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Remembered

Posted: Wed, 4th Jan 2006, 4:16pm

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nfsbuff

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The newest film from Blue Smoke Studios was funded and produced by the Pacific Union College Department of Visual Arts and tells the tale of one man's courage, heroism and unfailing love to his family. What would you give to protect the people you hold most dear? The movie was filmed in California's Napa Valley with a crew of 18 filmmakers, 3 main actors and actresses and countless extras. The enormous effort shows in this unflinching story of love and self-sacrifice.

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Posted: Wed, 4th Jan 2006, 9:18pm

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sk8npirate

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The overall quality of the film seemed very high quality although I thought could've used some more creative shots, I still enjoyed it. The intro scene was very good and a great use of stock footage, the only gripe I have with that is lack of variation in muzzle flashes which isn't that big of a deal, and I thought you should've desaturated the explosion effects somewhat. Other than that I felt the story flowed well and acting seemed good although hard to tell with lack of much dialog. This was still very enjoyable and had a good story. Overall I felt sympathy for the characters and moved by the situation. 4/5
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 12:13am

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Andreas

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Ooh Blue Smoke, I didn't catch it was you guys till I saw the begining of the movie. I like your old work so let's see about this.
First of all, I am really impressed by the composition of almost every tiny effect in the movie. Best I've seen on this site I think. Id had to watch the opening twice so I didn't mistake them for real stuff. It's to bad the real footage is so graded in blue, cause it makes the explotion almost too visable for the eye. It would probably have looked even better if the grading had abit more red in it.
Well you know what im talking about, the matching isn't perfect but close there.
Visually this is overall a really great movie. Editing is alright, nothing to fancy but it does its work.

I try not to spoil anything but the actors seemed abit too young for me. Which was probably the only thing i thought about in the whole flashback. "They look too young / They haven't aged at all".

-back from a 5 hour break-

Okey I rewatched it and I really don't feel anything for the charachters, sadly.
I don't know why, maybe it's because I watched this from a fellow fxhomers eye and was looking for mistakes etc. but It just didn't get to me like it should have if this story would've worked.
I think its a great movie technically. the story was good, but it didn't grab me as a i hoped for.

Great work though, really!
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 2:30am

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TurManveru

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Fantastic movie! The writing was good, the acting mostly believable (more on that in a moment), the editing tight, the music appropriate and well incorporated, and the effects were almost seamless. There are plenty of very well composed shots and a few just-drop-dead-pretty ones, too. It is immediately obvious that a great deal of thought, preparation and hard work went into this. Bravo!

There are, however, areas that could use improvement. The story was pretty generic. This can be forgiven because it was told so well, but the fact remains that the basic premise in a bit uninspired. It also didn’t seem to carry as much emotional weight as it seems like it should. The acting during the fire-fights was completely believable. The acting making up most of the movie (i.e. the flash backs) felt forced. Also, a small complaint, but I had trouble with the passage of time without any sign of aging in the actors. And, noted by Andreas, the only thing keeping the explosions from being completely seamless is the color grading. Andreas points out that the real footage could have had more red in it. Likewise, the explosions could have had a little red removed from them if you really wanted to keep the mood with the cool color pallet.

Very, very good. Number one on my list!
(4/5)
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 4:14am

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nfsbuff

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Thanks for your reviews everyone, they're much appreciated. I can understand that appearent aging is missing, but we really had no way to pull it off with the time we had. The film was carefully planned in 3 1/2 weeks, BUT, all photography was done on a Friday afternoon and a Sunday, with two pickup shots done Monday afternoon. And that was it, filming was over.

The explosions used were color graded heavily. We purposly left in a little color, so one could tell they were fire explosions and not just smoke.

