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Be the best! - Army Commercial

Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 10:11am

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polemarch

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Your running from a major firefight, one of your men is badly wounded. A truck blocks your route and several rebel fighters refuse to let you pass. What do you do??? This is a short film based on the British Army adverts of the 90s. It was shot using pro DV equipment (Panasonic DVC 200 and Canon XM-2) and 8 people. We use Apple Macs and FCP4, Adobe After Effects/Magic Bullet and AlamDV2. Hope you enjoy it. Enjoy.
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Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 10:48am

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sfbmovieco

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I thought this short was well edited and you had a good plan of what you were going to do and I thought it was layed out very well...However I think the text in between some of the action hurt the overall feel and I believe that the execution of what you had planned started to sag towards the end...Don't let up on the audience just because the end is getting near. Pack it in with a punch! Just some constructive thoughts...
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 11:05am

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Simon K Jones

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The text is an important part of the 90s army adverts that this is riffing on. I thought it was very nicely done, although the last few seconds could have done with a bit more of a punch - I seem to recall the actual army ads had the 'be the best' thing appear as well, with sort of gunshot noises or some such. I could be making that up, though. smile

The swearing, although appropriate in the context of the drama, seemed a bit unlikely for an advert. Just depends if you were trying to make an authentic replica of the army ads or not, though.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 12:47pm

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polemarch

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We're trying to get some decent boot sounds for the'Be the best' at the end. Thanks for the comments, they are most useful. It was actually planned in 50 mins and shot in 2 1/2 hours as a trial to see what we could make in a single day. I am pretty pleased with the AlamDV effects too. The language is a bit strong for a commercial I agree, maybe keep it for the cinema and a higher rating smile hehe
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 1:49pm

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JohnCarter

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Well, it was well shot - good camera work.

However, two things made me laugh out loud - not good for that type of thing:

People are shooting automatic weapons at the fugitive who look to be about five feet away! They should've been torn to shreds! It is utterly ridiculous!

Second laugh-a-thon was at the end, when one of your actors is struggling with what looks like a shotgun. He could've been shot ten times. The guy looks like he doesn't know what he is doing. It's pitiful. I would remove that shot - or shorten it considerably - because it hurts the credibility of waht you are trying to do.

And if he holds a shotgun, that seems unlikely as a military weapon, no?

I see where you were going with the text and trying to give it a somber tone and all but it's totally ruined by the performance and the stretching of credibility. You should strive to more realism if you want people to care about the choices the soldiers are faced with.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 5:34pm

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sidewinder

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option C and option B both had the exact same effect. The only difference was that more people aimed their guns in C. You gotta actually show some force, not just more of the same yelling, and that really funny kid with the shotgun.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 6:01pm

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raider

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military police use shotguns - just thought I'd add that - It's good in CQB (close quarters battle)
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 6:23pm

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Kid

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Rating: -1

UK ones don't because shotguns suck as a weapon and are only used as a fear element. You will notice they are used mainly to back up people with handguns. Automatic weapons are far superior.

However that isnt important for the clip since you dont really see it (you arn't using the right weapons earlier on either so I don't see why anyone has picked on the shotgun especially). I think as people have said you do need the 'be the best' thing on the end. Also options b and c are too similar, option c with the current options should be them shooting them or something.

The gun fight at the beginning could do with a little more work to make it more realistic. The muzzle flashes need to be quicker and they need to be firing in shorter bursts but you certainly have made a good start.

