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A short film - how would you have filmed this differently?

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    A short film - how would you have filmed this differently?

    Hi, I recently made a short film to go along with an arrangement of a Beethoven piece that I recently did. I am a guitarist first but am trying to develop some basic cinematography skills so that I can add visual stories to my music.

    https://youtu.be/hiYUNm8qLZQ

    Currently I only have Panasonic GH4 and a 12-35 mm 2.8 lens that seems to be considered very good lens for the camera. I also built a lighting kit using some LEDs and large white bowls. So not much in terms of gear! And for software I am using FCPX.

    I found while doing this that I tend to think more in terms of visual ideas but then translating them into footage often presents all sorts of challenges - lighting, shot type, lens settings, etc,

    Anyway, trying to learn as I go and curious if any pros or semi pros have some tips to offer, especially on how they would have gone about setting up these sorts of shots, what sorts of camera profiles they use, whether they apply LUTs or just manually adjust color to liking, editing tips.

    Thanks!

    Brian

    #2
    How do the people at the beginning with the wine glass tie in to anything else? If there is a story, I definitely didn't get it after two watches.

    Feels really underexposed in parts. Usually with night/evening work, you want something close to 100% brightness, it just needs to be a small percentage of the frame. Like the shots with the candles. Backlight also works really well for this. If you're trying to gauge exposure (whether in production or during the edit) you'll want to use meters or get a monitor you can trust. I would guess your monitor renders things pretty bright. Or maybe you shot day/dusk for night and it didn't come across. I find that takes a great deal of time on the color grade to make that work, especially when the sky is visible in frame.

    A lot of the exteriors either have too much contrast (use a bounce card for closeups) or not enough (expose to the right, then add contrast so you have blacks in the frame).

    The whole thing feels over edited. Lots of slow motion (but without overcranking) and crossfades. I'm more a shooter than editor, so take it for what it's worth. I'd rather see more time spent getting "the vision" in the shots, than the editor digging to make magic from shots that weren't quite great.
    Cinematographer | Director of Photography |FB | Twitter | LinkedIn
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      #3
      Originally posted by ProfessorU View Post
      How do the people at the beginning with the wine glass tie in to anything else? If there is a story, I definitely didn't get it after two watches.

      Couple happy in love and enjoying moonlight...but then the male is alone ( either because the female dumped him or maybe she died? ) and for the rest of the video the male is alone, sad and playing sad music on guitar, and haunted by the memory of the deceased female or maybe haunted by the memory of their love of each other that is no more. He's either sad because the female died or simply sad because the romantic relationship died.

      The two wine glasses performing a toast are symbolic of the couple happily in love, the singular wine glass that goes crashing is the male who is now alone / suicidal. Two glasses= happy romance, single glass= post-breakup solitude.

      In the end the two commit suicide? Or maybe only the male commits suicide along with the "apparition" of the female?
      Sachtler tripod user for 40+ years.

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        #4
        Strange, I replied to ProfessorU and don't see the response here. JPNola captured the essence. What got me thinking about this story line was seeing the movie "Immortal Beloved" about Beethoven and later reading that Moonlight Sonata may have been composed based on the woman who is central in the movie. So I made the music arrangement particularly dark because I wanted an even darker storyline. So yeah, at start you have couple together. After that toast man is alone, wearing different shirt so you know time has passed. Something happened. Breakup? She died? Disappeared? So his melancholy begins. In subsequent scenes we see her, often ghostlike, so we know it isn't literal. We also see that when the two are in the frame together he doesn't see/notice her. At very end it seems like he is following her in water but in his scenes in water she is not seen so we know he is actually just acting on basis of his melancholy. She is leading him to that outcome but in symbolic sense, not as real physical presence.

        I really wanted to work on shooting that end more but my girlfriend felt the water is already cold here and didn't want to do redo, and her 9 year old son was always nearby and I always felt rushed, but I really wanted to shoot all of that in one day and in reality it is two days so you have so much contrast between those final scenes, though maybe that contrast is good because it reinforces that he is not seeing her, that his "now" is only something he experiences. I suppose we can also imagine that she actually died somehow in the water previously though nothing prior suggests that. Anyway, with his project I always felt like I was being pulled between practicing the guitar, thinking about guitar, and planning shots and I would love to do something like this in collaboration with people to really get a more pro result. But was fun doing this nonetheless!

        thanks, Brian

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          #5
          There is a lot of good in that video Brian and I applaud you on having an idea and actually executing it all the way to a finished product!

          I am curious about what you wrote here: "I also built a lighting kit using some LEDs and large white bowls. " Do share! Are you using some sort of large plastic bowls to create a DIY diffuser / softening?
          Sachtler tripod user for 40+ years.

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            #6
            Hi, I used white bowl about 18" diameter. Cut 4 holes slightly smaller than light sockets. Wired up 4 sockets with switches, fitted lights through the holes. Lined bowl with foil and attached thin white fabric to bowl to soften. thanks, Brian

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