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Imagined Warfare - Short Film



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Twilight93

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Hey guys!

Please check out this short film my friends and I worked on. A lot of hard work was put into it and I would love to hear your thoughts. If you're a fan of Community, Edgar Wright films, and video games in general, this one's definitely for you!

[video=youtube;GNcyvS-nhuU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNcyvS-nhuU[/video]


If you guys have time and find that you're enjoying it, please check out the full director's cut. Some of the best action sequences had to be cut short or cut out entirely from the original:

[video=youtube;itXnXIXiuZw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itXnXIXiuZw[/video]
 

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Amazing! I was blown away.

I especially noted the quality of the sound editing, which you don't usually find in amateur productions, but really everything was great--camera, costuming, video editing, acting. And I love the concept--simple to understand, reasonably low-tech to produce. I'd be curious how you did the T-Rex(?) run-by effect with the props, that was a great touch.

I'll definitely check out the Director's Cut when I have the time!
 

Twilight93

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Thank you so much!!! I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed it!

There was definitely a great amount of work that was put into the sound editing. The film took roughly 2 months to be put together and a little over half of that time was spent on the sound. Since the premise relied so heavily on the sound effects, we had to make sure it sounded top notch or else the whole movie wouldn't work (especially during the second half). I'm practically proud of the Workshop scene as that was literally creating a setting using just sound and all from scratch.

I still look at the monster sequences and wonder how the heck we pulled that off haha. We used fishing wire to pull the boxes and props and I took it out of the footage in post with After Effects. They were kind of a pain to take out but totally worth it to have that element of realism rather than just have the POV shots. It really made the monster feel real (and a threat) in my opinion.

Again, I'm REALLY happy to hear you enjoyed it! Definitely check out the Director's Cut when you get the chance. Some of the best sequences are there and we cut out a lot of the emotion of the story in the interest of time. I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
 

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There was definitely a great amount of work that was put into the sound editing. The film took roughly 2 months to be put together and a little over half of that time was spent on the sound. Since the premise relied so heavily on the sound effects, we had to make sure it sounded top notch or else the whole movie wouldn't work (especially during the second half). I'm practically proud of the Workshop scene as that was literally creating a setting using just sound and all from scratch.
Certainly was worth it. Where did you get your sound effects, and what editing software did you use?

I also enjoyed the workshop scene, moreso in the Director's Cut where you "saw" (heard?) more of the setting. I particularly enjoyed the unveiling of the super weapon--nice little magic trick there with the sheet.

Twilight93 said:
I still look at the monster sequences and wonder how the heck we pulled that off haha. We used fishing wire to pull the boxes and props and I took it out of the footage in post with After Effects. They were kind of a pain to take out but totally worth it to have that element of realism rather than just have the POV shots. It really made the monster feel real (and a threat) in my opinion.
Gotta love practical effects. That was my initial guess, but in the first scene you use the effect (Evan and Willis running down the side hall and hiding in the alcoves), I couldn't figure out where you could have people pulling the lines! I guess you had long fishing line. I'm just picking up After Effects myself--I'm curious what tools you used to remove the fishing line from the footage.

Who handled the camera work? There were a few shots I really liked, especially the creeping track on Willis near the end of Willis, that is. I assume most of it was handheld with steadicam? Also the lighting--the beginning looks like it was lit naturally, but a lot of the lighting in the second half looks intentional.

Twilight93 said:
Again, I'm REALLY happy to hear you enjoyed it! Definitely check out the Director's Cut when you get the chance. Some of the best sequences are there and we cut out a lot of the emotion of the story in the interest of time. I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
I really enjoyed the Director's Cut too, but I actually agree with most of the cuts you made. The only scene that really helped me understand the story better was the end of the first fight scene, when there's only the four of them left and the monster makes its first "appearance." I couldn't really figure out what had happened from the flashback in the shorter version, so I never connected Ellie's disappearance to the monster and wasn't completely certain why Willis and Evan were apparently on the same side again. Also, there was that gorgeous transition from the four-way standoff to Evan alone in the room.

Other than that, however, I felt like most of the cuts were neutral or even beneficial to the overall film. Full credit to your actors for doing the entire second half in pantomime, but there's only so much emotion you can get across sighing and averting your eyes, so I was fine with some of the emotional scenes getting cut out. The "missing parts" scenes made a little more sense of the workshop, but weren't essential. And ultimately I felt the ten-minute running time was more appropriate to a film that is essentially a children's game; it moved fast, it was fun, and it got the point across. So I congratulate you guys on both versions, but especially the ten-minute edit; cutting your running time in half is no mean feat!
 

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The sounds all vary from several free to use sites such as Soundbible.com or ones I found on youtube. The gun sound effects were from video game soundboards (mostly from games like Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo). Nearly all of the sound effects are layered so each individual sound effect is made up of several. (Which I've learned is the best way to get great sounds)

Haha so funny story about that "one shot" of Evan and Willis. I actually snuck in a cut whenever I panned the camera. (Basically so we wouldn't have to repeat the whole action and worn out our actors) So at 9:44 there's a cut and we start a new take up until 10:14. For the cut at 10:14, you can actually see that the room in front of them has it's lights on, as opposed to before the cut (my reflection would show up without the lights for the third part of the shot). So to answer your question, there's a guy pulling the fishing wire right behind the corner next to the yellow trash can. We just cut during the pan after you see the hallway.

