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View Full Version : How did you allocate your 8640 frames?



khmuse
09-28-2006, 11:53 AM
I was wondering if many others found the TRT limit a bit of a problem?

We were working with an 8 page script and getting it down to the running time limit was more than a bit of a challenge. Our opening sequence with title cards consumed nearly 45 seconds and that seemed a bit too rushed to me. Closing credits really suffered, just under 8 seconds for everything. I am hoping that the DVD version will not be as limited and we can push it out a bit so that we can have a proper credits page.

Anyone else have similar issues?

HorseFilms
09-28-2006, 12:14 PM
We're coming in at about 4 minutes, so that wasn't an issue for us. We have "other issues.":)

Cynic821
09-28-2006, 12:18 PM
I used most of the time for the movie, then some of it for credits. :)

Brandon Rice
09-28-2006, 12:54 PM
Mine's 3:10 long, no problem here.

Ben Sliker
09-28-2006, 01:54 PM
I used every frame. Without credits.

Mark Harris
09-28-2006, 01:58 PM
Yeah, we came up to about 5:52. I think we are going to put credits in the thread, then come back and make a longer one with credits after the contest.

khmuse
09-28-2006, 02:00 PM
Yeah, we almost went that route too, but felt that even a few frames of credits was something that we needed to include. Tough decision to make either way.

I am wondering if dvxuser will open up the TRT of these competitions. Would make telling a complete story a bit easier.

Brandon Rice
09-28-2006, 02:03 PM
I am wondering if dvxuser will open up the TRT of these competitions. Would make telling a complete story a bit easier.

See but that's just it! That's the challenge in it all, to tell a story in the short time period... makes for a great challenge, no?

Mark Harris
09-28-2006, 02:08 PM
Yeah, we almost went that route too, but felt that even a few frames of credits was something that we needed to include. Tough decision to make either way.

I am wondering if dvxuser will open up the TRT of these competitions. Would make telling a complete story a bit easier.

Damn, now you got me all feeling bad...maybe I will do an 8 second credit sequnce...

khmuse
09-28-2006, 02:12 PM
A few that I spoke with said that they would just do a single frame credit page, that way you could pause on it and at least read it as a static frame.

Other than the bandwidth issues, I am not certain that I understand why the very restrictive running time limits. Perhaps if we self hosted the entries, that would off load the concern?

Mark Harris
09-28-2006, 02:16 PM
Well, even though 6 min is frustrating, I think it's good to actually kick people in the butt. It seems like managable length to encourage new filmmakers. Not sure, but that makes some sense to me.

I mean, I've said before, one of the coolest things about these contests is it gets people shooting, who might have otherwise not. So maybe 6 min helps people think it's a length they can actually accomplish.

khmuse
09-28-2006, 02:22 PM
I do agree about getting people motivated, but it would also be interesting to try one unlimited running time contest just to see what people would do. Not that I am advocating quantity over quality, I just hate arbitrary limits being imposed.

Mark Harris
09-28-2006, 02:25 PM
I hear you, and in past contests I've commented on some shorts that the stories suffered due to the time limit. No real fault of the filmmaker. And for certain, my horror short is a SKETCH of an idea.

Maybe they'll take the suggestion though and open it up a little next time.

Brandon Rice
09-28-2006, 02:26 PM
This conversation always comes up. Every contest. I think the limit is good. Makes it a challenge to filmmakers.

Beat Takeshi
09-28-2006, 02:39 PM
Sticking the credits on the last frame on a quicktime movie will freeze automatically when it hits that last frame so it will be like free time to view credits.
45 Secs. for openings on a 6 minute short will definitly give you mucho problems on a 8 page script. Those 45 secs. could be used for much better things.

Mark Harris
09-28-2006, 02:41 PM
Sticking the credits on the last frame on a quicktime movie will freeze automatically when it hits that last frame so it will be like free time to view credits.
...

Dude, you're brilliant!

Ben Sliker
09-28-2006, 02:44 PM
haha, even if i put all of the credits on one frame, it would be impossible to read at 400x225.