Again, thank you everyone for watching. I'm working on getting a Quicktime version up, for those die-hard Quicktimers... cool
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 4:27am

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Serpent

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TurManveru wrote:


Very, very good. Number one on my list!
(4/5)
I still need to see this, but if it is number 1 on your list, shouldn't it get a 5/5 comparatively? I know voting systems change (mine has) but some of those films that you gave a 5 are somewhat recent. Maybe you judge on tech aspects and you just enjoyed the story/movie? Ah well, just something I observed. smile

Also, I like watching movies on my iPod, on the go. I have done it with a few new FXH movies. Could you render this out as an mp4, iPod M4V, or iPod compatible H.264 mov? I would gladly host it! Just e-mail a http://yousendit.com link to conor@advancedmn.com if you want to get that up.
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 4:58am

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TurManveru

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Serpent wrote:


...but if it is number 1 on your list, shouldn't it get a 5/5 comparatively?
Not for me. I rate the movie based on my critique (except in the case where I gave my own movie a high mark - embarrassing, possibly despicable, but true). The movies I add to my list are ones that I enjoyed. And while those two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, they also, by the same token, don’t have to go hand in hand. For example: Goya's painting, "Saturn Devouring his Children," is a fantastic painting and very well technically executed. That doesn't, however, mean that I would want to hang it in my living room. Giottino’s “Pietà of San Remigio” is lacking technically (having been painted in the 1300s), but it has a beauty that speaks to me and IS a painting I would hang in my house.

Oh, and nfsbuff, I know asking for apparent aging in the actors is unrealistic, I just thought it would have been nice (and only possible in a perfect world). And now, knowing the deadline you worked under to get this finished, I'm even more impressed!

I know some of this was a bit off topic, so I apologize for that. To anyone reading this who hasn’t downloaded and watched this movie yet, do it! It’s a great movie!
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 1:35pm

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scannon

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Sure likes his gum. Seems he's chomping on it the entire film.

I thought it was very well done. I liked the premis but as stated, the fashbacks just didn't "feel" right. It almost seemed as if the main actor was trying to hard.

4 from me.
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 6:41pm

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PaleRider

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There was a lot I loved about this movie and a lot I hated.
You pulled of the war sequence really well. Good filming, great editing and nice effects.
I wasn't too keen on the flash back sequences, felt all a little too studenty, but overall, a fantastic job.
Well done
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 10:43pm

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nfsbuff

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Thanks for the reviews everyone. Now, what I'm about to say is a little biased, since I helped make this film, but, personally I don't think this work deserves a rating of Zero. If you think it does, at least leave a comment as to why.

I think the main reason it comes across as a little "studenty" is because we're all students... wink

For those interested, a Quicktime version should be up in a little while.

Again, thanks for watching.
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 10:51pm

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Simon K Jones

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The zero rating was from a non-Gold user, so wasn't a big deal, but I've removed it anyway as Remembered is clearly better than a zero, no matter what you think of it! smile
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 10:59pm

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TurManveru

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Yes, I agree, Remembered is most certainly better than a zero. People who rank movies with zeros, and don’t even mention why - they just really irritate me.

(Tarn, how come you’ll remove zeros, anyway? Is it just because it was a non-gold user? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you removed it. This great movie should not have even the slightest stain of zero-ness. On a purely self-serving note, my movie, the Longest Journey, was given a zero with no explanation. Just plain annoying)

Anyway, Remembered is a great movie!
Posted: Thu, 5th Jan 2006, 11:32pm

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nfsbuff

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YES YES YES!!! I finally did it! I finally have a submission that the great Tarn himself posted on! biggrin waHoo! *Looks over at Malone with a cheesy grin and a humongus cake*

j/k

Seriously though, thanks Tarn.
Posted: Fri, 6th Jan 2006, 12:20am

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Simon K Jones

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No problem, I really enjoyed the movie. I agree with most of the comments here, but one I'd like to add is that the opening credits and the first shot are absolutely superb, and suck you right in. The editing, sound, visuals and music on that first shot got me very, very excited.
Posted: Fri, 6th Jan 2006, 1:46am

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Alex Reeve

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I'm afraid I'm going to be the voice of dissent here, and admit I really didn't like this.

Good points:

From a technical viewpoint, it's great, magnificent in places - the opening shots of the battle are nigh on perfect. I'll take gliding wide shots anyday over the unfathomably popular ShakyCam that Hollywood directors are fond of.

Fine sound editing as well, complimenting the visuals.

Nice crisp photography, cleanly lit and very pro for the most part, but...

Bad Points:

Most of the shots in the flashbacks were very plain wide two-shots, with dead space in the frame.

The acting was worringly close to that of a silent movie - all exaggerated facial expressions and body language. I'd have lost the "I'm pregnant" and the Recruitment Officer dialogue as well, if the rest of the flashbacks are silent. It seems odd, and there's plenty of ways to show it visually.

The Gum. Gum should be banned from all film sets.

