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BLACK DAWN - Movie

Posted: Thu, 30th Oct 2008, 3:05pm

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Garrison

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Our first short we shot in 4 days here in Maui.

I'd like to thank cast and crew that made this all possible


A hired gun infiltrates a facility to download a computer file, BLACK DAWN. Unaware that a trap has been laid in anticipation for his arrival.


More Info
Posted: Thu, 30th Oct 2008, 9:08pm

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B3N

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Wow, this was awesome Garrison!

Loved it although kind of slow in places.

I shall be writing a lengthly review of this as soon as my college work decides to vanish! wink

Good job to you and the cast and crew.
Posted: Fri, 31st Oct 2008, 12:59am

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Biblmac

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Well I enjoyed it very much. I thought the grading was fantastic and the acting was better than expected. The quality was impressive. The script was good. I thought the gun shots looked rather good, however the grenade, (if it was meant to be a flash bang) should have had more of a flash, maybe just of light? Also the blood looked like it was computer generated and not all that real mostly because in the one scene where the woman uses one of the agents as a human shield the guy was shot in the head but there was no hole in the mask or anywhere which was probably the only bad thing about the blood. In a couple places you could hear the camera buzz. But Overall I give it a 4. Great job!

PS what camera was it? And editor?
Posted: Fri, 31st Oct 2008, 6:55pm

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B3N

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Right then, Starting from the start.
I loved the camera shots and build up at the start, some very nice DOF uses in there and some pretty nice close ups. The performance from both the main BLACK DAWN hacker and the security guard were actually pretty good, and the main guy when he smiles looks hot…
Then we get to the scene where the guy you play confronts the old bloke and when you stepped out the car I was like, “It’s Darren! Haha” and I was bracing myself for the slap scene…but then realised you cut it out. The entire scene where everyone starts talking to each other over the radios was nicely edited but I felt the woman looks a bit wooden for the first few seconds before turning round and walking towards the soldiers.

And then we have the title sequence, hehe, this reminded me so much of Lethal Weapon. Then we get the freeze frames with titles over them introducing the characters, I felt these stayed on a bit too long. The scene of shooting the guard was pretty sweet, liked the way that was pulled off but it was predictable, but then again what scene like that isn’t.

The “looking for him” scene seemed a bit too long in my opinion, maybe faster editing or cutting the scene down a bit more would have made it more interesting. I understand you were going for suspense but it was a long suspense smile

I agree about the flashbang shot, it didn’t come across as a bright explosion so possibly more of a increase in your whites? Muzzles were nicely done, blood was a bit too noticeably CG and the fight was pretty good although I didn’t feel like they were hurting each other smile The final shootout was actually well done, I liked it and didn’t expect the guy to die.

Overall this was a nice piece of work, overexposed in some parts, some parts could have been graded a bit nicer and the ADR could have been synced up a bit more seeing as some speech wasn’t synced up. Performances was actually really good as well. I loved the sound effects though! As always I feel this is your strong point, I mean after that Prescient 13 sound effects test you sent me months ago it is certainly your wow factor.

4/5
Posted: Sat, 1st Nov 2008, 12:41am

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SilverDragon7

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I have a bit of a different view on this piece...

I'll start with the the fact that I liked Mark, Charlie, Chris, and Frank's acting, everyone else seemed forced and under-analyzed.

I liked the technicals to the film (except the blood, muzzle flashes and flashbang- but I'll get to that later), camerawork was the most superior. The editing in most places could have been tighter.

What I did not like:
The freezeframes for the 5 characters, I think that their names and job could have been mentioned in dialog. Also, in that same part of the freezeframes, what's up with the walking? Why, with the cuts, are they movie in different spots/sequence?

The muzzle flashes took a bit of the film away from me, either there were plenty or not enough, some big some small- just too much variation in them and quite a bit unrealistic with the smoke.

The flashbang was terrible. Can't be more blunt than that. A good example of how to execute this can be seen in Die Hard.

The blood squits were obviously computer made, like most, but were all one single color (and a bright color at that). The blood on the Agent's shirt at the end could have been better also- there are hundreds of great fake blood reciepes on the world wide internet.

Overall I give it a solid 3/5 stars.
Posted: Sat, 1st Nov 2008, 2:19am

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Garrison

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Thanks very much for the responses..


@ Biblmac

- Yeah the flashbang could have been done better with a more white flash in there. Very good point on that.

