Archive for December, 2008

Merry Christmas

Posted in misc with tags , on December 24, 2008 by Richard Diaz

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope it’s a special one.


Small Update

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2008 by Richard Diaz

After tonight’s editing I am at around an hour and 12 minutes running time with a few scenes still left to edit. I may actually reach 90 minutes. And that doesn’t even include the things I still need to add. Still on track to finish by next week.

Here’s a look at my timeline in Final Cut Pro. And I’m not even done.

The Distortion timeline in Final Cut Pro.

The Distortion timeline in Final Cut Pro.

Why So Serious?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by Richard Diaz

“You can’t get so worked up about this.”

“I know. It’s just my nature.”

That’s right. I’m quoting my own film. Those are two lines from one scene and no doubt I was saying that about myself. I have a bad tendency to get worried over things that I shouldn’t worry about. Cautious is one thing but worry is another. Most of the time I get worked up over nothing. A good example is the running time. I have been worrying about the running time now for weeks. Why? Was there cause for concern? Yes. But worry? No.

Right now I am at one hour and eight minutes of edited footage with several scenes left to edit including the “finale”. Unless I am horribly wrong I am sure it’ll come out to more than twelve minutes. The question now is what the final time will be. I am sure there will be things I need to tighten up and whatnot which is good to know I can take stuff out and still have it be long enough. I also need to shoot some additional things. Now granted what is left may add up to a minute at most but still. For some stuff I am using insert shots so when I get the actual shots I can just insert them but that won’t affect the final time.

It’ll be interesting to watch it that first time fully assembled. My main concern right now is pacing. There are so many things that don’t work because they need either sound effects, music, or visual effects to “sell” what is happening. Someone bouncing off a wall almost looks comical. Add a bone crushing sound effect and now it’s painful. I know this but that is also why I can’t show anyone the film until I fill in some of those gaps. It’s hard to understand what is missing. That first screening though will be interesting for me. Right now I watch it in pieces as I’m editing¬† just to see how scenes play overall and how one scene goes into another. I must admit I think it plays pretty quickly. Again I won’t know until I sit down to watch the whole thing.

One thing I have done so far is move a few scenes around to different places than they originally were intended. So far I think it works. For example one scene works better earlier in the film because it’s still setting up the characters. Once you reach a certain point you need to get on with things so I think moving it was a plus.¬† But one scene does have one quick line that references something that hasn’t happened yet. It isn’t specific so I think it’s ok. Hopefully no one will notice.

Less than two weeks until 2009 hits. I am still aiming to get this cut done by the 31st. As I look outside and see the snow and the temperature reads -4 I am thinking that going out to waste time is not a factor. I just need to stay focused and it’ll be done. At that point I will know the running time. Then I can start worrying about the music. The music I have now is basically from other movies and I know I will not have such great music for my film. I need something to worry about. It’s just my nature.


Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by Richard Diaz

I know I’m late in noticing something like this but the current version of Final Cut Pro has a plug-in called SmoothCam which when applied is supposed to smooth out a shaky shot. Granted this is dependent on what is in the shot. Unlike in other programs like After Effects where you choose what to use to record movement which can be used for either animation or for smoothing out a shot the SmoothCam does this automatically so all I had to do was apply it. However I think if you had a lot of things going on in the shot it may not work since there would be nothing for it to judge off of but I could be wrong. Anyway, as seen in the clip I put this to the test and was very impressed with the results. You can still see a slight shake but it’s a lot better than the original one.

While using my dolly at the police station it shook a lot because the floor was very bumpy. I loved the shot but was worried if using it would throw people out of the movie because they’d notice the bumpy shot. Now I think it’s usable. Gotta love technology.

Check The Clock

Posted in Post Production with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2008 by Richard Diaz

Editing has been going a little slower than expected. Mainly because it has been a long time since I edited a narrative. I have gotten so used to editing videos for work – training, promotional, etc., that I have forgotten how time consuming editing for dramatic purposes is. Such a different mentality. You look for different things. I’m loving every minute of it. My concern though is that I do want the first cut done by the end of the year. Or should I say, by the end of the month. I am also concerned about the running time.

I know I don’t have someone looking over my shoulder cracking a whip saying I need to get the edit done. Technically I could take five years to edit the film. But I really want to have a deadline. Otherwise it’s easy to let this go on and on. I also need to be disciplined. At some point I need to say the film is done. I can’t spend month after month tweaking this or that. It’s good to set deadlines. So I am still trying to get the first cut completed because the next stage is important. Once it’s done then I can see what is working and what isn’t. I can try and figure out what I need to change or do differently. I can also specifically determine what else I need to shoot.

The running time worries me. My original goal was 90 minutes. However, I am worried it’ll be less than that. 80 minutes is still ok but anything less than that is not good. At the same time I also don’t want it to be boring. I am cutting the film, even on this first cut, very tightly. Granted I won’t know the running time until I’m done but right now it does concern me. Unfortunately I can’t shoot additional scenes so I’ll cross that bridge if I need to.

I’m probably worrying too much right now considering I’m still editing but it’s my nature.

One other thing is the trailer for the Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors in March. I need to get it to them next month. If I don’t finish the first cut by the end of the month then I will have to start working on that trailer. I wanted to use that cut as a reference for the trailer so hopefully it all comes together.

Right now I am about a third of the way through. Although there are certain scenes that I had already edited so I just need to add them to the cut when I get there. Technically about half the film is edited but right now I am at a third of the way as far as going in order. I am noticing certain things. Mainly what I did wrong. It’s funny. Whenever I listen to a commentary track or an interview with a director and they talk about how all they can see are the mistakes it’s true. I see where my lighting was off or in the case of one shot I accidentally caught part of a light in the shot while moving the camera. It goes by quick so I don’t know how noticeable it is but I see it. Because we were running out of time I had to combine scenes in order to make sure I got all of the main stuff shot. In doing so I did make one story error. One I am trying to see if I can fix in editing. Since half my main cast has moved away I can’t reshoot anything or I will have to get a little creative. All part of the learning process?

There is so much more to go. A friend of mine asked me, after seeing the teaser trailer, “So, what now?” I almost exploded with everything left I have to do – editing, sound effects, music, visual effects, titles, posters, trailers, the website – and on and on. But they don’t know. I must admit I forget that a lot of people don’t know the process. It is a very long one. I’m still guessing that I will have a cut ready for people to see next fall. There will be things I will have to shoot which I can’t do until the spring at the earliest. The music alone will take a very long time to do along with the sound effects. The visual effects will also take a long time. I am sure the film will go through another two or three cuts. I’m guessing after the second cut it’ll be ready for friends to see it for feedback. That’ll be both odd and interesting. That’s why I am guessing it’ll be ready for festivals by next fall.

Hopefully the next post will be the one where I say the first cut is done. At least that’ll be one step further to being completed. That’s something to wish for this Christmas.