TheRealClose

About me: 
rip focus 2017 - 2018 // Bus Stop Studios 2016 // Christchurch, NZ. // More reviews: https://boxd.it/kRhb // More vids: https://bit.ly/benclose

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What even happened? I’m not too sure. But it was funny as hell. Keep up that humour and work on condensing it into a thought provoking, tear inducing story... or y’know, do whatever the hell you like.

Of all the Groundhog Day style films to come out of the competition this year, this film is the only one to have nailed it, due to the well structured story, convincing performances, and solid editing.

Great to see an improvement from last year and I hope to see you go further in the future.

Hilarious. Bold. Innovative.

The details for this one are a little foggy for me, I’m sorry, but overall I remember enjoying the film, just erhaps thinking that the full story was a little unclear. Certainly a neat concept and shows some potential.

Really liked the premise and execution. Well done for doing this with only two people! It seems like you had a lot of fun with it.

Main thing I’d say needs to improve is getting some variation is shot sizes. Don’t just rely on your dialogue, but use your camera to increase the tension where needed. This is a visual medium after all.

I actually found this film a little less entertaining than last year’s. It started off really strong but after a while I got a little sick of the genie’s character and continuously going back to the bar seemed a little on the lazy side.

If a little more thought was put into the structure of the story rather than solely focusing on great jokes, I think we could’ve seen a really great film.

A rather enjoyable film, and a solid attempt at Ultra. I was a little unsure, however of what animal the grey looking one was.

And yea, I’m gonna be that guy that points out that in the OG tale of Noah, they were actually on board for about a year, or around 220 days till they were resting on the mountain as seen in your film. This sort of thing sticks out at me like a sore thumb and shows that you haven’t really done your research on the story you’re parodying. Of course, your joke wouldn’t have worked otherwise, but that’s only because the audience is just as uneducated. Maybe you could’ve replace the line with a more accurate amount of time, followed a fourth wall breaking “it’s actually a common misconception that we were only in here for 40 days and 40 nights.”

The other thing I’d note is that I think that we needed a little more breathing room after those killer jokes, as the audience laughter really did make it hard to hear some dialogue, so that’s something I think you have to account for in the edit. Unfortunately I didn’t get the final punchline until after the screening when someone mentioned it to me, I think due to the fact that I missed something at the end there.

All around though, a great 48 Hour film and no doubt we will see it go further in the competition.

All round brilliant filmmaking. The actors played their parts really well and the comedy was great.

One major thing that for the purposes of Ultra, kind of seems odd, is that the teacher was definitely a main character in the film, which my understanding is that that’s against the rules. I think there is an easy enough fix for this though, that only requires a little bit of restructuring at the beginning.

Basically, don’t start with the teacher’s interview, and only include her interview in short snippets. All her in-situ moments were great, but we really need to be focussing on our teenage leads throughout the entirety of the film.

It’s also worth noting that I did not pick up on the fact that the zombie was accepted into the school due to its PC nature until reading your team comment. The way the actors played it, it seemed to me that everyone was simply oblivious to the fact, so perhaps that plot point needed to be a little clearer.

Still, a great film that may or may not be very cleverly sending a message about a certain school.

But what was with that team intro? I was thinking it was a sequel to your beauty from 2016, but then it turned out to be... exactly the same. I expected better.

While impressive on every technical level, I can’t say I enjoyed this film at all. Not just because of how disturbing it was (and I’ll grant you, you’ve done the best of any film this year at covering such a topic), but largely because I felt like there was no reason for it all. I feel like maybe you were trying to send some sort of message, but if you were, that was unclear. I thought maybe you’d follow in classic Strang fashion and reveal that your film is a prequel to Pulp Fiction. But instead, I was only left wondering why I watched these events happen. And that’s simply what they were, events. I didn’t feel that there was any real story to be told.

Maybe it’s just not for me, but it was certainly a disappointment coming from my personal favourite team of 2017.

A mostly fun ride, but could possibly just do with a bit of a stronger structure and a more clear story. ie. What exactly are the characters’ goals and motivations?

Certainly a step up from last year, and I think the first musical I’ve seen this year which is actually a musical, so thumbs up for that!

Such a beautiful film, and one of my personal favourites of the competition so far. Not much else to say here but great job, and can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future!