I'm a very big fan of whip pans for aesthetic reasons. But they sure do come in handy for nifty little tricks like this :)

I handled the camera for the most part. We actually didn't use a steady cam. I threw in a Warp Stabilizer on 1-5% for most of the long shots to steady them up. Although it can be a bit buggy at times, the plug-in really does add a level of professionalism (and it comes with Premiere Pro and After Effects!)

I was going to shoot the first half with just the lights in the room, but our DP really pushed me to turn on the kino light and bounce it off the ceiling as it would help a lot. And, in my opinion, it made a massive difference! The second half I usually had a specific idea of where the "big source of light" should come from. However, stuff like the one-shot and the final battle we didn't have space/a power source for the light so we shot without it.

I feel like there might be a better way to take out the wire, but I used the Wire Remover plug-in that comes with After Effects. It basically mirrors the edges of the wire and uses that to cover it up. Unfortunately, you have to move it frame by frame to get it to look right. There's definitely other ways to do it with programs like Mocha Pro, but that's what I was most familiar with at the time.

Again, I'm really happy you enjoyed it!! A lot of the credit on those time-shortening-edits goes to my partner in crime. It took us a good amount of time just to figure out how to to cut it down to 9 min and get a sensible story out of it (we entered it in our college film festival that had an 8-9 min limit). It also took the majority of our sanity haha.
 

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The sounds all vary from several free to use sites such as Soundbible.com or ones I found on youtube. The gun sound effects were from video game soundboards (mostly from games like Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo). Nearly all of the sound effects are layered so each individual sound effect is made up of several. (Which I've learned is the best way to get great sounds)
Huh! I haven't done much with sound editing, so I had never thought of layering sound effects. Are you able to do all that on After Effects, or do you use a program specific to sound?

The T-Rex roar and modulated voice are the stand-out sound effects of course (great "LOTR - voice of the ring" sort of effect on the latter), but the gun sounds are what make the movie comprehensible. The only point that threw me was at 6:19 (short edit), when Evan ejects the clip from his gun and there's no sound (we do hear him shove the clip back in two seconds later). I suppose that wouldn't make so much noise, but the complete absence of sound still surprised me.

Twilight93 said:
Haha so funny story about that "one shot" of Evan and Willis. I actually snuck in a cut whenever I panned the camera. (Basically so we wouldn't have to repeat the whole action and worn out our actors) So at 9:44 there's a cut and we start a new take up until 10:14. For the cut at 10:14, you can actually see that the room in front of them has it's lights on, as opposed to before the cut (my reflection would show up without the lights for the third part of the shot). So to answer your question, there's a guy pulling the fishing wire right behind the corner next to the yellow trash can. We just cut during the pan after you see the hallway.

I'm a very big fan of whip pans for aesthetic reasons. But they sure do come in handy for nifty little tricks like this :)
Wow, that was very neatly done! I never would have caught the light changing. I did notice a similar cut in the short edit to shorten the farewell between Evan and Willis.

I guess what confused me more was the recycling bin and toy car clearly come in towards the camera, and the only place I can imagine people pulling those cords is behind camera, but I suppose that's entirely possible.

Twilight93 said:
I handled the camera for the most part. We actually didn't use a steady cam. I threw in a Warp Stabilizer on 1-5% for most of the long shots to steady them up. Although it can be a bit buggy at times, the plug-in really does add a level of professionalism (and it comes with Premiere Pro and After Effects!)
So you were director, camera, and editor? Impressive. Your DP and Costume Design did an excellent job as well.

Twilight93 said:
I was going to shoot the first half with just the lights in the room, but our DP really pushed me to turn on the kino light and bounce it off the ceiling as it would help a lot. And, in my opinion, it made a massive difference! The second half I usually had a specific idea of where the "big source of light" should come from. However, stuff like the one-shot and the final battle we didn't have space/a power source for the light so we shot without it.
Did you just have a kino then?

Twilight93 said:
I feel like there might be a better way to take out the wire, but I used the Wire Remover plug-in that comes with After Effects. It basically mirrors the edges of the wire and uses that to cover it up. Unfortunately, you have to move it frame by frame to get it to look right. There's definitely other ways to do it with programs like Mocha Pro, but that's what I was most familiar with at the time.
Huh. I'm sure there's a special feature on some Hong Kong wushu DVD somewhere that says how they do it. I'm at the point in AE where I can finally do some effects, but everything takes a godawful amount of time, mostly due to inexperience.

Twilight93 said:
Again, I'm really happy you enjoyed it!! A lot of the credit on those time-shortening-edits goes to my partner in crime. It took us a good amount of time just to figure out how to to cut it down to 9 min and get a sensible story out of it (we entered it in our college film festival that had an 8-9 min limit). It also took the majority of our sanity haha.
I think that's the story with most movies, haha.
 
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