My main caveat was with the actual story, and it's depressingly linear structure. I was just left with a sense of "is that it?".

3/5, for technical excellence.
Posted: Fri, 6th Jan 2006, 2:35am

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SGB

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wow. just, wow. what an accomplishment. what a great movie.

All i can say is great job. This is truly an inspiring movie.

People complained about the gum, and not liking the flashbacks. I thought the flashbacks were excellent. just beautiful. The gum didn't bother me in the least. I thought the acting was phenominal, and, maybe it was just my imagination, but the actors did seem to age in appearance.

The one stain on this otherwise beautiful movie was the fact that the blood spurts and explosions didn't match the backround so well. they seemed to be too saturated. while the gunshot sounds were very well done, the muzzle flashes didn't seem to fire fast enough somtimes.

still, the problems in the effects dont stop me from giving this a 5/5. great movie, great job.

SGB

PS
im planning a new movie (as a project once I finish Alienware) whose plot was inspired by this movie. Truly, this movie was inspirational.
Posted: Sat, 7th Jan 2006, 8:34am

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VisualAdvocate

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Well I just have to comment on this one.

First off, let me say well done. The parts I like, I love. The problem is that the parts I don't like . . . well you get the idea.

The war scenes were good. The color correction on the exposions being my only real complaint. Make them match and I really believe it will work. That or if you're still worried about them looking like smoke add more red to the entire scene or some sort of effect like you did for the last shot. Blurring around them or something similar so it comes across as a style choice.

The flashbacks did seem very forced but I think it could be fixed with a little glow or "sex" as they say. Also it would hide the almost silly props of pink slips and bank notices.

Oh and the gum thing is very out of place. It almost comes acrossed as if he's been working on the same piece for more than 10 years. I think it's good to give characters specific traits but because of the length of the film it seems over done.

Finally the shot of him going off to war with the salute and the countless unearned medals on his uniform was a laugh out loud moment or me. Which I felt bad about doing by the way.

However having said all that I did still like it. The final shot of him reaching for the picture and dieing was perfect. I don't think it could have been done any better. And since you nailed the opening and closing, from me you get 4 purple hearts out of 5.
Posted: Sat, 7th Jan 2006, 9:51pm

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nfsbuff

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Thank you all for the continued reviews. Their much appreciated. For those interested, a Quicktime version is now up for grabs, and it is slightly smaller in file size.

Quicktime Version ~22 MB

VisualAdvocate, I'm in totally agreement that the medals seem to appear out of nowhere. This was because of a time jump that wasn't caught till we were editing. This story is supposed to be the highlights the man rememberes as he dies. Because of this, the passage of time is compressed. The medals were there because he had been in the military for while. It looks good on paper, but doesn't work on film. Ah well, its all a learning experience.

Again, thank you all for watching.
Posted: Sat, 7th Jan 2006, 10:13pm

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Pooky

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I gave this a 3... it just didn't impress me as much as I thought it would considering the ratings here.

Although I thought the tracking and masking of the effects during the war scene was excellent,(where is the stock footage from?) the strange grading that contrasts them immensely from the (horrible, I'm afraid to say) blue tint of the rest of it just removes their credibility. Although if you were going for realism, I doubt that there would be artillery and mortar shells and bazookas aimed at just 4 soldiers in the middle of a forest during wartime. smile

The flashback scenes were okay, although I felt that some of them dragged on a bit too much, and I also think it could have benefited from a bit more grading (and I don't mean the overused glow effect).

Storywise this isn't anything I haven't seen before, although I thought the acting was good.

Cool movie but not so great technically (except for the tracking and masking of the war effects) and unoriginal story.
Posted: Sun, 8th Jan 2006, 1:46am

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Ouellette

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The plot was rather un origonal but i have to say that i liked it quite a bit. I think you guys are being just a bit to critical.
Posted: Sun, 8th Jan 2006, 3:03am

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VisualAdvocate

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Oh and I almost forgot to mention how nice your poster is. The family photo is almost to well done. Leaving potential viewers expecting an equal level of quality from the movie visually that it couldn't meet.

Still it's my favorite promo picture on the sight so far. Although the one with the photo on the ground is possibly even better.
Posted: Sun, 8th Jan 2006, 3:53am

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Pooky

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Yeah the pictures for this movie look very pro and I was expecting something much much better (as I said in my earlier post).
Posted: Sun, 8th Jan 2006, 7:47am

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nfsbuff

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Pooky, all the stock footage, including every bit of smoke and dust, is all from detonation films.

