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Transmission - How NOT to Steal a Car

Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2009, 3:28pm

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Merrick

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A thief tries to steal a stick-shift (manual transmission) car but doesn't know how to drive it.

Sundog Pictures Presents a Kingdom production: Transmission - How NOT to Steal a Car.

This video was made in about a month of my free time and was filmed with the HV20. The audio was recorded with a Rode VideoMic and everything was polished up in CompositeLab Pro.

I don't recommend downloading the Quicktime version - it doesn't have pristine quality considering its file size. I'm still posting it in case you have trouble with the other formats, though.


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Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2009, 5:42pm

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SilverDragon7

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Hehe, pretty good Merrick. Quite enjoyable.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2009, 6:04pm

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ben3308

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I generally liked this. The parts of stealing the car and getting the arm stuck were exceptional, but they're brought down by a comparatively weak beginning and end.

Still, there's clear vision in this short, and it shows. If you had maintained the technical quality and the comedic timing of those bits, I think you'd be golden.

I give this a 3/5, a 5/5 if it were all like the middle. Keep up the good work!
Posted: Mon, 12th Jan 2009, 1:18am

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Dreadalus

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I enjoyed this movie very much, its edited nicely and made me laugh.
Posted: Mon, 12th Jan 2009, 2:53am

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Merrick

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Thank you! Ben, I agree that the end is weak compared to the middle, but what exactly did you find wrong with the beginning?
Did it seem to drag on too much? I'm not criticizing your review - just looking for more info on what got the video off to a "bumpy start". smile
Posted: Mon, 12th Jan 2009, 6:01am

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ben3308

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The largest issue with the beginning is how shots are rationed.

You essentially have two angles in the first bit: one spiraling angle, which is the first shot, and one mostly static (likely tripod mounted) angle which pans to the right as the car drives away.

The biggest problem is contrast in shots, I suppose. You start on a relatively shaky, almost unimportant shot on the hood that reveals the driver. It's a clever idea for a reveal, I guess, but the semi-poor execution pulls it down.

Even so, it could be saved with a 'floaty-cam' angle from inside the car (like medium profile shot) but instead we cut to a static, mounted angle which is......jarring, to say the least; not by virtue of the fact that it's a bad angle, per se, just that its stabilized position makes it seem stagnant and ill-contrasted to what the audience previously sees. All this considered, however, this rough transition is recoverable with more angles, which I'd hoped to see after the shot hit the 2 second (avg cutting time for movies) mark; but it didn't. Rather, the mounted shot pans as the car drives away, which didn't sit right with me.

Here we've got a film where the main focus is the car, and the car drives away. Were it an actor, and were he emotionally despondent in the film, I could understand the distance. But this is a car we're talking about, and in order to garner interest in it, we can't have its only angle for several seconds be a static, departing shot. To me, that doesn't work.

However, then you faded in the title, and I understood part of the artistic choice. The distant car doesn't supplant the drama/tension/mood we're supposed to be building as we watch, it supports the drama/tension/mood that you want us to associate with the title. When the title card flicked on, most of my apprehensions about this shot went out the window.

When the title faded, however, that would have been the appropriate time to cut to something else. Maintaining that wide angle, even if apt on most terms, makes the cinematography seem unvaried and stale - which is a shame considering how well shot and varied the angles further in are - and, to me at least, it feels like a hasty directorial decision. Yeah, it's easy to film, and yeah, it looks good: but is that enough?

Basically, I feel that the beginning is ill-contrasted and hasty in execution. It seems like you had a bunch of good ideas and tried them in some places (opening shot) and not at all in others (static wide shot of thief running up to car).
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 10:59am

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BlackIceFilms

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I agree with Ben. The beginning seemed like it was done without a lot of thought (Did you use a storyboard?)

I did, however, like the movie as a whole, particularly the punch-line. I like the slow- paced editing during the theft, which emphasizes the awkwardness of it.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 11:32am

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Sollthar

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Okay... Everyone knows I'm tough on comedies. But seriously, this had me giggling almost all the way through. biggrin

The part where he actually steals the car is the funniest bit of film I've seen on here. Brilliant, brilliant ideas. Clever slapstick and excellent supportive sounddesign and choice of camera angles. Hilarious!!!!!! That part alone is worth 5 stars for me.

I do agree with ben on the beginning and the ending though, which drag the whole thing down. The first shot is simply too long and the panning is very jerky, which is a shame. Your actor also did slightly too much grimace in places, which distracted me. The joke was so well thought out and funny, the actor didn't have to resort to Jerry Lewis style to support it. The parts that were played subtle worked 100% perfectly with me.

I'm giving this a very strong 4 for some small technical letdowns. But seriously, please make more!!! biggrin
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 3:09pm

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Merrick

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Rating: +1

I planned the beginning shots beforehand, but they were the very last thing we filmed. I think they looked good in theory, but given the available time and equiptment didn't come off as planned.

I think I actually had a floaty in-car shot, but I cut it out because it didn't match the music. And I see what you mean about cutting after the title, Ben. I lost a lot of Youtube viewers at that point, so it did need a little extra something. Thank you for your post; it was really helpful. Never once did I think that deeply into my own movie. smile

Sollthar...You don't know how happy I am that you liked this! I am the actor, by the way, but I was doing pretty much everything else, so performance kinda went down the tubes. Thank you for your compliment on the sounddesign, too. It took at least as long as the rest of the movie.

I don't think my next video will be a comedy, but it was fun to make one. I'd rather do a clever, character-driven drama now.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 5:03pm

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Sollthar

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Ah, it was you? My congratulations. Even more impressive. Watched it again. smile
I^ll put this on my ipod and show my class if that's okay with you. I'm making theatreand shortfilm work them and this is a very, very good example of the goods in both worlds by someone close to their own age. I^'m sure they'll like it.

PS: the leaning on the honk bit gets me every time. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 14th Jan 2009, 2:11am

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Moonloon1

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Very good I liked it and I liked the SFX of the car not running quite right. I would have added more gear crunching at select spots. Very funny, well shot.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2009, 11:45pm

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Merrick

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That would be awesome, Sollthar! Moonloon, the explosion was the only effect in the video. Everything else was done by shaking the camera, speeding up footage, and being very hard on the car. smile Gear crunching would have helped though.
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2009, 1:33am

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ben3308

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I think he meant sound effects, not special effects. wink
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2009, 2:30am

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Moonloon1

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Yes by SFX I mean Sound Effects, but I guess it also means Special Effects. I would have used VFX for video effects. I am probably wrong with the terminology. So somebody straighten me out!
Posted: Sun, 18th Jan 2009, 5:11am

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Merrick

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Ahhhhhhh, it all makes since now. smile I think you have the right terminology.
Posted: Sun, 18th Jan 2009, 7:24am

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Moonloon1

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Rating: -2

sense
Posted: Wed, 21st Jan 2009, 2:34am

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Merrick

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Oops.
Posted: Fri, 23rd Jan 2009, 1:17am

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jimmy jim jim

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LOL