Also I think this is a good idea but could have been a lot better given a little more thought about the plot. The actual ads usually have a twist or option you haven't thought of, you haven't really captured that part of it. Alternatively one of the options could be a humourous twist.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 7:08pm

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polemarch

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I used what weapons I had and planned the film in under an hour. I don't have access to SA80s or even more M16s. Just had to do with what I could scrape and find. I think it went together quite nicely though and I plan on doing something bigger and better next time smile As in the nest 10 days smile
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 9:35pm

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CX3

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i would have to liked hear dramatic music in the backround instead of the crazy kid speaking in his native tongue haha, i just couldnt take him seriously and that took me out of this advert.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 9:45pm

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Aculag

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I enjoyed this. I think it all worked. Except the shotgun obviously, and B and C being too similar. When it said "Use Force" and the dude was trying to get his shotgun out, I thought he was going to hit the foreign dude. That would have been good.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 10:18pm

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MechaForce

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Kid, you're wrong about shotguns. They are one of the most effective guns around. Actually, the shotgun is the only gun that has been recorded by police to kill two people with one shot.
Posted: Thu, 9th Oct 2003, 10:28pm

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Kid

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I am not even gonna bother to argue this with you, you are simply wrong. Saying that a shotgun can take out 2 people with one shot is stupid cos automatic weapons can fire lots of bullets a second and in combination with the much greater stopping power makes them far more effective. You have been watching far too many movies where shotguns are some sort of cannon that blasts people across the room. Unfortunatly it is make believe.
Posted: Fri, 10th Oct 2003, 11:36am

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anonymous

Ok, from technical standpoint the clip was very good. Congrats on editing and camera work.

But, as I understand this is supposed to be happening in Yugoslavia, 1992. ? Correct ? Why, oh why, are you supposed to be fighting a person who apparently speaks German ?! I`m puzzled.

Thanks in advance for clearing things up.
Posted: Fri, 10th Oct 2003, 1:49pm

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polemarch

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Thanks, glad you liked it. Yes, the person was speaking German, quite simply by the fact that we had 50 mins to plan the clip anf that didn't give us enough time to sort out some serbo-croat. We hoped most people wouldn't notice smile Your obviously not most people smile hehe
Posted: Fri, 10th Oct 2003, 2:21pm

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anonymous

Oh,get it smile
When I first saw it I almost got a seizure when that "native" comes saying "Halt, halt" wink

Thanks. Bye.
Posted: Fri, 10th Oct 2003, 7:19pm

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Lycanwood Productions

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I thought that the video looked nice.

Unfortunately I do not live in the UK so I wasn't sure how the ad was supposed to be.

I didn't know that this was really trying to be serious in some way until I read the posts here. I thought that this was a comedy, especially after I saw the kid with the shotgun.

I think it would have been better if it was meant to be a comedy of sorts.

Good quality for such a short time though.
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 9:28pm

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anonymous

You ruind it by swearing in it. I don't like movies
with that kind of swearing. If you wont to make a good movie dont swear
in it!!!
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 1:13pm

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polemarch

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What? Don't swear if you want a good movie? This is a film abut soldiers. How many soldiers do you know of that say 'darn it' when in action? Comments about filming technique, sounds, sfx etc are appreciated, comments with your kind of drivel are not. Swearing is part of human speech and in a realistic style film cannot be avoided. This is film, not church and swearing has its place.

As for shotguns, I really think that is unimportant in the scheme of things. Concentrating on replica guns rather that story and film technique doesn't really help much. Look at it as a film, not a clip to show off a replica gun collection.

What do you think of the sound, dialogue, camera angles, editing, sfx, gun sounds, acting, story line etc. Now those comments (some of which are below are far more useful).
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 2:18pm

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JohnCarter

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Polemarch, I agree with you on the swearing issue but disagree with you with the shotgun... Let me explain:

Your argument on the swearing is right on the money. It's a movie about soldiers and well, soldiers swear! I hired ex-soldiers on my movie and they swear a lot! That's part of REALISM. That's why the shotgun is also a problem. I don't think people have an issue with the fact it's a replica. They have an issue with the fact that it's not REALISTIC in said situation. You put a lot of effort to make it look or feel right yet there are obvious times in the film where you sabotage your own efforts. I already pointed out some of them.

