Tuesday, December 26, 2006

If you record bad sound....

The picture, effects and sound editing is complete. It’s been a hella’ two weeks, but the film is shaping up.

The next steps: 1) Sound Effects
2) Score
3) Color Correction

Then the movie will be done. ANYBODY and I mean, ANYBODY who plans to shoot an independent film, I will tell you if you have $100,000 to spend on one thing for your production and Tom Cruise will do your movie for that, forget him. Use the money for a PROFESSIONAL SOUND GUY. We had picture issues where people walked through our frame, lights and signs in frame and they took no time to fix. We had to generate gunfire effects from scratch, because I decided last minute not to waste money on another effects program and they took no time to do. But then, came sound.... It has killed me dead. We shot in a cab with a boom mic on each actor with the windows up and it did not stop our audio from having somebody else laughing from a half mile away in it or in another instance, the bar down the way. It was quiet until somebody went in or out of it. We had little bursts of band music in and out of shot after shot, that I could not hear, because I was not sitting behind a soundboard with ambient proof head phones on or a stereo mixer in front of me. This issue has not only caused hours upon hours of audio fixes, but ultimately will also hurt the film all around because it doesn’t matter how well I cover up the blemishes, if somebody plays this movie on DVD with a stereo surround system they will hear the inconsistencies. The only option I may have left is to try and use sound effects in the bad spots and hope it works. My timeline for this movie, (audiowise,) is shot to hell already if you take a look at the screen shot underneath. All this and I still have the mastered sound, surround sound, and dolby digital bullshit to go through.

Somebody told me once, if you shoot bad sound, you get bad sound. I listened and knew that and did everything in my power to keep us from having bad sound, but because of the elements and uncontrolled environment of even something as small as the inside of a cab, I managed to record bad audio. Do not sacrifice this step in anyway. Hire somebody who knows what they are doing and do it right the first time. It will make everybody’s job easier.

I’ll show you an example of this bad sound in my next entry that has to do with all of the film.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Meter Trailer

I had planned on doing the trailer as I waited for Ryan to complete the score, but I actually finalized the special gunfire effects late Friday night and had not scheduled a babysitter to complete the Sound Editing sessions, so I thought I would utilize this time to make a quick teaser. I have an alternate I will throw up here next week, but I tried to tell a little bit of the story without giving away the twists so... I hope it’s a little coherent.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hitchcock, Where are YOU!!!???

You know whatever happened to creative expression? I finished cutting picture on Meter Friday night and have showed it to a couple of the producers, family and friends and their first remark is, "What's with the out of focus shot?" When I was writing this film, envisioning it, explaining it and storyboarding it, this shot during the finale was to be out of focus and hazy. It always had. I drew this shot out and storyboarded it. I've shown everybody this shot. This is one of the first that stuck out in my mind to make sure it was done properly. OK, sure their points are valid--- NOOOTTT!!! They asked me why I didn't shoot it in focus and blur it in post--- Because that's not an out of focus shot. They asked me why I didn't go out of focus and the rack back in right at the end--- Because that's not an out of focus shot. They asked me why I didn't shoot one in focus to just make sure it works--- Because--- I didn't need to. I wanted my out of focus shot.

Now they've all got me worried that everybody is going to think that. Maybe they are looking to hard, because honestly in the midst of the chaos taking place it works great. I mean surely people watching my film aren't going to walk out saying, "What the hell was the camera man thinking? That second to last shot was out of focus." I mean really? I've ran camera for many years now. If I had not intended that shot to be out of focus I would have turned the ring and you have a twelve minute movie with not one out of focus shot in it. There is not one frame that is not dead on and then in the midst of the chaos I spoke of, we have an out of focus shot-- Wouldn't you think it was intended. Surely, people who know a little about movies would know that we probably shot that take a handful of times and the "camera man" didn't notice all six times that the camera was out of focus?

Please tell me American Cinema hasn't come to this. Hitchcock would never have to explain that shot. Hell, Soderbergh or Mann would not either. They're camera movements and tactics are revolutionary. My one of out of focus shot is a fucking scab!!!

Filmmaking can suck an egg.

