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Stargate SG-2 The Ninth Symbol

Posted: Mon, 24th Sep 2007, 10:49am

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nfsbuff

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SG-2's Dr. Grant has discovered a previously unknown form of writing and text, in a temple abandoned long ago on Earth. This text was found to be written by beings who lived during the time of the Ancients, the original gate builders. They were a sophisticated race, whose technology was parallel to that of the Ancients.

These two races seemed to have shared technology. However, this unknown race mysteriously vanished before the Ancients left our galaxy and headed for Pegasus. All that remained was this one temple, some cryptic inscriptions on its walls, and The Ninth Symbol. Now, SG-2 are tasked with discovering where this Ninth Symbol resides, what it does, and what its connection to the Stargate is.

However, finding this object, whatever it may be, proves harder then expected. Even after thousands of years of being undisturbed, its going to take a monumental effort to overcome the challenges this mission will produce. What will SG-2 discover? What is the Ninth Symbol?
-------------------------------
After three years of blood, sweat and tears, the latest venture of Blue Smoke Studios, teamed with Pro Aim Productions and Poison Oak Productions, is here. Stargate SG-2: The Ninth Symbol.

This is a fan film made by fans for fans. In the tradition of a fanfilm, it embodies an already existing universe whose stories are told from a unique viewpoint. This is supposed to be fun, and not taken too seriously. Enjoy!


More Info
Posted: Mon, 24th Sep 2007, 12:26pm

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nfsbuff

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Here are some additional items of interest:

About the characters
Short bios on the main characters backgrounds

Behind the Scenes
Will be expanded later with video clips and an interview or two

Film Posters
Promotional material, both used and conceptual

Wallpaper
Just for fun smile
Posted: Mon, 24th Sep 2007, 7:31pm

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The Flying Fox

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This has obviously had a lot of time and effort put into it, and overall is an excellent production.

The story generally kept my interest throughout, and I noticed several references to events/characters from the show and some tied in to the story, which could of been just shoved in to the film for no reason. It's good this didn't happen here.

Action sequences were of very high quality, camera cuts were well paced and the effects were great aswell.

In the "briefing room" the keying of the background could be sometimes seen on the actors but the effect went well. Perhaps something to make it look like there was glass in the window would help sell the effect. I also liked the window reflection.

Actors were generally good. (I won't say much more as i don't act myself and can't criticize.) Props/costumes/sets were great and were easily recognizable in comparison to the show. But the "SGC" base didn't look to much like a military headquarters in some places.
The gate control room looked very good though.

On some camera angles the actors jump around from time to time, but this is minimal and doesn't ruin the film too much.

The helicopter looks almost real! I like the heat distortion effect.

The introduction was impressive aswell. Explosions are apparently shot on the set and not composited in,(if they are then very well done to you!) or at least do not appear to be. The muzzle flashes looked very much like the ones on the tv series which adds to the whole "it's stargate" theme.

Basically:

Great Film
4 stars. biggrin
Posted: Mon, 24th Sep 2007, 7:55pm

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nfsbuff

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Before my response to the previous review, I just want to say that we wish to thank you for the thoroughness of your review. More often than not, a quick "good/bad job" is all thats left.

We appreciate people taking the time to thoughtfully critique our work. We look forward to the feedback of viewers, especially in this community, as a resource that enables us to produce better work in the future.

--------

Ya, about those briefing sequences. Lighting was a nightmare. The first day of shooting we had a full lighting kit, flags etc. But then things got tied up and we had to finish those scenes without ANY lighting save for the single fluorescent light on the ceiling. The raw footage had almost no contrast to work with.

The need to have glass is something we were aware of, but ended up being one of those things we didn't have time for. Maybe in a special edition release....wink

Last edited Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 6:10am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 6:09am

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nfsbuff

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Heres why I dislike using quicktime. The left side is the source footage from the editor. The right side is the end product as Quicktime Pro encoded it. As you can see, the levels are higher, producing an image that is lower in contrast. It messed up the grading. We tried playing with the export filters in Quicktime Pro, but didn't find anything that worked.



Just keep this in mind as you watch. If anyway knows how to fix the gamma problem in QT-Pro export, please, let us know.
Posted: Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 6:56am

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Garrison

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First of all, I am not a fan of the Stargate series at all. It just never grabbed me.

