ANGEL - Fantasy Short Film

RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
Hello everyone!
About a year ago I had an idea for a new short film. While I'm usually more into Action/Sci-Fi, this idea of a Fantasy/Romance really spoke to me. I was on vacation at the time with access to very little gear, but with a little hard work and HitFilm (thank God for HitFilm), the short is finally finished!
A young man's life changes when he discovers a beautiful and powerful Angel.
Watch the film and let me know your thoughts! If you have any questions about the making of this short, let me know in the comments, or on the Angel page on my website:


  • KeeganKeegan Website User Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    SO GOOD! I watched it on your site! 
    My favorite part had to be the camera work! It looks extremely professional. What are you shooting on these days?
    Also, the score did a great job at helping things feel sincere and really drove home all the emotional points you were trying to hit!
  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
    Thanks Keegan! I used the Canon t2i for this. Glad you liked it!
  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador
  • KeeganKeegan Website User Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    Dang! What kind of glass do you have on that thing?! I also use a t2i and would love to get that amazing, crystal-clear look you seem to have mastered!  :)
  • NullUnitNullUnit Website User Posts: 791 Just Starting Out
    This is awesome! Great look for the short. Great acting from both leads. The story was easy to follow with only a minimum of dialogue, "show don't tell" as they would say in my old film school. Great titles and effects. Awesome job!
  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
    Keegan: I used the Rokinon 24mm and 85mm Cine lenses, as well as the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. I love my Rokinon Cine lenses, so I would definitely recommend them. The t2i is a great little camera, but I'm hoping to upgrade very soon since the footage couldn't handle my color grading without cracking. The Sony FS7 is looking really good right now!
    Null Unit: Thanks for watching! I'm glad you found the story easy to follow. One of my biggest worries while making this was that people wouldn't get what's going on. So if you found the story easy to follow, then my job was done well!
  • OrangePekoeOrangePekoe Website User Posts: 478
    Great job Rody!  As Keegan mentioned, the clarity and sharpness of your shots were great :)
    With regards to following the story, I tend to watch all things first time around without any audio.  I had no issues following along.  The visual story telling was quite good and for the length of the short it kept me entertained throughout. 
    Bravo sir!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,254 Ambassador
    Nice work! As everyone else has mentioned, the camera work is superb (I have a friend who wants to upgrade his t2i to a 5Dmk III--issue. He only has stock lenses. I keep arguing he'd be better off spending that money on decent glass, since there's no point in putting a $100 lens on a $3000 body! I'll be using this film as my next supporting arguement), your actors hit their beats in a very natural manner, the music helps move the story....
    One thing I very much like, and that's hard to do in a seven-minute short, is the way you have several twists set up in the narrative. The first couple of minutes set you up for one story, after--let's see if I can communicate clearly while being spoiler-free--the smartphone drops it looks like it's going to be a second story, and then comes the big end twist. Clever! Very clever!
    In terms of following the story, I think the base events work purely visually. The limited dialog--well, I was almost thinking it wasn't needed until your end twist. There's only one line of dialog that NEEDS to be in the story, and the few other lines merely serving to set up that important line in context. Very economical and very well done, again. :-)
  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
    So so glad of the great reception this is getting! Makes all this hard work definitely worth it!
    However, I am open to some constructive criticism, so if there's anything you guys think I could improve on, let me know!
  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador
    I watched it again last night, this time with my wife.  She really liked it too.  She was pleasantly surprised by the ending, as she thought it would be a more standard ending.  I thought the music was well chosen.  The pacing was just right.  I think the color grading and picture quality is the best thing about it.
    Quick question: Did you cut the film together in HItfilm or did you just do the special effects in Hitfilm and use a different software for editing?
  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
    It was edited in Adobe Premiere, and HitFilm was used for the VFX and titles.
  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    Beautifully done, Rody!
    I'd critique it but after two viewings, I can't think of anything to suggest outside what's already been said- which has been high praise. :D
    I especially liked the way you foreshadowed the two bumping into each other on the street. The first time I watched I was wondering if that was planned or not (it looks quite natural). Then at the end it all came together.
  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613
    Beyond ecstatic at all the positive comments, guys! Seems like all the hard work paid off!
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    Hey Rody - finally got round to properly critiquing this, having thought about it quite a bit. You wanted some constructive criticism, so here goes.... :)

    There's a lot of good stuff in here. Cinematography is solid, with a good number of really nice shots. The visual effects are imaginative, though often feel a bit too obviously CG. The story concept is fine, and feels almost like the pre-credits sequence from an episode of Buffy, stretched out into a short film.

    That said, there's are some key areas where I felt it didn't quite work.

    The lack of dialogue require an over-reliance on music, some of which works and some of which doesn't. The music sounds a bit too MIDI-style and doesn't quite achieve the orchestral sound it's going for, and the short feels a bit too long to sustain itself purely through the score (voiceovers aside).

    Talking of which, the lack of dialogue is an interesting and daring choice, but I felt was slightly undermined through the use of voiceover. Confidently telling a story without dialogue is cool, but if you then have to rely on voiceover to inform the audience it slightly reduces the effectiveness of the experiment.

    Tonally I have issues, primarily with the first half. The love affair is presented as a classic romance, delivered through extended sequences containing soft focus, slow motion and a very relaxed pace. The problem is that this leaves the viewer a LOT of time to think about what's going on: rather than finding the relationship touching and romantic, I was mostly confused about the man's unquestioning acceptance of this supernatural creature. His reaction to her arrival didn't feel genuine. There's also an uncomfortable aspect given her portrayal as a kind of innocent, inexperienced creature (at least until the twist), whereby you wonder whether the man should be taking advantage of her to this extent.

    I think what may have worked better (for me, at least) would be if the love affair had been presented in a more whirlwind, exciting, thrilling, caught-up-in-the-moment kind of way. The kind of romance which is fast, and burns bright, and is all-enveloping, and often crashes and burns, but while it lasts is something amazing. That would avoid the awkwardness, with the man (and therefore audience) not having time to question what's going on.

    I'm talking about capturing the tone of the musical number from 500 Days of Summer, or even this music video:

    The would then have made the contrast between the affair and the twist at the end even starker.

  • RodyPolisRodyPolis Website User Posts: 613

    Wow, can't believe I never got back to you on this Simon! Thanks so much for watching and taking the time to critic the short film. Much appreciated!

    Today I released a Before/After comparison of every shot of ANGEL. If you'd like to see the difference between the rough cut and the final version of the film, check it out!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,254 Ambassador

    The side by side really shows how much you pushed your grade in post. Nicely done, indeed! 

    I had to rewind a couple of sections to get comparison because I kept getting sucked back into the world of the film. Again, nice work. It's pretty hard to distract me when I am in analytical mode.

    To address Simon's critique: I accepted the relationship right off the bat. However, the simple title, 'Angel,' sent me in with preconceived notions--heightened these, subconsciously setting me up to be surprised by the twist. Since any story of man-meets-angel has a man who is highly worthy, or UNworthy. Since the man saw the fall, and sought her out, he was worthy-seeming. I didn't find the relationship uncomfortable at all. Of course the man was an artist, and his muse has been made manifest! Of course it's true love... Too bad our hero didn't stop to think about what happens to Angels that fall... Or, about her wardrobe choices... 

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