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Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 2:02pm

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Charles decides to spend the night at a welcoming bed & breakfast house in the countryside hostel on Parkday Rd. 16, because of the terrible storm raging outside. The host, John, explains that there has been quite some time since someone visited his house, and it’s always nice with company. Despite the fact that the host is quite odd and the house seems to have a life of it’s own, Charles decides to stay the night...

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Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 3:20pm

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You should really pay more attention to the audio when finalizing your projects. I'll write more when I've watched the whole thing.

Well, now I've watched it and I must say that it was quite disappointing as I was actually hoping you'd raise the bar once again (after Cell).

I'll start with the weak points:
* The sound editing was sloppy at best. The quality of your re-recorded dialogue shifted a lot throughout the movie and it was actually quite irritating, and I also felt that some of the sound effects were a bit off.
* The script was pretty weak at some points. His strange hallucinations/whatever were never explained and the build-up in the end was bad (*SPOILERS*I felt that the main character was too stupid to identify with. I mean come on, who would drink a glass of something that a suspected serial killer gave you? And you reminded the viewer one or too times to many about the link between the missing people and the pictures on the wall.*SPOILERS*)
* The acting has its highs and lows. You and your friends should maybe consider the drama classes that are usually available during high school. The acting is not particularly bad (and the weak sound editing probably makes it look worse than it really is) but it's not particularly good either.

And now for the better parts:
* The grading is nice as always, it's looks like you put some good effort into it and that adds to the feel of it all.
* The music fits the scenes great (although you should try to not use it as much in your next film).
* The locations were great.

I'll add more later if I should come up with something else.
Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 3:51pm

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I can sum up my critique in one word: Pacing.

The more you play the film back, the more you notice how so little is going on for so very long. Each shot and scene, on its own, is textbook in terms of its design, purpose etc, but the lingering cuts and drawn out scenes drag down the whole thing.

The basement walkthrough in particular, was painfully slow. An impending sense of doom is important in a thriller, but my attention was already eroded by the long cuts, so the sense of doom in the basement scene had been replaced with boredom.

What was needed throughout the film, was far more scene-setting, context, incidental shots, visual description:
The start of the film, with the subject sat at his laptop, needed mixing in with shots of the outside weather, visible illustrations of the severity of the storm. The driving scene needed closeups of tires through puddles, rain off the road, wiper blades ineffectively swatting at torrents of water etc.

It all helps set up quite how remote, how lonely and how totally f*cked the protagonist is, once he reaches the house. As TiCy points out, sound more design would have helped. Rain, drumming on the roof, the windows, the car etc.

Some of the audio work was downright confusing in fact. The 'eerie' music set to idyllic shots of ducks, tourists and flowers...that was just odd. However the reason why it was idyllic and not 'unsettling' was because the shots gave you too much time to soak it in, to relax.

Since the story was clearly the most important piece in this film, I'm generally encouraged by this film and know your next piece will be better. The grading work was a little curious at times, snapping between one grade and another with little reason and a lack of suitably emotive shots to match it. The sound work, as already mentioned was odd at times but generally not bad. Some ADR syncing issues, but not a show-stopper.

Overall, it feels like you know all the theories, it just their practical application that wasn't up to scratch.

Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 5:10pm

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I have to agree with the above comments about Pacing and sound issues.

Despite the fact that the host is quite odd and the house seems to have a life of it’s own
I couldn't quite see how the house had a life of it's own imo, the only thing I could gather was the "help me" sound coming through the 'studio'.

Story: Intresting and had a pretty intresting ending. However the pacing of the scenes could have gone a bit better and some things could have been explained more. (Why did he have that odd face near the sea? What was supposed to happen at the park when he was jogging?)

FOLEY: Some bits were good some were bad, Charles knocking on the door at the start was bad as the arm was moving in a repetative mode whereas the sound was only two or three knocks.

Music: This was nice and suspensful and I quite enjoyed listening to it through the film smile

Grading: I see you crunched the blacks in this with the contrast smile. Some parts of the grading were nice and dark which showed some creepy mood in scenes but others seemed to lack in mood. Oh was the flickering light in the basement graded to flash or was it really flashing? I think it was graded.