Having said that, you guys are obviously great fans of the show and I've seen enough the TV show to see you captured the soul of the show.

I liked the title intro with the Stargate and the titles was really done well.

The acting was decent though some seemed a tad younger than their roles required. The overall deliveries of the actor's lines were pretty flat and deadpan. It lacked the inflection and energy to take it seriously or create any feeling of impending danger until the ending.

The production values, outfits, props (the bazooka!!) and locations were done well and kudos for that.

The audio in the dialogue was a little weak in parts. But the other sound effects really brought some depth (hospital PA, weather etc.), and the scoring was great too.

The chopper and heatwaves were pretty sweet as was the spacecraft at the end.

I think the archaeological dig scene could have used a little camera shake when you had the outside shots of the entrance.

Great ground explosions.

There were some parts where I felt you could have shaved off for time sakes as many shots seemed to linger on or were repetitive shots that didn't add any info or forward the story.

Looking forward to your future submissions.
Posted: Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 9:23am

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Sollthar

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This is difficult to judge for me. First of all, I can see that there has been a lot of sweat, blood and time put in and this is the main thing that independent filmmaking is all about. Some of the production values are extremely high, among the most resourceful in the fxhome cinema. Clearly, this has a lot of dedication and love in it. Which is exactly why it's so difficult to review. Unfortunately, the high production values don't add up right.

First of all, I'm not familiar with the Stargate universe. I've seen the movie and liked it, but that's it. The series doesn't interest me in the slightest and I know more or less nothing about it. Maybe that is partially responsible for my biggest gripe I have with the film: I just didn't really understand what it was all about. I didn't know where it was going - and then at one point, it ended and the end credits rolled. For the most part of the film, I couldn't follow the dramatic buildup ( First act: Character intro, second act: main story build up, third act: resolve - proper dramatic structure seemed absent)

I do believe that every film, fanfilm or not, should be standalone and understandable and accessable to all audience - even those not familiar with the universe. And to me, this wasn't. It seemed to rely on knowledge and story arcs I simply knew nothing of. It felt like I've just zapped into a movie that has been running for an hour already. And the ending felt like it just ended somewhere in between.
So I couldn't be much interested in the script. There was lots of talking, and very little happening. To be quite honest, over the majority of it, I was tempted to hit the "fast forward" button. Which I didn't.

The acting was "alright", but as has been said before, some of it was downright bad, which also didn't help combined with the fact the film was highly dialogue heavy. Too much dialogue delivered badly just doesn't add up. The actors were highly static, some of them clearly tried hard to remember their lines, and the dialogue itself was wooden as well sometimes.

The costumes of the actors though were very believable and very good. Again, the production values are what keep this on a much higher level. This is a great example of attention to detail and what proper costumes, props and sets can achieve on the level of believability. Most of it looked just right!

There were some events which had a lot of time devoted to them, but didn't seem to have that much importance for the story and other moments. There were just a lot of movements and moments that felt way too long (the burning site for example, some people standing around before an actual dialogue starts, some people standing around before the cut goes to the next scene etc). Generally, this could have been 15 to 20 % shorter I think without losing anything. In fact, tighter editing would probably add a lot to it. Losing some unnecessary lines as well.

Another gripe with the editing was the fact that there was a pause between most dialogues that were edited. Person A speaks, cut, Person B speaks, cut, Person A speaks again. There were hardly moments where the editing tightened up the pacing by interwaving these two shots, which could also have helped to add to the acting. There were a lot of shots where I could still feel the "action" in there, if you know what I mean.

The choice of music, a mixture of Independence Day, Star Wars etc, were well chosen. The use of music generally had a good feel to it. You seem to have a good idea of what music does and when to apply what type of music, which is rare and always adds up!
The sounddesign was also generally really good. You added a lot of "it's actually there" feeling with your clever use of ambient and foley. The dialogue mixing could have been better though.

The effects were a mixed bag as well. Some of the compositing was highly dodgy, and some shots looked very good. Then obviously, those ground explosions are DA SHIZZLE! It's always great to see physical effects in something and the shot where the alien ship crashed into the ground was the best thing about this really. It was just a very very exciting sequence!

The camerawork was as mixed. Some shots felt very cinematic (the huge explosion, some of the action shots, the dialogue shot in the desert, the helicopter shot) but the average shot of the film just had this feeling of "I don't QUITE know how to frame it right". It was very close to being framed correctly, but just not there yet.

