Rough Cut

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I'm really happy with the way this short spec film is coming along. Editing is almost done -- now I'm at the stage where I'm just moving things around, playing with the arrangement, endlessly fiddling with the details. A single frame here or there can make a big difference, if only to me. Once I'm satisfied -- which basically has to be in the next day or two -- the only thing left will be to whip up some simple titles, render it all out, and compress it. Ta-da.

Spending the week up in midtown has been a big help. Driving back and forth from Mississippi gets a little tiresome (not to mention costly), and it has on a few occasions kept me from going into Memphis to work on the film, or from staying as long as I'd like. One of these days I'll have a dedicated editing machine of my own. I also wouldn't object to getting some decent mics. The one shoot where I had to use the camera mic annoys me on playback -- not that the sound is bad, it's just not as lovely as the sound on all the other footage. And a proper light kit would be good. I've gotten pretty good at lighting with hardware store lights, but you're limited to only the coarsest, most approximate lighting schemes. I'd be lost without my chinaball. Scoop lamps are fine as far as they go, but they leave you no control over your light; light leaks out everywhere, spoiling your hard shadows and making your darks muddy. With only one exception I've shot all of the footage for this film with available light; the sun can be a harsh key light, but it's never "wrong."

The beautiful thing about digital video is that the means of (film) production are finally in the hands of the masses. For less than the cost of a modest new car, I can have a fully-functioning studio capable of producing broadcast-quality film at a cost of maybe $10/hour. I mean, I don't actually have that yet... but I will, eventually. It's a miraculous day when feeding and transporting your cast and crew is your biggest expense.

Anyway, I think Ben and the other MTC folks will be pleased with our results so far. I'm looking forward to sending it off and getting their reaction.