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Star Wars Defiance

Posted: Fri, 18th Sep 2009, 9:35am

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griffus21

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A Star Wars fan film produced by Dark In Divinity Studios with sound editing assistance by Stone Silent Production.

Sometimes even the master still has lessons to learn.


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Posted: Sun, 27th Sep 2009, 1:03pm

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no1atall

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Oh wow! That must have taken forever. Amazing mix of 3D and 2D special effects. Hope to see more from you, maybe add some humor in the mix. Over all great, I know it took alot of work.
Posted: Sat, 10th Oct 2009, 10:33pm

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ben3308

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I really didn't like this.

3D was a bad idea, as it wasn't just unrealistic, but poorly stylized. The 2D effects were decent, but still relatively poor in execution. Audio quality was low, visual quality even worse. No narrative economy, storytelling hard to judge just by virtue of how hard-to-watch it was. Hate to be harsh, but everything about this screams cheesy, bad, poorly done. Star Wars movies are played enough as is, at least try to add something new to the fanfilm universe, let alone hit the standard of such films.

I understand we're all learning, but a poor attempt is a poor attempt, and this doesn't have many redeeming qualities. It looks like you spent time on this, but time spent does not a good movie make. You need to be talented at what you do, and you need to spend the right time on this right things. If not, then at least focus time on something that's going to look good and be worth it in the end product.

I seldom give out this score, but I'm giving this a 1/5 for the effort.
Posted: Mon, 12th Oct 2009, 6:15pm

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griffus21

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Rating: -2

Alright, I have to say that you are being an extremely over critical prick. This is a fan film made just for the fun of making and for an internet audience. The 3d effects were built from the ground up in my spare time, not taken from other peoples work like most put on the cinema. The 2d effects were also done in house and just in my spare time as well. As far as it screaming cheesy to you well it was made with zero dollars and from another persons film universe so, it is cheesy. In short I hate to be harsh but if you are simply going to be a prick don't rate or comment on my short films. There is no way it deserves the rating or berating you have given the film or the "attempt" at one as you so unjustifiably put it.
Posted: Mon, 12th Oct 2009, 6:41pm

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ben3308

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Rating: +1

Look, I'm not trying to be a prick. Just saying that if nobody ever tells you that, frankly, overuse of poor bits of effects looks cheesy and bad, you may never learn not to use it.

There are Star Wars fanfilms out there made by parent-kid or fan-fan combos that are done with less time and even less money that are more fun to watch and have better visual quality primarily by virtue of the fact that they take the skills they have and use them to the best of their ability. Sometimes, however, if 'the best of their ability' doesn't match up to contemporary standards (in whatever discipline of filmmaking it applies to) then those things are left out.

For instance, I love making dramas with gritty cinematography. I seldom make comedies. I seldom do heavy special effects. Why? Mainly because I've tried these things before, and while I will always work to the best of my ability with the small time and money I have, the conventional standards for comic value or effects realism may be something I can't reach - at least, not yet.

So how do you remedy this? How do you improve without losing your audience?

You compromise. You say, "look, here's what I know I'm good at, here's what I'm decent at." You focus your efforts primarily on what you know looks good and will work, and then substantiate your efforts on the poorer side of your skills by peppering in some of it in hopes you'll improve. So, to go back to my example, I may be dismal at effects or comedy, but that doesn't mean I take it out fullstop. That does, however, mean that when I do include it, I do it with subtlety and finesse, so as not to cheapen or weaken the effect of the 'good' part of my film.

The way to apply that philosophy here comes down to one simple term: rationing. With this, it's clear you can corral people and costumes and that you're able to make clear efforts towards getting things done. That's good! So, in turn, amplify these talents and make them the central focus of the film. Show off the costumes, the amount of people, the dedication. Conversely, you've got a lot of 3D work in here - this weakens the product overall, drastically so. I pulled my rating down from a 3 to a 1 because of this, actually. Not because the 3D was terrible-terrible-terrible - but because, in the context of the film overall, it appeared that bad!

I'm not saying you have to spend less time on things you enjoy, if 3D effects is one of those things. I am saying, however, that I think it would be to your benefit to know when to use certain things and when not to. Once you're able to appropriately ration your time/money/talents/efforts it's easier to inch closer and closer to a professional-looking product.

