The Surgery | Short Film

Froi Website User Posts: 966
Here is my latest film, would love to hear what people think!
Please read the description if you want to get a better understanding of it.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador
    I think you're off to a very strong start on this project--the use of audio and shallow DOF is very effective as you're moving around the car to land on the date---this does a good job of setting mood and building tension before your exposition radio broadcast starts up. The separation of colour channels for those chromatic transitions is very effective, and I liked the music in the surgery scene--especially how your composer and sound editing worked together to make the beeps of the medical equipment transform into the percussion. Your individual shots are beautifully composed and your color grade works. Again, this is VERY nicely put together.
    I want to see where this is going.
    A few notes and observations:
    Since the Youtube information indicates that this is a test scene for a larger project, and since what you've presented here is, ultimately, all setup, without resolution, it's not really a "short film," but more of a teaser. You might retitle this "The Surgery (Teaser for >>Title<<)." Yes, it seems a bit pedantic, but I can see others giving negative feedback for the unresolved nature of this edit--It's a teaser, and a damn good one, but it's not a film yet.
    Your actors seem a little young to be surgeons, but I also understand that low/micro/no budget projects can be hard to get actors for--but, see my next note.
    Sigh--ok. when you expand this, if you (re)shoot more surgery scenes, lose the stethoscope. I get that it's a visual clue as to doctor/nurse identity, but we don't need it. Person who asks for scalpel is Doctor, person who hands over scalpel is Nurse, and we'll understand that. A surgeon wouldn't need the stethoscope for surgery, since he's getting electronic feedback via machines--and your audio design supports this hypothesis. Additionally, Masks, Hats and Gloves! Surgeons--ESPECIALLY investigating a new, unexplained viral outbreak--are going to do everything they can to maintain sterility, both to protect themselves, and to protect a patient from secondary infections. Plus, the masks and hats will mask the fact that your actors are way too young for those parts.
    Anyhoo, hope you get to expand this!
  • KirstieT
    KirstieT Staff Administrator, Moderator, Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,085 Staff
    edited March 2014
    I'm of a similar opinion to Triem - I really love the idea and the opening scenes of this short. Within the first two seconds of this video I knew I would enjoy it - and I'm a huge fan of horror shorts and movies so that should show you the kind of ambiance you managed to get across in those first few frames :)
    The flickering of the video was really effective and immediately suggested the scale of the viral outbreak with minimum suggestion (the only parts being less so was perhaps what I assume were stills of the car - after panning videos it seemed a little out of place to have a still image of those parts of the car). 
    I did feel that you had thought a little less about your surgery scenes than the initial introduction. The first few scenes were full of intrigue, well timed audio and great - I mean GREAT - cinematography. However there were details which really stood out to me as wrong when we got to the surgery scenes. 
    First, and most obvious - was the fact that they were quite young. Again, I appreciate how difficult it is to get older actors and so this isn't a be all or end all situation.
    It actually could have worked really well with a tweak to the story in a similar vein to the novel series "The Enemy" by Charlie Higson. In that novel, everyone over the age of 14 is susceptible to the zombie virus - all children are immune until that age essentially reducing the world to a modern-day Lord of the Flies where children rule. With a sub-plot like that, it would make sense for 13/14 year olds to be holding scalpels to be desperately trying to work out what's going on. But that's a side note :P
    Secondly (the detail which frustrated me the most) is the fact that they ABSOLUTELY, unequivocally would have been wearing masks and gloves. The first thing most people think when they hear virus is "airborne". Ideally with a large budget on a film you'd have a cordoned off zone and very obvious elaborate safety measures - while I appreciate it is more difficult on a low budget, it's worth stressing that the masks are absolutely needed in this scene. Otherwise you're suggesting that 1) the virus isn't as dangerous and terrifying as the viewer originally thought, 2) these aren't surgeons or 3) they're reckless/dumb, which makes you dislike the characters anyway. 
    The rest of my observations are similar to Triem's, so I won't repeat them. 
    I do want to stress that I really enjoyed this short and I'm really impressed by your detailed eye in terms of the cinematography.
    But when you're putting so much effort into bringing the tiny, unique details together, every so often take a step back and take a look at the big things - the obvious things. Otherwise risk your short being less 'believable' :)
    Hope this helps! Looking forward to your next work :)
    EDIT: By the way, your film is currently the featured movie on the Community homepage.
  • Froi
    Froi Website User Posts: 966
    I am very glad you both like the editing and the cinematography. Those were the bits I really tried hard on.
    Triem I would liek to say thank you for the advice on the title, I have now changed the title on the youtube video along with the "2020" date in the description because it does say 2014 on the actual car. In hein sight I feel I could have just simply editing the display on the car in post.
    In response to the rest of you comments I will tell you what was in my mind when it came to this film.