Editing: While some parts were nicely paced and had some good follow through's the rest seemed too long.

Camerawork: This was pretty good and the angles and movements were good but sometimes you overdid it on the angles in my opinion. The start for example had some nice panning effects but the angles spoiled it.

Lighting: Not to bad in this area as everything needed to be dark but some more lights near the lighted scenes would have come in handy for seeing the scene better.

Overall I have to say congratulations. This was a movie worth watching and commenting, it even bourght a bit of suspense into me. Well done and good luck on the next big project wink.

Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 8:48pm

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I thought this was really cool. I like a lot of your shots in day. The darkness was a bit overdone, but that's more of a personal opinion than a critique.

I really liked how this movie kept me guessing. The pictures changing were brilliant. That really took me by surprise, and creeped me out. Also, the music was great. It really set a nice suspenseful mood.

The pacing was slow at times, and you do need to work on that. Scene where the character was jogging through the dark was when it was the most noticeable.

I can't wait to see more of your work! Bravo!

Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 11:14pm

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King of Blades

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Well, as the main character arrived at the house for the first time, you couldn't really tell that there was an actual storm going on, despite the fact that the actor's clothes were drenched.

The rest of it was alright, and I'm a little tired right now, so, I can't really give a full review right now... so, I won't give a rating yet.
Posted: Fri, 17th Aug 2007, 11:22pm

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Hey there! I liked it, didn't at all feel like 30 minutes, time went by fast and im kinda a fan of the slower pacing - if it just would've built up to something!. I'm gonna concentrate on some parts that didn't do it for me..

The basic story is okey, but the way its executed, which I guessing already started in the the script just dosen't do it for me. There are not enough reasons for him to go there,stay there, or stay there as long as did.
I'm gussing he wants his guest to know who he is, giving him clues, getting him scared.. But we didn't get a backstory about the guy, if he was a detective I could understand him staying.. his guts are saying there is something wrong about this, trying to find out more about this badguy. but this is a ordinary guy, trying to avoid too much attention, yet he sticks around when the clues are getting so obvious it's like shooting himself in the head or in this case a badass drill.
Also I don't see the point americanize the settings and locations. This is a story that would've been killer if it would've taken place in the countryside in Sweden. A guy driving home from work, having to stop by and take the only avaiable for miles because of the weather. You know how dark and empty it can be on those small roads in Sweden. The guy has nowhere to go! Perfect setup (well, not really but you see my point). I would also perfered to see it in Swedish. This is not because I'm Swedish, if this would've been made in Russia I'd prefered it in Russian.
Writing dialoug in your own language is not only easier, it tends to turn out better and more realistic - which in my world is everything.

There's alot confusing plotholes that I just couldn't figure out.
Like what happend with the bad weather when he went out jogging?
And why is he staying there? i thought he would leave home when the weather reasonable.. Why did he leave in the first place?

The cinemaphotography all through the film is very good, looks great. .
The begining might have had abit to much panning for my taste, Grading works great for the mood, and a good varaition between locations even if it jumped around abit too much. The softlook works in most of the scenes, some are just too much which makes it look like either a bad Hallmark production, or a cheap prono. It's a fine edge there, 90% of the time you're on the right side!

What more? I'd love to see you direct a descent script, wether it be action, horror or drama. It would be intersting to see how you pull it off!
Posted: Sat, 18th Aug 2007, 9:22am

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I liked it, but it was rather easy to guess what was going to happen.
I think the technical work was really nice, even though there were some mentioned flaws...

