Tomorrow I’m off to Derbyshire for a few days, this time to lens Sophie’s short film, Ashes. I’m sure I’ll have some interesting things to tell you about that shoot when I’m back.
But in the meantime, here’s one from the archives. This is one of the featurettes from The Beacon‘s long-forgotten DVD in which I break down a crude but effective VFX shot.
Compositing elements shot against black in my living room was an MO I heavily expanded on when I made my next feature, Soul Searcher, and you can see the extensive break-downs for that film by renting or buying the deluxe package below.
Kerrrrunch time. Mike couldn’t get everything rendered for last night, so he showed up in Hairy Ford at about 8am this morning. He’d had to drop a few shots, having run out of time. James came round with d’oh nuts and other items which will only increase the frequency of my scary heart palpitations. I’d asked him to watch the final film with me, to make sure there weren’t any technical errors I’d become blind to from seeing it too much. It was actually 12:30 before we were able to hold this little viewing, as the compositing work on the remaining FX took time, and I had to create a couple of shots myself. As time ticked melodramatically away, I made executive decisions to drop a couple of Mike’s shots which weren’t working for one reason or another. On the whole they’re pretty impressive though, particularly the cinema scene, which utterly rocks. After the viewing with Jimminy O’Clarke, there were a few little tweaks to make before I could finally master it. For the record, The Beaconwas completed at 5pm. As I write, I have one eye on the master, which I’m playing to check for drop-out, and my dad’s on his way over to courier it to the dupes house. I guess this is where I bid you all officially adieu, but in the same way that the shoot “officially” ended on August 13th. I’ll be starting a new journal page simply called News which will be updated from time to time with news of the premiere, promotion and the progress of the DVD edition. Thanks for tuning in. And don’t forget to order.
I feel like crap, having been up till 4:30am last night compositing the FX Mike delivered yesterday, then getting up at 7:30am to go work on a paying edit. Now back home, and supposedly destined for a meeting with some fellow film-makers about doing another feature (aarrrrgggghhh!), I’m also waiting for Mike to call to tell me he’s on his way with the last of the FX shots, which I will then stay up till the small hours compositing, before getting up bright and early tomorrow to master it, check those masters, then get one couriered (by my dad) to the dupes house in Malvern. But at least then I can go to bed for two days. The on-line ordering system is now up and running, allowing you to pre-order VHS or even DVD copies.
Slightly distracted… half watching The Simpsons… Just what are the bugs and why are they coming? But on a less surreal note, Mike delivered most of the FX this morning and I’m now compositing them into the fillum. The movie’s complete in every other respect, so when Mike delivers the last bunch tomorrow night, I should be able to master it and get it to the dupes house first thing Wednesday morning.
You’ll notice these entries have got pretty short lately. Almost as if all I can think about is finishing some kind of film or other. These are the facts: last night I did the final sound mix; this morning I took the covers to the printers; this afternoon I started the grading; don’t talk to me about 3D FX. On a more trivial note, I spotted a spelling mistake in the credits roll, so that’s got to be re-rendered. It’s a nice, slow, small text, multiple column credit scroll. Like a proper film. Which is what it is. For several months it’s been a collection of somewhat dodgy shots. Now it’s a movie. With 42 FX shots missing. And by the end of Wednesday next week, it has to be mastered. Or we’re all screwed. I’m off to check in the mirror for grey hairs.
Having nothing else to do, I’ve started putting sound effects on the as yet non-existent 3D shots. I’ve also put the end titles on, which are kind of epic. All I have left to do is a little compositing on the 3D shots when they come in, then the final sound mix and grading. Easy, huh?
Lots of hanging out in cafes today, punctuated by getting that photocopier insert, filming pigeons and being on TV. The pigeons are to composite over some obviously frozen stills to add a bit of movement. Netbank have accepted my application, so the on-line ordering system will soon be up and running.
Went to Rural Media to re-record the office atmos, since the original one had been plagued by key jangling noises. I’d also planned to reshoot a photocopier insert to solve a problem highlighted at the test screening, but due to a lack of tripod, this and some pigeons shots had to be postponed. Right, now everyone watch Midlands Today on Wednesday (or possibly Thursday), because me and John are going to be on it.
Three weeks until the premiere. Two weeks until the film has to be finished, effectively, giving a couple of days to render the grading, a day for mastering and a couple of days to get the dupes done. At last, there are some finished 3D FX shots. Not very many, it has to be said, but when they’re this good, you don’t care. This is a guy who knows what he’s doing.