Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Always Start the Way You're Gonna Finish

I learnt an important lesson this last couple of weeks. See, a year and a half ago, when I started work on "Anniversary Present", I decided to do something I'd never done before: a Digital Intermediate. Also known as a D.I., this process basically involves scanning the film at very high resolution, then manipulating the color space, the light ratio and the size of shots in an incredibly freeing digital environment. Once any visual effects have been added, the digital film is then lasered back out to a celluloid negative which is then matched up with an optical track created from your final sound mix, and voila you have yourself a film print that reflects your vision of what you really wanted the film to look like.

Unfortunately, before starting my work on the film's edit, I didn't ask one very important question. It goes something like this: "What frame rate should I be cutting in?" The answer? Categorically and in no case shall thee decide to edit in thirty frames a second (or actually 29.97 fps, drop frame), unless of course you'd like your picture to run 40 or so frames out of sync with your sound track.

What all this means is that I ended up spending a week re-conforming my timeline from thirty frames a second into twenty four. Now I have to get the sound re-edited to conform to the new picture, and then output the key-code numbers for every single shot in the film by hand, because I also neglected to record this information when I started editing. Which brings me to the moral of this story, brought to you by my new friend and post production supervisor Calvin Grant: "Always start the way you're gonna finish." And I might add to that: don't venture blindly into the unknown without at least asking some basic questions about how to proceed.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Out of the Living-Room and Into the Fire

Leaving town is a frightening proposition. I realize that part of the reason that I've been mentally unstable lately is that I'm focusing much of my energy on the idea of getting Anniversary Present finished before I leave. But unfortunately in reality I'm mostly in a holding pattern and have been spending very little actual time on the last stages of the film's post production.

So I was very pleasantly surprised when I got to the spotting session for the sound mix and found out that my sound team had been putting in tons of effort and time to layer the film with an incredibly rich sound pallet. This is a very good sign, because I now realize that I have only six weeks before wheels up on our round-the-world trip and I still have to do the final sound mix, the Digital Intermediate (+ lab/print work), and then online my 6 minute television cut down for Bravo. In that same space of time, Sierra and I also have to go on a two week tour of Canada (Toronto - Winnipeg - Calgary - Halifax) for an elaborate corporate shoot—not to mention packing up our apartment and moving all our possessions to my folk's place in Halifax, finishing my corporate taxes for the year, online editing 2 spec commercials, and finalizing round-the-world tickets, visas, etc—so needless to say, time is getting short and the panic has fully set in.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Going Abroad

As I sit with the telephone receiver to my ear, holding for the next available operator at the Canadian passport office, the whole affair is starting to feel like reality. I'm replacing my expired passport because in March, Sierra and I will embark on a 6+ month journey around the world. We're getting round-the-world tickets from Star Alliance. Not too much planning, not quite enough money, and most importantly no thirty thousand dollar camera package. Strictly an experience, inspiration and research gathering trip. All I'm bringing is a bag full of clothes, a stills camera, and a notebook. That and hopefully a passport, but I'm still 25th in line and I've been holding for an hour.

During the course of our trip, I'll be posting entertaining stories from the fringes of the world as we trek from one country to another. Our adventures will no doubt be numerous, but hopefully we’ll avoid nasty parasites, terrorism, natural disasters, getting robbed or being beheaded. So far our itinerary goes something like this:

England - Turkey - Jordan - Egypt - Tanzania - Zanzibar - Ethiopia - Namibia - Vietnam - Thailand - Japan - China - Fiji - Vancouver - New York - Chile - Buenos Aires.

Please keep in touch and stay tuned.