Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finally going back to see my wife...

...After TWO MONTHS away from home. Which in hindsight, isn't all that much time considering how much we got done.

I think I misunderestimated how much fourteen days of very high levels of mental effort combined with a fair amount of emotional strain coupled with the physical requirements of 14-16 hours of work take out of you. For the last six weeks I feel like I've been operating at 50%.

BUT... In addition to getting most of the secondary photography done, I also managed to flip 23 hours of high-def footage, get it into a suitable editing computer, and get it to our editor Caleb (who's last editing project looks like it's goin' to Sundance(!), whoo hoo!)

Oh yeah... Did I mention that using a 35mm adapter makes your recorded image come out upside down, and then will require you to flip it in post?

I was aware of that going in, but one thing I hadn't counted on is that it would take 34 hours of processing time on a fast* computer to flip that much material... And Premiere will CRASH if you try and flip much more than 50gb at a time (we had just over a terrabyte), so I'd have to set the computer to flip clips for 1 1/2 hours, set a timer, then come back and do it again... And again.

Next time I'm using multiple computers. Actually, next time I'll have enough clams to use a 4k camera and will have a ginormous raid storage device, and will probably have a whole other set of post-production hurdles to vault.

Anyhow, the footage is now going through it's rough cut stage. Yeaaahh..!


*Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz (quad core, 8MB Cache 1066MHz FSB), Intel 975XBX2KR socket 775 Motherboard, 4 gigs of PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory, ATI Radeon X1650 Pro 512MB GDDR2 PCI Express Video Card, RAID 0 w/4 Seagate 320GB 7200RPM 16MB cache SATA-300 drives. Fast.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


...We GOT IT DONE!!!

Well, almost. We got primary photography done. We still have to shoot a couple actors that appear as "talking heads", but I'll be doing that at my apartment in NYC - And I want to get a few more shots of the kids, but I'll do that in a couple weeks (I have enough, but it would be nice to have a little more to play with).

Needless to say it was quite an experience - Mostly good (but that's because I absolutely love making pictures). We caught quite a bit of said experience on B-roll for DVD extras.

I'll provide more details later, but here's some important points.

First point:

If you've never shot a movie before, whatever time you think you need to shoot it? Double it. And I mean, double it.

However, if you're a very organized and person who is obsessively compulsive about details, schedules, having everything just so, etc; and you're completely sure you've taken all the variables into account - Then triple it.

Seriously. You have no idea what you're in for. If you're the type of person who doesn't deal well with the controlled chaos of a fast-paced movie production (imagine the confusion and violence of a truckload of dynamite going off in a tornado stretched out over two weeks, punctuated by the inevitable blowing of stacks by various production personnel), you'll have a nervous breakdown in the middle of the shoot and won't get your picture finished.

Dana Offenbach gave me this advice (in not so many words) on hearing my proposed shooting schedule (she actually told me I was being wildly unrealistic and would lose all my money). So I doubled the amount of time I figured it would take.

Dana, you saved my picture.

...Which was merely the first of about a dozen bullets dodged during the course of production, all of which had "Cell killer #XX" engraved on the metal jacket. I may get into those later.

Second point:

If you're an actor, and you've given yourself a big part in in your picture - Make sure that your character is subjected to an absolutely ungodly amount of stress during the course of the story. This way you won't have to act much at all, and you won't need "stress makeup" after a few days.

Gotta go - I'm building a computer for our editor to cut this puppy on, and I'd like to make it home before the snow flies.