8 Sept 2011


One of the most amazing videos on Vimeo is 'Last Minutes with Oden'. It has been watched by over 2 million people and won the prestigious 'Best Video' at the 2010 Vimeo Awards. It was shot and directed by the very talented Eliot Rausch. It is about a man, Woody, and his faithful dog Oden who has cancer and is going to be put to sleep. It is, understandably, a very emotional film and I'm not ashamed to say that every time I watch it a tear rolls down my cheek.

I'm no filmmaker and to call myself one is quite frankly an insult to filmmakers but I am a photographer who is learning to shoot video/films with DLSR cameras and I just want to learn from this film as I aspire to produce something as powerful.

Most good films are successful because of a storyline which has some emotional pull that gives us, as viewers, some hook that we just can't do anything else but watch the story unfold - but how filmmakers achieve this is all in the art of their craft.

I just wanted to break this fantastic film down into its parts so I can learn what makes a good documentary short. Again, this is just an exercise in how it was filmed. The success of this film very much lies in the narrative and it's emotional tug on your heart strings but this might be of interest to filmmakers/photographers/storytellers to see how it was constructed.

00:00 Opens with medium shot (MS) of Woody carrying his bike out of his apartment
00:10 MS from behind as he walks out the door.
00:22 Wide shot (WS) of his back as he looks out from apartment roof
00:25 Close up (CU) of his eyes and glasses
00:27 Mid close up (MCU) of him smoking a cigarette
00:32 CU of fingers holding cigarette down by his side
00:34 CU of him smoking again
00:39 MS of him carrying bike down dark stairwell
00:45 MS from behind carrying bike down same stairwell
00:55 High above shot of him cycling in the rain
01:00 MS of torso cycling in slow motion (SM)
01:07 Cutaway MCU of his dog Oden shot from low down on the floor  (SM)
01:08 Cutaway MCU of Woody cycling shot from the front (SM)
01:12 Cutaway CU of dog's eyes (SM)
01:13 Cutaway of Woody cycling (SM)
01:16 Cutaway CU of Oden looking up from low down on floor (SM)
01:18 Cutaway MCU of Woody's legs cycling (SM)
01:23 MS of Woody arriving at his friends house and getting off his bike (SM)
01:36 CU of Oden as he struggles to get up (only having 3 legs) and walk towards the door (SM)
01:41 MS looking through hole in wall as Woody carries bike over shoulder (SM)
01:42 MS of Woody opening outside gate
01:45 High WS as he walks thought gate
01:47 MS Focus on hand with cigarette as Woody talks on the phone to a friend
01:49 Cutaway to Woody in slow mo carrying bike through gates
01:55 MS from floor level of his feet walking away from camera
01:59 Cutaway MCU of Woody on the phone
02:02 Cutaway MS of Woody walking in slow mo carrying his bike to camera
02:07 Cutaway MCU of Woody on phone
02:11 Cutaway High WS of Woody carrying bike
02:15 MCU of Woody in silhouette opening door to friends (Cynthia) apartment with bike
02:21 MS from behind of Oden looking towards door waiting for Woody to walk in
02:26 CU of Oden from the side as he lies down
02:30 MCU of Woody with his friend as Woody starts to cry
02:34 MCU over the shoulder of Woody as Cynthia puts her hand on his shoulder
02:39 CU of Oden looking up in slow mo
02:44 MS of Woody as he bends down and strokes Oden
02:48 MS of Oden licking Cynthia in the face
02:51 WS as Woody leaving the apartment with Oden on his lead
03:00 High MS as Woody carries Oden down the apartment stairs
03:06 MCU One of Woody's friends kisses Oden and says goodbye
03:16 MCU of Cynthia starting to cry
03:20 MS of Woody hugging another friend
03:22 CU of Cynthia from behind in car adjusting visor
03:24 CU of Woody in silhouette in car
03:25 CU of dashboard
03:26 CU of wing mirror
03:28 MCU of Cynthia's eyes in drivers mirror from behind
03:30 CU of Woody stoking Oden's head in car
03:33 MS of Woody and Cynthia from behind as he walks Oden to the vet's door
03:43 MCU of Oden sniffing in the vets
03:46 MCU of Woody talking to vet's staff
03:48 CU of Woody's hand holding the lead
03:50 CU of Oden's low angle as he rests in on the floor
03:53 CU of Woody's head as he talks to Oden and cries
03:56 MCU of needle as it is injected into Oden's leg
04:03 CU As Cynthia and Woody hold Oden's head
04:12 CU of Woody looking down at Oden
04:18 MCU over Woody's shoulder looking down at Cynthia
04:21 MCU of Woody holding his hand in his head crying
04:27 MCU as camera pans down as Oden goes to sleep
04:36 MCU low shot as Woody kisses Oden goodbye
04:41 MS of nurse, Woody and Cynthia looking down at Oden as Woody takes off his collar
04:52 MCU of Woody and Cynthia's faces looking down.
05:00 WS of Woody cycling his bike in rain. Camera pans up to his face in slow mo
05:11 MCU of bikes tyres
05:20 MCU Camera pans up to Woody's face in rain
05:22 Cutaway MCU of Woody holding a cigarette
05:25 Cutaway to Woody cycling in rain again
05:29 MCU of Woody's face looking sad
05:33 MCU Camera pans across the Cynthia
05:35 WS of Woody riding in the rain
05:38 Cutaway MCU of Woody and Cynthia hugging
05:46 Cynthia leaves scene leaving Woody on his own
05:48 MCU of Woody's hands holding Oden's leash
05:51 WS As Woody walks out of shot
05:55 MCU of Woody riding bike in rain focusing on tyres
06:00 WS as camera moves off leaving Woody out of focus riding in rain

Directed/Edited: Eliot Rausch http://www.eliotrausch.com/
Director of Photography: Luke Korver, Matt B. Taylor
Song: Big Red Machine / Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
PHOS PICTURES PRODUCTION http://www.phospictures.com/

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