Were this 2002 things would be easier. We'd have studied less overall as a society, and know less about how potent digital media is in creating filmic images or conjuring cinematic feelings within an audience. But we live in the now. The standard - visually at least - for fan-produced films is constantly raising, and you have to evolve your ways of doing things and getting things done to remain in concert with these standards.

This is, of course, just my opinion and advice. Take it for what it's worth.
Posted: Mon, 12th Oct 2009, 6:47pm

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Sollthar

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Unfortunately, though he did indeed put it a bit harshly, I agree with ben.

There were some interesting visual ideas in there, but the execution of all just doesn't work for me.

The 3D bits were really, really odd looking. Like from a videogame out of the late 90s or so. I do 3D myself, so I know it's difficult and I know it takes up a lot of time but the simple truth is, it didn't look very good. The combination of low polygonish, odd-textured 3D with real life elements looked rather strange.

For 3D camera movement I would really recommend not doing a linear keyframe interpretation, but working with bezier lines in order to create smoother movement and smooth deceleration when the camera stops. The camera paths were harshly animated which added to the whole thing looking cheap.

Sound editing also needs more work. Often, there was just one sound hearable, no ambience, no proper mixing and a collection of low hertz effects - some sounded like 8000 HZ sounds to me, mixed in with some 16000 HZ, but not much more, while good sound should be at 48 KHZ minimum. I recommend reading about sound work and putting more time into that area, as it helps to sell the visuals


Sorry if it sounds harsh to you, I don't mean to be. However, I also won't lie.

Hopefully that doesn't put you off. We're all here to learn.
Posted: Tue, 13th Oct 2009, 2:17am

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Terminal Velocity

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If you don't like it being insulted, don't put it on the Internet.

griffus21 wrote:

This is a fan film made just for the fun of making and for an internet audience.
For the fun of it? Nobody here sees a problem in making it for fun. We don't care if it's about Barney being spoonfed by the Wicked Witch of the West, if you have fun with it. But if you expect to put it on the Internet for all to see, then plan on being criticized.

The intro credits weren't bad really, but they're not the traditional SW flying-away words. You might want to take note of that.

Okay, to the CG. You seem to have the creative talent, but you stitched together the environment with spit and prayers. The "world" just stops about 100 feet from the duel's location. Animation is very jerky, seems dead. There is a lot of this film you could have easily used a set or something similar for. You don't have a single dominant light source (despite a supposed sun in the sky), so it's pretty obvious that something is off with the lighting.

The dueling was the worst I've ever seen, unfortunately. It wasn't a fight. They just touched sabers and pushed them back and forth for a few seconds. It grew better nearer the end...maybe to the level of SW:ANH bad. (Not to diss SW.) But it still lacked any urgency or intensity. And those spin moves; they're way too slow to try anything like that! As it is, both are sluggish as a pair of mud turtles.

Acting was about as bad as anything else. The lines were cliched, of course, as most SW fanfilms(or prequel trilogies *coughcough*) seem to be, and the girl showed no emotion at all. At least it seemed like the Sith dude was trying to act, squinching up his face and grunting.

If you had shown significant effort in anything but the weak CG, I would have given this a 2 or 3/5. But as it is I'm giving it a 1.
Posted: Tue, 13th Oct 2009, 1:29pm

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griffus21

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Now that is more like it. Actual criticism I can learn with and not just empty berating. Richard III, its not that I don't like being insulted it's just that when you do it on a film making site anyway, do it with some helpful advice and not just harsh criticism. Also Richard your right about the 3d effects and I like the advice which I am still working on learning to work in a 3d environment. Which is why I started this project to begin with just as a tool to learn, that is also why I chose Star Wars for the project because of the great deal of sfx needed, and I did learn a great deal but it's obvious I am no master yet. Sollthar you are correct on all of your observations and I very much so appreciate the advice and will try and use it in future projects. Since you work with 3d as well you can probably tell that I do need to upgrade my computer in order to handle more vertices during rendering. The fight was jerky as we didn't have the greatest amount of room to shoot it in, but as I said it was a learning project. I would have to say the biggest disappointment in my eyes is how a cut and past short film can get high ratings here on fxhome and one with actual work put into it will get ripped up. However, that's the way it rolls sometimes and I'm fine with that. The project was a success as I learned a great deal doing it. Thanks for the all the advice and good luck on any and all of your future projects.
Posted: Tue, 13th Oct 2009, 1:37pm

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Sollthar

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Glad you find it useful. 3D rendering does indeed take quite some processing power, so a high spec pc certainly helps. smile

I would have to say the biggest disappointment in my eyes is how a cut and past short film can get high ratings here on fxhome and one with actual work put into it will get ripped up
I think I have to comment on that. You don't get rated for the amount of work on here. A lot of work don't equal 5 and little work don't equal 0. You get voted on the quality of end result.
So just because someone invested a lot of work into something doesn't mean it gives the better end result then when you use something pre-existing for example. Sometimes, just using clever 30 seconds gives the better shot then when you spend months creating everything from scratch when you just don't have the means to.

