Tag: short film

Commercials, Directing, Editing

Bacon Bits

May 17, 2013

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.

Bacon Bits

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.

It's a lifestyle

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…

Editing

Happy Hands

April 10, 2013

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.

Tippi Hedren Doc

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.

Directing, Editing, Winter Storm Short

Winter Storm Sound Pick Ups

June 1, 2012

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.

Griffith Park

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.

Winter Storm Sound Pick Ups

Directing, Editing, Winter Storm Short

The Colors of Winter Storm

May 22, 2012

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.

Winter Storm Color Ex1

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.

Winter Storm Color Ex2

Directing, Editing, Winter Storm Short

Winter Storm Pick Ups

April 22, 2012

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.

Winter Storm

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.

Directing, Winter Storm Short

Sound? Speed. Camera? Rolling. Slate? Slate???

January 19, 2012

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…

slating with iPhone

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.

slating with iPhone

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.

Directing, Winter Storm Short

As The Winter Sets In

January 16, 2012

My short drama, titled Winter Storm, is finally in-production. This intimate father and son tale tracks the morning of their first hunting trip together. I was excited to share a few Winter Storm storyboard frames a while back so I’m definitely very happy to finally reach the point of beginning.

Winter Storm

We have created a Winter Storm Facebook page to ramp up some support. We’ll be documenting our progress there, so check it periodically. Heck, hit the ‘like’ button if you’re in the mood for it, you know we appreciate it!

I must return to the work that lies ahead, but let me leave you with the words of Willa Cather: “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”

Editing

Breaking (In) The Mold

April 26, 2011

I recently finished editing, along with some visual FX work, a very funny and fresh short film titled The Break In. This comedic gem has all the elements that appeal to me: smart writing, great acting (Selma Blair and Jason Ritter), perfect use of a single location and a surprise-filled story line.

4 frames

And just when you think you’re on the right track, things get even more absurd. I really enjoyed working on this project and I have a feeling that people won’t be able to stop laughing once they get a chance to watch it.

2 more frames