Newest short film... this time about a car. Critiques welcome.


    TRIFLIX Columbus, INPosts: 927 Enthusiast

    Ups: Great idea, great execution, subtle camera movements.

    Improvements: Pacing is a bit slow, especially at the start, keep white balance and exposure consistent when at the same scene, acting of the guy with the glass was a bit less convincing than the other actor but this will come with practice

    All around greats short, I enjoyed it :)

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Posts: 3,403 Ambassador

    @Hitfilmer77874 Nice little short, good idea on a classic old problem. I did wonder where this was going then the stand off moment happend and it brought it back on track. I was only a little disappointed that you did not play that out further and have them door off  (see what I did there). But that said I thought you carried it on well.

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast
    edited September 2016

    Buckle up, it may be a bumpy ride... ;) And the comment order is slightly random.

    I get that it's better to have a story when testing out skills, but... when it's based on a (possible) false premise it makes my teeth itch.

    When a movie does something that makes me think "Well, that wouldn't happen in the first place" or "Do it now, or now or now then. What about now?" I just get annoyed. Then it has to earn my trust back just to get to a neutral point, let alone above that.

    Maybe US cars are different to the rest of the world, but elsewhere only the driver's side door opens when you press the remote button once. Stops you getting robbed in supermarket car parks, passenger doors being opened at traffic light stops etc. So, the 'joke' isn't universal and my first impression was: "They're both just idiots and I don't care about either of them. Next!".

    But I was still curious, so.... :)

    Them walking to the car from different directions, just to set up the joke in the first place looked forced. Where was Glasses coming from if they were already talking? Could they have approached together, then have Glasses run slightly ahead, do a 'Starsky and Hutch' slide over the bonnet - to the annoyance of Driver "Hey! you'll scratch the paint!". Start 'joke'. Also it would set up Glasses as a bit playful and Driver as more strict. Otherwise Driver would have already unlocked the doors as Glasses walked around the car, which is why they had to come from different directions, so: forced.

    Technically: Hitfilm has both tracking and masks, so using them instead of the large ellipse - not feathered and skipping around a little - for a rectangular number plate blur might have been less distracting.

    The L and J cuts occasionally seemed uneven and sometimes unnecessary (and probably not done in Hitfilm, amirite? ;) ). Two cuts back and forth in one sentence? I'd have liked to have seen Glasses's face and mannerisms when he said "the car?" then back for a slight closeup on Driver's face with an "O RLY?!" look, then back to Glasses with "OK, OK" (steps back, hands up and open palms). That would lead naturally into "Back up" from Driver. Glasses: "What?" (thinks:I just did back up). etc.

    The tripod shots could have had some Shake (Hitfilm Effect or created via tracking: see Kirstie's video tutorial) added to them to blend better with the freeform nature of the unsteadycam shots.

    Why did we cross the line for Glasses's "Western glasses off shot?" (and a few after that) and why did it need to go out of, then back into 'Western' mode for that shot, rather than stay in it once started? Also with them off, he's no longer Glasses; he loses his USP. Get out a small cloth and give them a wipe or something. They're part of his character (even though it's probably because he was facing into the sun during shooting ;) ).

    Cinema framing cuts both actors' heads off at end of 'Western' bit and Glasses says something that we don't hear. Panning up Glasses's legs and backside didn't add much. Aren't his hands the problem, or his face, or the door handle? Or be silly and do a zoom into his ear, up his nose, break the fourth wall and bump him with the camera and have him wave it away.

    Tumbleweed looked too transparent, maybe needed a different blend mode to fit in.

    Driver: The instructions are weird. "Don't pull the handle when I say one"? OK, that leaves three and two as options, as are both before and after he starts counting.  And why is he counting down at all? What does he expect to happen afterwards? Glasses pulls it after One, so.... he's right - end of countdown:pull. The Driver then changes the rules. First don't pull at one, now do pull at one? Make your mind up, and don't be vague on purpose just so you can complain about interpretation. "I'm going to stand on one leg, do a little dance" Yeah? And?

    Then Glasses says "Pull at the end of the countdown? That makes sense." Compared to what? Is he admitting what he did before didn't? But it did to him at the time and it was correct. Also, see Lethal Weapon for "3,2,1 then Go?" or "3,2, Go on 1?" in at least 2 of the movies.

