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.


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