WIP: Short Film - Sisters!

Sisters

https://youtu.be/5HFPqN74tm8

Hi,

Apologies first for the long post. This is my first edit with HFPro and I thought I would describe my workflow and the problems I encountered. That being said, a few of the problems I encountered have actually been fixed by the March 2017 update.... Anwayyyyyyyy....

I've been editing for sometime with Premiere, but decided at the start of this year to switch over to HitFilm Pro. So far I've enjoyed the ride. I've edited a number of shorter (audition) pieces so far with HFPro, but this is the first of my short films to be completely edited using HFPro.

The film was shot using a Canon EOS 6D, sound recorded via a shotgun mic (on a boom) linked to a Zoom H1. The canon also has a shotgun mic fitted to the hotshoe to get the cleanest sound in camera as possible.

The shoot took just under 6 hours to complete (had to be quick due to talents other commitments) and was a stress shoot for me as I had only just recently fractured my ribs slipping on ice. Yeah, those floor shots can really suck with knackered ribs.

The audio was synced using PluralEyes 3.5. I did attempt to sync the audio inside HF, but the lack of options meant I got about a 50% hit rate. At the time, the WAV form on the audio track was so small to be invisible, so I wasn't able to use it to manually match up the tracks on the timeline.

However, in the March 2017 update, this has now been changed so that I can now see a much bigger WAV from, and also I can select from three different types. I would say this part of HFPro is now 100% improved. Thanks team :)

So, back to the project. I filmed in 1080 but set the timeline to 720 so that I would have reframing options. I then created 3 additional tracks on the timeline. On the top track I placed a Letterbox PNG and on the track below that I placed a Rule of Thirds PNG (as a guide for re-framing the shots).

This left me with three tracks, one I used for all wide shots, one I used for the Lynn Character, and the other I used for the Jenna Character.

My workflow is to select a clip in the trimmer, set the in and out points, then drag and drop it to the Timeline. I know I should use insert to timeline, but I'm never sure if my Timeline Cursor is in the right place. One thing I noticed with this workflow is although selecting a clip in the Project area opens it in the Trimmer panel, it does not make the Trimmer the active panel, which means I would often be merrily setting in and out points (I use the ShuttleXpress for this ) but because the Trimmer is not active, me edit decisions were not applied to the clip and when I dragged it to the timeline I was surprised to find my clip didn't look like I wanted it too!

So I got into the hang of clicking the clip in the Project area, then clicking the Trimmer window to select it and make it active. Sucks when I forget though and felt like an encumbrance after a while.

Just to note, that I filmed this from several positions, and I had the actors run through the script twice for each camera position. Most of the time the camera was on a tripod, but there is one or two shots that are handheld. The shotgun mic was on a boom arm, also on a tripod, and positioned with the mic above the heads of the actors. This allowed me to micro position the mic as the actors engaged with each other.

Okay, so I have the rough gut, that takes me about two days of sorting through each cut and getting the best take of each line. Once that's sorted I used EQ effect to boost the audio. Hit a problem here in that on random cuts the EQ effect would cause the audio to give a loud Bleep noise as the timeline transitioned from one clip to another. This has now been solved, but at the  time I needed to move forward with the project, so I stripped off all EQ effects from each sound file, exported the timeline as Audio only, then edited it in Audacity to improve the audio. Imported that back into HFPro and disabled the audio tracks from the original footage.

Thought: Although I can copy an Effect like EQ from one clip and paste it on Multiple clips, it's not possible to remove an Effect from multiple clips. Would be handy to have this feature, if for nothing else, debugging a timeline.

Once that was done, I did a bit of grading (not really something I enjoy, so I keep it basic), improved the lighting a bit, added some titles and also a couple of sound effects. I found at this point I really missed Timeline Markers. To accurately place a sound effect (or even a visual effect), it's nice to be able to identify a point on the timeline, or on a clip, and place a marker on the Timeline or on a clip. I know there are workarounds, but many of them are pretty crude and I really can't think of a single reason why Markers should not be implemented on the HFPro editor.  It is something that takes the shine of HFPro as an Editor. A small thing I admit, but I think I've been using markers for one reason or another since I started using Premiere way back in '95, sooooo, there's that...

