Iron man scene recreation.

Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

A bit of a smaller scene recreation this time, none the less I hope you enjoy: 



  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    The "karaoke" bit (if I may) is a fun idea, and in some parts you nailed it in that regard, but in some others there's a ton of jump cuts that make it difficult even to see whether you're succeeding with the lip-synch (is that a term?).

    The location and background stuff is quite distracting at times, and other than the sound I'm not sure whether I'd call it a scene recreation.

    Maybe it's an expectation issue: once I read "scene recreation" I expected a visual recreation, which I don't think it's what you were aiming at. If you were going for parody or reinterpretation it's a different story but I'd say that "what is in the frame" would be my pick for where to focus for improvement.

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @rutxer Apologies for the delay, my response has been under review for the last few days,

    (Probably because it had a link in it.) But I really appreciate you commenting and checking it out.

    If my response doesn't appear within the next few days I'll repost it without the link. 

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    Sorry @xhan47 I missed this.

    I think I get what you're going for and it kind of works. It just seems a little 'lazy' or lacking in original content.

    I like your set-up, attitude and the screens used particularly colouring the helmet.
    How about writing your own dialog which matches the responses from Jarvis  but is way different from the Stark script?. At the end, have your own armour-up section. It can just be some (greenscreened) coloured cardboard flying towards you until you put it on. The final line, after a HUD boot-up might be "Well, not quite how I imagined it"

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings Thanks for checking it out!! No worries it was released pretty late at night and seemed to have gotten lost in the forums when the next day arrived.

    I get what you're saying about the original content and if all I did was scene recreations on the channel I think there would be a problem.

    But actually, I do a mix so they balance each other out.

    For instance, two original Short films came out before I released the Gotg and Iron man scene recreations(But it happened before I joined FX Home forums which is probably why it seems like I only do scene recreations. )

    And I just finished filming a Lord of the Rings fan film, and Ant-man fan film inspired by scenes I really like both with an original story and my own spin on it.

    I like to do a mix, I love recreating movie scenes, but also like creating my own as well. So It's a bit of a balance with the channel.

    So I hope that clears up the confusion. Thanks for checking it out, and I can't wait to share with you guys the Lotr film, Everything is improved from the cinematography to the sets, to the effects and acting.

    (It's even got a bit of an emotional story to it too.) 


  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    @xhan47 OK understood. I appreciate I was commenting on this one in isolation. Good luck with it all

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings Thanks. Yeah, I wasn't sure whether you were talking about the channel or the video so I just tried to clear it all up in one post.

    Thank you!! 

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings @rutxer

    Been thinking a lot about what you guys said and I have decided to change some things up.

    Originally, I always wait to get 10 likes on a video to release the comparison videos but as I have found out that was a mistake. The most requests I have gotten are for the comparison videos so I have decided to release them early and see what happens.

    If you guys could watch it, and tell me if it was more enjoyable than the original video or not, I would be grateful.

    (As I have a sneaky suspicion about it.) 

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    Everybody else, the comparison video is here: 

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast


    I think it works better with the original video for comparison. Even in the first video the 'clever' bits were the sock on the shoulder and the Iron man mask being  painted. which are highlighted in the original. That might be because I like the surreal side of parody.
    It does also make me think there were lots of other opportunities to take it to the extreme.

    BTW : This has sparked a short idea  for a stop-motion Iron man suit up video.  

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

     @DaterThings Awesome. glad to hear. Thanks for checking it out.

     Probably is. Because the sock on the shoulder and iron man painting is my least favorite part, as I don't like my videos to turn out like parodies. I prefer the more serious stuff like the news slide and the drinking.

    Cool. Definitely be looking forward to that video then.

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    "I prefer the more serious stuff"

    I have to ask... Why did you decide to put a white sock on your shoulder?

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings That's great!! Somehow I knew you were going to say that.

    I was on a pretty steep time limit that day and I looked around for something to film with that looked right, found the sock and decided to go with it.

    To this day, and even after filming it,  I still wish I had grabbed an ice pack from the freezer.

    But it is true. I have always tried to make my stuff serious yet somehow, not a lot of them end up that way.

    I have made 3 full blown 50-minute comedies that have had family and friends roaring on the floor just about, but the only problem is they weren't supposed to be comical. They were serious movies, but because of some of the props we used, or the amount of actors we had, people would always just laugh.

