Posted on 17 May 2013 | No responses
I’m editing the comedy pieces I’ve shot last weekend with the help of a few good friends. As part of a Hormel-hosted contest, we shot three different comedy bits (see what I did there?) while featuring their Black Label Bacon. We smoothly integrated the product into our ideas, it’s been coming together rather nicely, and I can’t wait to submit our films.
I’m especially excited about the one I wrote because it is also techniqually challenging: it features three characters, only to be played by one actor. A lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ will be done during post-production and I cannot wait to get to it. It’s the last on my list.
The contest offers some sweet prizes, which always makes things much more enticing. I’m doing my best to make these babies shine and at the end we’ll see who brings the bacon home…
Posted on 10 April 2013 | No responses
Just recently I finished editing a new documentary short film about the nail industry, titled Happy Hands. The film features personal accounts by legendary Hollywood actress, Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie) along with Tam Nguyen, and Thuan Le.
Director Honey Lauren carefully reveals the events that came together in California that opened doors for Vietnamese immigrants during the 1970s. With the help of Tippi Hedren, twenty Vietnamese women established themselves as manicurists and unknowingly had set precedence for today’s multibillion dollar industry.
What’s interesting about this doc, besides its subject matter, is how we structured it into layers. When we peel all these layers back, we find not only different people, but also different stories set in different time periods all pointing back to its center: Tippi Hedren and the twenty Vietnamese women.
This was my first collaboration with Honey and I had fun working on the project. Happy Hands is now gearing up for the film festival circuit.
Posted on 20 July 2012 | No responses
I’m editing a Yahoo comedy short that my buddy Jake wrote and directed. Luckily, he’s a comedic genius so there’s plenty of great stuff to work with. And that’s my biggest obstacle right now… deciding on what to keep and what to discard. As a ‘seasoned’ editor I feel that I can cut almost anything together, but content is king so we have to focus on making this film the best it can possibly be. Even if it means getting rid of hilarious lines and performances for the sake of the best overall experience.
Furthermore, the footage looks great (see above) and the sound is top quality. Everybody did an amazing job and the ball is in my corner now. I know, from what I already have, that I will not disappoint and I cannot wait to plug in the finished piece on its release date. It’ll be right here with a quick update. Very soon…
July 30, 2012 update: Tony Hawk’s Doctor
Posted on 1 June 2012 | No responses
Yesterday was an interesting day. Running around in Griffith Park with a sound recordist and an actor, wearing winter hunting gear, is always fun. Waiting on planes, trains and automobiles to pass is not as much. Actually, omit the ‘trains’ part and replace it with buses and circling helicopters. No doubt, LA is a noisy city.
Still, it was a beautiful day and we grabbed everything I needed for ADR. We didn’t really record much, just some SFX and a few missing lines, but even that took us a couple of hours. Many thanks to Travis Brown and William Stamey for making it happen.
Posted on 22 May 2012 | 1 response
Once I was finished with the rough cut, I wanted to address the color issues I had from using two very different cameras and from shooting in unpleasantly great weather. This SoCal winter was the hottest one we had, sometimes above 80˚F, in the past 100 years! How was that supposed to look cold? I went to see my colorist, James Knott, and we spent a few hours on examining the project. He confirmed that it was going to be a rough ride. He could only make it work, he always does somehow, if we made realistic decisions about the look and came up with ideas to create an authentic winter feel. I believe I have a few of those ideas up in my sleeve…
Shortly after our meeting, I received a few reference frames from James. They are pretty rough, but good enough to get things rolling.
As a starting point, I chose the very last frames of both examples. This process seems to work the best for me. It tones down the bright spots and desaturates the colors, which helps us to convey a colder feel. I think it’ll look spectacular, once James starts cranking and I throw some After Effects magic at it at the very end.
Posted on 16 May 2012 | No responses
I was able to carve some time out to create a spec spot for Domtar’s Paper Advocacy campaign. It was an easy task because just weeks earlier, before I’ve learned about this campaign, I had a conversation about digital technology and how it couldn’t replace all art forms. Although… it’s trying really hard. Have you seen the finger painting app?
Finding talent was the toughest part. I needed an Origami Artist, someone who’s energetic, cute, personable, somewhat fashionable and also comfortable in front of the camera. Ultimately, I was going to be happy with an artist who looked and sounded natural on camera. I knew I could make the rest work. I didn’t have to, because I had only one artist to select from… a friend’s recommendation… and she was all of the above!