Also, the shotgun would surely not be such an issue if the acting by the guy who holds it wasn't so bad (you wanted comments on acting, didn't you?) That guy is utterly unbelievable yet you hold on him for so long, as he struggles with his shotgun... Brings it all home for the viewer and totally crush the realism (well, that and the fact that they don't get hit while being five feet away from the machine guns shooting at them).

On a side note, I read in your description that you used Magic Bullet? What's your opinion of this software? Is it worth the thousand dollars US they want for it? There seems to be a lot of hype about this program and it's hard to cut through the nonsense. Is the hype really true? What's you felling about it?
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 3:03pm

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polemarch

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The trouble is that ALamDV is full of little kids making Star Wars fan films and silly fights with toy guns and 14 year olds. Ok, they may be fun in some ways but I'm sorry, I'm interested in real film. These kids are obsessed about guns, replicas and nonsense. Yes, I agree the acting in parts of my film needed some work, I am trying to use an older cast and a better style of filming.

I'm sorry but a team that you know nothing about, are they Special Ops, recon, a crashed unitm you don't know because it doesn't matter. The team carries 4 x M16s and a shotgun. These weapons are reasonable and backed by historical precedent. Shotguns have and are used by military units, infact today, US troops on CNN were kicking in doors and entering with M16 and Benelli shotguns. Maybe thats what my team was just doing??? In woodland warfare shotguns have and are used. In WWII my grandfather used carbines and shotguns in woodland fighting with the Japs. This is a story, not a computer game and in my story the unit has four rifles and a shotgun so live with it. Soldiers used them in Vietnam and they still have a place now.

In the real world people, films get bought up because they are good, not because somebody used a particular brand of gun or bullet. Think film, not gun guns guns and more guns!

I use many other websites to showcase my films and sadly AlamDV often has the least mature and serious comments. What is the mean age here, under 18 I am sure. It is sad but true and more than a little annoying. I thank the people here with useful comments like Dean, Sidewinder and John Carter.

As for Magic Bullet, it is interesting, I don't think it is worth the massive price on top of AE. It does make footage look a little less like video and the de-inerlacing is very good. It does take ages to render though. Be the best took around 2 hours to render in AE with Magic Bullet.
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 3:27pm

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TalentScouting

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Very very good. Ok, there were a few things to change but in general, excellent and just 2 1/2 hours to film it, fantastic. I don't care about the gun issue, so what??? Filming, editing, quality and sound are far more important to the people I represent and this is good stuff. I'm taking this clip plus three other (Powercorp trailer for example) along to a board meeting tomorrow. In the meantime check your mail polemarch, I have a few proposals to make but I'd rather do them off this public board.
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 3:28pm

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nikos_maximus

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I agree with polemarch, the props used in a film which, as stated was put together in a matter of hours, is pretty damn irrelevant. I wont go on about the guns as its pretty immaterial, but shotguns have been used worldwide by a huge variety of forces, and have famously been used in woodland combat during the second world war and vietnam, plus the obvious CQB element. As for the guy with the shotgun, I do not see the problem. The point about this ad is that it conveys realism, which is why it doesnt use music, as mentioned earlier, and is why things are gritty and spontaneous, not everybody does a huge dive and pulls out two pistols killing several people before they hit the ground, John Woo style.

Yeh the language is strong for a commercial, but there are instances in the cinema where language is used for trailers, and this really did give a more gritty realism.

Overall I think this film was effective as the commercial it was designed to be, picky gun spotting is the preserve of pathetic school kids.
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 5:50pm

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JohnCarter

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My issue with the shotgun isn't that it is a shotgun... In any case it's a point that's been debated at length.

It's the fact that the supposed soldier doesn't do a convincing job of:

a) merely taking it;

b) holding it properly;

c) convey any sense of reality whatsoever to the situation.

And the camera lingers on this for so long it seems like forever...

Pretty big fault if you ask me when the filmmaker wants us to believe it's realistic. Polemarch explained his reasons but I still say that with clever editing he could've fixed this problem. Polemarch claims to be of professional skill levels, let's show it. Because everything else is damn close to be or already is.