    And I know, that even without the sock, people would still find this scene funny, as it looks like a 15-year-old playing Tony Stark. (I'm actually 18.)

    So I guess the big question I come here for when I want feedback is not how to make this more comical, but how to not make it look comical.

    I've been doing this for years now and to be honest It's kind of frustrating that people still laugh at it.

    I'm hoping that this more grim toned Lotr film is gonna change that which is why I've been working on it just about 24/7. Because I've been stuck in this comical hole, but my stuff is not supposed to be comical and it's been driving me crazy. 



  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast
    edited January 2019

    OK. Understood.

    "how to not make it look comical."   

    The simple answer is don't put strange, odd, contrasting or out of context things into a film if you don't want people to think it is funny.

    I won't question the need to film things in such a hurry but you must step back and think  "How would using a sock work if I want to make this serious?".
    Take just a little more time in the planning. An ice-pack or a clear bag filled with something OR just tape on the shoulder.  Even a tissue taped to the shoulder

    I thought the Star Wars (?) helmet was also part of the parody. I would have bought a cheap plastic Iron Man helmet or, failing that, a cardboard Iron Man mask.

    The on-screen Iron Man armour design : I would have used an image of an Iron Man suit , greyscaled it in Hitfilm and then coloured it using an opacity fade from the greyscale to coloured version.

    You might have been short of time on the day of shooting but you can collect the props etc days or weeks in advance.

    In Brits and Tea I needed a kettle. I looked on ebay and saw 'just the thing'. I was disappointed when it arrived and turned out to be SO big. Fortunately I do go for comedy so I can put in a line to highlight, excuse or explain the problem. If I was making a serious WWII fight scene I  would never have used it. Instead I would have to rethink.


  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings That's much better. Thank you.

    On the Gotg scene, I actually took six months to make the props (The Starlord helmet you see in my profile picture and the orb as well. But I was still very disappointed by the reaction to them, after spending a lot of time on the props, the reaction was still, meh? I even greenscreen all the backgrounds so it didn't even look like the house anymore. 

    So, when it came to the iron man scene I thought about  making a cardboard replica, but due to the response, and how I didn't want it to look like a parody and look like a kid just drew an iron man helmet, I decided to got with the plastic one as I felt though it was a star wars helmet, it looked better.

    But I think the only way to solve this would be for me to post a link to the currently in progress rough cut of the Lotr film and for you to tell me if I succeeded in seriousness or not.

    Cause It's kind of weird to get responses from a couple of things I already figured out because this scene was shot months ago, before Gotg even went into post-production.  And I've already had time to think about it, now some of the problems in it. But this new scene was shot a week ago, props were made,  props were bought, the film was researched, and 100% storyboarded and was filmed in three days, with no rushed time limit. All with the intention of it being serious. 

    That's a great tip on the Brits and tea too. 

    I'll post the link when the unlisted video has finished processing.

    (As I said before this is a rough cut, and many effects are unfinished but you get the idea.)

    And I appreciate you taking all this time with me, everybody else I've brought this up to has looked at me clueless, just patted me on the back, and said one day you'll get there. So I really appreciate this, as this has been haunting me for 4 years. (And I know I'll sleep better tonight whence this is solved.)

    So I thank you a lot for this Daft.


  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast


    No problem at all.
    TBH : All the issues you are facing is why I chose to do mini-figure stop-motion. Yes, it brings it's own problems but I just couldn't get the props, scenery, location, costumes, actors etc for real life. The fact you are giving it a go deserves a lot of credit.

    I look back at the first video I posted and think "Why did I make Iron Man's voice *so* robotic?", "Why did I green-screen nearly the whole set when it was just white walls with an image through a window?"
    The answer is, at the time, I didn't know any better.

    There's a quote (Einstein?)
    "Show me a man who has never made a mistake, and I will show you one who has never tried anything."
    and from Film Riot : "Write, shoot, edit, repeat"


  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148

    @DafterThings Thank you!!! I know what you mean. 

    Appreciate that. I had those same problems come at me, and I tried different things like: Make a movie inside a video game and stop motion like you do,  but I just never had the passion for it, and every time I came back to what I really love, which is live action.

    And I told myself that if I could just keep going that eventually, we could make it through those problems, even if I had to fight for every second on the screen.

    That's a great quote.

    Ahh yes, , Film Riot. The best filmmaking learning channel on YouTube. 