Cynic821
09-28-2006, 03:03 PM
Not if they read:

"Made by me
Starring a buncha people.
the end...or is it!?"

Ben Sliker
09-28-2006, 03:44 PM
God, Why didn't I think of that! lol.

Blaine
09-28-2006, 05:00 PM
45 Secs. for openings on a 6 minute short will definitly give you mucho problems on a 8 page script. Those 45 secs. could be used for much better things.
Actually, it was used for other things, too. It also served to set up the rest of the story. Don't misconstrue khmuse's meaning...we have a complete story, he's just saying it would be nice to have the ability to expand the story a bit and make it richer than you're going to get in six minutes.

Beat Takeshi
09-28-2006, 05:22 PM
Ah, thats cool. I was thinking they were all titles only. I hate putting titles in on these DVXuser shorts because every second counts.

Barry_Green
09-28-2006, 06:27 PM
Other than the bandwidth issues, I am not certain that I understand why the very restrictive running time limits. Perhaps if we self hosted the entries, that would off load the concern?
It's just the nature of the contest, plus it's a concession to the simple reality of how long it's going to take to get through all these films. With ZombieFest people originally lobbied for a 20-minute time limit. I thought that would be a disaster; we had over 80 entries. 20 minutes x 80 = 1600 minutes of watching. 27 hours. Three full 9-hour days of doing nothing but watching zombiefest films.

Would anyone do that? Of course not. There's no way we could handle that. Nobody would watch the films, they'd watch one or two or three.

I think if people want to vote in the contest, they really should watch all the films, it's not all that fair to vote if you haven't watched them all. But I'm not gonna expect anyone to sit through 27 hours of short films.

With HorrorFest, we may even have more entries. We upped the prizes dramatically in this contest, and I expect even more entries by the time uploading is over. What will we end up with -- 150? At six minutes each, that's still 900 minutes of watching. 15 hours.

It's just too much to ask.

Every minute means so much. 150 entries -- if we restricted the time limit by 1 more minute (five minutes instead of six) then that saves the viewers two and a half hours of time. Every minute we extend the running time eats up another two and a half hours of peoples' time. And that's only for running time, that doesn't include download time!

Are we a victim of our own success? Sure, probably. But what do we do? Do we set up a pre-screening process (like every other festival in the world) where a screening committee kicks out a bunch of entries and only lets the top ones in? We could do that, but for one big thing -- this is a community festival and when that idea was proposed before, Jarred said "@*$&^ NO!" This is by the community, for the community, so the community has the right to be seen.

Do we change it so we have films that are "in competition" and those that are just "for exhibition"? And for those that want to be "in competition" we charge an entry fee (so people have to put their money where their mouth is?) That way voters who want to see all the entries before voting would have a smaller pool of "required viewings"?

Asking people to commit 27 hours is just unacceptable in my opinion. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has ideas as to how we can make this more practical.

For those who are concerned about the running time, I would recommend you consider ditching the credits and putting them in as a still frame at the end. It is a rare credit sequence that adds to the dramatic impact of the story rather than distracting from it; I would guess that you can add magnificent credit sequences for the DVD and such and make the credits as rich and wonderful as you want for the DVD, but if the credits are causing you to rush your story, perhaps the credits are not the best way to go -- perhaps you should allocate the time (for the streaming contest) to making the story the strongest you can, and add the large credit sequence for the "director's cut" after the contest is over?

Nobody's saying you HAVE to do that; I'm just offering it as a potential solution to buy some "breathing room" and pacing in the film itself.

PatR
09-28-2006, 09:23 PM
Tournament-style, and spread it out a few weeks.

If 160 people enter (eg), split them into, say, 16 groups of 10 that watch 10 movies each, and rank them (1..10). If the limit were 20 minutes then each person is watching 10*20=200 minutes total (3 1/3 hours). Gather the votes and the top, maybe, 5 move on. Its a lot easier to judge 10 movies against each other (even at, say, 20 minutes each) than to be thinking "is this one better than the 5 minutes I watched 127 movies ago?" And I would hope that everyone is serious enough that they can put in one, or possibly two, nights for 3 1/3 hours of viewing.

