Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer..."

Well, as I wait for the export to finish for the second video test of my film, I thought I'd finish the production round-up. When I opened up my mail programme to start the post, I received a note from Schmap: Denver that a photo I took in the Denver Airport on the way to Shockerfest is on the shortlist for inclusion in their travel guide. (Click here to see the photo they want to use.) Neat! Okay...where was I?

SUNDAY, 28 DECEMBER, 2008 -- the Holy Crap day:

We had a lot to do this day to make up for Saturday so we were hustling. Luckily, I have some really kick ass actors on my docket and not only did we get everything done that I had on my list, we even got a few things done that weren't scheduled until the following Sunday.

Howzabout THEM apples!

It was yet another early day. I'm a night owl so writing something that took place mainly in the day was really stupid of me, but only in that personal mumbled-grumble sort of way. We saved by not needing a lot of electricity, except for our one night shoot (which went splendedly though I discovered, as I edited the footage, that more light would have been better. The footage still looks great, it just doesn't quite have the kick of the rest of the stuff.)

We reshot the stuff we filmed of Rick on the first day since I wouldn't have his tailor-made costume which then lead to the hours upon hours of rotoscoping work, but I've finished that and it all looks beautiful considering my unskilled hand at this digital effects gig. We also had the first shoot out at the railroad tracks (such a beautiful location), our Payne Park shoot, and the stuff in the house back at Marguerite's wonderful and versatile property where we met Tom Noel Smith, who was playing Abner. I got the same reaction from him that Eon gave me when she realized that the film was silent. That really seems to trip people up that I would want to make a silent film! To be honest, I can't imagine trying to make this a talkie with my miniscule budget. When I have backing then it'll have sound. He was just about word perfect in his performance, too, but I think he got into the spirit of the project. It's not often actors these days get to use their entire body to tell a story or show an emotion and I wanted to experiment a little.

Anyway, we finished three hours ahead of schedule -- you read that right THREE HOURS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, even with all that we had to do that day -- so I got to go home and relax a little before having to go to bed.

We had one more week off before the final day of the shoot, SUNDAY, 4 JANUARY, 2009. This was the greenscreen and fight scene day with the majority of the day's work shot on Marguerite's property with one teeny tiny shot left to do on the railroad tracks, something I forgot the previous Sunday. I wasn't concerned. If we didn't get it that day, the only people needed for the shot were Chris and myself and we're both local.

Shawn set up the greenscreen frame and I started filming David's parts from the reschedule. Poor Michael was stuck in Orlando and couldn't make it until after David had to be at rehearsals so I went ahead and shot them separately deciding to fix it in post (if I never hear that phrase again, it'll be too soon...I just know I'll end up using it again sooner or later, however...) and then I took photographs of my assembled cast. Alana couldn't make it that day either, but I figured, "Well, if I shoot a little dark it won't matter and since Chris and Rick will be fighting and getting sweaty, there's no way to keep up on that so I'll just shoot anyway."

Worked out for the best since I didn't have to worry about their make-up and we could just plow through the sword fight. Yep, you read that right. Sword fight. I shot it with them going 1/3 speed and then fixed it in post. I think it looks great! I'm EXTREMELY happy with how the fight turned out as choreographed by Rick. And there were no flesh wounds!

Once we were done with the fight scene, we packed up and headed out for the final martini shot, the one by the railroad tracks where I kept thinking of the movie Stand By Me as Chris and I went to get the shot. It took a minute, was one take, no covering angles, and then we were done! Woohoo!

Now, it's time for post...


Me, being smart, actually started editing during the first break in the shoot. That's why the rough cut was done pretty quickly. I knew that the special effects were going to be hell for me and I wanted to be done in time for the final deadline of the Sarasota Film Festival, but I don't think I'll make it. It's the 21st now and while I'm done with all of the special effects (I'm still deciding if I want to add sparks to the swordfight), I still have to tighten the cut, adjust timing on the title cards, and edit together the music. Now that the special effects are done, I can focus on communicating with my brother what I'd like to hear for the soundtrack. We're already off to a good start, though, so that's something. Assuming the festival doesn't implode this year, I can always enter it next year! This time, however, I can add that my first short film, which was rejected by my hometown, won an award in California...haha!

The special effects, which are way beyond my ken, took so bloody long because I ended up having to move every control point by hand for each frame. I'm calling this rotoscoping even though that might not be technically accurate, but I don't know what else to call it. There tended to be between 60 and 100 control points and between 40 and 228 frames. It took hours for what amounted to two seconds of screen time. (I shot at 24 frames per second, video is usually 30 frames a second.) I think it looks really pretty, though, so I can't complain too much. ;)

I think that tomorrow or the next day I'll start cutting the teaser and then we'll go from there. I'll post it when I'm done.

Thank y'all for your well-wishes! They have not gone unheard or without my gratitude!


Donald Sosin said...

Sounds like a cool project. Need music?

I specialize in sound for silent films. Check out my website...

Best wishes

Donald Sosin

Lori said...

I have my brother doing music, but I will definitely check out your website! thank you!

Marvin the Martian said...

"Fear is the mind-killer..." I remember Peter Puppy on "Earthworm Jim" always repeating this mantra as he was being stalked by a bad guy. It was hilarious.

I hope your project continues going so well!

Lori said...

I was listening to the Frank Herbert readings from Dune while I did the last few shots that needed rotoscoping. The Litany Against Fear is one of my favourite quotes. :D