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First zero budget short film, seeking feedback!


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Hello everyone! I'm a french film school student (however we don't practice often it's just mainly theoretical courses and film analysis) and we had recently to create a short fiction (we were to do around 7 shots). We had the plan with my teammate to explore an old abandoned coal washing facility and decided to make something with it, so here it is!

Sound is important so play it loud :)

Now some explanation. I don't have a lot of money, and our school doesn't have any gear to loan, so we made it a 0$ budget short ahah (well the only thing we paid for was the gas mask). For the prep we had only a few days, so we thought of a story, and we only did the storyboard for the first half of the short (until he enters the factory), as we didn't know what it looked like inside, and we had to improvise on set. It was really run'n'gunning as we only had 9h on location, and some shots are quite rushed...
I shot it with a sony a6000 in AVCHD, with for the most part in exterior the sony 18-105G F4, then in interior the Sony 35mm F1.8 OSS and a Leica Summicron 90mm F2 (pre-asph, which I found in my dad's old camera gear).
For the lighting setup we used an outdoor LED floodlight (which is what the actor is holding inside the factory) and a 200*160 5in1 reflector to bounce some light back.
I edited everything and made the soundtrack on Sony Vegas, then graded everything on DaVinci Resolve Lite.

I'm kinda in a love-hate relationship with it haha, during the edit and post-prod there was some moment I just wanted to delete everything, and I was noticing every little mistake or imperfections, but considering the time limitation, budget the result is fairly ok, and initial feedback was good so I wanted to share it more with people working in this field!
I'd love any advice or feedback from you!

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Considering your limitations, I think you did a good job.  A6000 is probably one of the best little HD cams.  Slo-mo looks good and used sparingly.  Color grade works for the gritty feel.  Pacing seems good too.  Didn't feel like 5min film, felt much shorter.  Good thing because this could have dragged like some other short films.  Sound is good and gives a good sense of unease and the whole "apocalyptic" feel.  I think you had a good sense of what you wanted, and then shot it very well.  Edit, sound, music is all good!  Be nice to see it made into a 30min short.  Maybe on the lines of the STALKER PC game or something.

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Great!..love the editing, clean cuts, great camera work, great color grading. Its easy to see (or better hear) alot of work went into sound editing. The sound of dripping water is quite dominant in the first factory part, but the actual cut showing some water dripping was very fast. Maybe that close-up of water droplets in the small waterhole towards the end could be set earlier so the viewer can see where the dripping sound is coming from.

All in all really great stuff:) Makes we wish i could start my short film this year...but most difficult part is matching time for me and my friends:(

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really liked it. Great tension, nice shots and sequences, good sound!

One thing I didn't like so much: the slomo shot at 1:06. I think it breaks the pace of that scene.

The slomo around 1:40 fits better (because of the sound), but maybe it would be better to end the running scene with the slomo instead of speeding it up again. Just a thought, not sure how that would actually turn out.

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^I agree with Julian on all accounts.

Images look beautiful: very crisp, well cut, and awesome color grading.

I liked the gripping nature and the development of the story.

I didn't like the end scene right after the radio dies (doesn't really convey a sense of anything happening unlike the rest of the short). I would love to see this fleshed out into a 30 min film or so!

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I agree with most if what Zack and Julian have said.

The Short is actually pretty good, the folley and sound design are very good, Ibreakised that there is no background score, but the folley and other sounds more than make up for that. The lighting is very decent, and even the dark bits weren't disappointing. I guess a little background score to built the whole thing up, rising to a crescendo at the very end would have made it absolutely stellar.

I cannot believe you shot the intercuts with just a single camera. Also, the intercuts could have been a little faster at the end, to increase the pace, immediately before, like Juliam suggested, probably adding the slow motion in the end. 

Overall, still very impressive. 

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