A good content combined with technical brilliance is always a boon for a filmmaker. Like, there are films that have a really good content but did not quite satisfy us due to its technical flaws. There are also films where the film had nothing except for technical brilliance. Both these extreme situations are harmful for the film and hence are supposed to be combined to give a substantial output.
However, as far as short films are concerned, A technically sound film will in most cases make a viewer sit through it because, as an audience, I wouldn’t prefer watching any random short film that appears online unless someone suggested or talked about it. In cases where by any chance, I gaze upon a short film and the only thing that’s going to make me watch it is the technical brilliance of it! I might not like the film, but I will watch it fully for its technicalities. How do we achieve a technically sound short film?
What do We Mean by Technical Brilliance?
First thing, technical brilliance always does not only mean the visual or special effects that have been used in the film. A good technically sound film involves a great camera work coupled with appropriate lighting that gives a cinematic tone. Not to forget a decent editing combined with some good background scores and sound design. These mainly involve not having amateurism in a frame through flaws in any of the basic aspects like editing and camera work.
Watch this film, ‘the grey’ by sharath baskaran and then proceed reading this article for better perception!
Camera and editing!
Bringing out innovative cuts in the film that hasn’t been done else where will surely pay off in pulling audiences! Now, these cuts will pay off only if the scenes are captured in a prominent way. This means not having basic flaws in capturing a scene (unnecessary shakes or movement of the camera) is enough for an impressive output. One need not always go for unorthodox camera angles to shoot a scene!
In this film ‘the grey’, the camera work is evident in the slow motion scenes and and when the frame is set upside down! The editor’s expertise is showcased in the scene near the airport, where the whole scene appears as a single take!
Sound design is an integral part of a film as it sets the ambience of a scene. Many of us haven’t realised the scope of sound design in a short film yet. Take this scene near the airport in the film grey, the makers have rightly used the surrounding sound to set the ambience when the character is on the road and when the character comes inside the car, the sound of the vehicles gradually come down! The director directs the viewer to listen to the conversation inside the car by doing this! Moreover it is quite obvious that in a scene inside a car, the background sound is minimal!
Now that’s one good example of sound design which forms a significant part of the technical aspect of a film.
The vfx in a film could totally bring out an extraordinary output or totally even undo the feel of a scene if not done properly! Hence while going for a vfx shot, knowing how one is going to use the vfx before the shoot is quite important. This way, one could shoot the things exactly the way one wants! The motive should be to shoot as much as in camera and being smart in editing, As far as short films with shoestring budgets are concerned! One could prefer going for a vfx shot only if it has an ample scope in the story.
Again, take this film the grey for instance, the particular vfx shot of the coin freezing the air was done to its perfection (as far it is a short film) at par with any vfx shot in a feature film. This scene had its say in the story, demonstrating the two sides of a person through a coin which is important for the story!
The Colouring is significant.
Colouring the film on the edit table would give a cinematic look to a short film.The colouring could enhance the undertone of a film when done properly. Like I said, If it is any other random short film, Colouring is one of those aspects that would make a viewer sit throughout the film. Colouring could be done on the editing softwares like adobe premiere itself. Now, this particular film, The grey had some great colouring patchwork done by the editor that gave it more of a professional look! The director of this film believes that giving a black and white visual in your movie gives more of a cinematic feel (of course, if it is becoming a layer of your story) and it also reduces the amount of work for the filmmakers in terms of lighting and post production.
The makers of this film have used some really feasible techniques to give a final output of this kind. The slow motion sequences were shot by a nikon D 500 that made it look like any other slow motion scene of a feature film! Everything is captured quite in a realistic manner eliminating the amateurism in it! Especially in the VFX shot, where filmmakers are prone to exhibiting amateurism. On the whole, All these aspects have made this film a technically brilliant film!
Now, when these basic aspects are fulfilled in a film, that makes it a technically sound one like the film grey!