    The Idea:


    I was influenced by my cinematographer mate. He shot a television show that had an eerie scene within a sergical theatre, this prompted me to create a film based on a sergery where I could focus on creating an atmosphere using lighting to replicate a rather intense, eerie, mood.
    I used the my school's photography lights and their studio. I could only use the room for one hour because my two friends had classes to go to, and so did I. I did visit the costume department in search for the right clothing. It did rather bother me that there were no masks or gloves, it is definately going to be the most important thing for my next sergery scene (will always make sure I have the right clothing and props from now on). The only doctor like thing I could find was the stethoscope, and as a naive 17 year old I thought that this could be good to show off that he is a doctor and make him look just a bit more like a doctor/sergeon. In conclusion I did use all of the wrong props, especially the rusty old crafting knife. The female sergeon was also wearing a cotton jumper, one in which would definately not be permitted to wear whilst performing such a task!
    As I am only in my last year of school, not university or anywhere I can really obtain adult help in terms of acting, I did have to use my friends. I will continue to use my friends in films until the opportunity arises to use people the appropriate age!
    I did have the original idea of it being in the future, so that masks and gloves were not needed, although I doubt that will ever be the case. This is why they have the fancy laser cutter as well, which I do not know if they currently have at this present time...?
    My main confession is that this film was only intended to show the sergery. However, the sergery scene was too short and I felt like I needed t add a bit mroe back story and something to help build the atmosphere so I decided to shoot the rest afterwards. This was only meant to be a bit of fun using some lights in the studio but then it soon evolved into something a bit more real (which I am glad it did)!


    What did you think of the editing and cinematography in the actual sergery section may I ask?

    Thank you very much for the comments, I have definatley put them aside to look at again when I come to make my next short film. I am always in favour of criticism that explains itself (don't like it when people just say that it is bad and do not justify why). I am not a s much of a fan of false praise, this is why I like this forum because everyone has something good to say as well as something I can work on!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador
    edited March 2014
    Oh, the editing in the surgery sequence is very nice! I like the time-lapse shots, the subtle overlays and the shallow DOF intercuts. It's obvious that you already have an eye for composition and timing, which is good. And I do want to see the rest of this story.
    For masks and gloves, so should be able to pick up a box of cheap latex gloves and masks at your local chemist (do you Brits still call 'em "chemists," or have you moved to a proper, American "pharamacist," yet? ;-))
    Since your doing near-future, and emergency outbreak, you don't need "proper" green, up-to-shoulder gloves or medical masks. You can get away with, like a filter mask used by painters, or something. A painter's filter might look more sci-fi, and cheap latex gloves could help indicate an overloaded hospital running low on supplies. (Or, that can "be your story, and you're sticking to it.") You could use kitchen gloves, too. Doesn't have to be perfect, just enough to get the notion across of preventing spread and preserving sterility in the OR.
    By the way, I also like your thumbnail card. :-)
  • Keegan
    Keegan Website User Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    Cinematography was good!
    My favorite shot was the uneasy tilt down to the ipod/iphone in the grass. Nice, soft depth of field. And super eerie. Loved it!
  • Froi
    Froi Website User Posts: 966
    Brilliant! Glad you like the editing, means alot. The lens whacking technique  it was, lots of fun to do.
    Yes we do still call the Chemists! But we also call them a pharmacy too ;) I was definately thinking about going all out and useing heavey duty style equipment, I will do that if i can find the props to do so. I think it could really add to the seriousness behind a plot i use. Glad you like the thumbnail, I must say I am pleasantly suprised how well it came out :)
    Thank you Keeg, cinematography is definately my key area when it comes to making films. My favourite shot was probably the last one also. I felt like i needed to add some credits to the end of the sergery bit so I went out and filmed that, thought of over laying some credits there however I liked it so much i left it how it is!
  • GodofThunder
    GodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    I won't reiterate what the others have said about story elements and details of medical items.

    This looked beautiful! Minimalistic, simple and effective. Colour grading was spot on.

    Did I really spot a piece of glitter on the surgeons cheek? Lol
  • Froi
    Froi Website User Posts: 966
    Thank you very much!! I remember once someone said that one of the grades on my film was appauling (looking back i totally agree) so now I make sure i grade them to the best I can.
    I recon that may have been some glitter.... I went to pass the girl a pencil i found in the studio (to use as sergical equipment during the time lapse) and it had some strange gloop on it which contained an awful lot of glitter haha