Documentary style film: The Archaeologist

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  01 January 2010
Documentary style film: The Archaeologist


Iím a independent filmmaker whoís been doing it with no budget now for seven years. Iíve just recently entered the Your Big Break New Zealand competition.

I donít want to push my luck here...but hey I did enter two things...they're different...but, its similar in that it's another silent film...but its more like a documentary style thing. But if you like classical music then well check it out.

Michael J. Dowswell - Independent Filmmaker

LINK: Crashing Star Wars Ships #03
  01 January 2010
I definitely like the sets and modeling in this animatic short, and the camera angles and editing are consistent in what I would expect from real camera work. The very professional looking title-frame with a serif font sets a "formal" expectation for the story, and the name is interesting.

My general sense, though, is that "it's an awful lot of bicycle" ... and, achingly slow trucks toward a finely detailed archaeological scene that I never really get close enough to, to see clearly.

There are a couple of slight "jumps," e.g. when the lady is getting onto her bicycle, that could have been edited a little more cleanly. Difficult animations like "getting on the cycle" can be elided out completely: we know what they look like.

I'd like to see this film as it progresses. As it stands, I can see about 20-30 seconds' worth of "very repetitive bicycle" that could be cut, and I would like to see more footage added which gives direction and focus to the story that is about to unfold. The story, whatever it is, is what I am interested in: take me there quickly and decisively.

Give me only enough "lady on the bicycle" to clearly show that she's (presumably, an archaeologist) on a bicycle, in a city, going somewhere. It is, of course, also a character-establishing move: she is also probably young and just getting started because she's bicycling long distances instead of driving a car. But now, cut to the archaeology dig long enough for me to register that this is where she is going. And then, let the story begin. Is it to be "another day at the office," or "we just discovered King Tut's tomb?" I'm anxious to know!

Again, a very fine animatic and I do wish you the best of success!

Last edited by sundialsvc4 : 01 January 2010 at 02:28 PM.
  01 January 2010

Looks good but you need to improve your movements. the woman is riding the bike but she's not using her foot to make the bike move. When the woman was taking the bike out, that also didn't look right. The man by the skeleton: his foot looked like it was underground.
  01 January 2010
one crit I'll offer is it doesnt really fit the brief "CAPTURING THE SPIRIT OF 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND - THE YOUNGEST COUNTRY ON EARTH"
I would expect to see more focus on natural environments as opposed to the city which features so predominantly.
other than that its easy enough to follow whats going on...good luck in the challenge!
  01 January 2010
little crit here :

when the first time she awake from her bed,
she move from left to the right screen.
then you switch her direction in next scene, to opposite direction.

in the second perspective long shot she move into opposite direction again.

it would be nice if you have more consistent character direction ( but try to avoid too much similar angle)

overall animatic look fine, maybe cut timing could be improved.
good luck !!
  01 January 2010
You lost my interest very early on. I turned it off right as she was riding away on the bike and then I caught myself for doing that instinctively as the tab in my browser closed.

Sorry to be blunt, I honestly hope the above notion is constructive and not detrimental in any way. The subject, more than anything, simply was not interesting.

I also would beg to ask the question now that I think about it. Why is this in CG and not on video. But perhaps there is a reason as I didn't finish watching.
  01 January 2010
Please don't post work in the General Discussions forum.
  01 January 2010
This is a piece that is ready for first edit. (I hope it was not considered yet to be a submission...) There are, in this minute and a half or so of work, about 30-40 usable seconds. A pretty decent ratio. And this is, after all, an animatic: a thing designed expressly to be "the source of such editable material."

It's really startling just how important editing really is. The film editors who say, "the movie is captured in the camera, but made in the editing room," really are on to something important. CG tempts you to spend hours, days, weeks producing "lovely material" that you then do not have the guts to throw away.

The workflow that I have developed (using Blender) is: "shoot, edit, repeat, repeat, repeat ... (eventually) ... breakdown ... render ... assemble." And the amount of "footage" that is quickly cranked-out, only to be discarded, is quite large. But I don't have any real amount of time put into it. Setting up a "skit," setting the cameras, and shooting it from all those angles is a couple hours' work maybe. Lots of that. The "final cut" is completely assembled before any serious rendering (compositing) is done, and by then it's strictly a recipe: "I need frames 00:01:51:10 through 00:02:18:11 of scene 188.cam4. Then..."

The modeling is fine; there's good action, creative use of camera, lots of things are good, and that's what you focus on. The rest is just the process, much the same for any movie and any moviemaker. Don't quit... and you're a long way from being done yet ... and it's gonna be good stuff.
  01 January 2010
Many thanks for the feedback everybody...its very much appreciated.

What you are looking at is a presentation pitch, for a live action film...that gets made if I win. Probably shot on Red cameras.

I wont lie, its not really a finished script or animatic...I would be tinkering away and altering it (if I win) to try and get it as good as possible.
Michael J. Dowswell - Independent Filmmaker

LINK: Crashing Star Wars Ships #03
  01 January 2010
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