This story was made simple. It is simply a snatch of a mans life and what goes through his mind as he is about to die.

As always, thanks everyone for watching and reviewing.
Posted: Sun, 8th Jan 2006, 5:42pm

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Arktic

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Well, I have an essay that's due in tommorow - which of course means I'm doing everythign I can to avoid work untill the very last minute... So I thought I'd get around to reviewing this smile

Right, well, my comments are pretty similar to those expressed here allready. The begining (minus the odd grading of the explosions) was perfect. There was nothing there that looked or seemed wrong in any way. It really could have been a scene directly out of Predator or something. Where was the music from, by the way?

However, when it came to the flashback scenes, it seemed less like a Hollywood blockbuster, and more like a Daytime soap opera. I don't know what, but something just made everything a little too cliché, and somewhat 'cheesy'. For example, when the guy propses, the whole phone gag just seemed out of place, and then when they got up to hug each other, it seemed too set up, too much like an advert or somesuch - almost "too perfect". Now of course, this could have been your intention - the guy is remembering things, so maybe he's remembering that they were more perfect than they actually were, but I'm not sure that's what you were going for.

And then there were other, niggling things that annoyed me - the fact that they didn't age is obviously something you can't get around easily, but you could have done a few thigns (filming over a longer timeperiod, and having the main actor guy grow a beard after they are married or somesuch would have at least given an impression that time has passed).

Then the pink slip and the letter refusing credit were possibly the least realistic props I've seen in a while. I think more thought could have been put into those - and the shots acompanying that section. It looked like you'd used huge fonts so that the audience would be able to see what it said, but personally, I would have opted to make the props more realistic, and then used pick-up shots to reveal the details.

And finally, and this is really trivial, but the fact that the man and his wife went to bed, damn near fully clothed, somehow put me off - it just didn't seem right, to my mind at least. These are little things, but added together, they equal enough just to tip the balance from me really loving this to being something that I thought was good.

But don't let these things dishearten you - you should be really proud of yourself and your crew, as it IS a fantastic piece. There are a few things that just let it down, and made it slightly less than perfect.

Overall 4.7/5 wink So a full 5 stars on the rating from me.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Mon, 9th Jan 2006, 9:31pm

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Sollthar

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The poster image and cast pics look excellent indeed. When looking at that poster, you could easily be dealing with a fully professional film.

What I really liked was the look of the title "Remembered". Nice font design, good and solid animation.

The problem is, with such a high standard, you're immedeately going to notice everything that lacks behind. Even though it might be very good, it appears more distracting then it would in film that started less professional, if you know what I mean.

The opening scene as mentioned was very exciting and looked cool. The rockets looked near to perfect, but I'm not as fond of the explosions and ricochets as some of my previous posters are. They are incredibly very well tracked into the shot (with one exception through some trees), but their completely different grading and no light effect on the surroundings made them look pretty composited to me.
Also did the explosions look somewhat miniature. Can't point my finger on exactly why, but they seemed to be smaller then the size they were used for.

As mentioned though, the shots are totally high quality and overall I loved them. If you make an action film with that quality, holy cow! biggrin

The film continues to have a high standard in cinematography, wich is this movies main strength in my opinion. The "sounddesign" was fitting, but too simple to actually stand out as good sounddesign for me, since it was mainly just music - except the opening scene, wich was excellently sounddesigned. But the rest of the film seemed done quickly using music and the occasional original audio mixed in between. A shame really.

The music itself was excellently chosen and showed a real good feeling for emotion. Was it an original score? Couldn't tell from the endcredits and since I don't know any of the motives in the film, it could well be original. Would love to know! smile

Unfortunately, the acting was lacking credibility after the immensely cool opening. Both seemed to overact by quite a bit unfortunately and never appeard as a believable couple to me... they never emotionally kissed? He proposes and they HUG? They go to bed fully clothed? Wtf, are they mormons? smile
These things honestly fully destroyed every credibility for me and therefore I couldn't care about the characters or their relationship, since I didn't believe it.

Wich is the reason this film fell totally flat to me emotionally. It's basically about something that I didn't believe at all in this case, wich led to a problem I had with the pacing: It felt MUCH too long. Constant scenes to explore a relationship I didn't believe. At the end of the film, I thought it could have been edited down by almost 40% without losing anything really - again since I didn't believe it.