This movie was so much fun. Well written, and wonderfully executed. One of the few dialogue heavy films I’ve seen this year that really works.

It seems the rules of 48 Hours are a little more flexible than the real world, where you would be immediately caught out for using Hallelujah (in NZ you still need permission to legally produce a parody).

I would highly recommend writing an entirely original composition, as not only did I find your efforts to be a little lazy, but an original score is far more impressive and really brings your film up to the next level.

As for the rest of the film, I found it quite enjoyable, and while I laughed at the ending I was a little confused as to how the two wouldn’t have known they were siblings. Apologies if I’ve just missed something. There are a lot of films to remember (and for the sake of my own consistency I’d like to refrain from rewatching the films before reviewing, now that some are available).

Another attempt at a Groundhog Day style time loop that really falls flat because the exact same action is repeated over and over with no increase in pace. Seriously, go watch Groundhog Day, or Edge of Tommorrow. You’ll notice that certain events are skipped or shortened each loop, which really helps to keep the audiences attention. The last thing the audience wants is to see the same or similar looking footage without a decent reason for it to be there.

I hope I’m not misremembering your film and you actually did quicken the pace, but if you did, I definitely still felt it could’ve been even quicker, as I lost interest not too far into the first loop - probably because your film is missing another hugely key aspect to making a Groundhog Day style film, and that is that your character should know that they are in a time loop. Without that, we are essentially watching the same events occur over and over again, with little change, and we are not taking a journey with a character. Without the character being aware of the loop, he has no reason to make a single change to his life, and any changes that happen are left to pure chance. I feel like the message you were trying to send was not that if you randomly don’t hit your head on the cupboard in the morning, you’ll be wiser with your money and relationships, but that’s essentially what happened.

Now, going by the weird and visually confusing key effect you had going on, it looked like the man saw himself being argued with, but then after that point it was very unclear whether he stepped into that loop or was just watching the loop play out. If your character was supposed to be aware of the loop, there was certainly no reaction on his face communicating that to us.

Now I realise this review may sound fairly negative, but I wouldn’t write such a long review just because I don’t like a film. It’s because I see a lot of potential in your team, to tell intriguing stories and send some thought provoking messages. What you really need to work on is the structure of your story and your visual communication, as well as thinking about what you can do in the editing to help further your storytelling (eg. quickening the pace of each time loop).

Unfortunately this film is a just a notch below last year’s effort, but I hope to see you in the competition again next year.

Enjoyable in parts, with some well executed puppeteering.

An enjoyable film with likeable characters and good performances. The twist at the end worked well, but the only place that lost me was how the guy suddenly learned hot to speak Spanish. Maybe I missed something Regardless, a very solid effort.

Perhaps something to try out in the future would be to add some sort of reverb to make the voice over to make it feel more distant during the scenes where he was following her voice.

A neat idea that played well into the genre, but could do with a bit of a stronger structure. Try to have every major piece of the film planned out before you shoot so that you aren’t scrambling in the edit to get a story that flows. I just found in places that I was unsure of what exactly was happening, but in the end it did tie up nicely.

A lovely story from start to finish, and a great breath of fresh air from all the live action films in the competition.

A huge achievement for a multi-country 48 hour duo animated Ultra. I don’t know if you could set yourself a greater challenge!

This film is another which has suffered from too much long dialogue. There were some funny lines, but I didn’t feel any rising tension in the script and not a lot of variety in what they were saying. It all sounds fairly same samey. Might sound more interesting for a DnD fan, but you have to keep in mind most people aren’t aware of how the game works and things need to be simplified.

With the vape shots, I found it quite distracting when a brand new puff burst into shot and then mellowed out a bit. I think it would’ve been more effective to blow the vape and then wait a few seconds before saying the dialogue. That way every time we cut to it there is not a sudden burst of it, and it looks more like it’s a cloud of smoke constantly sitting there, which makes it feel a little more mysterious.

Some of the debacle between the teachers was fun but the rest of the film I found to be rather forgettable. It’s very hard for the audience to follow the story when it jumps all around the place and transitions from one thing to another without any real reason or rhyme to it. This might make a lot of sense in your head, but you’ve got to remember an audience seeing this for the first time is unlikely to connect every little thread you’ve put together.

