Feedback (2 replies and 8 comments)
Hello Roger and fellow forum members,
I wanted to get some feedback on my reel and a recent project I worked on while being an undergraduate student in the U.S.
Everything was shot on Super 16 with ARRI SR-3 cameras and Kodak 250D or 500T stock.
I am using these materials for cinematography graduate-program applications.
Let me know what you think.
Most recent project:
Interesting shots but rather predictable. Try different heights and angles rather than waste level shots. Experiment with different lighting techniques even though you are on a limited budget you can still achieve wonders. I did like the music though but couldn’t understand what was going on. The shot in the music room could have been slowed down or even hear him play in the background.
Having said that, your short film ‘Curiosity’ was on a different level and well put together. Great music track and well edited. Obviously, you are a “Shining” fan as you copied some of the shots. I enjoyed watching this short, good camera work too.
This is only my opinion but I look forward to seeing your next one.
Anybody else have an opinion on these shorts.
Thanks for the feedback Mike!
Yes, I need to work on my compositions and let loose a little with the lighting and try some things out.
What do you mean with predictable?
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed “Curiosity.” The director did all the editing and sound mixing.
And yes, he mentioned he wanted to include/recreate some Kubrick shots, and I’m always happy to hear when someone says they see that in it.
I definitely recognize some kubrickian shots here. My advice would be to conserve certain camera moves, I noticed right from the beginning you went handheld, a lot of shots felt repetitive but this might have been your intention. Back to conserving camera moves, the more that you repeat a certain technique it loses its power, so save certain moves for critical plot points. Try going for static shots at first to set the audience at ease, then when you reach a critical point such as the character discovering the writing, you can go handheld or dutch tilt to emphasize his unease, or simply do a slow push in.
I mentioned that the shots seemed predictable as they lacked inspiration.
The intro was a shot pannning down from a tree onto to a embracing couple obviously in love. The music set the tone of the scene. We then get a C/U of the couple and then a C/U of her head. These shots could have been done more sensitively, we then see the couple distracted by a noise, they look startled and make a run for it. The audience is asking WHY? There was no sound or visual reference. We could not identify the man in the music shop so was confusing, who is he? There was also credits running at the bottom of the screen which was annoying. The travelling shot down from the plaque to the drawer didnt mean anything and was time wasting imo. Too many characters in such a short film made it confusing. If you are going to film a love story then you have to feel in love to write the storyboard. I think this short was rushed into production before the pub opened! I’m a Melbourneian. Ex Channel O and 7.
Well the thing is that the video you’re talking about is Reel actually - it’s not a self-contained piece, but I grabbed various scenes from the shorts I shot and edited them together to music.
I might not have made that clear enough - my bad.
Probably be best to show the completed reel, I thought it was a finished project.
Anyway, you can start making your next one. Look forward to it.
I’ll make sure to share it when it’s done.
Might actually come back to another form post for suggestions.
Members will be delighted to offer advice on this forum, rather than switch to another forum.
Thanks for sharing your work, Olivier. I can tell that you’re passionate about what you do and your openness to feedback is great.
I’d say overall what I notice about your work is that I don’t get any immediate sense of intent from your compositions. A lot of the shots in your reel feel like the camera was just pointed at things with no solid idea of how those compositions should make the audience feel or how they were moving the film forward. This is also true just informationally—in the short film you posted, I couldn’t always tell what was going on, why the actor was doing what he was doing, etc. I actually did not get through the entire short as it wasn’t engaging me on a tonal level or a story level. There also were many shots that seemed extraneous that added clutter to the sequence without bringing any new information.
This is partially a directing issue, I think, not just the cinematography. A strong sense of intent needs to accompany every shot, every cut. This is really common in student work, so the more you can figure out how you can use composition and shot flow to efficiently communicate your story and augment the emotions of the scene, the more your work will stand out.
Also, in my opinion things should be in black and white only if you’re going to use black and white for its strengths. Simply making footage black and white doesn’t make it look better or more artistic automatically. Study black and white films carefully and look how they use shadow, separation, etc. to maximize the effect of the look.
Lastly, as someone who hires DPs and crews often and looks at a lot of reels, my advice is to either make your reel considerably shorter and only include your best stuff, or to shoot more impactful footage and cut together a more dynamic reel. If I was looking at DP reels to hire someone, I would have stopped watching that one after about thirty seconds or less.
I hope none of this comes across as too harsh and is a little helpful. Keep at it and definitely post more work as you have it ready to share.
Thank you for the long feedback David!
Yes, I feel the same way about my composition, it’s one of the things I have to have more intent with. Most projects had a 24 hour turnaround and I didn’t get time to spend time with the director to go through the script and articulate the visual language - hence why my desire to go to film school because I think it would be a good environment to perfect my visual storytelling in a nurturing environment.
And no, nothing cane across as harsh! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to write such a detailed response!