Overall I give it a 4.
Posted: Sun, 19th Aug 2007, 2:23pm

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White Balance Guy

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For me this 30 minute movie seem like a 90 min. movie. Scene after scene after scene it just kept getting more and more boring. You can have all the high-tech gadgetry you want HD cameras state-of-the-art editing digital special effects but if you don't have a great plot you basically have nothing. If you're going to write your own screen play and not rip off someone else at least learn the basics. It really is not that difficult it is very similar to just talking to someone and telling them an interesting story. The more important details you include the easier it is for someone to visualize it. Now let me say a few words about the audio it's not rocket science anyone who has any knowledge at all of digital audio recording knows 0vu is the cut off point. The second you go over it, it becomes pure distortion. Not even fifteen seconds into the movie in fact the music for the logo before the movie goes into overload. Come on its your logo for God's sake get it right. I still do not get it, why do so many people on FX think that color keying a scene in olive green looks good. I have watched thousands of movies made in Hollywood and I have never seen an entire movie from beginning to end color keyed in olive green. Now let's talk about the lighting if you can afford a high-definition camera there is no excuse not to own a good lighting kit absolutely no excuse. Ninety Percent of this movie is grossly under lit. One more thing a really good suspense movie generally has several I got you scenes what I mean by this is two or three scenes before I got you the suspense just keeps building and building and then you have something happen but it's not what you think and it is not scary. This movie could have used several.

Posted: Sun, 19th Aug 2007, 6:57pm

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Rating: +1

White Balance Guy wrote:

Now let's talk about the lighting if you can afford a high-definition camera there is no excuse not to own a good lighting kit absolutely no excuse. Ninety Percent of this movie is grossly under lit.
While I'll agree that there is a paramount need for better lighting in this movie, your previous statement seems rather stupid.

Surely spending much rationed money on an HDR-FX1 would inherently mean he'd be broke after purchasing it, and therefore unable to purchase anything else? I myself own a Canon Gl2, and have the luxury of owning a Rode NTG-2 mic and a fluid head tripod. Conversely, my friend- who owns the same camera as Redhawk- has no mic, no tripod, no nothing. Just the camera.

It's fine to criticize the flaws of the movie; but don't make sweeping generalizations about budgeting, especially if you don't know what you're talking about.
Posted: Mon, 20th Aug 2007, 9:09am

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I liked this but had a few issues. Sound was fine, apart from some dialogue parts. Only thing that bothered me soundwise was the heavy breathing in the basement - it didn't synch with the actor so was a bit annoying. Darkness was a mixed bag. Some parts worked well because you had subjects lit in all the right places so it looked excellent. Others like the kitchen looked horrible and grainy. I do know darkness is difficult to get right and get a balance between darkeness and what one can see, but it's one for the future.

Setting it in England didn't work for me and I kept noticing mistakes:
- writing (e.g. advices), logistics (97 miles from location, "I'll be there in an hour" he got there at 97 miles an hour speed in his car, in a storm?), driving on right side of the road, hilarities (Angus Berkovich...funny fusion of a Scots name and Czech)

I agree with Xcession about grading, there was inconsistency, e.g. the seaside shots, the tapwater blue shot. And I agree, there is confusion about the sudden face shots, and the photoshopping seems to be for the sake of it rather than adding anything. I'm guessing the field sequence is a premonition of the drink given to him later, but maybe being more explicit could have worked (e.g. blood dripping from the mouth of the bottle). Agree about pacing too and think it could have been 10 minutes shorter.

Liked the concept though and some of the execution. Edit: Effects were nifty, like the flickering, sparks and lightning.
Posted: Tue, 21st Aug 2007, 1:14am

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As a follow up to Cell, 16 expands on a few attributes and talents that I knew you already possessed in your film-making arsenal. These included composition (forgiving a few shots that were a bit skewed) and grading. As I believe you already know, you suffer from a lack of lighting, but don't let that beat you down, as you've put together a thirty minute piece of film that required a lot of hard work and attention to even start, let alone finish, so for doing that you already deserve a well done!

16 suffers in major production areas, lighting and sound being the key, this doesn't include the music, which was chosen well and worked very well. I won't discuss the sound/foley/dialogue. I'm sure you are aware of the flaws in those areas. My biggest problem with 16 was that it tried to expand on your thriller and short film Cell (in terms of atmosphere and narrative/drive) but failed and what your left with is an over-stretched and withered piece. You have fantastic ideas in there, the photographs, the searching through the rooms/areas. Your locations are also great (which is key to any thriller/horror production).