I feel like I’ve said it a hundred times throughout all these reviews, but I’ll never stop saying it: the most important things in a film are its structure and its story. Does it make sense and is it a story worth telling? If your answer to either of those questions is not yes then you need to really nut it out before you shoot anything. Keep this in mind for the future and you’ll be able to go much further with your storytelling.

While this film had some hilarious moments, I was a bit lost on what the story was, if there was any at all besides an evil ball somehow haunting some kids.

In addition perhaps to some more advanced lighting, this film really needed a stronger structure. It felt like a series of events getting slightly more intense, but really there was no resolution to it all.

Think about your story, not just as some events that you can put on screen, but as a wave of emotions you are able to visually communicate to the viewer. Something you did well was convey the threat of the ball. Even if it was nonsensical, the main character had reason to be afraid of it, and because of that so did we. Coming to the end of your film, we the audience are just as afraid of the ball as he is, and we desperately need a solution to contain or remove the threat, but when that doesn’t happen, the audience is left feeling that the story was incomplete - that there was no payoff to the time they had invested in the story up to that point.

I wish you the best of luck for the future, and if you remember to carefully consider the structure, you can do little else wrong.

While I appreciate the creative solution to getting thrown the musical genre, I really wish you’d chosen some other subject matter, or at least gone about it in a more tasteful way. Similarly to Heat 6’s “Speak Up”, this film inadvertently is sending the complete wrong message, by having your main characters aggressively getting revenge on the subject. While you had a great monster in the chair, you also had three female monsters surrounding him, and I don’t assume that was your intention.

I also thought the whole “admit what you’ve done or I’ll cut you up” business got pretty repetitive and dull after a while, and the story never really progressed or had much rising tension.

Perhaps the story would’ve benfitted had it been focused more on the three women freaking out about the situation and trying to find a solution, building up that tension that possibly it ends with the man accidentally getting killed, That way the man still gets his poetic justice without the film sending an unwarranted aggressive message.

Disappointed the team didn’t live up to its name and produce a 1:1 film.

Nah jks this film was a great time. A neat story very well executed. What more can I say?

Well not too much cause I still have a bunch more reviews to write..

This film I found hard to follow or enjoy. Didn’t understand where the parents motivations came from or who the girl who came over actually was.

I liked the idea of tip toeing around the killing having things interrupt etc, but I feel that in execution it didn’t always work.

This is another team that I feel needs to simplify their approach. Try whittling your story down to something much simpler, rather than an over the top assassination attempt which is fairly difficult to pull off even for an experienced team.

For example, have the girl simply trying to pull a simple prank, eg trying to get the victim to unintentionally set off a trap, with a hidden camera recording, but then after many failed attempts the main character ends up setting off the trap on herself.

Something like this would be easier for you to pull off convincingly, and would help you tell a more interesting story.

Strapped myself in for a great time when I saw your hilarious team intro, and wasn’t disappointed.

All the performances were well done, and I especially loved the characterisation of the male YouTuber. Overall a great story but what slightly poked out as confusing for me was that the sub counts were lowering, when in reality if people were dying they wouldn’t unsubscribe. The easy way to fix this is to have the YouTuber’s complaining about the dwindling view count, as opposed to the subs.

Some great humour though which I look forward to seeing in the future.

Firstly to comment on what MistaTeas said about the aspect ratio, I actually don’t recall it being a different aspect ratio. Rather, there was a slight technical hiccup on the playout computer where your 720p export wasn’t scaled up to full screen. You did nothing wrong in that regard so don’t worry there.

However the film itself I found rather difficult to enjoy. The relationship was not only incredibly uncomfortable, but also felt dramatically unrealistic. Try in future not to go for such crazy big ideas, and keep things a little simpler. Often the best stories are the simple ones.

Quite a fun short film, with well told visual story. Only place I got a little lost was in the strange animated silhouette sequence, which seemed unnecessary given you had a great shot of the duck’s shadow as it flew overtop of the grass.

Keep up the good work!

Unfortunately this film didn’t hold my interest. Far too much “this and this happened to this person” and not nearly enough visual storytelling. Show us, don’t tell us your story.

I feel that you should’ve had the time over the weekend to have stories that could all be told visually while the girls narrate over top. Try keeping this in mind in the future.

