Falling Skies

Falling Skies

My first post to these forums (still figuring them out!). 

I didn't know there is an American TV show called Falling Skies when I made this.

Any comments, feedback, critiques, likes, shares or subscribes gratefully accepted.

I look forward to seeing what you guys think - and yes all the video editing was done in Hitfilm 3 Pro. 



  •  @wizitch Hey, that was pretty cool!   Is that your music, too?

    Only real comment is while you have a variety of shots, the "falling stars" effect starts to get a little repetitious because it looks the same from shot to shot.   Might think about bring them in from another angle instead of straight down?  Just a thought.

  • @wizitch You might consider embedding the video here instead of linking to YouTube, which takes folks out of the forum unless they manually open the link in a new window/tab.  Just drop the video URL onto its own line, and the forum will automatically embed it (though you won't see it until you refresh after posting the comment).  If you do that, you might consider echoing some of the backstory information here as well, as I kinda think that's important to know when watching this.

    Overall, it's an interesting piece!  I generally like the concept and the way you presented it.  One of my favorite shots is the bird at about 2:10, when you shift focus between the bird and the sky.  Simple, but quite effective!

    In addition to echoing the suggestion from @Stargazer54 re: switching up the sky effects a bit, here are my thoughts on what could be improved:

    • For me that swirly transition element gets old fairly quickly, and doesn't feel like it's used in a consistent manner.  Sometimes it's used to transition between clips, other times to transition to/from black before a fade is used to bring in something new.  Because of the overall tone you seem to be going for, I recommend sticking with simple fades between shots.  That swirl would work great in a different context, but not here.
    • On a related note, it feels like every title element used was created differently, which starts to create a feeling of "Look what my editing/VFX software can do."  I'm not against applying effects to titles, because even feature film producers do it.  However, when they do, they tend to pick one approach and stick with that for everything.
    • That said, because your main piece is so effects-driven, I recommend aiming for something much more simple with your title design.  One of the core elements of good storytelling is contrast, and while many people don't realize it, the way that titles are presented is actually part of the story.  If everything — including your titles — are really effects-heavy, then it doesn't put the story spotlight where it belongs: on the main body of the piece.
    • On the storytelling front, one thing that (for me) doesn't work as well is how long the non-sky shots are held.  It's great that it's not just a collection of sky shots, but if that's the core of what you're presenting, then it should have the dominant amount of screen time IMO.
    • I'm guessing you're including the plants and animals to imply that those things are being affected by the cosmic elements that we see in the other shots.  To sell that idea more strongly, perhaps do some subtle effects work on a few of them.  Maybe add a subtle flashing or glowing treatment, or a particle falling into frame before it dissipates, to a handful of these shots — on the edge of a plant, on a cat's head, etc .  Not every shot would need this, but having some like that would help tie them more solidly into the overall story you're telling.
    • On a technical note, there's one shot where it's obvious that the elements you're using are all different sources and frame rates, starting at 1:45.  This first jumped out at me as I saw the birds flying through, which felt stuttery compared to the rest.  Part of that is the lack of motion blur on the birds, but step-framing through the shot I noticed that the birds are at a lower frame rate than the trees.  There are times when the birds pause in their movement for a frame while the tree movement continues.  I also found that the elements in the sky effects are different frame rates.  At full speed these rate differences aren't as noticeable, though the bird layer would sit better with the rest if it had some motion blur.  Because the birds are moving at a constant speed in a single direction, this could be easily faked by applying an angle blur to that layer.

    There are other small issues here and there, but these are the bigger items that pulled me out of the story.  Again, it's a fun piece overall, and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • @Stargazer54 Thanks for the kind words. Yes that's my music. I am a muso who got into video by way of digital audio and 3d modelling and animation. I also inherited the photography bug from my Dad so now I'm a jack of all trades and master of none!

    Thanks for the feedback re the repetitiveness of the falling stars. There are actually some falling from different angles but the difference is quite small. Now that you've mentioned it I can see that I could have had some stars all shooting from a common point (like a meteor shower) but the idea just never crossed my mind. Lol, it seems obvious now!

    Thanks again.

  • @jsbarrett Man you just might be my new best friend!! Thank you so much for taking the time to critique my work so thoroughly and effectively. I ask my friends what they think and they say "It's cool Man" which is nice but not that helpful. Your thoughtful feedback is insanely useful and hugely appreciated.

    Firstly thanks for the tip on embedding the video - I was wondering what the story was with that.

    Fair comment re the swirly transition - I was trying to figure out how to use it  consistently as, like pretty much all of my work it's as much a learning process as a producing process! :) So now I can add to my knowledge to use transitions more consistently and simply - thanks for that.

    The same rational applies to the variations in the titling - it's not so much  "Look what my editing/VFX software can do" as "look at me trying to learn what my editing/VFX software can do". Ha Ha, I did try to keep it simple by limiting myself to just one font (which was hard) but your point is taken. I should aim for keeping it simple AND keeping it consistent. (I've always been a bit of a fan of overkill so I must learn more restraint, thank you.

    Your feedback on the storytelling aspects are spot on - it's definitely a weakness I need to work on. I have a tendency to come up with something cool and then try to weave it into a story rather than the other way around. Obviously, judging from your comments this is something that shows so I intend to make a point working the other way around - start with the story. 

    I did briefly think about adding effects to the non-sky shots - the bird footage with the differential focus was a nod to that - but your suggestions are excellent. I couldn't think of a way to effectively do what you suggested by including subtle effects to the flower and cat sequences. You've given me definite food for thought on that score. I'm also aware the overall pacing is a little slapdash - I need to think more in terms of storyboarding and shooting to the requirements of the story.

     I was aware of the different frame rate issues you mentioned but got to the "at what stage do I call this finished" point where I had to say 'sod it that will do'. Obviously to a person with your discernment it actually won't do, lol. I am banking on the average Facebook/Youtube viewer not noticing. Next time I'll use your suggestion and put more effort into matching frame rates. 

    Once again, thank you very much indeed for your time and effort taken to provide feedback which is invaluable to me - believe me I will take it all to heart and in future, when deciding if I've reached the "is this finished' point I'll ask myself would @jsbarrett call this finished! 

  • @wizitch You're makin' me blush over here. Happy to help in any way I can.  :)

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