HORIZON - Short Sci-fi Film


Hello all!

This is my most recent film that I wrote, directed, and edited ( VFX, and Sound Mixing, too ). This film was made as my final project for my Cinema Production 2 class at Ithaca College, and it actually happens within the same universe as the last film that I had critiqued here, Horizon. Hopefully, I can see some familiar faces to comment on how my film-making abilities have improved!

It was shot on a Sony FS-100 for the majority of it, with the exception of one scene being shot on a Sony a7.

Looking for any and all feedback on this work! Hope you all enjoy it.


@JoeyScoma and @Kevin_Senzaki you guys gave some pretty good advice on my last film, Vortex. Definitely tried to work and improve on some of the stuff you guys mentioned last time so let me know what you think of this one when you get the chance!


Its great. Your music is nice and loud but everything else is really soft. I would amplify the audio levels in Audition if you cant go higher in Premiere (If your even using it). By the way, I noticed that you were in some kinda audio production room for one scene, haha. Great job, I enjoyed it. Didn’t need to kill what’s his face like Eobard Thawne but good job.


Nice work! I really enjoyed watching this, and I think you did a great job telling a large-scale story through a focused, limited perspective that works within your means. Great stuff!

As it’s very dialogue-driven, I do think you could probably lose a minute or two off the run-time to just tighten things up and shorten up some moments that might be a bit redundant, moreso in the first half.

Here’s some more specific thoughts; mostly sound-related ones as you might expect from me :stuck_out_tongue:

The news TV stuff is a cool way to fill in necessary exposition, but this should be as short as possible. I feel like you probably abbreviated something at 1:02, but the white flash felt jarring as-is. I wonder if having some b-roll would help cover for cuts in this section? Also, we see flashes for photographers’ cameras (great touch!), but it being a movie, I’d love to hear a little of that to make the newsroom feel populated, even if you realistically wouldn’t hear it on a broadcast.

The dialogue scene starting at 1:28 feels really quiet in particular; your production audio is pretty clean, but having a background ambiance or drone under it would help the scene hang together better for sound, and can be used to add a bit of underlying tension. It’s very uncommon to have a scene without a background of some kind, even if it’s not supposed to be noticed by the audience. Just as a random reference, this bit from The Dark Knight has an added air conditioning / ventilation hum under the start, and then once the lights go on, buzzing is also introduced (though it fades out eventually to avoid becoming too distracting). A lot of this kind soft background work can subliminally suggest a lot about the room and (emotional) temperature of a scene, even in the most mundane, common settings, and can help suggest a feeling to the audience just like music, even if the scene has none.

At around 4:35 the dialogue levels seem to drop lower. Mix-wise, you want to be hitting pretty consistent levels throughout the whole film! For an online release, I think the film as a whole could be louder; dialogue can maybe live around -10 to -5 dB consistently. I almost always make final judgments by ear rather than meter though, unless I have to conform to a specific volume standard, which is probably way too technical to worry about right now :stuck_out_tongue:

I love the audio transition around 5:40 with the backgrounds coming in early! I think a lower drone or hum under this whole scene would add more power and weight to the location.

6:13 I’d love to hear SFX for the knobs turning and the meters adjusting.

6:48 Sound effect for the blinking light (I know this is ridiculous, but since it’s a tight shot and it’s meant to draw our attention, it usually warrants a sound cue).

7:11 The scene end here has an audible “pop” on the cut; having very quick fade ins and outs on your audio here will get rid of that. As a general rule, having a very short fade, even a frame or less, on all your audio cuts will help avoid these pops from happening.

7:19 The car door slam feels kind of boomy, like the microphone was inside the car. (That was probably the case; the dialogue sounds pretty good!) In a situation like this, I’d layer in another car door slam sound effect on top of the production sound, to get some of that brighter, higher-frequency crispness it’s lacking as-is.

7:31 A door beep and/or lock click for the key card opening the door.

8:00 Great sound effects work here! Love this whole section; the phone filter on Tom’s voice also works great and makes it really eerie.

8:29 - Foley for the footsteps running down the hall here - it’s a dramatic moment, and the sound of him running could work almost to musical effect, building the tension.


Thanks Kevin! This is a whole lot of awesome info and information ( some of which I’ve already fixed, such as the pop sound in the transition ) but a lot of it is stuff I hadn’t thought of before! I definitely will be working further on mixing this properly as I’ve never had to deal with as much sound as this in the past ( and this is my first film that we actually have a composer which I recently added in! )

That whole bit on the layering of the air conditioner under the main dialogue is a really cool tip and I’ll be sure to find a good sound to put under it!

Thanks a bunch! This will help get this film even more tight for when I submit to festivals and such!