pro quality with the D90.

This was shot with a D90:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrNWLgOlUOA

Revsta
11-09-2009, 11:53 PM
Harsh is what you want? Well the lighting needs a lotta work. You can see your girl walk into a light in the start there, and the lighting is simply not enough on the 'actor' on the couch, who needs help delivering his lines.

I'm sure you've already written this and are committed, but why do all indie films have surprised violence? Has Scorsese really permeated the culture this badly? If you even have a couple hundred, invest in a soft box with swapable bulbs.

jonE5
11-10-2009, 11:01 AM
Softbox will have to wait till another project. Whatever funds i had left i spent on the sound recorder (H4n), im borrowing the mics im using.

None of these are actors so that maybe one of my biggest short commings, everyone in the film is either a friend or from class. Im hoping i can clean up some of the lines and take out some of the pauses in the wrong spots when i edit.

I tried some of the suggestions given last night and things came out a little better, but i still have a ways to go.

Oh and as for the surprise violence, those scenes will not be back to back like that in the actual film, they are just the ones we shot on the first day.

AlejandroS
11-10-2009, 11:20 AM
This was shot with a D90:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrNWLgOlUOA


Great example, nice one

thisisapocalypse
11-10-2009, 06:18 PM
The D90 is a perfectly fine camera, these are shot design & lighting issues for the most part, all of which can be overcome.

If you don't have a lot in the way of a lighting kit, and you are limited with your set design, *go for the eyes* (and if you have lots of good equipment, etc., still do this!) get as tight as you can on your actors, get their eyes in good sharp focus, eyes draw us in and the audience will forgive other *technical* issues - good shot design is possible with *any* camera..go, go, go for the eyes - they tell us a lot.

Take another look at the Candy Apple Red trailer, he's got a number of tight shots and some beautiful shots of eyes - they absolutely pull you in. Of course, lots of things are going very well in terms of shot design, etc., on the Candy Apple Red trailer...I think it had the highest ratio of shots that I really thought looked great than anything else I've seen on this board - it's damned impressive...maybe I'm just an *eye* guy, but in my opinion, they can make an enormous difference...especially when you are working with limited equipment/time/money, anything...eyes are basically universally beautiful and it is in large part, how humans connect and communicate. Show us the eyes!

One last thing, and it probably should have been the first thing. Take a step back, if you can, and re-read your script. In my experience working on student films in college... a great deal of the time, the script felt like it was just what *got you through the shooting* - i.e, the experiences I had on several (not all) was that the people making the movie were more interested in making the movie, than they were interested in what they movie was *about* (the script).

Don't use the script as an afterthought or an excuse or way to go through the process of producing the film...it won't be good. Focus on the script, even bad actors can be decent if the script is dynamite, original, interesting - make it about the script first, and the process second. Give it a twist. What would make your story more interesting than the average student film? Stretch yourself, take some risks, don't be ordinary. Make it new. Give it a heart.

thisisapocalypse
11-10-2009, 06:59 PM
Keep in mind that I've been shooting video for 25 years, so I've gained a little experience. That's one reason why my "Candy Apple Red" footge may, in your words, look better than the footage you shot. The other reason is that I have access to professional lighting equipment and had a skilled crew. But believe me, I'm no stranger to making movies with no money, no crew, and no equipment. :-)
So, let me offer a little constructive criticism, because your footage doesn't suck, it's just a little rough around the edges.
First, it's always tough to shoot in apartments with white walls. White walls are a curse. They overexpose very quickly, especially where your floor lamps are. So, a lot of it is about where you place your actors. I'd suggest moving the couch, etc. away from the walls so your actor isn't backed up against an ugly white wall. Then, instead of aiming your movie light directly at your actors, thus brightening the white wall and creating a big shadow cast by your actor, try maybe top lighting them with the light. Any way to hang it from the ceiling? Or just put it really high on the stand and aim it downward. Use some black foil or use the barndoors on the light to keep it off the white walls as much as possible.
Another trick is to try to key your actors from a direction other than dead-on from the cameras POV. Try some sidelighting or even backlighting. It's moody and cool and keeps offensive shadows from hitting the walls on the background.
Just my two cents. Keep at it!

+1 This guy knows his stuff! Oye white walls in college apartments...I do remember them...and I hated shooting in them. I wasn't even *in* the film department, I was a photographer, but all of my friends that were in film school tagged me to work as DP any chance they got...I didn't mind, and one of the shorts was even quite good by any standard, student film or otherwise and we got it into some festivals...but man, I really hated those walls and would do absolutely anything I could not to shoot in them...and if we had a dark scene, we'd turn off all the lights and then light with gels to change the color of the room altogether, white walls rarely look good.

Of course, there are exceptions...now and then, but I almost think avoiding blank white walls is up there with the rule of thirds and the 180 degree rule.
They should print it on the first page of introductory film making textbooks and it should be on the chalkboard in the classroom. I only wish I were kidding, but it would probably make every student film ever made look 50% better.

edsonkwushu
11-11-2009, 11:22 AM
Yeah, I learned that the hard way about white walls, too. Never again. It is funny, it is EXACTLY one of those things like the rule of thirds, 180 degree rule, etc. that should be hammered into kids' heads so that they at least think, "why would they make this rule?" and then they'll be complete in terms of having a foundation in shot design aesthetics covering where to put the subject in view(rule of thirds), where to put the camera (180 degree rule), and where NOT to shoot (white walls).

jonE5
12-22-2009, 07:58 AM
Here is the finished product, give me some feedback

http://www.vimeo.com/8065204