    It's kind of funny now that you mention it cause I was just looking at a Film riot video yesterday and I saw that both me and you had commented on it. Who would of thunk?  

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Okay, here it is: 

    The idea was to tell a story about a broken man who has lost his entire family to the war, but his little brother who  he assures the fight will not come to them, as they are miles away from the fight, but he is wrong:  and the war comes there taking away the last remnants of anybody he loved, and the one person he swore he would protect.

    (The Nazguls have already been filmed and will be green-screened into the fight as while as Sauron's eye will be added, and the Letterbox will be cleaned up, stuff like that. It's a rough cut after all.

    I'm a little concerned about the Rubbermaid containers, as they weren't supposed to be in the shot, but most of all I just hope that the seriousness and story come across right.

    SPOILERS: The final shot is more Nazgul pop up, he prepares for his death, and says something about finally seeing his family again. (I hav'nt added the V O line yet) 




  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited January 2019

    Oh yeah, if you're wondering about all the plain snow shots in the fight scene that's clean plates so I can add the green-screened out Nazguls.  (Same for the Sauron eye.)

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    If you are asking me specifically whether the seriousness of the story comes across then the answer is 'Yes'.
    I'll add that I found it very well acted.

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148



    Yess!!!! Thank you!!! Awesome. 

    Good. Had a bit of work on that acting.

    I'm gonna sleep well tonight. Thanks a bunch.



  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    Whhoa I come late to the party!! 

    IlI' start with the IronMan recreation scene. Much better with the video side by side. It is very revealing, both for the bits that worked well (and honestly missed watching the 1st video) and those that didn't.

    There's another factor that makes it difficult to be serious. The actual scene isn't a serious one to start from.

    And if I may comment on the LOTR inspired rough cut, I do have some technical comments.

    First I think that in narrative jump cuts have no place (with exceptions like "loosing my mind" scenes and such).

    Then there are the lighting challenges. The outdoor shots look to me all in overcast days, which means that the lighting is as flat as it gets and doesn't help with the dramatic content you are creating.

    In contrast, most of your indoor shots have very clear and strong split lighting. In this later video it fits the actual conflict, but in the IronMan and GOTG something closer to Rembrandt, loop or even paramount lighting would suit better.

    And lastly, because I'm a nerd, camera and focal length. I don't know what camera you have access to, but all the shots look like they're done with very wide angle lenses. I get it that in confined spaces there's no other choice. However, plenty of the outdoor shots called for having the camera further away (even with wide lenses) and some, shot with Tele lenses from afar. Then there are the close ups. To fill the frame with the face of the talent with a wide lens you need to get very close which distorts the facial features in a comic way.

    So these camera/lens comments might be related to the serious Vs comic issue you were commenting earlier.

    Which prompts me to these questions: what camera and lenses do you have access to? How about lights?

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Yup, me and Daft had quite the conversation last night. 

    Good. Glad to see the comparison did better and you were able to see some of the other details missed.

    While the scene might not be grimdark like a Batman scene and has some wit in it, it is still taken pretty seriously and not comical.

    Not sure what jump cuts you are referring too? as I think the only jump cuts in there have been explained as they are clean plates for me to add the vfx/ green screened Nazguls.

    Technical advice is always valued as this scene is no exception that I tried some experimenting on it.

    As Dafter Things said before a lot of the lighting issues/filming/lenses in Iron man and Gotg were because I didn't know any better.

    For Gotg it was my first time using a Green screen so I basically just put as many lights as possible, (some white led lamps and three led light bars.)so I could easily key out the characters. And then in post-production, I color graded the characters with, I think it was the Black Diffusion effect? or it the falling sky color grading preset. One of the two, but  I think it was Black diffusion.

    So it didn't look so bland and bright as in the original shoot, I also brought down the contrast in some of the shots.


    For Iron man, I used the natural lighting from the room, and the color graded it in DaVinci Resolve this time, (My new default color grading program.) to make it look more blue and gray like the original scene. Again though, it was my first time grading in Resolve so I went a bit easy and basic on it.

    Then for the recent Lotr, on the inside shots, I tried to make it look like a fantasy setting, with orange/yellowish lamps two in each room with the shades taken off of one of them, but it did not look right at all.

    Then, I was messing with the camera settings and recalled that I had just watched Memento two days before, and I really liked the way the flash black scenes in Black and white were done, so I shot, it in the with the lamps in the Graytone setting and then I crushed the Blacks in Resolve.