I created an outline for the project, along with a few key questions. I wanted her own words, rather then a rehearsed script, in order to achieve a natural and fluid performance. I started to work by dressing a ‘creative corner’ to shoot against. It became her work space, Hannah’s World, filled with office supplies, paper and origami. This beautiful setup had presented us with some colorful shots. We used gentle camera movements to advance the story and to help me create a seamless edit. I wanted to achieve a stylized documentary film feel, something beautiful, sunny and relaxed and I believe that we’ve succeeded. The feedback has been positive and our :60 spot, titled Hannah’s World, is still going through the selection process. I’ll find out in June if Domtar likes our commercial enough to pick it up. It would be incredible if they did.
Posted on 22 April 2012 | No responses
Finally, it was time to get the rest of the shots needed to complete Winter Storm. It’s been way too long and waiting for this moment has been just as agonizing as the hardship I’ve encountered throughout making of this film. Right after principal photography, I lost my lead actor to a theater play in LA, then he performed in New York and he did all of this clean shaven. He started to grow his beard as soon as he returned to LA. He was 3 weeks into the beard growing process when the film’s DP suddenly became available too. I had to seize the moment.
I knew we couldn’t get the ARRI Alexa again (I’m not that lucky), so I started to search for a Canon 5D. Knowing the shots inside and out, I felt that I could get away with a semi-grown beard and a lesser quality camera. I also felt that color correction will be an additional headache, but we’ll deal with that later. Bottom line, I had to get my shots. We went out early in the morning and shot a bunch of different takes for the hunting and searching scenes. We grabbed some details, shot at different angles, long and medium shots and we also played with the pacing of the takes. I had a list of insert shots for other purposes, such as compositing, so we grabbed those as well. Even I was able to shoot a decent amount of footage, which is always fun and working with a word class DP you tend to pick up cool tricks. The stuff they don’t teach in film schools.
As you can see above, my biggest obstacle is the weather. It looks too bright (again!) for any kind of storm, not to mention a winter storm. It’ll be a laborious color correction process to tone down the sunshine in the footage. I have a few ideas on how to create a cold environment and I’ll revisit the issue soon with a nice little example. Stay tuned.
Posted on 15 February 2012 | 1 response
I’ve already spent a month in the editing room, cutting Winter Storm, and I just realized that the tile card needed a serious revision. Although it’s not a big departure from the previous one, it does make a huge difference in the context of the short.
I employed the branches of the below tree, which has succeeded in carving out a role for itself in the film.
Before giving away too much at once, I must return to the chopping block but don’t forget to check out the Winter Storm Facebook page and hit that ‘like’ button for regular updates. Thank you!
Posted on 13 February 2012 | No responses
This is a very simple Final Cut procedure if you know what you’re doing. However, if you haven’t synched up media through time code before, then you wouldn’t know that synching is not the correct terminology. Why? Because in FCP you ‘Merge Clips.’ You have to select the correct video and audio pairs in the Browser and ‘Merge Clips’ by ‘Timecode.’ First, you’ll have to find your corresponding clips. I used the clapper to identify them. In my case, I needed to synch up the A008C003_120108_R272 video file to the T58.WAV audio one.
Go to ‘Modify’ and the drop down menu will reveal the ‘Merge Clips’ option. Once you click ‘Merge Clips’ a submenu is revealed with ‘Synchronize using:’ options. We used a lockit box, so I selected ‘Timecode’. (If the timecode is on an audio track, then you have to select use “Aux Track” for the video clip.)
That’s pretty much it. Your synched up files will show up as a new ‘Merged’ clip in your browser. As you can see, FCP had created a new A008C003_120108_R272 Merged clip for me, which now contains the T58 external audio file.
Posted on 19 January 2012 | No responses
Apple had saved the day again. We didn’t have a slate on the last day of our shoot and I’ve only realized this after all of us have climbed a rocky hillside with the full camera package (lenses and sticks included). Sound and camera were already synced up through a click-box, so we were ‘jamming’, but I felt that some visual reference was still needed. Didn’t need to worry much as Harrison pulled out his iPhone and loaded up an app called iSlate. I was blown away. Apparently it doesn’t take much, but still…
Designed by ibuiltthis, iSlate has been around since 2008, so I was a little baffled as why I didn’t already know about its existence. Especially because there are a few apps out there for the iPhone and iPad, most notably the beefed up Movie*Slate.
I guess the question is: is it the real deal? No, but it’s pretty close and super convenient. iSlate is especially helpful when all you want to have is a sound reference and some basic numbering sequence for your takes. Changing scene and take numbers is fast and easy and now as I’m going through my files I can appreciate it having it on the set even more. I have clean reference frames and iSlate has made the first steps of post-production a lot easier.