Okay, edit done, I sent out some review copies to the actors and others, got some notes back, then went in and re-edited to create a shorter sharper version.

And that's were I am at now. This is still a Work In Progress, but I think it's nearly there. All in all I have enjoyed editing with HFPro. I was concerned that it was JUST a special effects compositor, but I think after working with it for about two months now (not constantly, but you know, back and forth) I can honestly say that apart from a few workflow issues (trim panel) and missing features (markers), HFPro 2017 is an editor in its own right.

 

 

 

Comments

  • edited March 14

    One of the best dialogue driven pieces I've seen on this forum since I joined over a year ago. Congratulations. Very well done. 

    I was getting some strong 1990 "Misery" vibes.

  • One thing I noticed with this workflow is although selecting a clip in the Project area opens it in the Trimmer panel, it does not make the Trimmer the active panel, which means I would often be merrily setting in and out points (I use the ShuttleXpress for this ) but because the Trimmer is not active, me edit decisions were not applied to the clip and when I dragged it to the timeline I was surprised to find my clip didn't look like I wanted it too!

    I fixed this last week, it'll be in the next update. You can now use all the shortcuts (I, O, Shift+I, Shift+O, J, K, L, etc.) even when the media panel is active.

    Thought: Although I can copy an Effect like EQ from one clip and paste it on Multiple clips, it's not possible to remove an Effect from multiple clips. Would be handy to have this feature, if for nothing else, debugging a timeline.

    I believe this is in the wishlist already (if not, feel free to add it)

    I found at this point I really missed Timeline Markers.

    That one definitely is in the wishlist

  • @Larryplane Well that was certianly a cut above the rest for a short film, very well done, it was only let down in my opinon by two things, the B/W scene of the DNA test and the drill insane twin, this just totally took me out of the moment, felt silly rather than scary. Maybe just showing the lab with the Sister dragging the body of the DNA tester across the floor. Then the last few moments, the door is locked and she holds out the keys. This for me didn't sell the fact that she was in effect kidnapping the women in her own home. Maybe have the twin, pocket them showing she was now in control.

    Please however don't detract from a really nicely done piece.

  •  blimey, i've replied twice now to the above people thanking them and both times my post has not appeared. Is this a firefox thing?

  • hmmm. now it says it needs to be approved.... Arghghghgh

  • @LarryPlane no its the anti spam feature sometimes it flags you as a bad guy, maybe @DanielGwood can help you out.

  •  @LarryPlane you should now be approved (and for future posts, too). Sorry about that!

  • TriFlixFilms thank you for your comments. Glad you liked it. I can see now, in retrospect, the Misery angle. Fun factoid about this shoot. When I was writing the script I was aware that Liz (the shorter of the two) would have a minor operation a few days before the planned shoot and would be using crutches, which is why she is on them, she actually did need them :)

    CedricBonnier Great news on the Trimmer fix. Yes. That is cool. Great work. Looking forward to Markers as well :)

    Andy001z Thank you for your feedback. Always good to have someone's reaction to the stuff we do :) I agree the lab scene is a bit silly, it was intentional though, otherwise I felt this dark comedy was getting a little too dark. BTW - that's me screaming there, having my Hitchcock moment :) The keys is also deliberate. We had a version where she pockets the keys and it felt flat, so I had the actress dangle them from her fingertips, creating, I hoped, the metaphor that she literally had the other sisters life dangling from her fingers.

    Anyway, encouraged by the feedback I will post some more stuff on here as I create it. I was interested to see the reaction of this film on a HF forum as most people seem to do SFX films, which are great, but not really what I am interested in doing.... At the moment :)

    And thanks for making me no longer a bad dude so I can post here :)

     

     

     

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