    For the outside shots, I just shot them regularly while it was snowing and blowing, but the shot ended up being too yellow cause of the sun and not really Middle Earth-like, so I added some blue in post to make it look better.

    Not sure how to make scenes more colorful and dramatic in Resolve bit I would definitely love some tips on that.

    Now onto cameras: This is where it gets, even more, messier as I experimented basically with three different cameras for each video.

    Start with Gotg: In Guardians I used two different cell phones. (That was a mistake.)Cause I heard they were equipped with  4k, but for whatever reason the scenes (Probably because it was a cellphone camera.)

    turned out even worse than the camera I usually shoot with, and it certainly made trying to find a good high rez picture for a thumbnail a problem.

    In Iron man, I used what I normally film with, which is a Canon 70d but I didn't mess with any of the camera settings or different lenses so it kind of ended up looking a bit flat.

    (The inside Lotr scenes were also shot with the 70d, though with camera settings and 

    (as I mentioned to Daft I was in a bit of a time crunch that day.)

    (As you can probably tell right now I didn't exactly have a mentor or anyone I know close that does this kind of stuff so everything I have done these last 4 years has sort of been learning from YouTube videos, books,  movie special features with my own trial and error.)

    Now for Lotr: I had done some testing with my new Go-pro Hero Black 4 and I loved how it shot in actual 4k/1080p and the detail in the shots were amazing. However, there were 2 big problems with it: The Go-pro Hero 4 Black does not have a screen, so you can plan and look at the shots you did, and only one type of lense on it. But due to the quality and wanting to try it out, I decided to go with it. ( Not sure it this was a mistake yet, as it does have It's drawbacks but the shots look incredible.)

    So due to that fact, and I wanted to get this scene right, all the shots were storyboarded, Peter Jackson's style was researched and studied, and I filmed each shot with me in 3 different positions to make sure I got the right shot in camera.

    That would explain why some of the close-ups look odd and there are a lot wide shots, with only one lense.

    Wow. That was a lot. So that's what it feels like the chronalogilaize (Maybe not a real word.)and recap your last year and a half of Filmmaking.







  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176
    edited January 2019

    Hi there!

    At 1:50 it felt like a jump cut, maybe it was by design.

    On lighting:

    For green screen (you were talking about the GOTG shot) the screen itself needs to be well lit, but the talent needs to be lit to match the final comp.

    And I was mostly talking about light quality (hard, soft) and direction, and your answer was mostly about color. Not making publicity of my (not) popular channel, but I published a couple of videos on lighting figurines; those were excellent and easy exercises to learn more about lighting. Practice will be your friend.

    On cameras and lenses

    In my opinion, a 70D will be a better option than phones or GoPros for what you do in +95% of the cases. 4k is overrated, and the control you have on lens choice and camera settings with the 70D overrides the 4k big time. Unless you're running down a hill into a lake camera in hand, then take the GoPro!! :D You talked about the image quality out of the GoPro; I have a Hero5 and while the image is good *for being an action camera* doesn't get close to even a small compact LX15. And for examples of how good a 70D can look, just check Casey Niestat's videos. Whether you like his content or not, they do look great.

    Also you mention that you didn't pay attention to camera settings, and yet you go into resolve to color grade. If the source is not well exposed, well white balanced and clean grading will be difficult and possibly destructive adding ugly artifacts and such. Hell, even a v-log shot from a GH5 is ungradeable if it's 8bit AND badly exposed. I'd totally recommend to be more conscious of the camera settings.

    And still, don't know what lens(es) you got for the 70D. Because even if you story board (I don't because I can't draw for sh*t) camera angles and focal lengths make gigantic difference in framing and dramatic intention. And if you can't see what you are framing, the story board isn't helping you that much to set up the shot anyway.

    I hope some of this is helpful!

    PS: I wish I knew as much as you do at your age; I started making videos (of any kind) just 3-4 years ago at my early 30s, so take all this comments as our possible help to boost your learning way faster than some of us :)

  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Ahh, you are right, that was a jump cut. I stopped the camera and moved more to the side for a different shot with the new dialogue lines, but I'm not quite sure what made it turn into a jump cut, and how to prevent things like that in the future?

    Oh. I think what people are saying about lighting green screen and characters separate just clicked.