Some defined colorgrading would have also helped to make some shots better. And I'm not talking about contrast or just wildly changing colors of a shot, but doing actual vector based color grading to seperate certain elements within the same shot.


What is left is a very mixed impression. I'm impressed by the props, costumes, some locations and the huge amount of work that has obviously gone into it. But still, the final film was taken down considerably by what I'd consider a weak script, below average acting and odd pacing. Storytelling wise, this just wasn't there for me.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but it's the way the film felt for me. I did watch all of it through though. I'll give it a 4 because of the high production values.

I am however very much looking forward to your next film. If you can bring your script, acting and storytelling to the same level as your attention for production values, then you're definately on the right track for an all time top10 film.
Posted: Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 9:34am

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Simon K Jones

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nfsbuff wrote:

Heres why I dislike using quicktime.
The encoding is most probably fine, actually - it's Quicktime PC's playback that screws it. If you watch the file on a Mac it'll probably look fine. Quite why Apple can't keep their playback standards the same across all platforms I have no idea...either way, it's annoying.
Posted: Tue, 25th Sep 2007, 5:40pm

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nfsbuff

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Sollthar, thank you for the review. Rather than give a point by point rebuttal at the major points you brought out, I'll give a little back-story on the making of this film. Mind you, this is in no way an "apology" trying to cover our mistakes, rather an insight as to what might have brought them about.

To start off with, construction of this film was evolutionary. Not story wise, but in a technical sense. We started knowing next to nothing and ended with three years experience. Would we, if possible, do it again knowing what we do know? Absolutely. But, we wouldn't know what we do now had it not been for the experience in the first place.

We started preliminary work on the film in the summer of 2004, which some might recall as our "Operation Room Check" days. The construction of the initial script was done pretty much without any knowledge of script writing, instead being based off of the style of our last work. (Action Briefing Action Conclusion) In trying to write a script that was doable, we sacrificed imagination for realism. In other words, we wrote for what we COULD do, and not necessarily what we WANTED to do. In retrospect this was a bad idea.

The second bad idea came to being when we started shooting without a complete script. I know I know, what were we thinking, right? But the main drive behind this was it had been a year at this point since the initial film idea, and we still had nothing to show for it. All the actors were heading to college and it was both frustrating and disheartening to see cast and crew melt away. So, with only 25 pages of a 40 page script we shot the first scenes. During final test week no less. The following summer a location shot was done, and then everything halted. 3 of the 4 main actors ended up in 3 different countries the following school year. This brought about the dark age of the SG-2 film shoot. Production was stagnant and left in a corner.

The third bad idea in our succession happened about this time. It was now the second year of college and with nobody within a 1000 miles (literally) of each other, one of the producers sat down and finished the script, unfortunately doing an almost complete rewrite. By now 3 of what would end up being 17 scenes were already filmed. Up till now filming had been flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style. No storyboards, no directors meetings, just a partial script. It was now that a small ray of light turned on. One of the main director/producers took several film classes this second year. It was during this time our RUN and Remembered films were submitted.

The summer of the second year saw a major event that would change the course of the film almost completely. The opportunity to film on location in the desert was presented, and just as quickly jumped on. This provided potential for some really cool stuff...and also a problem. Up till now, the main external thrust of the film had been forest based. Our first and second teasers are indicative of this. However, a fiasco regarding our forest location shots (a whole 'NOTHER story) had severely hampered the overall filming progress. The desert opportunity provided a way out of this. You can probably smell what’s about to happen at this point. Yep, a major re-write to the second half (of the already re-written) script. To further complicate matters, 2 of the main actors had to bail at the last minute, meaning replacements/redesigns were necessary.

By now, our filming skills had improved greatly and I think it shows in the desert scenes (e.g., the desert sunset dialog, the action sequences) However, with the reduction in stars and staff, interim people were grabbed to fill the holes. Cameraman were different, sound was different, actors were different. But we were committed to the location shoot, and so we did the best with what we had. At this time budgetary and personnel issues rose their ugly united head and a whole, rather important, scene was given the mutilation of a blunt axe. The whole destroyed dig scene? Ya...that was supposed to be the crux of the story where everything came together and was explained. Instead, we had 4 hours to film, no stars to shoot, and no crew to shoot them. The end result was the destruction montage you see in the film.