Filmmaking isn't about who puts the most work in. It's about who gets the best end result. And that's what people vote on.
Posted: Tue, 13th Oct 2009, 11:02pm

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Terminal Velocity

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You'll find that ben (and Atom) have a certain style that usually seems like "empty berating", even when it isn't. You just have to adjust to it and try to see what they're trying to say, even when it's not entirely obvious.

I think that, while it's great to learn CG and put it on the Internet to get people's opinion of it, you don't want to add so much that they get annoyed and start saying "it was bad" merely because it was used too much. For example, the CG was good in the SW prequels, but in my humble opinion they used it so much the effect was ruined and everything began to look fake. I see truly admirable shots, but eventually it becomes a CG extrrrravaganza. LOTR, though I don't know exactly how much 3D modeling was used, did it very well. In your case, it might have been a good idea to use an actual forest or clearing if possible and add just the 3D building they fought on. The canyon didn't contribute much anyway, so it could have been left out entirely. Even building a small model of the scene would probably have worked better.
Posted: Wed, 14th Oct 2009, 12:35am

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ben3308

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Richard III wrote:

you don't want to add so much that they get annoyed and start saying "it was bad" merely because it was used too much.
The issue here is that it's not just that it's used too much, but it's very specifically bad and used too much. The biggest (and maybe only) concession you should make in way of including (or excusing) something flat-out bad is the benefit it gives its creator towards experience in the long run.

For instance, I did a Batman fanfilm. It wasn't the best, but I decided the negative bits of it were worth the experience I gained in dealing with how to make a fanfilm versus an original short film.

Here, however, the creation isn't great, and is too used to be substantiated on the basis of learning and gaining experience. Which is why I say it's important to realize your skills and ration from there. Some things you can just flat out say, "No, this is the way I like to do things" and it can be acceptable on the basis of that being your style. But here, there's no standard met to warrant style.

Hence, 1/5. Better luck next time.
Posted: Wed, 14th Oct 2009, 12:50am

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Terminal Velocity

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ben3308 wrote:

Richard III wrote:

you don't want to add so much that they get annoyed and start saying "it was bad" merely because it was used too much.
The issue here is that it's not just that it's used too much, but it's very specifically bad and used too much. The biggest (and maybe only) concession you should make in way of including (or excusing) something flat-out bad is the benefit it gives its creator towards experience in the long run.
Yeah, that's what I meant. My point is that bad CG (or action scenes, or whatever) can be excused if they don't dominate the movie. But when they're too obvious to miss and then used so much it becomes irritating, people will tend to be out of sorts and hypercritical when they review it, instead of just stating the facts.
Posted: Thu, 15th Oct 2009, 6:52am

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rogolo

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Rating: +1

I can only wonder what ol' Vladkob would've said if he stuck around long enough to see this movie... smile
Posted: Tue, 20th Oct 2009, 2:38pm

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griffus21

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well, your right when you say "better luck next time." although i do have to disagree with the idea of not using something you enjoy if your not good at it. if you don't work on your weaknesses you will never be "good" at them. however, i like the criticism and hopefully what i have learned with this little project will help me with future ones.
Posted: Tue, 20th Oct 2009, 9:21pm

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Terminal Velocity

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griffus21 wrote:

well, your right when you say "better luck next time." although i do have to disagree with the idea of not using something you enjoy if your not good at it. if you don't work on your weaknesses you will never be "good" at them. however, i like the criticism and hopefully what i have learned with this little project will help me with future ones.
Yeah, you could use the things you're weak at as much as you like. But if you put it on the Internet, expect them to be criticized for not looking good. Part of FXHome is to tell you what your weaknesses are and help you compromise until they become your strengths. We suggest using the CG as much as possible, but not in films you broadcast, unless, as I said, you're expecting and welcoming criticism.