    Sorry... I have no idea what hard and soft light quality is? Could you explain it to me? I think some Filmmakers have talked about it before, does it have something to do with color temperature? Or' do you mean the watts/strength of the lights I use?

    I'll be happy to check out your lighting videos and leave a like on your ever-growing channel.

    Okay, I'll only use the 70d from now on. Unless I'm running down a hill and jumping into a lake.

    While like you said, I don't care for his content, but it was cool to see how much you can actually do with the 70d. Thanks for that.

    Be more conscious of the camera settings, Yeah, I'm starting to figure out that they mean a lot more than I originally thought. will do.

    In my opinion, It doesn't matter whether you can draw or not as all it needs to be is a clear representation of what you want in frame. Most movie Directors (Like Steven Spielberg.)  just draw very simple stick figures if only just to get the idea on paper, so you have some form of the idea you can look at.

    (I myself am pretty good at drawing so I had to come up with a system that I could only draw the picture for each frame once without erasing otherwise I would erase/draw, trying to get every picture detailed and excellent and would end up with only one storyboard done a day instead of 60.)

    Storyboards also help out in another way, psychologically as just like when you write something down, you remember it, when you draw as shot out you also remember it in your subconscious and can easily recall exactly the shot you want to get.

    I did this in two ways: I downloaded clips from Fellowship of the ring and put together a montage of shots I wanted to create similar myself, then I used that reel to drive inspiration for the boards I put on paper: Putting it subconsciously into my mind twice: When I clipped and edited out the shots I wanted, and when I drew the storyboards. So I got every bit of detail about the scene in my mind and because of that, I could shoot sometimes without even having to look at the boards themselves.

    And because  I've been using cameras for some time, I knew about where the camera had to be for every shot, so the storyboards were not wasted at all.

    But if you still don't trust your drawing skills, (Even the simple ones.) I would suggest trying the editing method  I discovered by, downloading all the scenes that inspire the film you want to make, and then editing and reordering the visual shots to the way you want your film to go.

    It's a great way to get it in your subconscious and have a visual reference of what your film is going to look like in front of you, helps you see how It's all gonna work before you even shoot 1 minute of the video.  (So much easier then keeping it all in your head, or even a shot list.)

    (Anyway, I would highly recommend it and it takes a lot of pressure off the day of the shoot.)

    And another note on Storyboarding: Don't ink them if you're going to film outside in the snow.

    I did and when the snow got onto the boards it spread ink everywhere and all over them, making them much harder to see then if they were just penciled. (Also had to keep the storyboards covered in a bag so they didn't get any more wet during the shoot.)

    (Some of this stuff is starting to sound like I could make my own Friday Mistake videos.)

    Onto lenses: 

    For the inside shots in Lotr, I used an Ultrasonic zoom lense 28-105 mm. Oh yeah, and I do remember besides the graytone setting for those shots, I also adjusted the aperture to be darker, and I turned on face tracking, so no matter what the face was in focus and making the backgrounds a bit blurry so you only focused on Ben's face and performance, and I filmed in 24fps.

    (One of my first times doing anything with camera setting actually.)

    I also have an Ultrasonic 100-300 mm zoom lense,

    an EFS image stabilizer 55-250mm lense,

    and an EFS 18-55 mm lense.

    Yes, all of this is very useful. 


    Again as I told Dafter, thank you very much for taking the time to do this Roger, I have been searching for this advice and these answers for quite a few years, and I've definitely been needing a boost up.















  • rutxer
    rutxer Website User Posts: 176

    On lighting

    Let's start with the light. If I simplify it as much as I can, here are characteristics of light:

    • Quality: hard vs soft (high contrast, hard shadows VS low contrast, soft shadows)
    • Color: warm vs cold
    • Direction: where does it come from in respect camera position
    • Take a look at this video, precisely at 1:40 where I cover this very briefly (and feel free to check the rest as well)

    The Aputure guys have a few 4 minute great videos on lighting on their channel that explain these things very well also. Disclaimer: I love and use their products, no I am not sponsored or working for them (as my subscriber count tells already...).

    With this basics, it's really fun to look at movies and series and figure out how are they lit. And everything goes: flat and flattering in comedies (think Brooklyn 99, Big Bang Theory); funky, multi colored and multilayered (Altered Carbon); to master pieces (anything done by Roger Deakins, really).