Anyways, just trying to help... Never mind...
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 8:34pm

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sidewinder

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Yeah, when you take it upon yourself to tell others that they're wrong when they criticize your movie, then you need to think about how well you accept criticism...
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 11:09am

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Xcession

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Well i have to say that this movie is actually remarkably good. I've rated it 4 star coz its on the right lines. Its major flaws are down to things that you really can't change, unfortunately. Namely:

1) soldiers sh*tting their pants and falling back do NOT yell out to their squad mates in high pitch mid-teen voice-almost-broken tones razz I laughed long and hard about this, because the style of raw filming was juxtaposted by the pitch of your voices to such an extent that it made it rather comedy!

2) If you're going to involve someone speaking in another language, an enemy no less, in a situation where its all about hard decisions; i'd have made sure that the enemy was a proper threat (not a rather short, dumpy kid) and was capable of speaking the "confusing" language to such a fluency that it didn't sound like he was making it up as he went along. (The fact that he was speaking actual german, is an aside - it was his delivery of the language that made it less intimidating to the solidiers he was halting.)


Regarding the things that you *can* change:

1) I've been told it before with my own movies (sadly not online at the moment) so i'll tell you too - muzzle flashes are never quite as bold as you imagine them to be. They should never be put on at zero opacity - make them more transparent.

2) there was glaring inconsistency with when casing ejection was done. It was nice that you did it at all, given that many alamdv movies don't, but the fact that one gun did, when the rest didn't - stuck out like a sore thumb for me.

3) actors need to be instructed as to how weapons work, especially when its necessary for them to simulate the physics themselves. That guy firing the M4, just prior to the fall back, is clearly under the impression that recoil rattles the gun from side to side. Recoil acts exactly in the oposite direction to the travel of the bullet, so the actor should be using the hand holding the trigger to pull the gun into his shoulder to simulate it - not the hand round the stock.

4) Weapons are heavy. With the exception of the PDW, which wasn't fired, the m4 is the lightest of the guns that were carried by your soldiers. Yet even this gun is a tad over 3kg when loaded. 3kg is 2 bags of flower (as bought from most supermarkets) or about 3 small bags of Tate and Lyle sugar (i don't get out much!). If you try and imagine that weight, that m4, and the other guns, would simply not be so easy to carry or run with. Its only a suggestion, but why not go down to your local council tip and scrounge some roof leading, open up the guns, and pack them with it.

5) the actual British Army adverts are made tense by 3 things - "shakey cam", rapid cutting and deliberately poor shot framing. You got the first right, but lingered too long on too many shots to get the second right, similarly the third which requires breaking the rules a bit. Any lapse in rawness, namely the length of the shots, detracts from the pace and atmosphere.



On a complete site note....

John Carter does it again! Sorry dude - but can you see a pattern emerging here? You make 1 statement, everyone slates you for it because its pretty brutal and deconstructive, then you follow it up with a more constructive one started by an apology razz

What you say in both posts is always concise and to the point, so it confuses me that you do the second one to placate the ravaging noobs who didn't like your first post. I say fudge the noobs, fudge em right in the ear. If they don't like it they can cram it.

As a master of the concise, my middle name is "Nth draft", so can i just suggest that in future you read and rephrase your first post several times before clicking the submit button? It would just make more sense, thats all. I do so hate poor delivery.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 2:17pm

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JohnCarter

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Not sure I follow you entirely here Xcession - and let's keep this short since it's not the palce to do it. I don't think I was harsh on my review of this film. When I am, I do apologize. I am this way because I react first then think after. Criticism is one part instinct, three part analysis, in my opinion.

I try to always explain what I like or dislike, therefore I am being constructive. I have never been faulted for my constuctivism. However, sometimes some people here seem so thick, it just... Well, let's leaveit at that. Hence the never mind. When I apologize, I apologize properly.