- I didn’t think of putting a hole in the mask after getting shot… It was either I became more myopic in post or while shooting since I bought most of the wardrobe, I wanted to keep them in good shape if needed in the future.

- The camera buzz thing was my fault because what little audio we could capture was at low level, so I had to crank up the volume in post and therefore the buzz raises well. That was my fault.

- I shot this on my VX2100 and edited in FCP



@ B3N

- Well, I was only in it because we didn’t have enough people to fill the cast, but thanks.

- Yeah I think I could have shot Diamondback a better way when she walked back from getting the call to make it more ominous than plain-looking.

- The “looking for him” I think was too long too. I was trying to space out the attempts of the password with the squad looking for him, but maybe I should have just made one attempt or something to shorten it down.

- The grading was a real challenge to do because what’s interesting about the interior is for some reason there was a mixture of fluorescent & recessed incandescent lighting. Whomever wired the lights and switches didn’t separate them so they were both on at the same time and it got troublesome.

- I’m glad you liked the performances as only one of them actually has any experience in front of the camera.



@ SilverDragon

- I'm glad you like those guy's acting, I felt they did great for first-timers, and they were my favorites.

- The freezeframe for introducing them was my idea and that was most likely due to the fact that there was little dialogue because I thought if there was too much dialogue it would expose the actor's green-ness. It was the only other way I knew how to "introduce" them. So perhaps that was a bad call on my part. I'm not sure what walking part you are talking about? Can you elaborate more?

- The blood was stock footage stuff (except for the ones on the Agent at the end) so I'll try to work on that more with the color.
Posted: Sat, 1st Nov 2008, 3:57am

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SilverDragon7

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Garrison wrote:

I'm not sure what walking part you are talking about? Can you elaborate more?

- The blood was stock footage stuff (except for the ones on the Agent at the end) so I'll try to work on that more with the color.
During the Freeze frames.

Also, I would look into VideoCoPilot's Action Movie Essentials, great blood footage.
Posted: Sat, 1st Nov 2008, 4:05am

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Garrison

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SilverDragon7 wrote:

Garrison wrote:

I'm not sure what walking part you are talking about? Can you elaborate more?

- The blood was stock footage stuff (except for the ones on the Agent at the end) so I'll try to work on that more with the color.
During the Freeze frames.

Also, I would look into VideoCoPilot's Action Movie Essentials, great blood footage.
Ah okay, I got you.

Incidentally, I have to look back, but I think the blood is from Video Copilot.
Posted: Sat, 1st Nov 2008, 9:13am

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Cypher

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Nice job guys. Enjoyable to watch.

You build the tension quite nicely. DOP is competent and executes his choices quite well most of the time. The music is very fitting. I love the "pre-battle" moments when they're going through the building. Great stuff there.

I think what can be improved upon is the pace of editing once the action goes down, particularily in the fight. It's far too slow and you can tell the punches aren't connecting. It's curious, i liked the gun stuff much more when there were less shots fired (ie, when a single shot to take someone out)...to me was more realistic. The actual visual effects could use a lot of work I think, the footage is there, just spend more time in post.

And the color grading: i was confused by it. I'm not sure if its meant to be that way or was the quality, but it was dithered all over the place, and I found it very distracted. The colors etc were fine, it was just the "dither" that came through.

Good stuff!
Posted: Sun, 2nd Nov 2008, 3:10pm

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TSHADproductions

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I enjoyed this movie as well. I liked the editing and camera angles all the way through. One of the most stand out qualities of this video is the acting (well most of it). I think the only suggestions I have as watching it through my first time, is a swell when the girl brings in the line "Those are the best kind". Maybe it was just me, I don't know, but that line seemed like it should have been pretty epic. A nice swell which fits the background instruments would be nice (Musicbeyond.com). Also, I would have turned up the volume of the music a little in the end. That's just me. But it was definitely nice editing and the whole sha-bang smile. I think I got the story... maybe lol.

Last edited Sun, 2nd Nov 2008, 3:14pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 3rd Nov 2008, 8:51am

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Sollthar

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Finally had time to watch this enjoyable project that has a lot of time dedicated to it, which shows!

First of all, the soundwork in this is absolutely top notch. Bestmarks and fxhome oscar nomination for that man. Crisp recording, perfect mixing, attention to detail and mood. Everything you could wish for in sound is there. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Props and costumes are also excellent and do their job really well.

Same goes for the camerawork. Imaginative angles, good sense for movement and mixture of static and energetic shots - one of the few times I didn't feel the movement was just added because paul greengrass and tony scott do it too, but each and every movement served a clear storytelling purpose and was well executed. Kudos!

