View Full Version : The Visitation

10-26-2013, 07:18 AM
My first post and my first DVX fest entry (long time lurker). Didn't want to post until I was sure we would get it done. We just wrapped Post, so it is officially done in time for the fest.


"The Visitation"


Hawk Teflon
10-26-2013, 11:24 AM
Welcome and welcome. I think I was 2k posts in before attempting a fest. Good on ya!

10-26-2013, 12:27 PM
Welcome and good luck!

Marlon Ladd
10-31-2013, 08:02 AM
Just watched your film. There were some good things and some things I think you could improve on, but first off, congrats on your first entry and getting it finished.
The Good:
1. I liked the story. It's not all that original, but you had an original spin on it.
2. The shot of the visitor in the bedroom at the end with the music and the close-ups was really good. Then seeing two of them was good and also them going from house to house and hearing the news broadcast over that was good as well.
3. The dream sequence was good as well. I think you could jazz it up a bit more with white flashes or some effects, but other than that the music and the filming of it was on point.

Things to improve:
1. Usually when it's a short film, you don't spend a lot of time on credits at the beginning. Your credits were around a minute and the film was 7:27. For audiences that watch short films, especially on the internet, they have short attention spans. Unless your credits are super animated CG stuff, I wouldn't do them at all or put them over the beginning footage of the movie. You don't want people to stop watching before the film ever starts.
2. The first pan shot from the moon starts, then stops, then starts again and it was not very smooth. For an opening shot, you've got to nail that or just use a different shot.
3. The news broadcast would be better if we heard the lady's voice before we ever see the TV. She seemed to start once we entered the room, like she was waiting for action. That made it seem staged.
4. The music in the beginning was too much. It gave impending doom, when it should be the actor that does that and the music compliments that.
5. The shot outside on the bench looked really good. It was just a little too hot (overexposed) and I could tell you used a reflector. You could also see it in their glasses. Those shots are hard to do though. I've had problems with reflectors on actors' glasses as well. If you stand back far enough and have a big enough reflector, that will fix that.
6. The visitors suits looked really good in dark light, but more like a costume when better lit. They posturing and behavior was spot on though. They did a really good job.

So, that's just my two cents. Kudos for getting this in and finishing it. You should be proud!

10-31-2013, 10:32 AM

Thank you so much for taking the time to view the film and provide some fantastic feedback. I really appreciate you comments.

Hawk Teflon
11-02-2013, 09:59 AM

What I liked: Good use of DVX. The dream sequences really worked for me. Dreams are a little trippy at best and I think that's really how it could have been for him. Good lighting in the bedroom when he wakes up. Good reveal of the shadowy figures in his room especially the second. Totally didn't see him coming.

What I didn't like as much: The intro credits. Give credit where credit is due, but I have a short attention span and it felt quite long to me. If you want to throw them at the end, you can make them as long as you want so that someone that's already seen the short can stick around if they want. Watch the stabilization around the 2:30 mark. I would recommend either locking the shot off or using a slider for movement like that (check with Zaza, or the DIY section of the forum for low cost versions). Also, watch the cameraman movement in that same scene. I could see his shadow going across the couch. Watch sunglasses with high reflection. Seeing the crew in the reflection really can pull people out of a shot. I would suggest nixing the sunglasses, shooting in an area that didn't have direct harsh sun, or possibly just adding a bit of blur to the lenses in post. I've had to do all three, and choosing the right location is the easiest. The scream in the bedroom felt too delayed to me. It was like he was just waiting there hanging out then realized, "Oh, wait ... what the heck is happening?" When the figures walk out, it's too bright and we see too much of the costume. Kinda pulls me out a little bit.

EDIT: Just saw Marlon's post. Didn't mean t duplicate a lot of what he said.

Matthew B
11-05-2013, 01:49 AM
Let me just say congrats on your first DVXfest entry, you've already gotten further than some people. You had an interesting concept, but I thought the execution was lacking. To me the most glaring mistakes would be;
1 - a 1 minute title sequence for a 7 minute film, with additional credits at the end is asking a lot from your audience. Generally with a short you only have about 30 seconds to engage the audience before they're going to want to switch off.
2 - The acting and the dialogue scenes were very on the nose, remember people never say what they really feel. Instead they try to say how they feel by veiling it in something else.
3 - The situations seemed to be very repetitive - same location, same dream, same framing and composition. If you are going to do the whole recurring scenario my advice would be to try to up the ante a bit. Push the framing in tighter and tighter, gets us in closer to the actor.
I did think it was an interesting concept, but not so sure about the guys in the Gimp suits.

11-05-2013, 06:53 AM
Hawk, Matthew,

Thank you both for taking the time to watch the short and offer feedback. I appreciate it your comments.

alex whitmer
11-06-2013, 10:51 AM
I didn't really get the story - at least as a short. Motivation is missing.

And sorry if I hurt someone's feelings but - beautiful home and some sweet 'tiques, and they throw that crap sofa in the mix?

I get this was an older home in an older area, but the morning shots were over some off-the-shelf apartment/condo complex.

I don't think the campus scene was even needed. It spilled some info, but that could have happened in a score of other ways. Maybe instead of repeating the couch potato takes, you could have him prepping some papers, and make/take a call. Keep him there in the house, up the sweat. I don't think it really mattered that he was a teacher, or a pharmacist, or a bartender. What mattered was the weather phenom and the house.

Why did these dudes show up in his dreams for what appeared to be several days - a week - before popping him into a coma? Were others - of the 200+ - having these dreams/nightmares? If the teacher had time to explain he was having a week of them, might that also not be true of others, and maybe a mention in the news? Not sure the story covered all the bases and what-if's.

The acting was unpolished, at least for film. It felt more toward stage acting for me. Watch 'The Two Wolves' and Angelika's character Jessica in 'Arabella' for solid film performances - of the films I have seen so far, at least. Other performances were good to really good, as well. The two mentioned, though, just really set the bar.


11-07-2013, 06:11 AM

Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to watch the film and provide comments.

11-08-2013, 04:56 PM
Damn, I think I fell a sleep during the opening credits. As a short you generally have 1-2 minutes to grab your audience, don't spend that time on credits. To be completely honest, I kinda just stopped watching before the credits were over and moved on. I did come back to it. For some reason I put the wrong review on this initially.

Okay, you start a short with a long intro and a radio reveal, not off on the right foot. Why is this guy sleeping in his living room? Oh the plot propels with another radio reveal. Okay, the running dreams and the nightmares in the living room gave me a more comic vibe than creepy. What was the point of the college scene? The acting was, ugh, well just okay. I did love the shadow dude stepping out from the other shadow dude. Overall a good effort, keep at it.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-11-2013, 10:18 PM
Lots of great angles.
Particularly like the shot where he wakes up at 3:26 in terms of the lighting and the art direction. Interesting choice to have him play it right into the camera.

The campus conversation - just technical - get some traffic running under that whole scene - the audio cuts are bad / too obvious. Add consistent traffic throughout rather than try to gate their audio so much or in addition to gating their audio.

In general the unitard suit guy doesn’t work for me.

I do however like the low angle series of medium, medium close, closeup shots in the bedroom. Creepy in a very nice eighties Video Drome sort of way.

Except maybe for the shots described above - the black shapes work best when they’re just shapes. When we can see the costumes - they don’t work for me because what are they? Beings from another dimension in spandex? If they’re formless black - cool. If I see a hood and seams - I see a guy in stuff bought at a dance store.


I’m not sure I got the connection with the storms and the unitard suit people but thats OK it made sense on a basic level - what these things were doing.
Nice creepy vibe overall and great reveal when the second one steps out in the final bedroom scene!