Cheers! biggrin
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 2:38pm

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Xcession

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Well basically ...

I too am militant about getting decent movies on this site, therefore its irritating that one of my few allies is incapable of getting himself heard, simply because he is too quick to fire a hip-shot (which gets diluted by the inevitable apology), rather than having a more well-planned snipe. (just to continue the military theme razz ). Its frustrating that your good ideas are ignored, thats all.

Last edited Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 2:57pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 2:54pm

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Joshua Davies

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I wouldn't say many of the movies on FXhome waste good ideas. Sure, there are lots of great ideas that might have been better if they were filmed in a different way or with more time and effort - but I don't think this is due to a lack of ideas.

The movies that are posted on FXhome more often than not show evolution on the part of the filmmaker. From the 10 second tests to the short films, all the filmmakers are normally trying to show us is the next step in their evolution and get helpful comments from other people on the same path. As viewers and, in most cases, filmmakers we should be trying to help one another to move on.

It doesn't matter if its perfecting you lightswords and lasers in your first fanfilm, or getting the cinematic feel just right in your latest short for the festival circuit. All levels of film are welcome at FXhome and are equally valid therefore they should be treated with the same respect.

Basically, if you don't have something constructive to say then don't say anything.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 3:00pm

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Joshua Davies

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Gah, Xcession!

Edit your post why don't ya, you angry little man biggrin
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 3:25pm

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JohnCarter

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Xcession, good ideas will be ignored anyways if the filmmaker choses to. It is the filmmaker's prerogative. We can only try and suggest things and try to stay polite and constructive in the process. There's not much else you can do. People can chose to put efforts in their films or not. What bothers me about polemarch's films is simply this:

In his profile he claims to be a professional, which he demonstrate technically most of the time, but in other areas he makes amateur mistakes. As for the acting, it's not always easy to find good actors but if you gonna spend time and money on a movie, try to find the best you can and if they aren't up to the task, spend some time on editing to try and help the problem - and good judgement, especially from a pro, would call for switching actors if the person cannot perform convincingly.

My other beef with this project is that in the description we are expected to take this seriously. From his comments, the filmmaker expects us to take this seriously, I believe he was trying to convey the feel of those British Army commercials... Except it turns out funny for all the reasons that have been mentionned before. Therefore he failed in his goal at communicating a realistic, serious situation. And that's a serious problem for a filmmaker.

But if polemarch wanted to do a comedy, he succeeded brilliantly!
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 9:18pm

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polemarch

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Thanks smile Our next film will be a comedy so lets see how that one turns out, it might be just what everybody needs smile
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 9:21pm

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polemarch

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Xcession, those are all excellent comments btw, thankyou. Yes, the weapons are much heavier in reality and the casts use of the weapons is far from ideal. The lesson to be learnt here is to spend the time with the cast giving basic instructions and help. Useful stuff.

Muzzle flash wise, I couldn't quite put my finger on them not being quite perfect, think you might have something there. Going to experiment. In the meantime thanks for the heads-up.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 11:58pm

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CX3

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Polemarch, not to offend you or anything but are u actually a professional? I'm just wondering because this commecial didn't seem too professional to me at all. I do agree with Carter when he said

"In his profile he claims to be a professional, which he demonstrate technically most of the time, but in other areas he makes amateur mistakes."

I hope you dont take that the wrong way but I didnt know how else to ask confused
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 1:16am

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Kid

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polemarch wrote:

Soldiers used them in Vietnam and they still have a place now.
The fact that the US still uses em for CQC doesn't show anything because CQC is the area that the US army is worst at, a situation that they are desperatly trying to remedy since it has been shown up in recent conflicts. WWII and Vietnam are an age ago and weapons have changed a lot since then.

There is a huge step up from the level where they are useful to support handguns and against no body armour to the level that soldiers fight on with high powered fully automatic rifles and smgs.