This brought us to the end our second year. There is one little detail I have neglected to reveal. Up until now, a full 2 years after the initial script writing, not an inch of film had been shot of the briefing scenes. And for all the re-writing that had happened, those scenes, in and of themselves, had not been altered. Their story hooks and points were still based off the original ideas we had.

So now we're in our third year. Everything is shot save for the briefing scenes and the intro scene. Editing had been happening since the first scene was shot. Now, however, 2 of the producers/directors were at a different university across the county. With the new school, higher classes and extremely tight schedule, shooting again came to a standstill. It wasn't until the last week at uni that all the briefing scenes were filmed in 2 days. And our then the final blow came. The first day we had full filming gear. Lighting kits, flags, reflectors, mic and boom, the whole lot. The second film day (two weeks later) none of that equipment was available to us save for a second hand mic. And, the camera man also had to hold the boom. But the best was yet to come. The final blow came when we were capturing the footage. Every bit of raw audio had a ground loop buzz in it.

It was now this last summer, and our premier date was fast approaching. Re-shoots and dubs were out of the question. Plus, the post-production crew had full time summer jobs.

Wow, I didn't mean to re-tell that whole saga. I hope it was followable. Truthfully, the making of the film could be a whole film in itself. My hope for all this is that it gives reviewers a background of what happened behind the scenes, and ultimately why things in the movie are they way they are.

Last edited Thu, 27th Sep 2007, 4:06am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 26th Sep 2007, 10:30pm

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NinjaBros

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I really thought it captured the show very well, I watch it alot, and I'm looking forward to Atlantis on Friday. Overall, I think that it seemed very much like a SciFi channel production. It wasn't incredible, but it was pretty good. Looking forward to your next film.
Posted: Thu, 27th Sep 2007, 12:43am

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nfsbuff

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Thanks Vale. It was fun (most of the time wink ) making it. As a fanfilm by fans for fans, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sollthar wrote:

...and the shot where the alien ship crashed into the ground was the best thing about this really.
Hehe, I totally agree. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 27th Sep 2007, 3:12am

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Biblmac

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Holy crap!! That was Awesome! I have never seen something that good with maybe a few exceptions, using Fxhome Products. I definitly liked the actors, seems like you did a pretty good job casting. I also really liked the plot. Hope you make a sequal.
Posted: Sat, 6th Oct 2007, 1:32am

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RodgerDodger

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Wow! A Stargate fan film! Never thought I would see many of these! That being said, I have only one word of advice to give:
CUTAWAYS!
It seemed in the briefing room scenes, I could tell when I cut was coming. If you used cutaways to show how people in the room were reacting to what other people said, it might have been interesting. Not much action going on during a briefing...some cutaways could have provided some interest. I did see some cutaways during the sunset scene in the desert, though. Overall, good job!
Posted: Sun, 14th Oct 2007, 12:28am

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the Fiddler

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Wow! I'm impressed guys. I mean its not perfect, but it seems to be a very valiant effort for what you had to work with and grow upon. Good job!
Posted: Sun, 14th Oct 2007, 4:44am

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nfsbuff

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Thanks Fiddler. I know its not perfect, and in a way I'm glad. It means our next film will be all the better. In the end, its what we learned and how much fun we had learning it. Thanks for watching!
Posted: Sun, 14th Oct 2007, 4:53am

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StoyBoy720

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I've been following this film for a while now, having worked on a Stargate fan film myself and just being a lover of fan films and Stargate.

I'm having problems downloading the film off the site, though. The file will download for about 35 MB and then stop, saying the download is complete, when it obviously isn't. This has happened multiple times with both the QT and WMV versions. Any ideas on what I can do to get the movie?

Regardless of download issues, is there any way to get the flick on DVD?

Thanks!
Posted: Sun, 14th Oct 2007, 4:55am

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nfsbuff

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We've been experiencing this problem for some users. There doesn't seem to be a pattern, so we have no idea what the problem is. Does downloading the QT version from the mirror listed solve the problem?

