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X3i (Third Episode): The Messenger

Posted: Wed, 18th May 2005, 1:42pm

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The 3rd Episode in the X3i Series. Filmed on a Panasonic DVX100a and edited on FCP HD. Some areas in the film are dark due to how small the compression had to be. Enjoy.

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Posted: Wed, 18th May 2005, 3:22pm

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Simon K Jones

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This is more like it! I was vastly disappointed by episode 2, which seemed rushed to me with very loose, flabby editing and limp action sequences, as well as a strangely incomprehensible plot.

Episode 3, however, gets things right back on track with a storming opening. Good stuff - the martial arts guy is superb, both at the action and just his general 'look'. The action and effects in this were notably improved throughout. The action benefited in particular from some very innovative camerawork and spot-on editing that made it really rather exciting.

Locations were cool, although the 'smart corporate building' setting is starting to get a little repetitive now. Congrats on organising such a huge cast, that's a fairly massive achievement in itself. Some dialogue was great (Messenger's arrival at HQ), while some went on for far, far too long (the car scene, which seemed to last ages and was just a huge mass of exposition), to the point where I lost track of who was who and what was what.

Other than plot/faction confusion, it was good stuff. Something that'd make it even better is if you could find someone to do a full original score for each ep, rather than scrounging from movies which always spoils the effect somewhat.

Looking forward to ep4!

Last edited Wed, 18th May 2005, 4:38pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 18th May 2005, 4:34pm

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Hey thanks Tarn.

I couldnt agree with you more on the comments of episode 2. We did have to rush it because we shot it on finals week last year, it sucked. I'm just glad it's in the past ha. But episode's 3 and on get better and better in my opinion. I've learned a lot in the past year about rush making tv shows and I think it shows if you look at the 1st episode and then watch this one.

I know some of it seems confusing but it will all come together for you in the upcoming episodes. We'll be going to some more old nasty buildings as well haha. And I know what you mean about original score. I tried doing some in episode 2 but it turns out that it just takes soo long. I'm going to start putting out flyers and getting a few friends to help me out in that department. Hopefully it will happen though because I would love to have full rights to this show.

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed this one and look out for ep4 really soon.
Posted: Wed, 18th May 2005, 7:03pm

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I was impressed with the editing, being an editor myself, i loved the pace of the short. im very big on cinematography and it had some really well shot, pieces, which you should be proud of. The audio was perfect, really well spread over the course of the short.

This was just a really well done piece, im a big fan of zooms and focus's, it reminds me of the old martial art movies, which i love, the camera u use, does it use a manual zoom lens, or are you using a button like most amature dv cameras?

really nice man keep it up!
Posted: Wed, 18th May 2005, 11:10pm

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In my opinion this is five worthy. Although I happen to enjoy everything I have seen of yours, this one was up there in the ranks. As far as independent films go, this is of very high quality, better then some better funded, and professional movies I have seen...not to say this doesn't have the polished look that a professional film has.

I found myself thinking "where did he get this music?" through out the entire movie. So I can't reframe from asking, did you have the music composed for this movie, or is it acquired by other means?

Nice look to the angles you chose, and the picture quality was above the average found here at FxHome (take that as a compliment to CX3, and not an insult to the other short film makers). The effects are well placed, and the high quality picture made them stand out. Do you mind if I ask the details of your compositing program? I ask because I only have the standard "Windows Movie Maker"...not so good for everything I want to achieve. Over all, compositing was nothing shy of impressive.

I enjoyed this, five out of five from me. Well done.
Posted: Thu, 19th May 2005, 3:37am

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Gotta say, I was impressed from the opening sequence. Great action...I agree with Tarn on the car scene, the exposition was a bit much. Other than that I enjoyed every minute. The fx, stunts were awsome, the sound fx were superb.

It is apparent that your skills are vastly improving setting you above the amatuer story teller, this work was well thought-out. The camera work was smooth, the movement was fluid and stable, the angles were interesting and non-distracting. The editing was thorough, your actors are starting to buy into your characters, they have shown growth since the first-episode.