This film felt like it had some potential, but I was left a little disappointed. I was waiting for the reveal at the end that Sam was female, which predictable of an ending it may have been, it would’ve been more solid than the ending you had, which only left me confused. Why hide their face for the entire film when there is no payoff? I still have no idea how the horse came into to the story at all.

A fun story idea, but I think in future you need to be aware of every decision you make in the storytelling and make sure everything is done for a reason, otherwise you may end up throwing the audience off and not getting your story across.

I liked the premise and the simulation ending. I just got a little lost on what the story really was with our main characters. Like, we get that they don’t like being followed by drones, but what more than that? What was the purpose of the simulation? What were the doing with their lives in this reality? Just some questions I would’ve liked to see explored to really flesh out this story.

You found yourself and idea and then you just went out and shot it. Unfortunately this way of filmmaking will rarely result in a cohesive story as there is no real structure to the scenes, action play, or dialogue. I recommend taking some time to just plot out the beginning, middle and end of the film, with at least a basic idea of what kind of shots you want to get and remember that this isn’t like in drama class where everything has to be done in one take on a wide shot. Use the camera to move in and get varying shots that can be used to more effectively tell your story.

While the twist was rather entertaining, everything before it was a little hard to follow and not the most interesting. Bogging down a film with nothing but dialogue can really make it feel longer than it really is and lose the audience’s attention. I’d recommend thinking of new ways to tell your film visually, rather that just relying on the audience following and understanding every line of dialogue.

An unfortunate disappointment. The film went by so quickly I genuinely had no grasp on what was happening and what the story was.

Keep in mind in future that structure and story are the most important things, followed by the characters and our journey with them. Hopefully you will not be too discouraged by your experience this year. Few teams are successful the first time around.

While I didn’t understand much of the story, I certainly found it entertaining parts of the way through, my favourite scene being the busking with the trumpet.

I think one of your downfalls was focussing a lot on the opening scene with the news anchors, with some important dialogue that wasn’t the easiest to understand. A simple radio announcement or TV screen in the background of shot would’ve been quite effective if paired with the shot of the bush man emerging from the bush and walking into town etc. That way we would get the full context of the bush character from the beginning and the story would’ve been easier to follow.

A very nice looking film with some audio issues, an interesting premise, but sadly not a lot of payoff. I left a little confused as to the story itself, and didn’t quite see the ten year time span. Definitely a team I hope to see competing in the future.

I wasn’t too happy with the way this film turned out. It seems as though you went into the competition with this in mind, and although I think it’s great to be tackling this issue, it really wasn’t handled in an ideal manner.

While I liked the aesthetic and didn’t mind the PSA vibe, the scene with the shooting is really quite atrocious and is simply sending the completely wrong message.

A very sweet tale with a clever premise and execution.

This film really only left me confused unfortunately. It felt like two halves of a movie that didn’t fully connect. We needed a bit more of a connect than just the name of the bank at the end being the reveal. I think this reveal relies too much on the audience to piece it together in their head as opposed to visually telling us the story the way it unfolds. I also found it hard to understand what the characters motives were for the heist apart from “something like this has never been done before”. I mean, if you were going to rid the world of emotions, you’d need to have a pretty good reason for it.

Possible improvements could be to make the characters in the first half of the film the same ones who rob the bank, or instead playing it in chronological order, and showing the impact of the heist throughout the world, and possibly some realisation in the characters as to what they’ve done, or at least some poetic justice for them.

With the best art direction I have seen in the competition, and some compelling performances, it was truly unfortunate that the story was fairly disjointed.

The ending really carries no weight for me, as we never learned who this character was and never had anything invested in them, so seeing them get killed by a bunch of bush people doesn’t really bother me as an audience member. I neither feel any sympathy nor comedy in the moment, as the main character’s lines were mostly restricted to “I’m not supposed to be here, I can explain”, while the opening half of the story focussed too much on the secondary characters.

Wowzer, what a ride. What a thrill.

At first I thought you guys had made a musical and then BAM you get right into the splatstick and have done the genre better than any other team I’ve seen, embracing it to the absolute fullest.

I really liked the aesthetic that this team consistently delivers. Worth noting the couple of 16:9 frames at the very beginning which I assume were just a small technical mistake.

I liked the story a lot, although I feel we didn’t quite get the full resolution. He found the girl, but what did she think about that? Did she find it creepy, romantic? Just an extra reverse shot of her own smile at the door may have been enough to lift the ending up a bit.

