I’ve got to admit that the first thing that came to mind when I started in on the trailer for Marlon Ladd’s Bad to the Jones was “Oh brother. Another low budget zombie movie.” Sure, it’s shot on digital and the looks sleeker than most of the stuff that pops up online but that doesn’t usually mean much. I let the trailer run, hoping for some other redeeming feature and then there it was. Forty four seconds in, the mood changes and all of a sudden we’re into a zombie comedy. Not only a zombie comedy but one that actually made me laugh.
The basic story has two brothers saving a town from zombie invasion with the help of a few unlikely characters. Not only does it look like the we may actually get a few laughs out of this but there are a few scenes in this trailer with a truly cinematic feel. I can’t wait to feast my eyes on this.
We’ll be bringing you more information on the project but for now, check out the trailer, via the Avery Mining Corp., after the break.
No. It wont be good.
Just another no budget zombie film shot on a DSLR thinking that is all you need to make a film cinematic. Honestly, it looks like they had no idea how to use the camera. Blown out sky, hot spots on all the actors, obvious bending in the hand-held shots. Embarrassing work.
I can see what you mean about the comedy (oh snap! The music changed, must be a comedy now!) but it seemed forced and completely out of place. Almost as if they couldn't make up their mind on whether it was going to be straight comedy or straight thriller. This will simply disappear like all the rest.
To Anonymous, perhaps you don’t know very much about filmmaking. There have been many Hollywood films and music videos shot with DSLR cameras. For instance, the last season of “House” was shot with the Canon 5D, a DSLR. So does that mean the director of “House”, a show that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode, is thinking that a DSLR is all he needs to make his show cinematic? Probably not. Just because you have a small, inexpensve camera, doesn’t mean the quality isn’t just as good as $50,000 camera. I can tell just from watching this trailer that there has been a lot of work put into this particular project. Lots of blood effects, realistic makeup, good acting, good editing, good action choreography. All of this is part of what makes a film “cinematic” and “Bad To The Jones” has it.
One thing I have seen throughout the trailer is the highlights that you called hot spots. Bright whites and high contrast seems to be a central theme and look the director is going for. It reminds me of the show “Dark Blue”. This show has the same so called “hot spots” but I’m sure you wouldn’t be so fast to criticize that show. You would call it artistic. So maybe YOU are the one that has “no idea how to use the camera”.
Maybe you need to look at the bigger picture instead of just writing it off as another horrible indie film. For you to criticize this film the way you have, and talk big like you know what “blown out sky, hot spots on all the actors, obvious bending in the hand held shots” means, then you must be a filmmaker, right? Then you know how hard it is to put a feature film together, right? Then why would you write such a disrespectful comment about a movie that you know nothing about? In the world of independent filmmaking, you have to stick together and help each other. This is not an easy business to be in. We need to support each other and offer words of encouragement, not words that bring down your fellow filmmaker. It is fine if you think the film has some places where it needs adjustments, but you don’t have to be rude about it. Someone has put in a lot of time and hard work into this project. If you want to offer CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, fine. Otherwise, your comments are not needed.
I apologise that my comment came across as snarky and rude but i still have to defend my words. It is hard to put a feature together, that i know all too well. My gripe is that there is a difference with running into a feature face first with little research, or alternatively taking the time to work with your strengths and what you have confined to your budget.
The House episode that you mention worked due to the insistence of the DP (Gale Tattersall) believing that the 5D is a great new camera for a specific look in TV. They worked with a full RedRock Micro rig, digital follow focus, matt box filters and most importantly, an amazing lighting design. Problem here is that they had money, time and experience on their side. They would have done days worth of lighting and camera tests to make sure that everything worked without fail.
In drastic comparison, this trailer showcases the effect on relying too heavily on just the camera and nothing else. You can put thousands of dollars into effects and makeup but if the camera wont pick it up properly because a scene is improperly lit then you are absolutely wasting your time.
Also there is a difference between a Highlight done on purpose and a Hot spot.
Just defending my argument JayB, your points are valid about film-makers defending and promoting each other, but blind praise brings no improvement. I understand that i was completely negative in my comment but i have seen a lot of this kind of work and you have to draw a line somewhere.
Quality is rather uneven (the camera alone does not do the job, I agree with anonymous, some scenes are really low quality) and I have to agree, knowledge of the cinematic language could be better. Still, I think we should give 'em a chance, there seems to be a few good lines and it's a comedy after all. Making independent no-budget flicks is hard, I can tell from experience, I'll check on the film for sure.
You seem to sound very biased in your opinions. There are so many filmmakers, professionals and independent filmmakers making good, quality projects with these cameras. Yes, there are some people that buy these cameras and automatically think that they can make a film. That is obviously not the situation here. This trailer is very professional. The audio, music and effects are excellent as well as the camera work and angles. There were alot of OTS shots, sweet DOF and how about the action?
Yes, there is a difference between hot spots and something that's done on purpose. When you talk about hot spots and something that's overexposed you're talking about something that is blown out to the point where it has no resolution. I don't see any of that here and if you do, how do you know it is not what the director planned. Earlier you talked about the blown out sky. There's a difference between something blown out and something white, which is exactly what the sky can be sometimes, depending on where the sun is. I think you should stop assuming that everything you see shot on a DSLR is automatically something that's going to be unprofessional. Yes, your comments were rude. Also by you saying that the comedy seemed forced that tells me that you're basically saying the actors aren't good or believable. That's what forced is. I totally disagree with you on that as I'm sure the writer of the article does as well or this never would have been written.