    Here are a couple of the lighting exercises done in small scale, on a table with my kids' toys. Even if it's a toy it has facial features so you get an idea on what different styles of lighting produce. This one is about dialogue; don't compare the scene to properly written things like @DafterThings content, but the lighting is decent and the references to Peaky Blinders and their awesome lighting a scene to differentiate the state of mind of different characters.

    In this other video I tried (emphasis on try :D) to get a similar look to a scene from stranger things, where they are at the arcade. And this is the video that started this series of lighting in miniature: trying to get Elsa to be lit as Decker from Lucifer in a couple of scenes. If you are bored or have the time, here I tried to copy-Film-Riot-copying-Blade-Runner :D

    On storyboards

    What I do is either have these stick figure drawings, or snaps of scenes I think they look alike, or even I have gone to location and took a couple of clips/pictures of me in the scene, so the framing so it's easier to explain. That, plus a super detailed shot list, which has helped in efficiency in shot days. I'll try to improve in our upcoming video project. 

    And living in Finland I'm kind of used to deal with snow as an element :D

    On cameras and lenses

    A rule of thumb (to be broken of course) would be to use: 24 or 25 fps (I think they're close enough), shutter speed at 180deg (so 1/50s). And if you are planning to color grade afterwards, shoot with as flat as possible color profile.

    Then, use the aperture to control the depth of field that you want (example of super shallow: Handmaid's Tale; example of super-deep-everything-in-focus: the Revenant).

    Then ISO; rule of thumb: as low as possible to avoid noise; complicated rule of thumb: as low as possible if you need shadow detail; as high as possible if you need highlight detail (but not so high that your shadows suck). Or even better, check this video from Filmmaker IQ.

    All of your lenses have variable aperture, relatively dark ones and with an APS-C sensor you won't get super thin depth of field, but that is overused anyway in YouTube land (guilty as charged). But you do have covered all focal lenses that you could probably need except super-wide (which I think is the trickiest to use without looking silly).

    One exercise I'd suggest you do to learn more about focal length is the following (you'll need some space). Plan a couple of shots with you on them; one close up (just a head shot), and one mid shot (from waist up). Just draw it, and then frame it like you drew it in different focal lengths using your lenses. I'd go with: 18, 24, 35, 55, 70 and 133mm (which would give you a few classics in FF equivalent field of view (28, 35, 50, 85, 105 and 200). Look then at how different is the background (far-close, amount of things in the frame), and how does the face look.


    You mentioned that you have studied and researched Peter Jackson style, which is a gigantic undertaking and could be broken down in 10 books and still scratch the surface only :) (For instance, his funky choice of 48fps in the Hobbit is reason enough for writing an lengthy essay or having debates over).

    So narrow it down: how is the "tony stark sipping a drink talking to Jarvis" scene lit? Why is it blue? Why isn't his face blue, but the rest of the scene is? Where are the shadows? How are the shadows? Where does the light come from? Can you see all his facial features? For instance, in the thumbnail you chose, Tony is lit from his left in clear Rembrandt style (check the triangle on his right cheek), and you are clearly lit in split lighting, from the opposite side. 

    And in my opinion, (after audio) lighting is the main reason why amateur things look amateur, and we all have a lot to learn there!

    And in general, practice practice practice, try and error. Write, shoot, edit repeat :)

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    When it comes to lighting and camera work I'll have to bow to @rutxer . I have so much to learn.

    I'll readily admit I am a novice but there are a few things I would consider to both tighten up the story and tell it more visually along the lines of "show, don't tell" . Let me know if you're interested in that as I appreciate you have already put a lot of effort into this.


  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Whoaa, thank you so much!!! all these great tips on lighting, exercises, and advice!!

     I have totally been needing this and as far as exercises, I never knew where to start before.

    Will definitely be doing all the things you suggest and I am really grateful for you finding all those videos and links for me as well.

    Yeah, what I meant was I did a brief study on his Frodo and the ring scene, Cinematography, and such but now it looks like I didn't even know what study was back then. 


    Again, a sincere thank you, this will help a whole lot and I will be reading and rereading this post many more times.


  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    Sure. I am in interested in all the advice I can get. 

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Website User Posts: 927 Enthusiast

    OK. Everybody sees a story a different way so apologies if I have not interpreted yours correctly...

    1) Ignore the camera.  There are too many looks directly into camera. I suspect you're probably doing it for framing purposes, which is understandable, but you need to set your mark before you record, hit that mark  and then ignore the camera. Looking straight down the camera can be effective but reserved for very specific purpose which is often to address the audience.