*I would tell you why it's out of focus, but it would spoil the ending.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Make Shift CGI

*Taken from my Online Film School Series

This may end up being the best Film School Lesson I’ve given and may help you, may not. There are many ways to cover up screw ups in your film depending on what the screw up is. I got off easy... Kinda’. I had three incidents where I have been required to alter the picture in order to fix my film. I spoke of them in Lesson 1 on the Video Assist. I shot four takes of the Long Shot segment of the finale and in all four shots there were people in the distance walking around that I missed because I didn’t have a second pair of eyes on the frame. I also missed, (and there was really no excuse for this one, but it happened,) a "Filming" sign and an unused Lowell light that was not use in the distance in the back windsheild of the MASTER!!! How Phil and I missed it I don’t know. Maybe, because it was three o clock in the morning and our eye lids were beginning to freeze shut, I don’t know. Nevertheless, I missed them. Thank the Gods that be, that in all the incidents the camera was locked off, making it ALMOST easy to fix with simple photo enhancement software. Sure, I could throw the footage into AE, Shake or Motion and keyframe my CGI through the spots needed and be done with it, but some filmmakers may not have that expensive Special Effects graphic Software, so I used the good ole’ Photoshop platform. Photoshop, still to this day I claim is probably the pound for pound best piece of software ever created. For what it allows you to do with just about anything surpasses anything else in all around uses and whether it is PS 5 or CS, it works wonders for small video or photographic adjustments.

In this case it did the trick as well. So here we go: In the first fix, I exported a UNCOMPRESSED TIFF file of a frame where this woman just stopped on the side of the frame and watched the shooting in progress. As the shot came to a close she continued on her merry way. I eye sighted the distance from the stop to the walk. I exported the TIFF to Photoshop.

From there, I found in another take the same shot where the woman was not there. I exported it the same way. Brought it into Photoshop and with my Marquee Tool selected a chunk of the side of the frame and copied it. When doing this, if you can, you want to copy from a shadow, or dark area to a another dark area. It will assure you don’t carry over any scanlines of any kind. Then you simply place your copied chunk onto your still frame of the actual shot from the clip. Make sure it is aligned perfectly. It should snap right to where it needs to be, but you never know. Once you have it in place, delete your Background Layer so that you just have your Transparent Layer with the small chunk on it.

Now save it as a PSD and import it back into your Vid Project. Grab it and overlay it over your clip and that’s that. It should give you about 100 frames to cover and you can just copy and paste until it covers the whole period of time of the blemish. It also should not have to be resized or changed in anyway or you messed up. Here is another example: Right when Charles blasts his wife. I have a guy strolling into the pool hall almost directly in the middle of the frame in the distance. He probably would have stopped and looked around had he heard a gun go off but he didn’t so I wanted to get rid of his deaf ass as well. So I repeated the process.

Only this time. I took the image and used my Clone Tool combined with my Paint brush and just spotted him out. Then again, I erased my grey background and raw picture leaving just my little speck of light on the screen.

Save and import-- Repeat Process. This next example is a little more sophisticated. In this scene, I dropped the ball and left a filming sign and unused light in the frame. Granted they are hard to make out but I don’t want to take any chances if my movie should be seen on a HD 1900 inch Television. The process is the same as the above examples if you would use Photoshop. I personally am going to use Motion to fix this one, but again if you don’t have the Effects programs here is Cheat Button.

The difference in this one is that Randle and Charles’ heads move over the spot throughout the shot and overlaying the fixed spot is not going to do it all by itself. You will need to overlay it and then your keyframes to crop it left, right, up and down as your subject moves. It’s a pain in the ass, but it is an easy way to fix little problems.

In this Video Example of what we have done, I did not keyframe the fix to show you what I am talking about having shrink it and size it to the motion of the actors. Other than that, good luck and all I can tell you is have a ’Continuity Crew Member’ who’s job is to make sure dumb shit like this does not happen.

See the finished result in Real Time Here.

Shooting 24/7

    follow me on Twitter

    About Me

    My photo
    I shoot stuff. I edit stuff. Period.

    The Junk Pile