That cuts the number of entries in half to 80. Especially in early rounds - and if you're in a bit of a hurry to get the voting done, you could, say, pick the top 4 movies (would cut the entries down to 16*4 = 64) or possibly even the top 3 (down to 48 entries), although that is a little tight if there is a lot of diversity in what are considered the best movies of the group. I guess if you wanted to get creative and really stir up contraversy, you could go with rules like "if there is an X% difference between the votes for the 3rd-best and 4th-best, use the top three; else if there is Y% difference between the 4th-best and 5th-best then use the top four; otherwise use the top 5". I'd say keep it simple and just use the top 5.

Mix them up and do it again, but first combine groups together so that you have 8 groups now instead of 16 (and, again, they watch 10 movies). If you combine the groups like "pick 2 from each group" then out of the 20 people in a group, every one of them will have to have already watched and voted on some of the new movies they will see because each group now has someones from every one of the first-round groups. You might instead just merge groups, like "the first 2 groups from round 1 become group 1 for round 2"; now you can arrange it so that the 10 movies they watch are new to them. People have to dedicate another 3 1/3 hours (if the entries are 20 minutes), but you've got 20 people voting on 10 movies - I would think it would make the distances between 1st place, 2nd place, etc more distinct. you might now consider less being passed - say the top 4 (leaves 4*8=32) or 3 (leaves 3*8=24) remaining movies for the next round. However having 24 movies left to be judged vs 40 is still too many either way, so I guess you might as well stick with "the top 5 vote getters".

If this is a "watch them over the weekend and vote" kinda deal then there has been 2 weekends and are now down to 40 movies. And no one should have passed out yet. However voting gets tougher now because presumably the cream has been rising to the top.

You could stick with the 8 groups of 20 and have them watch 5 movies each, but I think the grading might get too close together between, say the 3rd-best and 4th-best. So instead I'd again combine groups and have them watch a (not unreasonably) larger number of movies. It might be nice to only go four total rounds, with everyone voting in the last round, but it will probably work out better on people's consciences to go 5 rounds total. If you combine groups again to 4 groups of 40 submitters, each again watching 10 movies, and again pick the top 5 vote getters, you again cut the number moving on in half to 20.

Go it again, with 2 groups of 80 submitters, each again watching 10 movies and the top 5 moving on to the final round.

Now you have the top 10 best-voted movies out of 160. Each submitter should have gone through 6 rounds watching 10 movies each time, but in reality by the latter rounds they will be assigned movies they have already watched, so at most they might just skip through to refresh themselves. If someone somehow got different movies for every single round, they watched a total of 60 movies which IS a total of 20 hours if they are 20 minutes long (ie 6 rounds at 3 1/3 hours viewing each round). But in real life this will probably be more like 12 hours or so when they run into movies they already watched in earlier rounds. If everyone was given 2 days per round, you are at under 2 weeks with a pretty light viewing schedule.

So now you have the 10 best vote-getters of the lot. Give everyone 2 days to watch/review them and vote 1..10 on them. Rain riches and fame on top ones, etc, etc. If there are no breaks between rounds, 2 weeks have passed. Short enough so that people should, hopefully, not have gotten bored with the process, and even at 20 minutes per movie they only had to watch 5 of them (less than 2 hours) a day. The first round cannot afford too much attrition from "oh crap - I have to film that wedding" etc, since there's only 10 people per group (if 160 entering), but the later rounds with larger groups make this much less of a problem. If you are more humanitarian and, say, pick "use 2 days to vote, then 1 day off while we tally, divvy up movies, et al" - ie 3 days per round then it just adds another week to the total time.

khmuse
09-28-2006, 10:55 PM
Thanks Barry for the comments, but frankly, credits or not (at least in our case its only 6 seconds) the TRT is limiting to telling a complete story. I do agree, that asking anyone to watch 100+ entries with long running times is certainly asking way too much. I recall the time commitment for Zombiefest and it was certainly considerable (really ate up several days of available spare time).

So my original query still stands; how is everyone allocating their 8640 alloted frames and are they finding it at all restrictive? Its not my intention to complain, no one was forced to participate, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity to interact and present our work here. I am just throwing this question out to see what the comments of others are.