    2) There are a few immersion issues....
    00:20 - The snow starts moving up? If this is intentional then something is needed to show it is intentional. Maybe have your eyes and a hand move up to follow the snow.
    00:41 - The light is coming through shutter blinds. Nothing wrong with the light but the shutter blinds tell me we are in modern day (as does the furniture). You might consider rolling up the shutters and framing the shot to avoid the furniture. If you have any appropriate props for LoTR then have them in the background.
    04:04 - Yep the plastic bag and lunchbox shouldn't be there. Maybe you could trim the shot to remove them? A canvas bag or even a small backpack would have been OK. Also it would have broken up the scene if we see what he's eating . 

    3) Show, don't tell...
    00:54 - The lines are delivered really well but it is not clear who you are talking to. It's delivered to camera suggesting you are addressing the audience but *I think* you are speaking to Lorien, the younger brother, who is in the bed??? I might be tempted to break  this sequence down to something which tells the story more visually.
    a) A separate narration and a map to explain the war at the start (there is a reason why this is done so often in films). 
    b) We then introduce the main character with a monologue at a graveside where the man says something like "Lorien is growing fast. You'd hardly recognise him but, I guess, that's what happens in five years. <pause then characters sobs> It's so hard mother. We miss you".  He wipes his face, straightens up, puts a hat on then straightens it indicating he *has* to remain strong for Lorien. He walks off. It would be good if we see him walk towards a LOTR style house even a barn door or shed door perhaps? You onl;y really need the exterior for this.
    c) Inside we see the man talking to a sleeping Lorien (even the old trick of a pillow for the bump with a blanket over it) about how beautiful the world is/was. You can then  act as if Lorien has woken up and change attitude to something more 'serious' and practical "At last, you're awake". He tells Lorien he is off to chop wood and that Lorien should do his chores and not to forget to practice his reading. This confirms his status as the parent figure. He walks off into the woods. You might consider a couple of scenes of walking to show some distance being covered because at....

    03:40 - He seems to turn to see the devastation immediately but surely he would have heard it? Maybe we see him chopping the wood. He stops to take a drink and turns to see smoke in the distance above the trees. He drops the water,  picks up the axe and runs towards the smoke saying "no, no, please no'. We see him running a little more before he runs into the clearing to see the devastation and shouts.... "Lorien, Lorien.... nooooooooo"



  • Xhan47
    Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148


    You got this story mostly right!!! Which makes me very happy seeing as my previous stories whence they got into the emotional part left my audience members clueless.

    All these are great ideas... But I think due to the fact, this is a rough cut and I hav'nt added everything in yet, I think you're missing a couple of things, and I do actually have thought out reasons for the way the story goes as it does.

    (So most of this will be me defending my choices and admitting your right on quite a few of them.)

    Alright let's get into it: 

    1. Yup, that was a mistake. I did it because of the Gorpo screen problem I mentioned earlier to make sure I was in camera, but it ended up being a bit obvious.


    00:20 - Good catch!!! I used the snow effect and then duplicated it and reversed it so the snow would stay continuing falling, but I didn't even see that it made the snow fly up. Will be fixing that one.

    00:41 - The blinds were pulled down to make the room darker, and I thought for sure I got rid of most of the modern day stuff, plus the camera is not focusing on the background so the other stuff I thought I could get away with.

    04:04 I tried that. But it didn't work. I think I'll just have to live with that one, another causality of that no screen Gopro.

    I'll have to disagree on that map opening option. The way the film starts out is 100% intentional. 

    It's all about grabbing the audience immediately. I'll demonstrate:

    1. We see plain snow, why are we watching a plain landscape that feels deserted?

    2. A sword is in the ground, blowing in the wind. Did somebody die? Why is the sword just lying there? 

    3. Ben falls to the floor. Why is did this man just drop? was he the owner of the sword? Has he been stabbed? what happened? How did we get here?

    4. He closes his eyes and we are taken back in time to answer those questions.

    5. We find out Ben has lost everything but Lorean and is broken.

    6. Ben loses Lorean and we see the entire town in flames, with Ben the only survivor.

    7. Now we know how we got here, now the question the Audience has, is what's next?

    8. then we are taken onto the next beats of the story, and we have the gripped the audience in with a simple storytelling tactic: Immediately giving them questions to solve, answering some of them, and most importantly:

    Withholding information, to help them stick all the way to the end. All of this also gets the viewer to invest in Ben, understand him, feel sympathetic for him, and wonder what happens next, while hoping he makes it out alive.

