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The Fragile Strain

Posted: Wed, 11th Apr 2007, 1:40pm

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aargh

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During a time when the world becomes void of life, the
survival of one man is determined by his mental and
physical strength. In what seems to be the last days of
his life, loneliness sets in while his will to live limps on.
But in a momentary lapse of reason,our overly cautious
character opens up his barrier to let a sick stranger into
his duct tape and plastic wrapped sanctuary.
For a lonely man, emotionally dead to the world, a
dying stranger may be the last shred of life he has left.

This film was made about two years ago. Thought I would post it. EffectsLab was used for a few muzzle flashes. It's what I would like to call a tasteful zombie film. The production was plagued with disasters and issues, from start to finish. not my best work, but not my worst either. Enjoy, and feel free to critique and comment.


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Posted: Thu, 12th Apr 2007, 10:36am

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Simon K Jones

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I really enjoyed this. It reminded me greatly of Matheson's I Am Legend in its general setup and tone. Loved the visuals, with the old, diseased 70s feel - though that worked better on the exteriors than the interiors, which were a little too much like murky video. There was a great sense of 'disease' throughout all the visuals, particularly the gelatinous shape of the zombie in the plastic sheeting.

Use of voiceover was excellent, particularly that it stopped when the strange appeared. The idea of the main guy having only himself to converse with was nicely explored.

However, there's something that stops this from getting a 5 - the sound. While the voiceover and music were fine (though the use of a snippet of music from Half Life 2 distracted me), the dialogue spoken in the house itself was really of very poor quality and varying levels - I had to continually fiddle with my speakers' volume as one line would be almost inaudible, followed by a much louder line.

The sound severely reduces the movie's overall quality and impact, but it's still a great piece of work with a fantastic atmosphere and evocative visuals.
Posted: Thu, 12th Apr 2007, 11:30am

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SlothPaladin

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I really enjoyed this as well, Tarn really summed up everything about it much better then I could have though, 4/5
Posted: Thu, 12th Apr 2007, 5:43pm

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aargh

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Thank you for the feedback. I’d like to mention here that this film was one huge experiment for me, almost in every aspect. This was the first piece I did with this kind of length. As I had mentioned before, the production was plagued with problems. We used a homemade mini35 using a Minolta SLR camera and used my old (very old) Sony DCR-VX1000 miniDV camera, which we dubbed “The Sonolta.” With that being said that created a world of problems alone for us. Although it helped give that gritty texture to the film, we also had issues with the lighting, as you had mentioned. With a camera set up like that, we lost a lot of light. My external monitor was going out and the picture looked lighter than what it really was. Also I’d like to express with great importance how crucial Pre-Production is. We only had a couple of months to work on the Pre and we could have used more time. Organization also, when working on a project that shooting takes place over a course of 3 very long days, a week break then another couple of days, remember what you white balanced the camera on. Because when you get into the editing room and try to make two shots match next to each other and the white balance is off if makes it quite difficult. You end up spending more time fixing the footage than improving it. And now for the audio. I agree 100% with the comments on the audio. It is horrible. This too was new to me. 99.5% of the film was ADR and Foley work done by me, except for the on set dialog, that’s when my mixer on the set took crap, I had to run out and buy a new one. And then I got lazy and used Half Life sound, which I still kick myself for. My conclusion for the film and project it self is, I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. What works and what doesn’t work. And I’m the type of person that likes to experiment with new things. If I feel too comfortable in a project, then I get lazy and it doesn’t make it fun. But I think I’ve picked this scab enough and I’ll move on to a better project soon, if I can find time. Again, thank you for your comments and critiques.
Posted: Thu, 12th Apr 2007, 6:10pm

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Simon K Jones

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Definitely looking forward to what you do next, aargh! Please do keep us informed of your future projects. smile
Posted: Thu, 12th Apr 2007, 7:09pm

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Sollthar

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Definitely looking forward to what you do next, aargh!
I do find that line pretty funny... heh... hehe.... aargh... hmmm... heh... Ah well.


The cinematography in this was very nicely done, especially in the outside scenes. Not only because of your adapter, but also because of the general framing etc.
Visually definately nicely done - allthough I'd say a bit of different grading could have helped to make the shots look less like video, because despite the 35mm adapter, they looked very videoish to me.

The rest didn't draw me in much I must admit. The pacing was too slow for me and I'm generally not a big fan of voiceovers in movies. Especially for such a long time.

But it looks like a great effort and that's always a good thing.

