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Old 02-29-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
BREAD WARRIOR
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Default Student Film help!

So I'm making a film for one of my classes and it's gonna be really short (about 10 minutes long) and we're going to be showing them to the whole school near the end of the year so I really want it to knock people's socks off. But I kinda have some obsticales because this is my first "real" attempt at making something serious. So here are some questions/calls for advice. Any help would be appreciated.

1. One of the characters is a dead little girl (in a ghost form) does anyone good with make up know how to make her appear not to have eyes. Not like overboard bloody but kind of black empty sockets.

2. What's the best way to shoot something steady or slightly shaky?

3. How much music should I use? Every scene or just once and a while?

That's all I have right now because all we have is our script/outline. I'll probably have more questions as I go along. I would really appreciate advice and help because I really want to make this good. And if it helps my movie is an "Insidious" type horror movie. (just not as wild and crazy towards the end) thanks!

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Old 03-10-2012, 12:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Student Film help!

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Originally Posted by BREAD WARRIOR View Post
1. One of the characters is a dead little girl (in a ghost form) does anyone good with make up know how to make her appear not to have eyes. Not like overboard bloody but kind of black empty sockets.

Only thing I can think of is if you completely cover her eyes in dark black makeup, or look into doing it in After Effects.

2. What's the best way to shoot something steady or slightly shaky?

Use a steady-cam.

3. How much music should I use? Every scene or just once and a while?

It depends on the film and scene. You should watch some horror films for inspiration. The way I interpret it, if you're about to scare your audience, have it silent, then when you give them that "jump sequence" hit them with the music.

But you should do some test shots and play around with it to see what fits.

Hope that helps.

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Old 03-10-2012, 12:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Student Film help!

I agree with everything above. For a steadycam, you can fake it by using a tripod and holding the tripod directly, as long as your camera is small enough.

If you have a bigger camera, youtube links on how to build a cheap steadycam.

For music, totally watch your favourite horror movie and then see how they do it. Emulate it. Remember that sound is the most important part of a horror movie, so handle it well either way. Don't drown out the actual sound in the movie with the score either.

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Old 03-10-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Thanks for the advice.

For the make up stuff I was actually thinking of doing that just not sure how it will look on camera so I think it will be a lot of trial and error.

Probably the biggest problem i'm still having is the camera work. Just because it's the first time I'm trying to film something with a cinematic feel. We actually just filmed our first scene and I'm filming with my iphone 4s just because it actually has better quality than my camera (which is sad) and i tried holding it as steady as possible but most of the shots are following a character or moving shots so it shakes not terribly but more than i like. So do you guys know a cheap steadycam for an iphone or any links how to make one? Because at this point it seems it's gonna be necessary.

And thanks for the tips on the music, it really does help a lot understanding what I need to do.

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Old 03-11-2012, 09:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Student Film help!

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Originally Posted by BREAD WARRIOR View Post
Thanks for the advice.

For the make up stuff I was actually thinking of doing that just not sure how it will look on camera so I think it will be a lot of trial and error.

Probably the biggest problem i'm still having is the camera work. Just because it's the first time I'm trying to film something with a cinematic feel. We actually just filmed our first scene and I'm filming with my iphone 4s just because it actually has better quality than my camera (which is sad) and i tried holding it as steady as possible but most of the shots are following a character or moving shots so it shakes not terribly but more than i like. So do you guys know a cheap steadycam for an iphone or any links how to make one? Because at this point it seems it's gonna be necessary.

And thanks for the tips on the music, it really does help a lot understanding what I need to do.
Best thing to do is to google it.

This video is quite handy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKxMuwq22sM

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Old 03-11-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Student Film help!

check out indymogul.com and look at their show BFX. Lots of great cheap diy film making tutorials.

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Old 04-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Student Film help!

If you don't have a Steadicam, programs like FinalCut have steady layers you can add on to scenes.

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Old 04-16-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Yeah, I would recommend using Final Cut to edit your film. There is a filter in there called "SmoothCam" It will help to make a handheld shot look more like a steady cam.

Also, as far as the black eyes go. They may can be a little costly, but if you have the budget, you can get some really cool Special FX Contact Lenses. They have some that cover the whole eye to make it black. I would google the lenses to see what you can find.

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Old 04-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Alright well here's an update:
Finished the movie and overall I'm okay with the final product but not super happy. It's not terrible (at least I think) but hey for what I had to work with (almost no budget, limited time, actually about two 2 hour days to do most of the shots.) Plus I edited it in one night. So for the steadicam issue I went with just holding it as steady as possible when I needed to. And I didn't have much time to get super picky. As for the eye make up, I didnt get the look I envisioned but it works to some degree. Not eyeless look but creepy. I might post it later tonight just cause I want some feedback from people that will give me real critiques and not just "it's really good!"