    Would have preferred the line "What did you just do?" to be "What did I just say?" which is more like adults say to children, to align with the following line "...I'll turn this car around" which is signposting Glasses as the 'child' and Driver as the 'adult'.

    Audio went a little noisy during the 'back up' sequence. Could have dragged it out more, with him going way further and then we'd guess something was going to have to happen because 20 yards isn't very far. Also builds sympathy for Glasses and antagonism towards Driver.

    The audio pause in the cutaway from Driver to Glasses at 1:16 with "You're going to ....... pull the handle when I say one" could have been's a cutaway. :)

    The "Hello" jump scare seemed slightly out of place because the rest of the clip had been fairly grounded in normality (western bit aside) for that camera 'cheat' to feel quite right. In a 'normal' film, my pet peeve is things happening off camera that the actors in the scene would clearly have been able to see. Reveals of things right in front of them and only out of shot because the camera hasn't panned around yet etc.

    Some more early hints of "we're messing with the rules here, anything could happen" before that would have made it more expected and therefore more satisfying. The ending sort of faded away...Glasses didn't even try to open the door, so who won the scene? Has to be a winner in something like that. I'd have liked Driver to have thrown the keys at Glasses, who caught them easily, pressed the button, opened the door and got in the car, end on Driver's face looking "Aaaargh!" Or Glasses suddenly in the back seat and smiling: "Back door was open...Driver...onwards... :)"

    Finally, move other cameras and tripod out of shot, or....use mocha to edit them out? If you have mocha, also remove other car reversing in the background.

    Who are we rooting for in the scene?  By a very slim margin, it's Glasses, but only just. He was a semi-Costello to Driver's semi-Abbot. His dialogue was a little unclear at a few points: 11s and 1:32s but his best delivered line was: "But we're not even in the car!" :D

    Oh yes, finally, finally: as we never hear any beeps or unlocking kerclunks when the remote button is pressed...maybe it just needs a new battery. ;)

    Overall, pretty solid and I liked it enough to watch several times to make the comments I did. :)

    Edit: Just watched The New Girlfriend and The Sneeze on the same channel. I was being too harsh: this is better and better acted. I'm guessing the students are just given a title and told to make something from it.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out

    I didn't like the static shots combined with moving ones, I would have preferred slowly moving shots so that every angle blends together nicely.

    Other than that, I thought it was great!

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 630 Just Starting Out

    I though the concept was great.  Everyone I know has been in this situation before.  Usually it ends with some coarse language and veiled  threats.  Unless it's your wife, girlfriend or mother, To @Palacono  in the US, a double tap on the remote will unlock all the doors.  This comes in handy when it's raining and everyone is running to the car.    OK,  what I found distracting.   The biggest distraction was that the driver and passenger windows were clearly open.   This may have been  done to avoid a reflection of the camera or crew.  If you look at 11 seconds, the passengers hand is clearly in the open window.    Maybe that should have been part of the gag. The other distraction was the tripods and other gear near the garage doors.  

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Posts: 3,403 Ambassador

    @BobDiMarzio good spot on the Windows, they are up and down more than a hores draws.

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 630 Just Starting Out

    @Andy001z    Lol   Great analogy.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,595 Ambassador

    I laughed, I enjoyed it, two minutes well spent. 

    I leave visual nitpicking to others, but will be the first to point out the fantastic music choices, and a classic whip-crack for the transition into "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

    I don't have a problem with different sides for the first shot. I figure "Glasses" was just walking over from next door. 

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast

    @BobDiMarzio OK, so US is like the rest of the worId and the  single tap/press was never going to work for the passenger door. Driver: know how your remote works. :)

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,481 Enthusiast

    @Palacono & @BobDiMarzio  Pretty sure that's an aftermarket key fob and if so some of those systems don't follow the double tap standard the same way. For some, if the driver's door is already unlocked any tap unlocks the other doors. 

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,757 Ambassador

    Nicely done with "The Good, The Bad, &  The Ugly" montage.   That really built suspense.  I think you needed a bigger pay off at the end. 

    But still good job on a short!