Mirror:
Sketchwork's Mirror
Posted: Tue, 11th Dec 2007, 11:41pm

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Travis Kunze

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Hey, Its Me SG-Y, like i said on your site, this was a great Fan Film, and i might call you guys for some advice. But over all your was awesome, all i can do is hope for a sequel. smilesmilesmile
Posted: Thu, 17th Jan 2008, 12:33am

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FXhomer26325

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cant down load your movie, even at mirror sites . I managed to down load it once but the play back was all green?
any one have any ideas to help.

PS.
just to note ,i did watch some of the movie streaming it..
so please note.. female hair.. even in combat roles( wearing 'C-fow).
Female would have their hair tied back in a pony hair. NEver would they be allowed to have long hair down loose,as seen in one of your scenes
female seated in a radio control room?. --visual shot is from behind/over left shoulder.
aside from that i loved it .. just wish i could down load it
chris
Posted: Thu, 17th Jan 2008, 12:56am

Post 20 of 25

nfsbuff

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Hey, I'm not sure what the problem is. I've done a test download both from my site (both versions) and SketchWork's mirror, and so far its worked. However, this isn't the first trouble we've had reported. If you'd like to have an off site link set up, PM me and we'll set you up.

Ya, character hair seems to have been a problem for us, both male and female. smile Everything thats been said, we've made careful notes of. I really wish you could have a beta phase for your film, as in software design, so you could iron out the films kinks before it was released. And I know the professional films have test screenings, but for small productions like those found here, that's not really practical.

So ya, thanks for the notes and comments. Although we can't fix the myriad of problems with this film, we'll be doing our best to incorperate what we've learned into our next.

Thanks for watching!

PS If you're still wanting to get the film, PM me.
Posted: Thu, 17th Jan 2008, 1:35am

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FXhomer26325

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thanks for the quick reply.
( no idea where you are. MOst people around the world are fast asleep now.
me? .im on my lunch...)
I spent 16 years with the RAF as an engineer,working with 41 SAR( which, being special air recon would be "a bit"like your sgi team.) finally leaving,16 years ago, to move too ...Australia.
I now live and work in tamworth ..
As... wait for it Senior post production editor for a tv station..

i have been ( briefly) ina fan film..( dr who intro and rush edits).
if you ever need a hand.. drop me a line .
would love to help.. if possible
chris...
better go and get a sandwich now.
Posted: Thu, 17th Jan 2008, 1:37am

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FXhomer26325

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ps.
contact at

dizzyduck337@hotmail.com

chris

have to run. bye
Posted: Thu, 17th Jan 2008, 1:37am

Post 23 of 25

FXhomer26325

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ps.
contact at

dizzyduck337@hotmail.com

chris

have to run. bye
Posted: Fri, 25th Apr 2008, 2:14pm

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Mellifluous

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Good production values. Some aspects were very impressive, like the 3d effects and the locations. Sound effects were good.

But as countless others have mentioned, way too dialogue heavy. The scenes 17 and 19 minutes in are exhausting examples of this, and also of the film's weakest acting, sound, pacing and editing moments. It's incredibly staged, e.g. actor speaks, pan camera (during which there's an awkward silence), cue next actor speaks. Next time, make it more dynamic and allow people to speak during panning and encourage variation. I think much of the bad acting is due to bad directing and overwriting more than anything. The better acting came earlier on or in action scenes, when people had things to do in a scene and were thus more sure of their roles and character.

Characterisation: I didn't like how you set up a conflict around 25 minutes in and then resolved it 3 minutes later.

Camerawork: I think this was ok but let the film down because it didn't get us close to characters. A lot of the external scenes are shot rather aloof from the actors, all in one frame as opposed to extreme closeups. These contributed to the scenes just feeling like dialogue recitals and nothing more. Closeups can be your friend, and also you don't have to cut to the face of whoever's talking every single time, you can closeup on the person they're talking to and see their reaction.

Having said that, I know from experience on shooting a very long film that if you have a limited time, it becomes a case of as simple setups as possible. If it's your first time in such circumstances, you can learn to think a bit quicker on your feet next time to prevent you from sacrificing good cinematography.

It's a good achievement, I think you and your friends are to be congratulated smile Would love to see you transfer your enthusiasm for Stargate to do an original film where you all feel more sure of your ground though.
Posted: Sat, 21st Mar 2009, 8:41pm

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FXstudios99

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That was absolutely amazing!!! The only thing that I could notice was some of the compositing had a few flaws in it, but all in all, It was great!