I saw an interesting thing about it and I will try and dig out some clips, but basically shotguns are stopped by flak and stabproof vests which even handguns go through. They count on the fact that whoever you are shooting has no protection and they do far less damage than people seem to think they do and is portrayed by movies.

People like shotguns mainly I think cos they like guns that blast big holes in things rather than ones that are actually effective. You can see in futuristic movies that people want us to have just bigger blasters rather than ones which are easier to do damage with. In real life it isn't like this, those hi tech infantry that the US army has already have those guns you can shoot round corners and stuff. Big explosive bullets cost more money and more damage isnt neccessary, accuracy is what kills.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 1:23am

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sidewinder

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shotguns are only useful in domestic situations really. They aren't effective when fighting armed forces.

Nonetheless, shotguns are much more effective weapons than automatic rifles when used in CQC. And in considerring that most gunfights take place in 21 feet or less, and generally aren't against people with full battle gear, shotguns are the best gun a policeman can carry, or that one could have in their home for self defense.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 1:32am

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Kid

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Yup you wouldnt want an M16 or anything like that but a PDW or P90 or other compact machine gun would prolly pwn in the hands of someone well practiced in CQC.

But I agree shotguns do have a pick up and use value since you only have to shoot in vaguely the right direction smile Also useful when you arn't supposed to be allowed fully automatic weapons.

On a comedy note have you noticed that SG1 use P90s and they rule over the Jaffa who use those shotgun like staffs razz
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 8:31am

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Xcession

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ooh ooh! i noticed! i noticed!

P90s rule, although less so in the tom clancey games, where they seem next to useless in cqc due to their lack of stability. Anyway what does tom clancey know razz

Shotguns seem to be the weapon of choice for rednecks on both sides of the atlantic. Shotguns have far more trouser-filling potential, given that they do complete destroy stuff at close range (things like rock stars' heads, for instance razz) and the larger versions such as the spas-12 look like they could bring down aircraft, but for anything other than very close quarter combat, they are pretty pants.
I know 1 person who has been shot with a 12-gauge at 100 yards, and just been bruised. The energy loss and buckshot disipation is massive on both counts, you'd simply be very unlucky to be killed by one over 50 yards.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 8:38am

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +1

sidewinder wrote:

shotguns are only useful in domestic situations really.
I prefer to just talk things over then have a cup of tea.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 2:31pm

Post 40 of 44

polemarch

Force: 510 | Joined: 4th Mar 2002 | Posts: 135

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Yes, professional, but it is just one of my professional interests with most of my work being on the technical aspect with regards to making training films etc. As for creative film, well, I've just had my first paid assignment (found through this website strangely) and will be working on that over the next 4 weeks. So I guess that classes as pro too, pro being getting paid smile Wish it would happen more though!!!

Last edited Thu, 16th Oct 2003, 7:57pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 11:15pm

Post 41 of 44

CX3

Force: 3137 | Joined: 1st Apr 2003 | Posts: 2527

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Ahhh, okay, I was just wondering. Thanks for not takin it the wrong way man smile
Posted: Wed, 15th Oct 2003, 11:05am

Post 42 of 44

polemarch

Force: 510 | Joined: 4th Mar 2002 | Posts: 135

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No a problem smile
Posted: Sun, 26th Oct 2003, 10:49pm

Post 43 of 44

Mantra

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Hi! Just watched your film, well done. Enjoyed some of the pacing and some of the shots. No need to mention the 'hardware', very cool.

One thing I have to ask, was the one actor wearing trainers/sneakers? Maybe they were light colored desert boots? I'm not picking holes, just struck me as odd when so much effort had gone into the costumes and guns, etc.

All the best
Posted: Tue, 4th Nov 2003, 12:51pm

Post 44 of 44

polemarch

Force: 510 | Joined: 4th Mar 2002 | Posts: 135

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Well spotted, we ran out of boots and hoped nobody would notice smile