    That is why this intro is done the way it is. + I have been wanting to do an opening like that for quite some time.

    (One of my favorite things ever is how a movie starts, to let the audience know what they're getting into>)

    It's another reason you'll notice why we recreated the opening scene of Gotg. 

    Anyway, that's what the scene is going for and I hope that as an audience member you experienced some of it, if not then well the vfx, sound fx, and music will help on that one.


    this next section i"m going  to title because it answers most of these next quarries are because of this theme:

    Theme: Isolation:

    This is the theme that the whole story and camera work is built upon. Let me explain:

    Originally it was planned to see the back of Lorean's head, but after this scene was decided to get a more like Memento, it was changed works even better with the theme. Again, Isolation.

    Every shot we see of Ben is him looking straight at us. The only time we see his back is when Lorean dies, and he dies. (It's no coincidence that he is in the same position for both of them, as if he has turned his back on life It'self, and is prepared for what is next.

    Back to my point, on the opening scene: We cut away from Ben's face buried in the snow, to Ben talking to us as if we are Lorean. We know he is talking to someone, but we don't who it is, is it us? Then as his backstory is revealed, you start to understand why. The reason we never show Lorean is because of Ben's mental state.

    It's showing that even though we know he loves his brother, he can't quite love him like his other dead relatives.

    He is keeping a distance from Lorean, so as he thinks, he won't have to ever feel the pain of losing a loved one again, and, Ben doesn't want to fully be apart of Lorean's life as he is afraid that his troubled past will come back on him. Another reason they moved far away into Laketown.

    Everywhere he goes, pain follows, so he isolates himself from Lorean, he takes care of him, but always at a distance, he doesn't want the dark shadow of his life to be a cloud over Lorean's bright future.

    Ben is fully isolated from everyone he knew, even the living, who he cannot quite connect with due to his sorrow.

    Also not showing Lorean brings up the question to the audience of does Lorean even exist?

    We know he lost his mother and father, but did he even have a brother? and even so how long ago did he even die? was it weeks? years? we don't even know. It questions Ben's mental sanity, now that he is alone.

    And when what he is so afraid happens, Ben breaks. Losing the lost person he ever loved, especially since he isolated himself from Lorean to protect him.

    The eating scene is the same way. It's one long shot where he is surrounded by nothing. He is completely alone.

    The entire scene is designed that way. When he meets Sauron, he is the only light in the darkness, and when he fights the Nazguls he is alone, surrounded, with no one to help.

    (My brother said the wilderness scene felt to him a lot like cast away, and that was the whole point of it.)

    Had I cut away to another shot during the eating scene, it would have seemed like there was some hope. Whereas this long shot shows how alone he really is. Again, the theme: Isolation.

    As you can tell I have thought about this kind of scene a lot. I have been imagining doing this scene for years written it in many scripts, and it was the central theme of my 50-minute movie each trilogy I did.

    (It never worked with the audience on that one.)

    Plus, as they say, you always put yourself into your story and characters. As, Ben has a lot of me in him, I am the last brother left at the house, all my old friends have left, and my parents don't really understand me, and weren't able to help while I was frustrated trying to make something in Filmmaking work.

    The loneliness, isolation, and insanity of it all. (One of the reasons the acting turned out so well.)

    So yeah, rutxer may have all the technical stuff mastered, you may have quite the visual sense, but I can get into a character's head like there's no tomorrow.

    I think about characters and stories and psychology of it all the time.

    But, I think that explains all of it, had this been more of a normal film I probably would have done more of a visual look, with seeing Lorean and everything but this isn't.

    There is another reason for Ben always facing the camera: As it reflects how I felt, with the isolation when most of the time It's just me filming by myself cause the brother is not around here anymore, and it can feel like the camera is my only friend.

    This is a story, much like James Gunn did with the Guardians of the Galaxy films of sharing my pain in it.

    And I think that's why this story is so special to me. That's also when a story has heart.

    Any way the vfx are coming together real nicely and I'll be very excited to release it soon.

    Yeah, and there is a title that will pop up saying the wood cutting scene is 6 months later.

    + The whole shot of him yelling Lorean with the flaming log cabins and the misty mountain is establishing that we are in Middle earth.












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