Lest We Forget


1) I was going to use chiseled text  but it made the transition difficult. Regardless, thanks to everybody who helped me understand how to do it in my other post.
2) I wanted it dark but needed good lighting for the green screen. I don't think there is a way to do this except in post.  Is that right?
3) Being English I would normally have used British soldiers if I could. Apologies to any Americans for the awful accents.
4) Yep, Blackadder Goes Forth was a big influence. 


  • Very nice short. Regarding the last shot and the transition being difficult, are you talking about the transition into the shot where you pull back to reveal the grave or out of the shot into the letters and the wreath?

  • Thanks

    It was the transition out of the shot into the letters and the wreath. Not difficult to execute just difficult to get what I wanted.
    I wanted to end with black text on white background so, in the end, it made sense to have the black text on the grave as well. I tried a transition from chiseled greyish text to the black but it didn't have the same impact.

  • Are you working in HitFilm Pro 10?

  • I'm afraid not. Still using Hitfilm Pro 4.

    Before the  parallax advice finally got through I had a passable attempt at chiseled text using duplicated text layers with one having a 'Shadow Only' drop shadow.
    TBH : When I realised I wanted the black text on white at the end of the video the rest was redundant.


  • edited November 2018

    I have built a quick project file and send it to you. Check it out...


  • Sorry it has taken so long to respond Jay.

    I was trying to break down what you had in that project file and, frankly, was struggling with what you were showing me UNTIL....
    I turned off the new Light layer in Final composite and there was exactly the look I was going for.

    I'm not sure why that light layer makes such a dramatic difference but I'll save this for the future. 

    Thank you so much.

  • You are welcome. The stone texture is just a fractal noise on a plane, and it's in its own comp. You could very quickly adjust the look of that, or even replace it altogether with an actual image if you wanted to. It would not be hard to start with this project file and get the look you are wanting. I didn't rig the camera, but you would want to do that if you were planning any camera movement, like the one you had in the short for example.

    The light greatly affects anything that has a parallax effect on it. So turning off or toning down the parallax effect on the "Stone Texture Matted to the Cross with Letters" comp would yield a similar result to turning off the light, but you wouldn't lose the shadow or the parallaxed grassy ground underneath.

    Let me know if you ever need help with anything. I am happy to give it a go!

  • Nice video on an important subject. You had me confused at first because I didn't have my sound on and I was looking at the figures and seeing Axis style helmets but a black guy (Note: Really hard to decide on the descriptive work do use here) holding his girl picture up threw me, as I was I'm pretty sure that wasn't in the evil master race plan. But then I turned the sound on and got it... DOH sound makes a movie.

  • The lighting doesn't help with the helmet either. 

    TBH : All the time I spent shooting and editing this it was only once I uploaded that I thought it looked like an Axis helmet.

    On a different topic I just realised how different this (and my other videos) sound through PC speakers vs headphones. Another thing to consider in the future.


  • Really nice piece. It's got a lot of heart at its core, but the slight touch of humor in that one moment really adds something nice.  Makes you think a bit more about how soldiers do such a serious job, but they still find time to joke with each other to try and lighten the mood now and then. When lives are on the line, humor is a massively helpful coping mechanism. That one bit of levity in this piece adds a huge amount of humanity.

  • edited November 2018

    @jsbarrett Thanks. Appreciated as always. 

    It's a bit cliche with the girlfriend photo etc but I can see why it is used. It shows they have lives and hopes for the future outside a terrible situation. I can understand why 'gallows' humour was/is common.

    Maybe a silly question but was it clear what happened with that third incoming shell? 

  • @DafterThings I'll admit I thought the build-up to that third hit was a little slow, but it was pretty clear. What might make it a hair more clear, and also add to the intensity just a touch, would be to hear just the first part of the explosion, and see a few frames of things flying and shaking before cutting to the white silence.  That way it feels like the explosion actually knocks out the camera capturing the moment, whereas now we just assume that the bomb hit.

  • edited November 2018

    @jsbarrett ;   TBH : I was caught between two ideas.

    The first was to do a quick fade to white on the start of the third explosion. The second was on the saying  "you don't hear the one that gets you."

    What I did forget to do, in the very last cycle of edits, was add that ringing sound of silence before the final transition.

  • Good work

    Nice to see some stop motion on the forum its some thing i always wanted to try . Maybe a couple of close up shots of characters would be a nice touch in your shots.

  • edited November 2018

    "Maybe a couple of close up shots of characters would be a nice touch in your shots."

    @rogyrue , thanks... and you are right. 
    I wish I had split some of the shots with close-ups of Bill + LT and Bill+Mikey.
    It would have helped break-up the scenes and show some focus.

    One of the reasons for close-ups is to show emotions. I think it would be OK anyway *BUT* I can alter
    the faces using an image editor or some software called AnimanieSMP (it's like a liquify function).
    So here's a question for people....
    1) How much do you think it would add if the figures smiled, frowned etc?
    2) What about lip syncing?

  • I think it would add a lot! Of course, I am very fond of your stop motion short films. My favorites so far have been the Star Trek ones, especially this one...


  • Thanks @FilmSensei ;

    I guess everybody is the same that they have their 'To-Do' lists. 
    I have my video ideas 'To-Do' (including some more Star Trek  ) and my 'want to improve' list.
    Smoother animation, cleaner effects, better sets etc.

    Lip sync might be low on that list but I do want to do more facial changes. Like the tear in "Passing The Time" or Spock's raised eyebrow. Just something subtle which can convey a 2" plastic action figure's emotion without the need to say anything.

  • I'm kind of torn on the idea of doing more detailed facial animation. Part of what I like about these pieces is their simplicity. True, you could aim for the level of facial animation used in the LEGO films, but those are fully CG, so it's a little easier for them.  I think your other to-dos -- smoother animation, cleaner effects, better sets -- are better targets for now. My .02  :)

  • I definitely think lip syncing should be low on your list, it's a stress you shouldn't need to have considering how good the actual shorts are. If you have an urge to play about with facial animation I'd say it could do no harm! I think your idea of leaning more into the subtle side of things rather than 'ALL EMOTIONS ALL THE TIME' is the right call.

    Looking forward to whatever you work on next! :)  

  • Thanks for the feedback everyone.
    I'll go for minimal, subtle and only when it adds to the narrative. 

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