Acting was good for the most part - unfortunately, the main woman wasn't that good for me and she had a large part.

There are however, some areas I pesonally felt could be improved. Mainly the editing. The buildup was nicely executed, but ultimately, for my tastes, way too slow. The film doesn't really have a proper "story", at least not one I noticed. Guy goes in, guys go after him, kill him, done. Does the trick for a cool action sequence, but not for a story with character development or such.

While the slow buildup was interesting in the beginning and kept me going, you lost me somewhere in the middle when the crew was still moving around slowly. I personally felt that the film could have lost 1 or 2 minutes in much tighter editing and improve much. I had that feeling first time in some of the dialogue sequences at the beginning: There was a pause after pretty much... every... line... Some had dramatic reason to be there, most didn't. And I had that feelingmuch more apparent in the last 3rd of the movie, where I actually pressed the fast forward button - which gave it a much more fitting pace and I didn't miss anything as the shots were rather slowly executed. The fight scene was the same for me. Brilliant soundwork, geat choreography, but the editing was too loose and it looked rehearsed.

I really feel that a lot of shots could loose up to 30% of their length and you wouldn't lose any important info, but gain pace.

A small detail is the ending, which felt incredibly flat and really disappointed me after such a buildup. He's dead, I didn't even see it, she smiles, fade to black... Seriously? Come on. That's not satisfying for such a tense intro. sad

The pace was my only real downside of the film, but it is a quite major one really. It's what makes me consider the 4 stars instead of the 5 star-feeling the other technicals like sound, camerawork etc evoked. And frankly, it pulls it down to that level for me. Which is a shame. I think this could be fixed quite easy.

I'd recommend you go over the film again and get rid of at least to 2 minutes. A few seconds here, a few there. I would bet the film would gain a lot from it. As the rest is top notch work!

Hope that helps. Looking forward to your next piece of work man!
Posted: Mon, 3rd Nov 2008, 10:26pm

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Garrison

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Thanks very much for the constructive critiques... these are helping me a lot.


@ Cypher

- Yeah the fight portion was a bit difficult in just getting it shot. Mark (The Agent) kinda came up with the fight scene and it became problematic shooting it from the top to get more fluidity at different angles because they would frequently miss cues etc, so we had to break it down for the sake of time.

- Dither? Dithering is the attempt by a computer program to approximate a color from a mixture of other colors when the required color is not available. But you say the colors were fine. Are you referring to grain?


@ TSHAD

- Thanks for the suggestion of the music swell, I’ll have to keep that in mind. As for the music at the end, I thought I made sure that the audio meters were well within the range that music should be without clipping. I’m very particular about that and had my pro earphones to make sure.


@ Sollthar

- Thanks for the sound kudos…. After the editing, that was the most challenging and fun part.

- Yeah the editing was one of those things where I should have trusted my instincts on that more and edited it down like most of you are saying. I need to do your suggestion in the chatroom and step away from it for a bit and come back to it fresh. I’ll work on an even more trimmed version of this and see what I come up with.

- LOL… the ending was a mix bag for me. I was hoping to make it more “suspenseful” and not clichéd, but I guess it didn’t work on either levels.
Posted: Mon, 10th Nov 2008, 7:31am

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PLANB

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Awesome Movie!!

I liked the fight scene with the guy with the shotgun and you have thrown some very good actors into it biggrin

Nothing bad to say about it besides: I WANT MORE!!!!!

Lol really this is a top film, keep it up!
Posted: Mon, 10th Nov 2008, 3:03pm

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Rockfilmers

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I just now got a chance to see it. I thought it was really good. the acting was descent and the effects were good. The only thing that I could say negitive about this was the grading. I thought it looked a little to... I don't really know... almost cartoon? Besides that, this was great!
Posted: Thu, 20th Nov 2008, 3:34pm

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keicoii

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I think the movie was good. It had style and quite honestly surpasses any low budget action film I have seen. The cinematography & editing was great. I don't think the blood or the muzzle flashes were that bad. If there was anything I didn't care for was the ending of the movie, but that is subjective to who is watching it. All in all, a 4 out of 5 stars.
Posted: Fri, 27th Mar 2009, 3:01pm

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Helios9k

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After reading others comments and your responses to them I have to admit, I probably would have made the same choices. At some points it was cliche, but when you are working with a small amount of time, cliche is nice because the audience already knows. I give an A for pure entertainment value. (which is why people make movies, right?)