For myself, I have always liked shorts that are fairly complete stories and have at least an attempt at a three act structure. Being in LA and having most everyone I know involved in the industry one way or another, I watch a lot of shorts (way too many actually) in most cases, I have yet to see anything much under 15 minutes really tell a complete story or even a good segment of one. Sure there are exceptions, but most of the better ones are 15 - 30 minutes.

I am not suggesting that this contest be altered, its obviously far too late for any changes, but perhaps a future contest (assuming that there will be others) could consider this question and find a way to address it. The idea of staggering the releases as suggested by PatR is certainly one possible approach.

I would love to learn how others feel about this and would really welcome suggestions as to how this might be addressed in a practical manner.

Ralph Oshiro
09-29-2006, 05:18 AM
My story is so little, I'm only at 4 minutes, including full credits! After my re-shoot Saturday, I expect to get to about 4:30, maybe even 5:00! I don't feel any pressure to "fill up" my 6 minute allotment. My main objective in making any of my films is always to never bore my audience, so I really tend to chop things down in the edit bay. I have this luxury, of course, because I always tend to have very little "story" to tell!

Also, I think the 6-minute limit corrals in a lot of over-exposition-itis, and overly long set-up dialogue, and I think it's a perfect running time for "small" short film ideas. But I do think that projects of your scope, KH, do need more time, perhaps 10 minutes. But that would be for another contest.

HorseFilms
09-29-2006, 09:35 AM
I don't feel any pressure to "fill up" my 6 minute allotment.

That's exactly the mindset we had going into this. We're sitting at 4 minutes right now and I'm pretty sure that's where we'll end up.

Mark Harris
09-29-2006, 09:36 AM
That's exactly the mindset we had going into this. We're sitting at 4 minutes right now and I'm pretty sure that's where we'll end up.

So you're sayng you'll have 2 min for credits? SWEET! :)

HorseFilms
09-29-2006, 09:53 AM
So you're sayng you'll have 2 min for credits? SWEET! :)

Yep! And since there is a total of 3 people who had any involvement with the project, I'm gonna have to run the credits REALLY SLOOOOOOOW to fill the time.:beer:

khmuse
09-29-2006, 12:08 PM
Hey, you can do a 144 point single character scroll to fill up your 2 minutes.

S
T
A
R
I
N
G....

HorseFilms
09-29-2006, 12:22 PM
I have a feeling there would be a price on my head if I did that.:grin:

khmuse
09-30-2006, 08:26 AM
What, you shot a film and you don't already have a price on your head?

How the hell did you manage to accomplish that?

HorseFilms
09-30-2006, 08:32 AM
I got my actors drunk. They don't remember how much of a colossal prick I actually was to work with.:)

Ralph Oshiro
10-02-2006, 07:04 AM
00:05:10

TimurCivan
10-02-2006, 03:11 PM
i think our film doesnt even have a Fade in...... lol that how tight on time we are.

Cynic821
10-02-2006, 03:20 PM
I got my actors drunk. They don't remember how much of a colossal prick I actually was to work with.:)


mine do, atleast the ones that werent drunk :thumbup:

n8ture
10-02-2006, 03:29 PM
I think the time limitation is a great way to test your filmmaking abilities. It forces you to make choices. I had plenty of shots that I couldn't use because they took to long to happen.

I lost some great takes because in the edit it took to long for Jenna to get up the stairs. Or, I had to figure out a way to get all of this action into ten seconds and still have it make sense.

I think it was a great challenge and without a time limit, I'm not sure if it would have been as challenging.

That's the whole reason I got into this in the first place was to stretch my wings and get out of my comfort zone.

It forced me to think in ways I normally don't went out in Yellowstone filming wildlife. I had to learn how to work with talent and crew when I'm normally out filming landscapes by myself.

I had to learn how to tell people what I wanted instead of taking whatever the grizzly bear decides it wants to do.

I got to learn from others what worked on their films and what didn't as well as learning from my own mistakes.

The fact that we have a finished film is just icing on the cake. It was the experience that was the prize for me.