As a director I was impressed by the scene with 3 members at their HQ, your blocking of your actors, camera placement, and editing of that sequence, was a thing of beauty.

This episode had a particular visual style that very few are able to attain, you should be gratified. Great work and keep'em coming!
Posted: Thu, 19th May 2005, 7:17pm

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Hey thanks you all for the feedback.

Coldfuse - Yep, I use the Panasonic DVX100a and it has the manual zoom lense. We love shooting that way during fight scenes because it adds a different chaotic element to the picture. Also gives the illusion of fast edits with out the edit. I'm glad you enjoyed it man, thanks.

Wizard - Thanks a lot for the positve feedback. Some of the music I did have composed for this show (The sequence right after the intro where messenger busts through the door was done by a friend and the theme song for X3i was put together by myself) other than that, everything was from different movie scores and soundtracks (Equilibrium, Day After Tommorow, The Last Samuri) As far was effects programs, I have been using Alamdv and After Effects for this one. Thanks again man.

EddieOue5 - I agree with you all on the car sequence ha, but we had to get that info out somehow and why not there haha. Thanks for the comments on the sound fx as well. Thats one of my favorite parts of editing, sound can really sell a picture if its done right. I dont make any of sound effects, I just download them from around the internet. But I do a lot of mixing and altering to get the sound I want for a certain effect. Like for example when arsyn does the ariel flip and plasma blasts the guy up against the wall. That was a mixture of fire starting, and modified explosions. Thank you for all of the other great comments as well. The whole cast is proud of what were starting to accomplish and hope to maintain this level work.

Thanks again
Posted: Thu, 19th May 2005, 8:01pm

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Hi guys thanks for the feedback.
I just wanted to say, Yes, the car scene is long. I know i wrote it. It's drawn out. Like Chirs said, i had to get the info in there somehow. Originally, Chris and I wanted to do more of a montage, all new footage of the Rebel 7 team and the taking of the stasis data. But no. As one of you pointed out that the cast scheduling must be a pain--it is. So, i didn't want the car scene to be what it is, but it is...and the information there is just to valuable i think to cut out. There's your explanation.
Chris and I are more than happy to see all of this appreciation for the show. This and the episodes to come are what we were really trying to achieve from the beginning. i will always agree that Chris' work both with the camera and in the editting is continually improving and very impressive, even now. I think the acting has vastly improved for this episode, too. As for the story, I hope it meets everyone's expectations from here on.
Thanks again!
Posted: Fri, 20th May 2005, 9:41pm

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I tried playing the video, but I don't have the right codec and it won't play. Do you know what I should download to get it to work? Thanks.
Posted: Fri, 20th May 2005, 9:49pm

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All ya need is the lastest version of Quicktime 6.
Posted: Sat, 21st May 2005, 8:59am

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This was really cool. 4 out of 5. smile

Keep em' coming!
Posted: Mon, 23rd May 2005, 12:13am

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Hey I appreciate it Redhawk. Thanks.
Posted: Tue, 24th May 2005, 12:58pm

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Really well done. Good work. I love it.

Posted: Sat, 28th May 2005, 7:22am

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Wow, that was really well done. Great story, i'll have to agree with previous've come leaps and bound with editing and story. very interesting not a boring moment.

I've recently bought the DVX100A,i ts a great camera!! I was just wonderining if you were shooting in 24P? And Did you do any color correction?

The clip looks great, but I really think that if you do some CC this could look even better. What editing tools are you using? Have you considered Magic Bullet?

I think if you did some more CC you could easily get a look similar to what you see on TV programs like SG atlantist and mutant X. this is in no way a criticism. Cause I thought it was awesome. just my thoughts because I know what th DVX can do.

There is a great sight you should check out
check out the screen grab section and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Any way good job, and for what its worth this is as good as any episode of mutant X.

Posted: Mon, 6th Jun 2005, 3:00pm

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I Guys from COBRA PRODUCTIONS, I decided to write you because i´am a little sad that a Serie as X3I had bad quality movies fit in +/- 90MB in mov format. Therefore I thought about helping you to rip it in DivX. I have created a method to rip lengh movies. I just have rip LORD OF THE RINGS III in 700MB that is 3h.09m.10s. with a perfect quality. I like a lot of the episodes therefore I have the "obligation" to help you. in my next email and can send you the images of the ripped LOR III.

