Shootin Bricks WOW entry

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Stefan 15 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #14584

    Shootin Bricks
    Participant
    #14644

    Logan
    Participant

    That was pretty good. The picture quality was bad, but everything else was pretty good. I expected a better film from you, but it was by no means a bad film. Good Job!

    Logan

    #14649

    Motfilms
    Participant

    *spoilers*

    Nicely done. The picture quality wasn’t great, and the walking looked a bit odd to me. But other that that, this is a great film. The mini-figs imposible task of clapping was very nicely done. The special effects were awesome. Very interesting choice about those bars on the sides of the screen. Not sure about how badly they will hurt ones eyes after several viewings, but for the first few times throught, they didn’t seem to bother much.
    *end spoilers*

    Nice. 🙂

    Tom

    #14653

    unfoldingmetal
    Participant

    I thought it was ok. Maybe a little dull? The voices were a little unclear. Coll film though. 🙂

    #14840

    Anonymous

    Sun Tzu is a like a total freakin genuis! I enjoyed your film a lot! Your set designs have a very distinctive look.

    My major gripe was that the Black Ninja walked more like a jackbooted nazi than a stealthy ninja. 😆

    If you plan to start a war anytime soon, you need to watch this film! :wink

    #15294

    Stefan
    Participant

    Doug, since you don’t like PDF, I’ve translated your review into BBCode:

    SPOILERS!

    Title (if applicable): Deception
    Proverb: All warfare is deception

    Synopsis: Ninja walks into an ambush, but doesn’t.

    Good stuff: The combination of deep Chinese wisdom with
    Shootinbricks humor works quite well. The clapping of the minifigs
    looks great! A most enjoyable film, with a remarkable conclusion.

    Room for improvement: When the three red ninjas jump out
    of the tomb thingy, the sound effects suggest a lot more action
    going on than the video. I’m not too pleased with the amount of
    compression. Did you use two-pass encoding? It’s somewhere in the
    options menu of RealProducer.

    All reviews can still be downloaded here.

    Yours,

    Stefan.

    #15303

    hali
    Participant

    My reviews at this stage are based exclusively on the factors the comp is being judged upon (+ time limit), details below grabbed from the WoW Events page.

    Theme will involve which words of wisdom were chosen and how creatively they were used as a basis for the film.

    Presentation will include animation, cinematography, and all other technical elements of the film (including audio).

    Time Limit: Entries can be no longer than 2 minutes in length, including credits. Suggested length is 1 minute or less.

    You can guarantee there will be SPOILERS, so be careful
    ——————-

    Theme:

    Good choice of WoW. Sun Tzu’s texts and musings on ‘The Art of War’ are well known and seemingly applicable to the modern world in many ways, there are many ways this could have been animated. Doug’s choice to set this in the ‘Asian realm’ does justice to the WoW.

    ‘Deception’ was explored in many ways, from the minifigs bursting out of hiding places (from under the ground and the barrels), to characters revealing their ‘true’ allegiance to the terrible cop out at the end, ‘I was never here.’

    I say terrible because (sorry… teacher mode on automatic right now, I can’t escape it sometimes) the best way to undermine any narrative whatsoever is to end with the ‘it was all a dream’ ending. Which is essentially what this is. Leading up to this point the theme was explored in a number of believable ways, from a number of perspectives, this ending ruined it for me.

    So to sum up, good choice of Wow, and decent exploration, until the ‘finale’ which then disappointed me greatly.

    Presentation:

    In keeping with the theme, the sets ‘set the scene’ and we knew we are in a world of ninjas and tradition. There was quite a bit of depth in some shots, which was nice to see.

    The opening few seconds were good, particularly the use of digital pan and zoom to the character behind the pillar, but it becomes quickly apparent after this point that the frame rate is very low, in combination with quite large movements this makes the film look very jerky indeed. The walking animation did not help this at all (unless it was supposed to be a member of the ninja gestapo). The guys appearing out of the tree stumps was good though, as was the animation of the removing the hoods. Then in direct comparison, whilst talking, the head and eye movements seemed very jerky.

    Good to see non-digital effects used on the ‘flying’ 3 red figs at the start, it usually looks much better than masking etc.

    The clapping was ok, but it instantly reminded me of egoless’ ‘ninja thief’ from a while back, and the sword sharpening in that looked so much smoother… the frame rate again?

