Last week I did an online edit of my film at Fearless Films here in Toronto. I am proud to announce that my new short film, THE LAST FEAST is in the can! I will get it online as soon as I can and post a link to it from this blog. Stay tooned!
Here's a summation of the last month and how I managed to somehow pull this film off.
The night before I was due to leave town to spend a few days with family over Christmas, I was rushing to finish the last scene of my film. I had promised myself that I would finish principle photography before festivities as I only ever seem to get anything done if I have some sort of deadline.
Another reason is that I'm completely paranoid. What if someone broke into our house while we were away and stole my equipment!? Or worse, what if they vandalised my set or my lead character!? All would be lost!!! And so paranoia led me to staying up til two in the morning animating a small metal robot in a haunted forest.
After Christmas, the rush to get the visual effects done was on. This intense rush was because my prized visual effects guy, Robert Crowther, had the gall to go see his girlfriend in Japan rather than stay in Toronto and work on my film (I cannot fathom why). Anyway, we had until mid-January to get everything done. And so began the sleepless nights, the caffeine highs and the anxiety driven lows.
On New Years Eve my partner, Hana, and myself stayed in to work on my film. Yes, this was lame, but I was getting desperate to finish the classical animation. Hana was getting desperate for me to finish my film and quit driving her crazy. It's very much a symbiotic relationship.
Over the next two weeks it was all about Robert's ftp server. I would ftp stuff to him and he would ftp stuff back to me. Very handy. Finally, after a few revisions and a lot of hemming and hawing on my part, I signed off on the final, final, final cut of the film and I passed the point of no return.
Robert cranked up the massive render farm at Rocket Science Visual Effects and the entire film's timeline was turned into a numbered sequence of targa files - 8000 of 'em. Targa files are high quality files that have alpha (opacity) channels and are very useful in film. They are also memory hungry. My five minute film turned into 54 gigabytes of data.
On the last night of working with Robert we downloaded the film's targa sequence into my portable drive. Afterwards we had beer at an Irish pub. I was sooooo relieved that the visual effects went smoothly and a pint of Guinness never tasted better.The following week I took the portable drive into Fearless Films and loaded the targa sequence into their Avid system to prepare for the online edit. I was a little nervous, but everything went fine. It sure was sweet working with Paul Hili and Chris Stearman - guys who really know their stuff.
We got to edit in Fearless' new theatre suite complete with an HD projector and surround sound. It was awesome seeing my film for the first time on a big screen. Right then and there, I started to relax, maybe for the first time in months. My heartbeat slowed, I stopped sweating and that big vein in my head no longer pulsed so much. My little film was taking on it's final form - it's evolution almost complete.
We made two versions of the film, one for Bravo!FACT who wanted a shorter version for their TV show and a full length version for myself. I then got these versions to my sound people so that they could do a sound edit to a final picture. This is very important because if the final sound mix doesn't conform to picture the sounds won't synch in the online edit. Therefore I would have to get the sound re-done and do another online edit session - not good!!!
Sue Robertson and Glenn Barna did their usual brilliant work for the sound on my film and before I knew it I was back at Fearless to do the final online edit session.
During this online session, Paul colour corrected the film and it looked great. A lot of the stuff he did consisted of bumping up the blacks to make them "true black". It's amazing how you don't know how washed out your film looks until you apply colour correction. Suddenly, colours get bolder, characters seem to jump off the screen and detail you didn't even know was in there is revealed. It's a marvelous process.
However, there is a bit of give and take. Sometimes you will sacrifice maybe a certain hue of colour so that another colour will be brighter. It can be difficult to make decisions but as the clock ticks away, you know you just have to bite the bullet and get 'er done.
A week later, I sit here, calm and reflective. The "monkey on my back" (ie: to finish my film) has been asked politely to leave. Now that I don't have a film to make I am completely relaxed, completely at peace...... but this is no good! Whatever will I do with myself?!! Therefore it is high time to start a new film! One that will be BIGGER! BOLDER! WITH MORE EFFECTS AND MORE CRAZY PUPPET SCENES!!!! Yes, another film is what I need to do - I'll start tomorrow!!!!
At this moment, Hana feels a chill run down her spine. She shudders. She doesn't know why.....