Thursday, October 25, 2007

Capturing = Done-ified

Well, the capturing phase is complete. I actually had only 11 tapes (rather than the previous estimate of 13...a statement which, as of now, can only be interpreted as a blatent lie). It took about 10.5 hours, so about an hour a tape (with an average 40 minutes of footage on each tape). I've included a helpful comparison photo above, the stack of tapes next to a can of my new favorite super-drink, JOLT blue-raspberry. Althought blue is pictured, I'd get the GREEN can if you are able, as that's the only no-carb/sugar-free variety.
The capturing phase is good for people like me (i.e. "crappy memory-havers") that need to get re-acquainted with all the material at every phase of production. If it gets done in one or two marathon capture sessions, I am able to wrap my head around all the footage and stay lucid and focused on the flow of the piece. This part is also a great unearthing of blooper material (welcome surprise) and technical oversights (surprise, sucker).

I will post the list of screwups after I'm done striking this gong with my head...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Editing Begins

October 10th...Editing begins.
We started capturing the footage this evening. 13 MiniDV tapes. Roughly 12 hours of footage. Each tape takes about 30-45 minutes to capture.
I honestly have no idea how long the finished piece will be. In my head it's roughly 40 minutes. A little too long to be a short-film. I've heard a few different designations here and there for something this long, but the one that sticks out is 'Featurette'. Featurette! A bite-size feature? Isn't that just adorable? Almost offensively so!

I spoke with Rich about his movie in progress. His is full-length and he's looking at 30+ tapes so far. Wow. I feel a little daunted loking at my measly 13 strong stack of dv's. Clearly I'd be lost in the tempest of ones and zeroes were it not for our whip-smart Script Supervisor Landon. He took notes during the filming, noting the characteristics of each take with pithy details so that, at this point in the filmmaking process, we wouldn't be asking "Which take did we really, really like?" or "At what point during this scene did that safe fall onto the set?"

We still have a long way to go, but at least, with these notes, the path is a little clearer.

Equipment Spotlight : Peter's Homemade Light Dimmer

I wanted to take a moment to point out a piece of equipment that came in handy on numerous occasions during the shoot of 'Bystander'. Peter is our resident sound engineer/Inventor/Mad Scientist who's involvement in the production was invaluable. We found early on in the shoot that we could really use some more light control, as night shoots tend to be tricky and those 1000 watt lights tend to be a little unwieldy in terms of intensity. Unfortunately for us low-budget filmmakers (a.k.a. "LoBudgies" or "The Poor"), light dimmers that can handle that kind of wattage go for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.
Peter cobbled this one together in what seemed like 4 minutes, and it performed marvelously. We had (2) 1000-watt Tota lights plugged in for hours, and it provided a huge amount of latitude and control. I almost don't want to know how he did it, but if the magician wants to reveal how he did pull it off, I'll provide a diagram here in a later post.

Godspeed, Principal Photography

Saturday, September 29th marked the end of principal photography for us.
It involved a re-shoot of the student scene in the "cemetary". Because the footage that we needed only involved the 3 students, we were able to live without the two leads Brian and Stephen. Brian was present for support and boom operation, which may lead some to believe that he may be a credit-hog. I would not count myself among those so callow. He earned his spot in thunderdome.

Needless to say, it went off without so mutch as anything resembling a hitch and we wrapped relatively early (ie. < 1am). Rich manned the camera and got some pretty interesting shots of the moon through the trees and the campfire. It was a quiet end to an efficient shoot, and in it's wake were Rebekah and I planning an official wrap party to commemorate all the hard (free) work everyone contributed. I think we settled on assembling a rough cut first and then getting the cast and crew together for a viewing, which means sometime in November. It also means that future posts will probably be a little less perfunctory...

much more later...