    And a question, was all of the motion blur intentional, or an artifact of the heavy compression?

    Finally, the characters in columns that frame the screen? What do they mean? I’d like to know as I am not familiar enough with character based languages to look it up myself. Are they a translation of the Wow? Or just for show?

    Time Limit:

    I was very pleased with the length of this entry. There have been quite a number that I’ve reviewed that have extended well beyond the suggested limit of around 1 minute. Pulling in a 49 seconds allowed the WoW to be put across in a quick and effective manner

    #15326

    Shootin Bricks
    Participant

    Hali wrote:

    So to sum up, good choice of Wow, and decent exploration, until the ‘finale’ which then disappointed me greatly.

    OK- fair enough. I probably don’t need to do this, as with any film it’s each individual viewer who finds their own meaning, but let me explain where I was coming from. My film was an attempt to literally illustrate three examples that prove Sun Tzu’s quote true. First there’s the ambush and counter ambush- pretty straight forward and obvious in the film I think. Then there’s infiltration– also fairly obvious. The third and perhaps not so obvious example was the feint or misinformation. This one was perhaps less literal than the others and thus not as obvious. My goal was not to say ‘it was all a dream’, but to show that what the red ninja’s thought they were seeing was an illusion- they were fooled. In real warfare this translates into a commander potentially having his forces in the wrong place at the wrong time- because he thinks the enemy is going to be there. When this happens in real life, the hapless commander no doubt wishes it were just a dream…

    Hali wrote:

    The opening few seconds were good, particularly the use of digital pan and zoom to the character behind the pillar, but it becomes quickly apparent after this point that the frame rate is very low, in combination with quite large movements this makes the film look very jerky indeed. The walking animation did not help this at all (unless it was supposed to be a member of the ninja gestapo). The guys appearing out of the tree stumps was good though, as was the animation of the removing the hoods. Then in direct comparison, whilst talking, the head and eye movements seemed very jerky.

    Get ready for it- the frame rate was 24fps. SURPRISE! Why did I have some jerky movement with such a high frame rate? My guess is it was a result of my experimentation with motion blurring (see next question). Why did the black ninja walk funny? My only (weak) defense is that it’s hard to animate a walk cycle on one of those mega bloks ground plates. The studs are… incongruous to say the least. I tried to make him look sneaky, when that failed I tried for funny. What you see in the film was supposed to look like skipping- I realized it looked like goose stepping and used it because I thought it was funny and might illicit a chuckle… ah well. Mark that one down as a miss…

    Hali wrote:

    And a question, was all of the motion blur intentional, or an artifact of the heavy compression?

    Intentional- I wanted to give my film a ‘dream-like’ quality, similar to Valtsu’s legendary fight club clip. (Not ‘it was all a dream’-dream like!) My failure, I think, was in not fully taking into account that my number of frames would effectively double, thus slowing the action. There are places where I got it so right that you don’t even notice the blur and it looks super smooth. And places where I got it so wrong it looks herky jerky. Ah well- mark that one as a hit and a miss. At least it can serve as an example for myself- and others- to learn from.

    Hali wrote:

    Finally, the characters in columns that frame the screen? What do they mean? I’d like to know as I am not familiar enough with character based languages to look it up myself. Are they a translation of the Wow? Or just for show?

    It’s from a poster I found for sale on some website. It was in Mandarin Chinese (I think) and originally said “Long Life and Happiness”. I didn’t use all of the character’s, however, so now it probably says “Life and Happiness” 😛 .
    It was not just for show- it served a purpose. After AGAMR, I was intrigued by the fact that Hali and I were using the same camera and he got so much better clarity than I. I knew this was because he has frame averaging with SMP. I tried Valtsu’s version but even if I’d been able to get it work, it seemed way too labor intensive. So I fell back on a trick Egoless taught me some time ago- shoot with a large screen size and compress to a small. It worked for him with ‘Girl’ and ‘Lega Wars’, not so good for me I guess. Because the program I use to shoot is somewhat buggy, I end up with a small corner of the window that I click on to take the shot ‘in frame’, upper left corner. It was a small black square, hardly noticeable, but I was sure some of you perfectionists would certainly notice. So this was my solution. Also, I liked the way it resulted in a ‘square’ shape. I think this obsession with widescreen is getting a little ridiculous and I dare to be different. I certainly didn’t mean to cause physical harm to anyone’s visual orifice’s and do apologize. OK, Tom? 😀