Edit: Here it is for anyone that cares haha:
http://vimeo.com/40698283


Last edited by BREAD WARRIOR; 08-12-2012 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BREAD WARRIOR View Post
Alright well here's an update:
Finished the movie and overall I'm okay with the final product but not super happy. It's not terrible (at least I think) but hey for what I had to work with (almost no budget, limited time, actually about two 2 hour days to do most of the shots.) Plus I edited it in one night. So for the steadicam issue I went with just holding it as steady as possible when I needed to but there were other shots where one of my actresses had to do it and didn't really understand what to do. And I didn't have much time to get super picky. As for the eye make up, I didnt get the look I envisioned but it works to some degree. Not eyeless look but creepy. I might post it later tonight just cause I want some feedback from people that will give me real critiques and not just "it's really good!"

Edit: Here it is for anyone that cares haha:
http://vimeo.com/40698283

This was good man. Awesome work for your first time.

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Old 07-13-2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: Student Film help!

I know it's done. I wish I could have found this earlier. For the eye socket thing. Should get your hands on putty. Mold some small amount of putty to the eye, and use some Liquid latex over the small layer of putty. This allows for a low budget, gruesome set up that you can add make up to.

As for steady, or shaky it depends on what kind of subject matter you are dealing with. Using your own approach to this can set up emotion and sense of urgency.

Your final product is actually pretty well done for a first shot.

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:40 AM   #12
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Default Re: Student Film help!

That actually isn't too bad. And I'm a HUGE film snob. Especially for visuals and cinematography. So if it was bad, I'd be a real dick about it. But it wasn't at all.

Here's a few random thoughts:

1). The shakiness was probably your most glaring opportunity. Simply holding the camera is never a good idea, it should either be on a tripod or how some type of rigging to secure it to your body to limit unwanted motion.

2). Your second biggest opportunity was lighting; a lot of shots were really, really dark - so much so, you couldn't even really see anything. And in the shots can could be scene, the lighting was so drastically different depending on where, what, and how close you were shooting, it really threw off the whole continuity of the visuals. Lighting is a major part of visual filmmaking, so even if it's just a friend of yours with a fog light taped to a long stick, you should have it so you can light all of your shots correctly and evenly.

3). I actually loved a lot of your usage of continuous shots and panning. The sequence with her in the bathroom was wonderfully done - both with your shot selection, and where your actress placed herself in the frame. Most legitimate movies don't even attempt shots like that, and I loved it.

4). The scope for your story was well selected. A lot of times people seem to reach too far or too big and end up having to tell a story that simply can't be told properly with the resources at hand. However, your story was perfectly tailored to what you had available to you, and it definitely improved the overall product.

So yeah, despite my quibbles, you definitely show some skill there. There's definitely a lot that you need to clean up; continuity errors, smoother transitions with your edits, etc. but for a first attempt it was very good. My only advice would be that you make sure that you learn from your minor mistakes this time, and get them corrected the next time around.

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Old 08-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Wow I totally thought this thread had died but today I decided to just check out of curiosity and found some replies lol! Thanks for the critiques I agree with all of them to the fullest extent.

I recently watched it again and all the mistakes jumped out at me SO BAD. Like you said the lighting is totally off and the continuity errors are horrendous. Especially the jacket disappearing, which I knew during filming but I just didn't have any more time. I don't hate the movie by any means but I definitley know if I had more time than was available it would've turned out much better. I actually edited the whole thing on iMovie and I've used it twice before and I think that has a lot to do with the clunky transitions and I think with better software and more practice I could improve that a lot. This definitley isn't the end of my efforts but if it taught me anything is that I have a long way to go.

It really means a lot to get second opinions from someone who knows stuff about film and can point me in the right direction and give an idea of what is holding me back. Another thing that really helps me kind of gauge where I am is the fact that all the things you pointed out are the exact same things I wanted to change upon seeing the finished product in front of an audience. So in that respect I think its a good sign that I'm able to recognize mistakes. That being said it was still good enough for it to win out of the films that played and there was also another movie in the competition that was scary/thriller and people laughed at it and that was my biggest fear when I played mine but people were actually into it and were actually spooked. Thanks again for all the comments it really means a lot and helps!

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Old 08-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Yeah man, there was definitely more good about it than bad.

If you can correct and overcome those few flaws, you could legitimately make something that would be mistakable for a professionally produced short film. I'd like to see it, too.

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Old 08-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: Student Film help!

Thanks and I'm definitley gonna keep doing stuff like this. Unfortunately my school doesn't provide very many opportunities for stuff like this so most of it has to be done on my own. Luckily my dad has a friend through business that has been an Assisstant Director on a bunch of films like Pirates of the Carribbean Trilogy, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Temple Grandin and more recently The Tree of Life. I actually was able to be on the set during Temple Grandin, I was a lot younger then but I got to talk to people on set and atleast see people work. And he told me more recently that if he films anything near Austin again I could come on to intern which would be awesome so hopefully that works out!

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