Glad to see pizzafilm improving year by year.

One of the best Tech Thrillers I’ve seen in the competition this year. Even if it was a little derevitive of Black Mirror, it was still incredibly well executed, with some good camera work and editing. I really felt the tension building towards the end. The only thing I missed was that there was quite a sudden jump from her being in the computer to being in the kitchen speaker. I think it would’ve been nicer to forget the speaker and just have that dialogue with her in the computer screen, where it’s easier to build on that relationship.

This film intrigued me at first but then took a bit of an odd turn when the relationship seemed to get a little over-dramatically serious over what didn’t appear to be a terribly long amount of time, also considering the maturity of the characters themselves.

An interesting story with some great make-up artistry.

This film has its moments. I must say I was a little confused by the actors playing multiple characters at the same time and it took me some time to understand which ones were from the support group vs just the bystanders. I think the issue lies with the film cutting from the support group to the bystanders, and the audience assuming that they are the same characters, and not realising who they actually are until we see the main characters on the race track.

Some great moments in this film where I truly felt the tension, with a great use of lighting and quick camera movements. Just felt that the ending was a little unresolved.

A clever plot that unfortunately got quite tiresome after the constant repeating of events, which weren’t different enough to hold my interest. Perhaps the issue is that you were focusing on the daughter, whose actions didn’t change every reset, when it was the other girl’s actions that would’ve been changing, and therefore we needed to see more of that.

When going for that Groundhog Day style plot, as many teams did this year, one of the most effective ways to do that is to have your main character getting more desperate to achieve their goal in each time reset and having that clearly shown through their actions and quickening the pace in the editing.

A laugh all the way through, but a story that was somewhat difficult to follow.

An interesting film reasonably well executed.

Another great comedy from No Budget Ninjas centred around an odd but intriguing scenario. The format was great, the jokes were great. Overall, a joy to behold, and exactly what I expect from 48hr vets like yourselves.

One of the stand outs of the evening for me. A great laugh all the whole way through, with a great performance from the lead.

One slight concern of mine was that the girl's "why are you in my house??" dialogue got a little repetitive at the end there, and there were just a few missed opportunities I thought in the editing. For example, we have Gregory saying something like "can't wait to hear all the nice things she has to say about me", then if we had immediately cut to Natalie saying terrible things about him would've improved that joke a lot.

Very excited about this film though, and can't wait to see more from this team in the future!

An interesting format. Great to see some less conventional styles at 48hrs.

What this really needed was to shorten the entire show, and focus it more on the characters, with perhaps only one challenge. I feel that we missed some of the action, perhaps due to time constraints, and were too focussed on the game show side of it. Was also expecting a fake ad-break in the middle to really play into that TV show format, which would've been a great addition to the film.

Certainly the best team intro of the evening, and an intriguing short film. I think there may have been some audience confusion for a while as the initial dialogue about the time traveling pill was a little hard to hear. I liked the way the film ended, and it was good that I wasn't 100% clear on how the time travel worked. No film should get too into the nitty gritty details.

A fun ride. Made good use of editing to keep to the splatstick genre with the obvious limitations of a 48hr film.

An incredibly enjoyable Ultra piece. An innovative idea and well executed.

This film was carried by a once again stellar performance from Tom Trevella and some beautiful cinematography.

Spoilers below, I guess.

I saw the twist coming as soon as she was let in through the gate, but then you totally broke that expectation with the blood and the "I'm human" line, so in the end I didn't see it coming! Only thing I would say was that I was a little confused at the end. Part of the problem may have been that Tom's character wasn't panicked enough, and we didn't see as much of a shock on his face at the reveal as I would've expected. Perhaps some tense music could've helped that moment also.

But take this all with a grain of salt, because everything tastes better with salt. This was the first film I saw of the evening so forgive me if I've misremembered some of the details!

Although this film was, in terms of cinematography, on fleek, I found the story mildly confusing. I loved the intercutting between the interrogation and the main story, but found it hard to understand how 'Vengeance' was a theme and also for what reason the guy was hit in the head by his apparent partner.