    Stefan wrote:

    Doug, since you don’t like PDF, I’ve translated your review into BBCode:

    God bless you Stefan! As I write this, there’s a commercial on TV for PDF’s that asks “is it better to give than recieve a PDF?”. How about neither? Give me plain text, rich text or html any day…

    Stefan wrote:

    Room for improvement: When the three red ninjas jump out
    of the tomb thingy, the sound effects suggest a lot more action
    going on than the video. I’m not too pleased with the amount of
    compression. Did you use two-pass encoding? It’s somewhere in the
    options menu of RealProducer.

    The sound effect was three in one- stone grinding (to represent the stone lid sliding off), steam (for the smoke), and a whip crack at the beginning to represent the initial explosion that propels the lid from the tomb. I felt it worked, but I do admit I probably need more practice with sound editing.
    As for compression- I used 2 pass, I played and played with RP to get the best results and this is it. You guys make it look easy, I still havn’t found my happy place. I’m beginning to think it’s my computer’s speed that’s effecting the render. If Jared compresses using the same settings, he gets better results. Huh!
    Why is there no DIVX version? Again, I played and played with it and it kept crashing on me. I tried redownloading and reinstalling, same thing. I gave up.

    I got a lot of feedback in chat on the subject of video quality and such. In fact, it’s become a ritual of sorts, every time I release a new film. The inevitable ‘poor picture quality’, ‘poor render’…yadda, yadda, yadda.
    So I hereby announce that I have resolved not to make another film until I have solved these problems. I will start with upgrading my computer, then the software I use, and finally, if it still seems necessary, I will get a new camera. Hopefully on my next film, we can focus on the film and my techniques…not that the camera I use isn’t the best
    Because this is an expensive proposition, it might be awhile before I release another film. I will spend my time playing with and organizing my bricks.

    Thanks for all the reviews- I really appreciate the feedback!

    #15402

    hali
    Participant

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote: Hali wrote:

    So to sum up, good choice of Wow, and decent exploration, until the ‘finale’ which then disappointed me greatly.

    OK- fair enough. I probably don’t need to do this, as with any film it’s each individual viewer who finds their own meaning,

    Of course only to a certain extent… I LOVE sharing what I see in a film (even when I know when it differs to what the meaning was intended to be), I just the love visual and thematic discussion of films.

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    but let me explain where I was coming from. My film was an attempt to literally illustrate three examples that prove Sun Tzu’s quote true. First there’s the ambush and counter ambush- pretty straight forward and obvious in the film I think. Then there’s infiltration– also fairly obvious. The third and perhaps not so obvious example was the feint or misinformation. This one was perhaps less literal than the others and thus not as obvious. My goal was not to say ‘it was all a dream’, but to show that what the red ninja’s thought they were seeing was an illusion- they were fooled. In real warfare this translates into a commander potentially having his forces in the wrong place at the wrong time- because he thinks the enemy is going to be there. When this happens in real life, the hapless commander no doubt wishes it were just a dream…

    Thanks for the clarifications here. It is nice to know (from a film-making perspecitve) what you were trying to achieve. Oh, and I know your goal was NOT to say ‘it was all a dream’, but when the ninja said ‘I was never here’ it was the very first thing I thought of. It broke down my reality of the film.

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    Hali wrote:

    The opening few seconds were good, particularly the use of digital pan and zoom to the character behind the pillar, but it becomes quickly apparent after this point that the frame rate is very low, in combination with quite large movements this makes the film look very jerky indeed. The walking animation did not help this at all (unless it was supposed to be a member of the ninja gestapo). The guys appearing out of the tree stumps was good though, as was the animation of the removing the hoods. Then in direct comparison, whilst talking, the head and eye movements seemed very jerky.

    Get ready for it- the frame rate was 24fps. SURPRISE! Why did I have some jerky movement with such a high frame rate? My guess is it was a result of my experimentation with motion blurring (see next question). Why did the black ninja walk funny? My only (weak) defense is that it’s hard to animate a walk cycle on one of those mega bloks ground plates. The studs are… incongruous to say the least. I tried to make him look sneaky, when that failed I tried for funny. What you see in the film was supposed to look like skipping- I realized it looked like goose stepping and used it because I thought it was funny and might illicit a chuckle… ah well. Mark that one down as a miss…

    !!! I am surprised. I’ve just pulled up the rm playback statistics (tools menu in realone) stats, you’ve encoded in realvid 8 at 24 fps, but the average playback is around 15fps (with 0 frame dropping). Weird. Some of the movements did look awfully big for the small amount required for 24fps, but as you said, maybe the blur interfered with that.

