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Showcase: “Armistice” The Movie

September 15, 2007

Here’s this week’s Showcase item, found on YouTube, and it brings to light a very good lesson for you filmmakers out there.  This is a short film with quite a high production value and some pretty good acting.  It’s an overall good find on YouTube, which is typically full of random vacation or comedy-intended violence viral videos.  Now, I watched this film and thought it was pretty good, nice acting, good looking, professionally shot, and even though I didn’t entirely like the shaky camera all the time, it definitely fit in the heavier action and tense moments of the film.  After watching, I started thinking about why it looked so good, and came to the conclusion that they actually didn’t even have to spend that much money, if any, on this movie at all.  It shows how much good acting and some good camera moves and editing can really sell the film.  They had three locations, all of which we barely see any of because we’re focused on the actors and the drama in the scene, they could have shot the whole thing in a day as long as they had good talent and the time for it all.  The lighting looked decent enough… in fact, they could have shot most of it in a studio with darkened backgrounds and controlled lighting to fit the scenes.  This is such a good example of a short film that makes you really realize that you don’t need to spend much or any money at all on a decent short film, as long as you and your actors have the talent to pull it off believably.  I do have to say that appropriate sound effects, edited to fit into the scene (often just a matter of volume changes) also sell this piece, especially in the fight scene.  One quick tip I’m going to give here is to make sure that your sound effects overlap with your video, so even if the video cuts to a different angle, your audio doesn’t change because you cut that specific take.  Extend the audio (often you have to unlink the audio/video track) and then cut your shots together and you’ve got a good looking sequence.  One other thing is that they cut a lot and moved a lot in this short film.  One noticeable thing they did was rack focus a bit, from blurred to in focus, which gives it that high energy, almost too-high-energy-to-focus (get it?) feeling so it heightens the emotion and tension and energy of the piece as well.  Of course the controlled shaky camera does that too, which I thought in one shot for a second could have been done by adding a simple camera shake in post, but it might be more realistic to do it while shooting.  Anyway, here’s the Showcase of the week, called “Armistice” The Movie, written and directed by J. Bradley Bruening and co-written by Ryan Connolly who also doubles as cinematographer, as well as various other roles.  I think you’ll find this a pleaseing short watch that’s inspiring for it’s lack of complicated sets or locations and focus on the performance, story and the low-budget savvy they demonstrate in the making of this film.  Enjoy, and be sure to check out the rest of this account’s videos, there are some well worth watching.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhuzi5qd2kI

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