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watch THE HAG IN THE HILLS (5m,49s Short)

Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
I shot this, Last weekend, for the 48HFP. I've been using the HVX 200 for 14 years. I finally got a new camera: the Black Magic Cinema Cam 4K. Shooting at night was a breeze! (Finally!) This is my first project with that camera. I ran a Sennheiser shotgun mic directly to the camera.

 

TheMusicBox

Member
Before I start on the feedback, can I suggest straight away to anyone watching this video: find a dark room. This is not just to increase the scariness but to be able to see the film better (it's quite dark and I couldn't see it properly due to reflection on my screen the first time I tried).
I like this film. The synths are suitably ethereal. The plot is well set up and the twist is neat. The actors are convincing (the hag in particular is very stylish, I'm glad she turned out good) apart from when the girl says 'you killed Carl', which I think needed a bit more OMG about it. I also think the scream could have been louder if you were going for full-on horror. It would also have possibly increased the drama by playing more with the shadows appearing on the tent wall, to build up suspense (this could also have been done with a few shots of the hag passing through rustling leaves or maybe as a silhouette against the light of the tent from behind) before she knocks him out. This would make an audience believe even more so that she is as horrible as suggested, before we find out she isn’t.
In general though, a tense and intriguing watch, well done. 😱
 

Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
Thanks for watching, TheMusicBox! You make some great points. I agree that a shot of the Hag passing behind some bushes would have brought her presence up a notch.

I was going to dub Jamie's "Carl" line. I had my recorder ready, but Jaime and Cameron wanted to go to bed, so I didn't get to it before the Sunday drop-off deadline.
 
I also think the scream could have been louder if you were going for full-on horror.
Funny you should pick out that detail, because I noticed it too, but for the opposite reason: it annoys me intensely to see/hear characters shrieking mindlessly in these kinds of situations, when the "natural" - and more relatable - reaction is/should be to freeze. I thought the stifled scream was a much better way to convey the girl's terror.

Two other things "bothered" me though:
1. What woman leaves her handbag (US: Purse) on the front seat of a car in the dark with an open window???
2. The ending! After a well-crafted horror, it took a weird turn towards comedy. I'd have preferred it to end at the line "people can be real mean" and have the hag walk off. The "figure skater" joke and fast zoom in just felt ... WTF?

Congratulations, though, on the night shoot, and keeping the story nice and tight.
 
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Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
After a well-crafted horror, it took a weird turn towards comedy. I'd have preferred it to end at the line "people can be real mean"
That would be a good line to cut on, for sure. Just so you get the thinking going into it. Our required character was "retired athelete," so we came back to that reference for purpose of the assignment. The genre given to us was "Film de Femme" (strong female).. Even though the tone became horrific, we wanted a lighter note at the end.

I really liked Jamie's Melanie Griffith type response of "figure skater." She's never acted in anything before. She moved in with us, 6 months ago, and is my unofficially adopted daughter. All the actors (except the bearded guy) are my kids and my wife.

Cutting it where you point out is indeed a great choice. If I was sending this off to a horror fest, like Bleedingham, I would be inclined to make that cut to keep the tone dark.
 
Our required character was "retired athelete," so we came back to that reference for purpose of the assignment. The genre given to us was "Film de Femme" (strong female)
Ahhhh. I love a logical explanation. In that case, perhaps it would have been more "in context" (and menacing) if the guy reading the licence recognised the name and reprised the line when he saw her in the tent? But too late now, obviously. :)

As it happens, I spent the end of last week reading up about 48HFP (research, in the context of a project I'm working on myself) and was wondering to what extent the three requirements would affect the "final cut". I appreciate the nature of the challenge (I regularly indulge in something similar for still photography) - and that it's a good way of ensuring that the film really was created especially for the event - but I'm not sure a "must have" element is compatible with a very short timeframe ... :coffee::sleep: :contract:

All the actors (except the bearded guy) are my kids and my wife.
:cool: That explains the shared surnames!
 
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Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
I spent the end of last week reading up about 48HFP (research, in the context of a project I'm working on myself) and was wondering to what extent the three requirements would affect the "final cut"
Gotcha. I'll share my experience, in case it helps. There are actually four requirements:

Character - Michelle Thames, a retired athelete.
Line of dialogue - "I have just one question."
Genre - Film de Femme (Outside of "strong female, " this is wide open.)
Prop - A cell phone.