So for the opening scene a definate 6 out of 5 stars wink

But the rest comes down to a 4,5 for your technical abilities in cinematography and lighting and a 3 for the overall feel, wich ends in a solid 4 for me.

If you put more care into credibility for your actors/scenes, I believe you could easily make a film earning a spot in my top list!
Posted: Wed, 11th Jan 2006, 2:05am

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FXhomer8264

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Okay. I've got to say something here.

First. Sollthar, I mostly agree with you. You're absolutely right about the quality of the pictures being better overall than the rest of the movie. This is due in part to the contributions made by...myself. And Adriel. Of course, Mark is the true master of taking our photographs and making movie artwork out of them. The poster is truly a masterpiece.

I honestly didn't believe in this project at the start. Given the circumstances under which we had to make the movie, when it was suggested that we do an action-flick with special effects, I was like "Dude...you're crazy." Looking back, I'd say, given what we had to work with, we did a spot on job.

Now, as I said Sollthar, I mostly agree with what you said. However, I feel I must address the comments many people have been making about the actors and their relationship in the movie.

Why does it seem forced? Why do they not kiss passionately? Why are they in bed with clothes on?

In regards to the first question, well, being the Location Scout/Assistant Editor, I was not very close to the actors. But I think it might have something to do with the fact that we shot the movie in three days, under rushed conditions. There was really not enough time for developing chemistry, seems to me.

As for the other two questions, I would imagine that the above was part of that as well. But also, this was a film we made for class at an Adventist college. Naturally, violence is fine. But SEX! No no. We'd have to be crazy.
Posted: Wed, 11th Jan 2006, 10:57am

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Arktic

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But surely sex is implied by the fact that she gets pregnant?

I understand that you can't show hardcore pornography, but there's a difference between having a man and his wife get into bed together in a natural looking scene, and actually showing anything explicit.

Also, you mention that there wasn't enough time for the actors to develop a chemistry - I understand what you're saying, but half of me also says "find better actors them". The job of an actor is to be somebody they're not, and do things they wouldn't normally do. If your actors didn't feel comfortable acting enough to make it believable, I'd have looked for someone else.

Obviously, as there were time constraints, those sort of problems can't be avoided - but we're dealing with a very high quality piece here, so it will naturally draw a lot of criticism.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 11th Jan 2006, 5:14pm

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nfsbuff

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Thank you all for your comments and reviews. I've much appreciated how, for the most part, there has been thought and depth put into these posts. We take what is said here seriously, and try our best to implement the suggestions made into future projects.

Arktic, the issue was never the implication of sex, but rather what we had time to accomplish. To the actors (fellow students) credit, this film was shot during finals week, so the fact they were willing to work with us was something we were thankful for.

I think a majority of the things mentioned here boil down to what our focus was during the whole production process. Because this was for an Intro to Film class, most our time was spent on the technical side: Camera angles, Lighting, Sound Balancing, VFX and, most importantly, Crew Organization. Film making is a multifacated process, and for those learning (like us) it can be difficult to keep all of these facets in perspective. This is why I believe this film was a success, because we succeeded in the area into which the majority of our time was spent.

As always, thank you for your reviews and thoughts smile
Posted: Tue, 17th Jan 2006, 7:53am

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FXhomer8264

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Yes. Well said. This was a successful project for us beginners, on our way to becoming better filmmakers.
Posted: Mon, 20th Feb 2006, 8:23pm

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J Mijares

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Wow, this was exceptionally well made. The effects were done extremely well and you captured the frenzy of battle with deft camera work. Also, it was an excellent choice to tell the story entirely through visuals, as opposed to having a lot of expository dialogue. I think the only thing lacking for me was how the relationship was shown. I don't think you have to go as far as to show sex, because it's already implied, but there was no romantic tension between the husband and wife. The closest form of affection between them was a friendly hug. I understand that some actors won't kiss on screen, but even holding hands and looking at each other implies a much stronger relationship than two people hugging. Use of Effects Lab is definitely a 5. But for story, I'd have to give an overall 4. Still, this was very well made.
Posted: Tue, 21st Feb 2006, 8:06am

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nfsbuff

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Thankyou J Mijares, your comments were appreciated. smile