Sunday, September 16, 2007

As we're working on the rewrites for our Thanksgiving shoot, and looking at options for trailers, we're also working on finalizing the music used in the film. As we were doing our rough edit, we used classical music as temp tracks. And now we're replacing those recordings with royalty-free/copyleft/public domain recordings of other classical pieces.

"But isn't all classical music in the public domain already?"

Well, yes; but not all the recordings are in the public domain. Companies like EMI own the copyrights on certain recordings, and you get hit with the same kind of licensing fees that are involved when you want to use contemporary music.

However, there are some copyright-free recordings available, if you know where to look. And where we decided to look was Musopen, which provides free recordings of public domain music. It's in the same Utopian, Collaborative, community-focused idea behind Wikipedia and, heck, the Internet in and of itself. It's a marvelously useful website, with a variety of recordings available.

If you need to find a free recording, or if you're someone who's interested in making a recording for this project, we highly suggest that you check it out.

The other thing we've been doing is some (very rudimentary) audio mixing. We're still not sure as to the usefulness of all the bells and whistles, and we still have a lot more ambient noise than we want. But it's all room noise, not camera noise; it's very, very, very important to have (and we're very, very, very glad that we have) a microphone that is not mounted to the camera. Our mike only has a six foot cord, but those six feet make a world of difference.

And, oh yes, we're also doing colour-correction, which is a fairly tedious bit of business, but important. Here's a couple of examples from the exhausting "chicken scene".

Here's a couple stills from the original footage:

As you can see, both of these images have a distinct red/orange glow. That's not necessarily a bad thing-- but it doesn't match the footage shot in the previous scene, which took place in an adjacent room and was intended to flow right into this one. The sudden change in colour temperature is a bit jarring.

And so we fiddled with the colour correction feature on Adobe, mostly confining ourselves to a slight adjustment of the Red Gain, and what we ended up with was this:

Colour correcting has, in the past, always sounded like some tedious process without a whole lot of value-- "so what if a shirt is a little bluer here than there?" But having seen some of these results, I've got to say-- it's still tedious, but highly useful and important. Anyone who takes their filmmaking seriously should devote some time to colour correction/timing.

==Tom & Mary

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A few days ago, we finished assembling the rough cut of The Man Who Loved; the film clocked in at 80 minutes. We watched the rough cut together, and then watched it two days later with Adrienne (Jacob has since gone back to school).

We're all very happy with the film, but we quickly realized that the ending does not work. It strikes the wrong note, it's too cut-and-dry, and moves too quickly.

Through out production, we've reconcieved and rewrote and reshot and rearranged things. Much of the film unfolds in long, tense sequences-- scenes that run 10 minutes, 12 minutes, 8 minutes, so on. (Scenes that, I might add, don't seem to drag, either.)

But the ending is still composed of miniatures: a thirty-second scene here, a minute long scene here. It's wholly at odds with the rest of the picture. It also feels somewhat underwhelming. Earlier sequences have some bite to them-- they have "teeth". The ending feels genteel by comparision.

It's not that the ending is bad, per se; the film, as a whole, still works. But we can see that the film can and will work much, much better with a new and improved ending.

The problem this poses, of course, is that Jacob-- our leading man! our title character!-- has gone back to school, many hundreds of miles away. He'll be coming back for the Thanksgiving Weekend, which means we'll have to reshoot at that time.

And so, we've got two months in which the film is, for all intents and purposes, on hiatus. Two months in which the film exists in a strange limbo place between almost-done and done. Which also means there's a damn good chance we'll be missing the early winter festivals.

Ah well. It's better to make sure the film is good, regardless of timing issues.