P.F - Send me you email to send them....

Continue with the Good Work
Posted: Fri, 10th Jun 2005, 6:15pm

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I just wanted to say that I love seeing the series as a whole. I think those who have only watched this episode and judging it should also consider the other episodes, along with your previous submissions as a guide.

Personally, I loved a ton of your post production SFX such as the "fireballs" and vibration effects. And your usage of the Last Samurai and Equilbrium tracks are great - although I'm sad to admit that I recognized them. I also like your usage of angles and composition with the fight sequences. I've actually watched your film a few dozen times to study how you did some of them.

Most of my critiques are based on the fact that I think you're ready to start focusing on other aspects of production. If you're like me, you're no longer the amateur; you're an aspiring accomplished low-budget filmmmaker making new mistakes after learning from previous submissions...which is the one of the great parts about filmmaking.

1) I'm sure sound has been brought up a few times, but know that I noticed it too. I can't tell if I was having problems with the sound because of the encoding itself, if it was a improper audio mix down, the mics during production, the wall acoustics, or just my crappy speakers. I think if you have time (well if the talents have time) you could do some ADR in post, or get someone to help with a boom mic (I assume you have access to one) during production. Again, its hard to make a specific criticism.

2) I thought the blood and some of the make-up could have been better. But know in no way shape or form am I an expert, so I really can't speak on this too much. Maybe a friend of yours has contacts with the theatre department at Ohio State - I'm sure you could find someone that's trying to make a name for themself! BTW ~ Your usage of sound effects in post really help sell it a lot my compliments to you editor.

3) I can't say too much about how the dialog sections, because that's something I have very little knowledge about. I think that one the hardest parts of making films/video is writing AND shooting dialog that feels right. I will say that I've been watching a lot of Aaron Sorkin's work (Dave, A Few Good men, The American President, and The West Wing - Seasons 1-4). He's an excellent writer, so maybe if you watched how he treats some of his dialog sequences you can get some ideas how to shoot them. Again, those who've only seen this episode really need to watch all of them to get a full understanding of everything.

Again, I'm enjoying your films so much Chris, I'm beginning to look for details typical of a big budget film. So I hope you don't take these comments to seriously. If I watch your videos with a realtive idea of when you created them, its great to see how much you've developed your skills. Trust me when I say that when I've seen your films more than 10 times, its meant to be a full compliment.

If you've got time, please send me a PM, I'd love to share ideas and get your opinions on a project I'm developing too.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jun 2005, 6:56pm

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I just wanted to say that i agree with your criticism on the make-up, which is sad because i did it. haha. I'm a writer and an actor in the show, but i also have been set to the costuming task. Why? Because no one else will...I don't know anything about make-up. I just bought paint brushes and some tubes of face paint and went at it, lol. One day (hopefully), we'll have a real make-up artist and someone who knows how to make blood. We tried to get our hands on someone from the Theater department, but nothing came through. Chris keeps telling me he knows how to make blood, but he's so busy with everything else (filming, acting, editing) that i don't blame him for not jumping right on that.

I also agree about what you said to the effect that the show is better when you look at it as a whole. It's a tv show, so we never really get a break from it during the year. A lot of the times we're filming episode 5 or something before we notice and can learn from a mistake we made on 3. The pace at which Chris is continually improving astounds even me. Also, considering that we have no budget at all aside from what Chris and I (poor college students) can pull from our pockets, I'm impressed by the product we do have.

I should probably let Chris handle the rest of your questions. He's the technical mind. I just wanted to share what i could and let you know that i appreciate your comments.

Posted: Wed, 15th Jun 2005, 10:24am

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I began doing some researches with DivX 5.1.1 codec and I find that I can fit 1 and 3 ºepisodes in 45mb and the 2 episodio in 35MB.

P.S : Have you already read my last post (06/jun/2005 15:00)

answer me please