Weekend Challenge 5: Cliffhanger

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Avatar of O'Ryan McEntire
O'Ryan McEntire on September 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

To be eligible for a feature in the next challenge video, submit by Wednesday, Sept. 12th 2012. However, we encourage you to participate in this challenge at anytime!

We can wait to see what you come up with!

For the challenge video and more details go here:

Avatar of Zdenek Ruzicka
Zdenek Ruzicka on September 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Tried to be a bit faster than last time!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though it had to be completely silent I’ve added music for people that will watch the video without knowing about the actual challenge, since it’s on my vimeo profile ( like my friends ), hope it’s okay. I’ve kept in mind that sound could be muted. So if you want to see how the video images talk to you without any sound, as the rules say, please mute the video. Hope that doesn’t affect my participation :)

Please, enjoy and let me know what you think! This challenge was awesome by the way!



Avatar of Alex Coulombe
Alex Coulombe on September 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

Great job Steve! Beautiful shooting location. My favorite moments are at 0:47-0:52 (tunnel) and 1:48 where a beam of sunlight peaks in through the trees.

One thought for improvement: I like the idea of filming a series of progressing clues–particularly because all the information is given visually–but it wasn’t clear to me how the order of them fit together. Did looking at the bark lead directly to the tunnel? Then to the dirt? How did the compass play in? I would like to see the chain of events be more evident, so we can be inside your hero’s head and follow his logic.

Also, I love it when the seeds of a cliffhanger are planted somewhere, so
I would love to see the guy with the knife hidden in the trees at least once earlier in the video, even if it’s a ‘where’s waldo’ level of visibility.

Again, awesome entry! You have a fantastic cinematic eye :)

Avatar of Zdenek Ruzicka
Zdenek Ruzicka on September 11, 2012 at 4:03 am

Hi Alex,

thank you very much for your constructive feedback, you brought up great points! I should have think it through a bit more in terms of a logical order, I was shooting w/o script, just with a sketchy storyboard. I didn’t know the location very well, most of what you see is spot on improvisation – What caught my eye I just had to get. I thought I’d put it together in sort of a “Trailer” fashion, so order didn’t really took place, seeing it now though, I should have think it through.

That all being said I had a blast! I worked my ass off in post grading to get desired images, learnt a lot during the process. Thank you filmpunch for an awesome challenge. And again thank you for your kind words Alex, much, Much appreciated :)


Avatar of Margaret Zimmerman
Margaret Zimmerman on September 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

On time for once! I shot this with one of my best friends. Had a blast.


Avatar of Will Jenkins
Will Jenkins on September 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

Very nice work! You had some great shots that worked really well in sequence!! I’m hesitant to even point it out because it’s pretty minor to say the least, but the part where the girl leaves the bench and exits to the right cuts to a traveling shot where she is then moving to the left (of the screen). It’s not a continuity error exactly but typically your cuts will appear smoother to the eye if you maintain the same basic direction as your character moves within the frame from shot to shot. You probably needed to get the character to the deadend so she could be cornered in which case geography dictated the movement but it’s just a concept to keep in mind.

That’s one thing that I appreciate about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The vast majority of traveling shots have the actors moving from left to right. This maintains continuity for the eye and even helps to get the point across that the journey is one from west to east (see map of Middle Earth) haha ok I’m done.

Really great work!!

Avatar of Alex Coulombe
Alex Coulombe on September 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Great job Margaret! Love your choices of framing in particular (except for the super face close-up, which is a a little jarring). Great sense of feeling trapped at the end.
Anytime I see a box cutter now, I think of Breaking Bad. Truly terrifying ;)

Will– I’m giddy with excitement after hearing that little factoid about Lord of the Rings and left to right. Gives me an excuse for another marathon! What a cool little note about visual consistency. I don’t know if it’s been posted yet, but there’s an excellent video essay about the problems with the action scenes in The Dark Knight… maybe I’ll go put it in the ‘Inspiration’ forum.

Avatar of Alex Coulombe
Alex Coulombe on September 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

Ah! Just realized we can’t post there. Well, here it is:

Avatar of Kiah Graham
Kiah Graham on September 12, 2012 at 11:09 am

Alright guys I have now finished mine! I wish I could have made it better, but this was a pretty hard challenge really stretched my story telling limits. Anyway here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRe4oKSrcSQ&feature=youtu.be. By the way great job Margaret and Steve!

Avatar of Alex Coulombe
Alex Coulombe on September 12, 2012 at 11:26 am

Kiah! I don’t know if it was your intention, but I find this video super adorable. Something about the kids just running around for most of it. And also since the gun looks fake, there’s a stack of ones (as opposed to 20s or 50s), and the (SPOILER ALERT) ‘turn around’ note looks like it was written by a kid, all it makes me think of is that when she turns around, it’s going to be Calvin and Hobbes and the G.R.O.S.S. club, and that just tickles me in a great way.

My only critique is I think there’s too much blur-to-focus going on, but yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

Avatar of Kiah Graham
Kiah Graham on September 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

Thanks man! Yeah, I was going for less of a “scary” cliffhanger and wanted to make it just as you explained a kind of thing that could happen in a cartoon or something. Also nice pickup on the one dollar bills thing. I wasn’t sure if anyone would notice that. I also wanted to go for something that could be scary seen through a child’s eyes, but in reality it really wasn’t. For instance if I made it dusk and raining with big 1950′s gangsters who found a black briefcase with real money and a real gun I could make more of a sinister feel. Thank you for the feedback! The blur to focus was kind of a mistake. When I brought it into post I noticed that it was slightly over done. :)

Avatar of O'Ryan McEntire
O'Ryan McEntire on September 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Great job so far guys! Really Impressed!

Avatar of Margaret Zimmerman
Margaret Zimmerman on September 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Will – I didn’t even notice that at all thanks for pointing it out. :D I’ll keep it in mind for next time. I was just working my way towards the dead end.
Alex – My friend didn’t approve of the super close up either. It’s not a very flattering look for her. XD Btw, I appreciate how you alert the reader before a spoiler.

(Tosses advice into memory vault)

Thanks so much for the comments!

Steve – Beautiful visuals! I think it’s funny both of ours ended with a big knife reveal :D .
Kiah – Way to take it in a different direction. I like the depth of your thinking.

Avatar of Will Jenkins
Will Jenkins on September 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

I know it’s late. I know it’s over 2 minutes. I know it has music. I know I’m disqualified.

And clearly I’ve taken inspiration from the visual devices of previous entries… Enjoy.


Avatar of Alex Coulombe
Alex Coulombe on September 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Ha! Sweet Will. I’ve been living in the city about 2 years and was thrilled to recognize most of your shooting locations. Excellent compositional choices, and I loved the music!

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