I can't say this film was as good as its predecessor, however it does a really good job at connecting the two thematically. The film looked and sounded great. My only confusion was with how and why the two characters were at the house. Although there was certainly a lot of tension leading up to it, the bomb difusal itself felt very low stakes, unlike in the first film, where other lives were at stake, and fleeing was not an option.

Really liked the play on the alien genre and thought a really interesting story was told.

Really well shot with some nice comedy, and I think the 'female' element was used well to comedic effect. Unsure though if the end credits were intended to torture us with their extreme length, or if you guys just really like thanking people.

A nice short film about love and deception, with some great moments of comedy.

Mostly an enjoyable film. Probably could've done with about half the amount of dialogue, as some of the back and forth between characters seemed unnatural at times. Try to really focus on the story being told and make sure every line of dialogue has a purpose. Think about some of those lines and see how you could've replaced them with just a single shot or facial expression.

A very interesting film. My top tip would be to add a bit of shake to the camera when filming inside the car, to better sell the idea that the car is moving. When the camera is perfectly still it just feels a little unnatural.

Loved this film. A perfect sequel that explores some very interesting themes of sacrifice and realisation. Was on the edge of my seat right till the end.

For the most part I really enjoyed this film. It's great to see how much story can be told without dialogue, even on a low budget.

Despite the obvious difficulties of shooting in low light, I found the visual storytelling very effective, however I believe there was a huge missed opportunity. Towards the end of the film, it felt like it was foreshadowing that the date would never arrive, having been in a traffic collision. The end of your film, however, simply left me confused.

Rather than having the date turn around for reasons that we have no indication of, I would have loved to see this film end on a bleaker note, as it felt like it was leading to.

I also don't recall hearing the Wilhelm scream during the film itself, which is unfortunate.

I was very excited when this film began, as I was expecting a mockumentary, or at least, a behind the scenes reel with a lot of humour. Unfortunately it felt like the whole film had no real purpose and you just couldn't come up with any ideas for it.

This film was incredible. The 'deleted scenes' felt absolutely like legitimate deleted scenes in the way they were edited. The whole film's story was very well told, with some great moments of humour, and very intelligent use of on set practical effects.

Great visual jokes at the beginning and interesting concept of the man shrinking down. I feel the witch didn't feel to much like a witch during her conversation with the man, but more like just an old lady. It would've been interesting to hear some more deceitful dialogue from her, so that she tricks the man into taking the potion, rather than the man just being an idiot who would listen to some crazy lady. Also, a very good use of Comic Sans.

A quite liked the use of locations in this film. Perhaps it was the intention, but I was left rather confused as to what actually happened to the lead. An interesting film but not too much of an attention grabber.

An intriguing film. I absolutely loved the shot of the ambulances lights reflecting on the number plate. A very smart use of resources there. Only thing I would say is that it felt like it was all over very quickly.

An enjoyable film with good dialogue from Mr Claus. Can't imagine Christmas is an easy genre, so I applaud you for working with that and coming up with a great idea.

I was very confused by this film. It felt a lot like it was a sequel and I was missing what had happened previously. The multi-location shooting was very impressive and the concept was really great. Unfortunately I just found it difficult to follow the narrative.

A good looking film. Where it fell flat for me was in the dialogue about going over the hill, where I felt it difficult to understand each character's point of view. Was mildly confused as to whether or not this was set in Christchurch, as I find it hard to believe anyone would get lost on the Summit Road, and there was mention of a highway. Then I was totally lost when the girl was suddenly at the top of the hill. Also unfortunate that a few cars and cyclists were in the background of some shots. Still, a worthwhile contender. Glad to see pizzafilm has kept a consistent aesthetic.

The beginning of the film was a bit jarring, as people who hadn't seen the first film wouldn't have understood the jokes, but as soon as the sequel begins, it's flippin fantastic. Absolutely loved the Trade Me jokes and the door knocking quick shots. Felt like a bit of an anti climax at the end though. Still, very sad to hear you guys didn't make the cut.

I enjoyed this film for the most part, however was a bit confused at one point when the colour on the lead's face changed and I thought we were in a flashback, but then we weren't. Then the colour stayed for the rest of the film. But other than that an interesting story and some funny dialogue from the Mum.

A very enjoyable film. Very good looking cat shots and well edited. My main concern is that it didn't really feel like a musical or dance film.

Very smart and creative humour. A good laugh the whole way through. The shifting white balance was a bit off putting, however.