Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Meet The Chief: released!

My all-too-hastily-put together short film "Meet The Chief" a machinima/real life comedy was not selected as part of the final 16 films in Tropfest 2006, but has passed the Movie Peer review process in halo.bungie.org:
The Movie Peer Review Rating System (MPRRS) is designed to allow for more timely review and publication of movies created by you, the fans. There are many additional benefits such as distributed work load, accurate analysis, validation of review, feedback and others. This approach to submitting items for posting and hosting was necessary following the release of Halo2 when the sheer volume of submittals skyrocketed. Were there more good movies -- definitely. Could we always find them to allow the fan view them -- not always. Why? Noise. There has been an overall increase in the number of submissions, which has a tendency to overwhelm and hide the truly awesome submittals. We are growing a whole new generation of movie makers and we hope that the feedback from your own peers will help to increase the quality of your product.

See the reviews (I have encoded a new version that does NOT have the 2 minutes of black video the reviewers complain about. The new version is also higher res. All good):
[Status]HBO:Movies Peer Review Rating System (MPRRS)

To answer some of the critics/comments from the review process:

Why is the HUD visible/not in letterbox view?
This film was not specifically made for the Halo 2/gamer community. I wanted viewers to immediately understand that this was not an animation, but machinima. Also, having the HUD visible is part of the story- only when we go to a "cameraman" view would it be right to remove the HUD and frankly going back between a letterboxed view and non letterboxed view would have been confusing and distract from the story.

Whats with the 2 minutes of "black video" at the end of the movie? The credits are hard to read...
Black video: A glitch in the encoding process/don't know. Credits: The new version that halo.bungie.org have posted is higher res and rather readable.

"the characters sounded alike sometimes,"
Hey man, if you can't pick the difference between a puka English accent (the Chief) and a broad Aussie accent (the player) there's nothing I can do to help!

All that said, Meet the Chief passed with flying colours olde bean.

See the halo.bungie.org news post about "Meet The Chief"

"Meet The Chief"- Windows Media Video [52.1MB]

"Meet The Chief"- Apple Quicktime format [55.6MB]

"Meet The Chief" - Google Video version [low res, only choose if 52MB is too big for you!]

Read no further until you've seen the movie!!!


Here's where I will tell all about how and why.

I had been planning a Tropfest film for some years- but frankly a machinima film was NOT in my plans. I only decided to do the film 10 days before cut off and really knocked the whole thing off in 3 days- 1 day to film it (both Halo and real life) one evening to record voices and two days of editing and trimming (Tropfest films MUST be under 7 minutes- Meet The Chief chimes in at 6:55)

I actually edited out three or four "what shall we do next?" gags when it became apparent that 1/ I was well over 7 minutes 2/ I had no idea how long each scene was.

Deleted scenes:
- The Master chief jumps off a cliff- like a kid pretending to be superman. This took freaking ages to shoot- we actually got the actor (or rather stuntman) to run towards the edge of the cliff and then simultaneously shot him with 2 tanks and a rocket launcher. This sent the chief halfway across the map. Not only was it hard to get a consistent kill/flying, but the camera work was nightmarish. It was to be the last scene before the return to the beach. The chief was going to be lying face down and when the Player asks him how he is he says "I think I'd rather be back at the beach if its the same to you".
- The Master Chief and the Player play cards- snap actually- in the garage on the Turf map. We shot it ok, but there were to be technical overlays of cards and so on. Not only was it going to be technically difficult- it was really one joke- they play cards. Big frickin' whoop.

Rachel suggested I put those scenes back in for the halo.bungie.org release, but I think it's time to let it go...

Some final points:
  • I will never "act" in a film again. I sucked. My real life acting was kept to a minimum (man's gotta know his limitations). My voice over acting was ok at first, but was GOD AWFUL in the final death scenes. Rachel actually imitates me voicing my final words in the film as a rag/gag.
  • Adrian Rowe is a freaking genius. His "Master Chief" was quirky, odd, funny and oh so English. It will freak the Yanks out. He really did the job- I asked at the last minute, he had about 10 minutes to read the script and he tuned in and gave heaps. From script suggestions to little asides- he owned this project.
  • Always get Donny in for techy bits. The opening bit where the guy blinks as the alarm goes off was all Don. The final scenes with the Halo 2 screen over the top of the television was the result of some hour/s of fiddling in Adobe Prem Pro Nice one!!

But last point: Start earlier. I went from no idea to finished in a week. That's not enough time. I have a new script in my head and will refine it in the coming months and we will shoot it before November and finish it over Dec.

The best laid plans...

I am offering a signed (by the whole crew) DVD copy of the film to the first person who posts in comments what the Red Vs Blue reference in the film is...
The first poster picked it: I am wearing a red V Blue t-shirt. I oughta make the next question waaaay harder!
posted by thr at 10:53 am


Anonymous VendavalEste said...

I watched your video. Best Halo-related thing I've seen since Red VS Blue, really hoping to see more from you. lol, the British Chief was great (we Union Jack-ers kick ass) and I especially liked the ending and the opening. Really well put together.

3/15/2006 8:29 am  
Blogger thr said...

I will offer a DVD copy- mailed anywhere in the world to the person who can pick out the Red Vs Blue reference in the film...

3/15/2006 10:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought yer acting was fine. Damn sight better than most stuff, certainly.

Keep at it!


3/15/2006 11:21 am  
Anonymous CronoStrife said...

I believe the RvB reference would be the T-shirt you're wearing, as it has the RoosterTeeth logo on the back. Not really sure if I'm first, but I appear to be first on this blog.

Anyway, good work on the film.

3/15/2006 12:31 pm  
Blogger thr said...

wow, that took all of 5 minutes.

you win!
email me reynolds_thomas at the old hotmail address with your name and address!

I will think of a new quiz/competition.

I really thought that would be harder. None of the crew got it at all!!

3/15/2006 12:40 pm  
Blogger Obie said...

Awesome vid! Always great to see fellow machinema creators do well.
In any case my vid also passed the MPRRS, have a looksie and I would love to hear some feedback!



4/11/2006 4:11 am  

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