A year ago today was the final night of shooting of the main production block – on the roof of the Courtyard. The following day we held the wrap party. Of course, we hadn’t really wrapped. And we still haven’t. There is still the Banshee yet to shoot, which will take place this Thursday. Meet Neil Oseman, the director whose shoots go on so long he makes Stanley Kubrick look like Robert Rodriguez.
AJ came over this evening to do his looping – all three words of it. Well, two words and a scream. Unlike the rest of the cast, who got a nice hi-tech studio to re-record their lines in, AJ got the floor of my living room, under a sleeping bag.
Some of the Moat of Souls shots have now reached 44 layers, with another 20-odd to add tonight. They’re nearly done, but it’s a long trial-and-error process when you have to leave the shot to render overnight every time you want to see what it looks like. These are definitely my favourite effects in the film though.
My goal is to finish the moat, train and Banshee effects plus all the sound design by Christmas. This will just leave recording the score (two days plus prep), the mix (two weeks), grading (three days) and compositing of the umbilical cords and train smoke (one week).
I borrowed a mic again from good old Rural Media and have been mopping up the last of the sound effects. Today I’ve been to the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster to record steam train sounds. It was cold and wet and miserable but I think I’ve got some useable stuff.
I’m also working on the compositing for the Moat of Souls shots. James Parkes has finished all his stop motion and it’s now just a case of me putting it all together. My five-year-old computer does not like rendering 25 layers of bluescreen creatures, splashes and other elements. As always, it’s very satisfying to see the concept art and the script come to life and finally exist as a moving image on the screen.
This time last year we were filming in the Crystal Rooms. Which are being knocked down to build some posh flats. Ha ha.
I found out the other day that Richard Brake (Van Beuren) is in the forthcoming Bat Prequel, Batman Begins, as Joe Chill. And he’s now in Prague shooting a part in Doom. I wonder if he gets to battle the big spider-robot-brain-thing?
So. Croxley. Studio. In a garage. Carpet on the walls. Logic Audio. Bob’s your uncle. What I’m trying to say is, the looping session happened on Saturday. It look way too long but we got it all done in the end. After some technical problems eventually traced to my dodgy old hard drive, Neil Douek’s very impressive home recording suite admirably handled the job of re-recording eight pages’ worth of dialogue from Jonny, Ray, Katrina, Chris and (last as usual) Lara. This was done in a line-by-line fashion, with the actor in a little soundproof booth watching the scene on a portable TV over and over again until they got in perfect sync with the picture.
The strangest parts of this day were listening to Ray effectively whispering such phrases as “I’m so crazy about you,” in my ear, via the wonder of headphones, and Katrina doing porn grunts, which is always good for a laugh.
I think it must have been 8pm by the time we finished with the last of the actors (by which I mean Lara) and Neil very kindly worked on until 1:30am to convert the recordings into files that I could use easily when I got them back onto my edit suite.
My main goal this week has been to make the miniature train look less miniature. This has involved painting out wires, adding steam, adding foreground objects, darkening shots and generally trying to hide the thing as much as possible. Worrying about getting these shots to look okay has severely taken the edge of my relief at having got the train shoot out of the way. The clouds parted briefly yesterday when I realised that I could count on the fingers of one hand all the main tasks left to accomplish for Soul Searcher.
David Markwick is working on Dante’s birth-of-a-supervillain scene (he falls into a vat of acid/gets irradiated/injects himself with performance enhancers/gets stuck in a portal to Hell… it’s all the same) which looks very, very nice.
There is a new animator on board called Andrew Fidelis who will be using the age old medium of pencil and paper to create the ghoulish faces in the train’s smoke.
And Borderlines Film Festival is screening Soul Searcher in March. So I suppose I ought to try and finish it by then.