You also talked about "bending." Really? Where would that be in the trailer, because I didn't see any of the "jello" effect (which is also what it's called). I also didn't see any aliasing, which is also a common problem with the CMOS sensors on these cameras. I didn't see any shots that were too dark or not well lit, the audio seemed very clear, the music was very good as was the editing. I've seen low-budget, low-quality, less than professional films shot with many cameras, including the RED, but this is not one of those films. If you don't like it or think you will not like it, that's your opinion and you have the right to it, but to criticize it means that you think you can do better. If you can, please don't complain about somebody trying to do it. Go out there and do it yourself.
Ok, now i'm confused. Clearly you understand that it's only my opinion and some people may agree with me and some wont, but you seem to want to prove me wrong by showing your knowledge of film. So you obviously think that your opinion is right in this case as you strongly defend this trailer you have no attachment to. It's a bit silly.
Now back to the camera. The biggest problem with shooting on the 5D or any DSLR is the fact that it is first and foremost a stills camera. Biggest difference? Dynamic range. The codec the camera uses to encode video isn't very good compared to other digital cameras like the RED (RED Raw codec) or Si2K (Cineform) and it shows in the grading. If you overexpose a highlight, its gone. No way you'll get it back in post. How do you fix this? Well there are many different ways, you can import your own settings into the picture profile, play with the contrast, but the easiest is to just take some time in your shots.
How can i tell this wasn't done? Well looking at the saturation in the colours compared to the whites you can see that a post grade was applied but sadly there was nothing they could do for many of the images. Also in relation to the sky being blown out. Polariser filter. Boom your problem is solved (though lighting your actors would help too). Even if you have cloud cover it will give a touch more definition to those clouds. Also it'll drop your exposure down a stop and a half so that desperately sort after depth of field will be shorter. My gripe is that they didn't do this. This is textbook stuff.
Now to the bending i was talking about. The camera is small, usually front heavy by the lens. When you're holding it in your hand it is hard to stabilise. Now normal cameras will naturally shake when you are hand-held but with a DSLR you get this unnatural up and down wobble in the corner of the frame that can be seen on many of the shots here. That's why proper hand-held rigs have been made for DSLR cameras. Jello effect (seen in fast pans) not so much.
You're lucky i havent started on the After Effects work that was done here either. Textbook Andrew Kramer presets and no real attention to detail.
See i didn't need to go into detail about this, i left my comment and it was up to other to interpret it. I have no beef with the film makers, i'm sure they worked their heart out on this film but my opinion is my opinion. For someone to call me out, try and one up me in film knowledge and tell me i'm wrong is just ridiculous. I stand by that the comedy looked forced and out of place.
To Anonymous: Actually, as I stated before, it was definitely in bad taste for you to trash this film trailer the way you did. I consider that pretty hateful and "silly" (your word). Nobody is saying you have to like the film, but if you don't like the trailer and do not think you will like the film, that was all you needed to say. However, since you wanted to try and go into the technical aspects of the film, you basically opened up this entire dialogue.
The codec on the 5D mark ii is actually really good. Is the 5D a RED camera? No, it is not. The RED shoots 4K and costs how much more?? Have you seen any of the comparisons of the DSLRs to actual film cameras? Phillip Bloom? You should probably look that up. There are many experts raving over these cameras.
The filter you speak about is a "polarizer," not a "polariser" and as I said before, sometimes the sky is white and no matter what type of filter you put on the lens, it will not change that. I was just watching the trailer for "Drive Angry" I think is what it's called with Nicholas Cage and they had several exterior shots with white skies. I guess they did not know what they were doing either. Another funny thing is, I was driving on the highway out of town today and what did I see? A white sky.
How front heavy will a DSLR be with say a 50mm lens on it? Not front heavy at all. The cameras are great, because they are so small. You can get shots inside a car that you cannot get with other cameras. They are not heavy when you hold them and do handheld shots like other cameras and therefore you will have less shake and as long as you stay within limitations, no wobble (as you say) or "jello" at all. Especially with the right lens - one with IS (image stabilization).
If you're sure the filmmakers worked their hearts out, then why in the world would you leave the nasty comment in the first place?? That's what YOU did. You can have your opinion all day long, but no need to be nasty about it. If you put that out there, people like me are going to respond (because I think the film looks really good) and if you talk specifics like you know better, you will be called out on that too. That's only fair. You say some of these things are "textbook," but yet you've misspelled several words and you've made several grammatical mistakes in your response. How can anybody expect for you to pay so much attention to details in filmmaking when you cannot even write about it correctly?
In closing I would say, have your opinion. That's great. It's yours and everybody has one, but if you want to criticize, be mean and complain so much about a film like this, then go out and make one better.
You weren't rude or disrespectful at all.
In fact I thought it was on target. However
I don't look at it as a bad thing for the film is what it is.
I hate zombies a lot but as an independent film maker hobbyist, I give this film much props.
Really? I think this is over hyped. The comdedy is typical, it does have guns, cgi fire (joke, I dont like that shit), and ahhh.. ummm.. stuff? But you know?, I will rent it. I wont pay for a copy until I think its worthy of my space.