The only thing you can do ahead of time is to select your team and shooting location. You can also use preselected music that you have the rights to. All writing and filmmaking starts after the assignments. I've done this before, so I like to shoot the night we get the elements. Most teams write Friday night, then film Saturday morning. They end up staying up all through Saturday and Sunday, so no sleep.

Our scenario was the following:
Friday night, I drove downtown and drew a random genre out of a hat. There are 30 genres, which you can see here: https://www.48hourfilm.com/en/genres
The character, line, and prop were announced at 8pm, Friday night.

I drove home and hashed out some ideas with Aaron (the bearded guy). Sheila got off work at 10pm and had the idea of the Hag character. She wasn't going to act in the movie, originally, but when I drew Film de Femme I said she had to be in it. We worked the ideas till about 11:00pm, then packed up and drove to Mount Charleston, about 30 minutes from our house.

Friday night/Saturday morning -12:05am, we reached the location. We unpacked the gear and pitched the tent.

12:30am, I started shooting the first scene. Wrapped up at 5:00am. Sunlight was starting to appear.

Around 6:30am (now Saturday morning) I transferred the footage to my computer. Damn! I meant to shoot in Pro Res format, but shot in BRAW (Black Magic's proprietary codec). That meant I couldn't edit in Adobe Premiere (my usual editor). I spent the weekend pulling up Youtube tutorials on Davinci Resolve, as I was only vaguely familiar with it.

8am - 2pm I slept. I spent the rest of Saturday editing late into the night.

Sunday morning, I slept about 5 hours. Got up at 11:30. I returned to editing, mostly sound levels. I started composing the music around 1:30pm. Around 6:15pm, I completed the music, then imported the tracks and lined them up. I rendered two copies to USB thumb drives, then left the house around 7:30pm. I drove downtown and handed in the drives and paperwork (talent and material releases) by 8pm, Sunday night. 48 hours.

Note: Some genres can vary, each year. The character, line, and prop are always different, from year to year.
 
Gotcha. I'll share my experience, in case it helps. ... Most teams write Friday night, then film Saturday morning. They end up staying up all through Saturday and Sunday, so no sleep.
Thanks for laying everything out like that. It pretty much describes how I'd imagined the process would be, and I can see how it could generate both fun and frustration. You've also more or less confirmed something for me: that you really need to have a whole team signed up and ready to go. My project was/is (hopefully) going to provide an environment for those who have ideas and enthusiasm but are missing key elements - like scriptwriters, actors or equipment! As soon as I've dealt with some of this real-life stuff that keeps interfering with my own creativity, I'll put up a separate post about it ... :cool:
 

Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
You've also more or less confirmed something for me: that you really need to have a whole team signed up and ready to go.
I've done this long enough that I can point out a couple shortcuts. Since I have my own equipment, I don't use a crew; just a camera, a tripod, and a shotgun mic on a boom stand.

The best tip for this situation is to pre-select your set or shooting area. If possible, have it be just one location. I can't emphasize this enough.

The second best tip is to keep the cast and crew to a manageable number. I would suggest 3, maybe 4 actors. If you can count on them, two will work.

Third tip: Don't make an epic. Keep the scenario simple enough to last 5 or 6 minutes. I did this with the HAG (5:47), but overdid it with previous movies. Sometimes, the first cut of the movie was a couple minutes too long. I should have been done, but I was often in a panic, cutting and trimming to fit it in the time allowed.

Fourth tip: Print all your releases and paperwork before the day you start. No time on Sunday to be doing that!

This is my first 48HFP, from years back. Turned out great, but I really overdid things. I started shooting Saturday morning and shot in about a dozen different rooms, hallways, etc. both exteriors and interiors. (Way too many!) The final shot was me, naked (shown waist up), covered in makeup, 3am, Sunday morning. No time to do music. I barely got the film in, but we ended up with a couple of awards. I added the music, after turning it in.



My favorite 48 was BUG COMPLEX. We knew whatever genre we got, we were going to use bugs from an exotic pet shop. Again, this was shot on a Friday evening. You can see the Satuday morning sunlight in the windows of the last scene. I had enough time to greenscreen the bugs, edit, and score.




As soon as I've dealt with some of this real-life stuff that keeps interfering with my own creativity, I'll put up a separate post about it ... :cool:
I look forward to it. Good luck!
 
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