So like Tarn, I'm looking forward to what you do next, aargh! Heh... hehe.... neutral
Posted: Fri, 13th Apr 2007, 1:07am

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Dancamfx

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Can you post a version in .Mov format for us mac users?
Posted: Fri, 13th Apr 2007, 3:04pm

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jotoki

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well I haven't watched this yet but aarrgh and thats an exclamation not your name. This is really similar to a script I'm in the middle of writing, at least in parts anyway. I've already had to change it once coz I was too similar at the start to a commercial film. Dammit I cant win lol That said i'm looking forward to watching this once its downloaded as it's been well recieved so far
Posted: Fri, 13th Apr 2007, 3:49pm

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jotoki

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ok well now I have watched it and 4 stars, good stuff !!! Loved the whole look and feel , very reminiscent of a few post appocalyptic movies I've seen and I've seen quite a few as they are a particular favourite of mine. Great cinematography and gave me a lot of food for thought. I'm with solthar on this to a certain extent. The opening half of this film with the voiceover is far too long. I too have a voice over in mind so I'll learn from this. If the movie was longer it would work but with almost half the film taken up with this its just too much for me. Also the dream sequence was a bit predictable but then there are only so many ways to show the time before the event happened so I wont hold this against you. I have the same problem to solve. Overall though I watched it intently all the way through and I dont say that about many films, even commercial ones. Great effort and now i have a very good film to compare mine too....Dont be surprised if I steal a couple of shot ideas lol
Posted: Sat, 14th Apr 2007, 4:53am

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aargh

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Thanks for all the feedback so for, it really helps. I'm going to have a .mov up soon, so bare with me, cause my computer is not working with me. It's being pokey. frown I agree with the voice over work. Voice overs are a thin line to walk on. Either it works or it doesn't. But in this case, I was trying to get inside the main charactershead and mental state, just as Tarn mentioned. I do think I could have made it more consistant. My whole goal was to made a series of these, of this world and explore more characters, I have one script written and a synopsis done for another. All I need to do now is find time...and money, Ha!

Go ahead jotoki, take shot ideas and anything that may be brain food...mmmm..braaaanes....

AARGH! mad Just for you Sollthar. wink
Posted: Sat, 14th Apr 2007, 10:21am

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jotoki

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Hey thanks for that Aargh and a series of them, that could be great but be careful they dont get samey. The voiceover is fine and there aren't that many options for telling the backstory of something like this on a limited or no budget. Just a little long thats all. Try and make it more concise and it will work well for the others, unless you have another approach in mind for the others. Depends if they are to work as self contained films or as well as part of a series I guess.
Posted: Sun, 6th May 2007, 7:29am

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DannyAU

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This is a great opening to a potential film serial. Very Philip K Dick. My only criticism is that the photography has a definate style during the opening and first scene, but then this style is abandoned for the rest of the film. Much of this may be that the interior shots use very low light, which is problematic. If you're planning more films in this series, I suggest setting them mainly outdoors and during the day as these shots lookd great. I loved the photography and editing of the opening scene with the car and the way you handeled the violence here. I love the look of the character with the gas mask. I would suggest using less voice over and going straight to more action. Let the exposition come out in conversation as the story progresses. Whilst I like the sound of the VO, I feel it continues past the point where we want to get on with the story. Overall though, very impressive.
Posted: Mon, 7th May 2007, 10:25pm

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aargh

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Hey, thanks. I'm really considering remaking this film and incorporating some different ideas. It's strange that you mentioned Philip K. Dick. I would have never thought this to be anything like his work, even though I'm a huge fan of his books. Guess he has inpired me in ways I would never think. The reason I might re-make the film is because I have taken everyones comments to heart and I think it could really improve this beast. Plus, I have a friend in LA who is in the business of film and he had a lot of good ideas for the film. Several things that I will improve is overall better production quality. I personally have picked this film apart in ways you have no idea and I have come to the conclution that this story has so many different directions it can take. Besides, whats the worst that can happen? I waste time writing a script that I won't make? Plus, if I want to start a series/serial, It's needs to start off with a bang. Now...who has money biggrin Just Kidding. And I'm off on another crusade! AARGH!
Posted: Mon, 7th May 2007, 11:46pm

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petet2

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How did your camera set up work? I would love the ability to use a proper lens with marked focusing distances again. Apart form the ease of editing and special effects I do miss using super 8...
Posted: Tue, 8th May 2007, 6:43pm

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aargh

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Well, coming from the world of film also (8mm, 16mm) the camera set up really opens your world up to a different world of "video." Although this was the poor mans mini35, it still did the job. Just wish I spent more time understanding the set up better. Realize with a set up like this, light is HUGE factor, as itshould with any poject, film or video. Plus, 'm old fashioned and I much rather get as much done "in-camera" then using my time in post to try and get the same effect.

Because I'm internet stupid I don't know how to insert a picture inside the post, so I'll add it to the films site here on fxhome. But I won't lie, I did use the ideas from a group of guys that made a film called MARLA. Some of you may know of this film and if you go to thier site, they have a full tutorial on how to make it.

http://www.marlathemovie.com/

I just did my owm mods to make it easier to use. Like, make it mountable on an old tripod, I also make a cradling system out of wood so it could me placed where ever and be stable, plus I put an old LCD monitor on the back. The only good thing about that monitor was it was able to mirror or flip the image right there, so you can frame the shot without get lost or confused. Honestly, I had a lot of fun making the thing. But my next project will be with a better system, much like the one tuck2001 used or made for HOBBY. Only, I'll use HD. Anyway, I'd get creative, and my motto is: "The only true way to learn is to truely make mistakes!" If you have any other quesions or comments, keep'em comming.