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    Hali wrote:

    And a question, was all of the motion blur intentional, or an artifact of the heavy compression?

    Intentional- I wanted to give my film a ‘dream-like’ quality, similar to Valtsu’s legendary fight club clip. (Not ‘it was all a dream’-dream like!) My failure, I think, was in not fully taking into account that my number of frames would effectively double, thus slowing the action. There are places where I got it so right that you don’t even notice the blur and it looks super smooth. And places where I got it so wrong it looks herky jerky. Ah well- mark that one as a hit and a miss. At least it can serve as an example for myself- and others- to learn from.

    Thanks for the details.

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    Hali wrote:

    Finally, the characters in columns that frame the screen? What do they mean? I’d like to know as I am not familiar enough with character based languages to look it up myself. Are they a translation of the Wow? Or just for show?

    It’s from a poster I found for sale on some website. It was in Mandarin Chinese (I think) and originally said “Long Life and Happiness”. I didn’t use all of the character’s, however, so now it probably says “Life and Happiness” 😛 .
    It was not just for show- it served a purpose.

    Thanks for the translation (though the quote doesn’t really match the theme of your film, so apart from the framing, what was the purpose, apart from being mandarin characters?)

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    After AGAMR, I was intrigued by the fact that Hali and I were using the same camera and he got so much better clarity than I. I knew this was because he has frame averaging with SMP. I tried Valtsu’s version but even if I’d been able to get it work, it seemed way too labor intensive. So I fell back on a trick Egoless taught me some time ago- shoot with a large screen size and compress to a small. It worked for him with ‘Girl’ and ‘Lega Wars’, not so good for me I guess. Because the program I use to shoot is somewhat buggy, I end up with a small corner of the window that I click on to take the shot ‘in frame’, upper left corner. It was a small black square, hardly noticeable, but I was sure some of you perfectionists would certainly notice. So this was my solution.

    We do use the same cam, but I’ve only used frame averaging in ‘A Forest’ ‘At the Studio’ and my wow entry.

    I used the koday dvc 325(with stop motion pro) way back with Doorway, when there were no frame averaging features available in SMP.

    I noticed that there was a pretty heavily red cast to your shots as well. I always set up my cam by lighting the set, then turning all of the lights off, turning auto exposure on, hitting the lights up again, and then clicking auto off when things look about right. Then I play with (note these settings are kodak specific, and may not apply to other cams owners of other cams) the brightness, hue, saturation and white balance. It always takes me AGES to get the correct settings.

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    Also, I liked the way it resulted in a ‘square’ shape. I think this obsession with widescreen is getting a little ridiculous and I dare to be different. I certainly didn’t mean to cause physical harm to anyone’s visual orifice’s and do apologize. OK, Tom? 😀

    😆 ok, ok. Nicely put. I thought your framing was quite effective and different. But I just needed to know what the characters meant.

    As for the ‘obsession’ with widescreen. Well, we’ve covered the discussion heaps before, but our eyes are set side by side, which means our field of view is wider than it is high. It makes sense (to me at least) to capture what I visualise in the format that I visualise it.

    I also find it allows for much nicer visual balance (and with the relative height of minifigs) means that you don’t have to build sets so high, and can concentrate on fine details, and placement more.

    But it is a personal preference AND it is becoming more popular around here.

    There is a difference between ‘cropping for widescreen’ as an afterthought, and actually filming and planning it that way (as I do).

    “Shootin Bricks” wrote:
    Thanks for all the reviews- I really appreciate the feedback!

    Yeah, about time at least one of these threads turned into a discussion.

    hali

    #15499

    The Janitor
    Participant

    “hali” wrote:
    There is a difference between ‘cropping for widescreen’ as an afterthought…

    Who on earth would do that?

    Anyway, I thought the film was pretty good. I can’t really say much that hasn’t been said by, well, hali, but I will say that I enjoyed it despite a few small technical flaws.

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