>Apple Bloom just blinking for five solid seconds looks really weird, and the long pan shot on the back of Scootaloo's head when we really need to be seeing either her or AB reacting feels lazy
These are the sort of things I'd expect to see in an anime that want's to keep the animation budget low. They're great work-savers, and I'm not really surpassed to see them here, it's just that they're something we have never ever seen in FIM and they clash horribly with the whole 'make something that looks like the show' objective. If you want to make something that passes as an episode, you really need to be able to match the framing styles that the show uses as well as having ponies that are convincingly on model.
And the sets need an upgrade or two. They lack the detail and the texture (for lack of a better word) of the locations from the show. Example: the first wide angle shot we see is looking dead on against the back wall. That's an easy set up to draw, since horizontal across the monitor is horizontal with the back of the set. But it's an angle that I can't ever remember seeing in the show. The viewpoint is always off angle to some degree, and that helps illustrate the depth and shape of the space the characters are in. This is further helped by the use of gradients to help set up lighting an shadows. The room the CMC is in just has flat monotone walls without any shading change with lighting or distance. This all combines to make the whole thing seem very flat.
The hallways shot at the end is even worse, since here we don't even have any vanishing point work to toss up the illusion of depth. It looks like camera pony is just standing on a flat picture instead of walking in a hall- it's got as much depth as something made in ponycreator.
But these things can be overcome; I don't have any formal animation training and I was able to spot this stuff after just a few viewings. With a whole community putting eyes on this (or at least some of the more artistically trained members of said community) it should be a snap to get something respectably convi