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Friday, November 16, 2007

Locking

Since last I wrote here, we've changed our hardware set up. We are now working on a 24" iMac Core2 Duo Extreme. Believe me - it makes a difference over the Powerbook. We are working on locking the picture now for sound. Much of the effects work is done but we decided to stop working on that for now so we can lock a final edit for Ryan. He is doing the score and the dialog and I now understand cannot really dive into this until he has the final final edit. This process is not terribly difficult but does require meticulous attention to detail and two sets of eyes for quality control.

Once we are satisfied on the picture end with the way the thing is cut together, we'll pass it on to Ryan so that he can start digging in. At that point, I will go back to the picture, finish the special effects, and color correct scene by scene. I will then insert sound effects. Once all of this is finished, Ryan should have something for me to listen to. I'll probably put it in the edit temporarily and we will talk about any changes that need to be made. He'll keep honing and we will by that time know what ADR will be necessary so we can arrange for certain actors to re-record certain dialog. At the end of all of this - and a lot of credits - will be the marriage of sound to picture and the film will be complete...Complete - but still locked in the hard drive. Getting it out of there at the highest possible quality is a whole other blog entry.

So as you can see, there is a lot more work ahead of us - but - we are actually able to see the light at the end of the tunnel now. It is a good feeling. It's all about small victories adding up when you're making a film independently. And so we trudge on...

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Post Production: Getting There

We are getting there with the movie. A film tends to take on a life of its own. It reminds me more and more every time I work on it of a painting. There just is not a formula. It is so much like life. Unexpected twists and turns and wonderful surprises wait around every corner. Besides crafting the "cut" of the scenes, I've been working with visual effects which is an ongoing learning experience, an experiment, and an exhilarating process all at once. It's also very technical. Final Cut 6 is a fantastic program that has evolved considerably from previous versions in a seeming effort to steal some thunder from Adobe After Effects. The Color program as part of the FCP suite is also fantastic and robust program, proving useful as I get into the color and effects process.

On another note, this is a phase that has me a bit on edge. In the past, I've had complete control of all aspects of the post process for my projects. I had the footage, sound effects, music, and any extraneous material right in front of me. This case is a little different. I have the footage and access to thousands of sound effects and visual effects but what I do not have readily available is the score and finished dialog. Mr. Ryan DeRamos has been working hard on these aspects of the film in a different studio with his own pro equipment. This causes two disparate things to happen at the same time: First, I get all anxious because I'm at a point in the process where I'd really like to see this picture a step closer to completion. Second, I get kind of a charge inside as I keep honing the picture and all its thousands of details into the one that I am looking for. This charge occurs because I realize that soon, when Ryan's work is added to mine, a HUGE jump will be made in the quality and impact of the work that I have been doing on Elan Vital. I look forward to this point and I am sure the film will evolve even more from that point on as sound and picture should be a marriage with a long engagement and not a blind date.

So - we're getting there. It is taking longer than I expected but the film may actually be longer than expected and (better) than expected - but you can be the judge of that when we are all through. In the mean time, I continue shaping away the story and fine tuning the details. Anyone interested in an inspiring story of a director's first film against all odds, take a look at these facts about the film, Eraserhead from 1977 (the year I was born) - and don't worry - Elan Vital will not take nearly as long to complete. Thank God for digital!

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