The last two days were quite annoying. Every time I thought the DVD was finished, I would find another tiny little error – half a second of sound in the wrong place, a button that links to the wrong place, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it picture glitch. However, I’m pleased to say that it’s now DONE. Time to chill.
The DVD still isn’t quite finished, though it’s frustratingly close. On Tuesday morning, having largely recovered from the exhausting weekend, I sat down in front of my brand new Sony home cinema system and watched the movie. It kicked ass.
As the credits rolled, my flatmate JP stuck his head round the door. “Dude, what are you watching?” he asked.
“Soul Searcher,” I replied.
“Dude – that is sick!” he enthused, “sick” being a modern slang term to describe something of particular merit, as I understand. He continued, “I’ve been sitting next door thinking, ‘Whatever that movie is Neil’s watching, it sounds amazing.'”
It wasn’t quite perfect, however, the main problem being that the really BIG moments – namely the explosions – were no louder than anything else. I made some notes, then on Wednesday visited my friend Rob in Ealing and Lara Greenway to hear what some of it sounded like on their systems. The results were the same, so I went on to Neil’s to sort it out.
Neil did the Picard Manoeuvre: he energized the explosion waveforms. Warp factor 500%. Very, very loud.
I slept in the studio again, running off the finished files one by one until seven in the morning. An hour later I got up, came home and tried to incorporate the mix into the DVD, only to discover part of it was a 240th of a second out of sync. Man, I really hope I finish this tomorrow.
Today was the delivery date for the DVD. I didn’t quite make it. Friday and Saturday were supposed to be the last days at Neil Douek’s, finishing the surround mix, leaving me with Sunday to make a few last little changes and check everything over.
Unfortunately, the mix overran on Saturday. On Sunday morning, after just three hours of sleep, although we had all our premixes complete and everything was balanced up, it still wasn’t sounding as good as we both knew it could. Unable to keep my eyes (and more importantly, my ears) open any longer, I retired to Neil’s spare room for a couple of hours’ kip. I drifted off to sleep – interrupted only by Neil’s two-year-old daughter bursting in and trying to tell me something about her t-shirt – hoping that I would awaken to find that Neil had waved a magic wand and the mix was sorted. After dreaming of an audio waveform with peaks which kept distorting no matter what I did, I awakened to find that Neil had indeed waved his magic wand. He had applied some light compression to the entire mix, bringing up the quiet passages and generally giving the whole thing more punch.
Fantastic as the mix now sounded, it still needed work, and once again we found ourselves seated at the computer as the wee small hours graced the clock face. After another deficient night’s sleep, we finally got it licked at about eleven this morning (Monday). Having not planned on staying over for three nights, I was glad to get home this afternoon and change my clothes.
Wysiwyg don’t mind that I haven’t been able to deliver the DVD today. I need to spend tomorrow and probably Wednesday testing and checking before I hand it all over.
Neil Douek has broken lighting gaffer Colin Smith’s record as Longest Serving Crew Member as he enters his fourteenth month of work on Soul Searcher since he first recorded ADR for us back in November 2004. An emotional Douek remarked, “In your face, Colin…. whoever you are.” In your face, the lot of you; I’ve been doing this for four years.
We’re still on reel five and we’ve only got ten days left till the delivery date. On the plus side, Going To Hell is finished and I just have a list of tweaks and changes to make to some of the other extras and the menus.
Neil and I finished the vats sequence yesterday. It sounds amazing. If you don’t have a surround sound set-up at home, you’ve got about three months to buy one before the DVD’s out. Damn it, I’d better buy one myself…