16 could have been a pretty tight and eerie ten minute horror. I would advise you next attempt a shorter film/script with perhaps one or two keen actors on board so you can concentrate on camera and perhaps throw in some lighting too. You don't need big bucks for lighting, I've certainly never had it, throw in some DIY lights with some filters on them, with horror you've more scope to 'attack' the rules of lighting to create any atmosphere you desire... I won't go on smile

Well done Red, I agree with what most people have said above but I understand the effort and time gone into any short film. This is one of the better shorts I've seen online (especially in terms of potential).
Posted: Tue, 21st Aug 2007, 3:02am

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This was a real stretch for you Red, and I really liked Cell so I was looking forward to this flick.

Admittedly, I know where you were going with the build-up, and I applaud you for the effort as the longer a piece is, the more challenging it can be to keep your audiences attention. That said, the piece as a whole did fail to keep me in tune a lot of the time and I personally felt that there were places where you could have trimmed to save space. The car ride to the room was quite longer than I would have liked for example.

The darkness worked for the eerie feeling you were trying to convey, it's just that there was not enough lighting in certain places to make out everything, and I was kind of straining a little, but that may be due to watching it on a PC

But in the end, I appreciated the work you put into this, again I'm sure it wasn't easy, and as er-no said, don't let that discourage you. I love the talent that you show with what you have to work with and look forward to your next submission.
Posted: Fri, 24th Aug 2007, 4:39pm

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The bad: There obviously wasn't any storm. I think if you had shortened the driving/outdoor scenes, then that would have been less obvious. Was it supposed to take place in England? If so, the car was on the wrong side of the road. The ending was pretty obvious, and the voice acting wasn't that good (but English isn't your first language, right?)

The good: Despite the flaws, it was still suspenseful, and unlike the other people who have reviewed it, I think that the pacing was great. Unlike most fxhome movies, it actually gave you some time to breathe. The cinematography and grading were also great. SPOILER: I loved the way that the photos turned all black and dead after he realized what had happened to them. /SPOILER.

Overall, 4 stars.
Posted: Sun, 26th Aug 2007, 10:07pm

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I liked this - it's clear that you have a great deal of talent as a director and cinematographer, and likewise as an editor and colourist. The film looked very nice to me, with only a few scenes looking amateurish in terms of shot choice, lighting and grading.

There were occasionally edits that could have been tweaked either quicker or slower for my taste - but compared to the length of the film, there were remarkably few of these.

So huge congratulations are due for making something that looks so polished! And especially at 30 minutes; I think it's very difficult to produce work of this standard for just a few minutes, so to do it for a full half hour, it's clear you've put in a lot of effort, thought and skill. Really well done!

However, I feel that the script for this film really, really let it down. It was a nice idea, but nothing overly original. The dialogue wasn't the worst that I've ever heard, but not the most natural either.

But it's the huge jumps in logic that the audience is forced to make that sadly leave this piece lacking; as others have pointed out, there are very dramatic plot holes that are never resolved, such as why the hell he didn't just run away when he had the chance and calling the authorities, rather than exploring the house? I know that these type of plot devices are used a lot in horror, but they need some kind of explanation, otherwise we as an audience just think "What a prick, I hope he enjoys that drill because he bloody well deserves it" wink

Aside from the poor plot, I also think that whilst the very long build up to a climax was done quite well, I think this too fell down because it wasn't enough of a surprise - I think we clocked that the hotel owner was a psycho from the first scene with him.

I think for the ending to really have any shock value, it would either need some kind of kicker ending (like the guest ends up killing the home-owner, and it then is revealed that the home-owner was innocent, and in killing him the guest has implicated himself in the murders of the other victims, or something); OR you'd have to scare us more, gross us out more with what actually happens to the victim - there was a good opportunity to really get creative with some horror effects towards the end, which I think you missed out on.

However, these things aside, I do really think this was a very good piece, technically. I think you should maybe read around about how to structure a script/storyline, and put a bit more thought into the 'twist' at the end. But other than that, it's a very accomplished piece, especially with such a long runtime. So for that, I think it's very worthy of 4 stars.

Posted: Wed, 5th Sep 2007, 11:42am

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Oh. Very Good job Nils. The movie was excellent. This is the best movie in there after Nightcast and between the lines...... i personally think.
Posted: Mon, 7th Jan 2008, 7:00pm

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1 word 2 describe it amazing. seriously i absoloutely loved it. for me it was of the ame quality of film as between the are definetly very talented and i look forward to more of your films