Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bringing in the hired guns

Monday night I drove to Oakland and picked up the Master Drive. We're officially done. Beyond doing a re-cut, re-shooting or diving into days of anal color correction, I have corrected every little thing that could be done. It's almost surreal, but that big nasty cloud in the back of my brain is gone now, that haunting list of tiny things that needed to be fixed to make it the best it could be. (10 points to anyone who knows which movie I'm referencing here)

Reviewing the opening credits in After Effects

I've watched the film probably as many times as the editor. Each time there was always something nagging at me, the same scenes, the same little moments that looked a wee bit off. I took the time and figured out how to re-link the files, capture stills and do some minor color correction. But my pathetic attempt at correcting those horrific yellow mirror scenes was hopeless. The images turned into gray scenes from a rainy day. No bueno. And then I realized that the entire opening credit sequence needed correction as well, which meant that I had to pull Matt back into the process to re-render and pull up the edits since he had created the sequence in After Effects. It was like being trapped on the freeway by a gas truck and a bus. All I wanted to do is change lanes and move forward, but all I could really do was spin my wheels like a slow-moving pace car.

Aaron Fischer making color corrections
When this process started a couple of months ago, Richard (our illustrious sound editor) recommended to me an editor who's a real pro at color correction, Aaron Fischer. I had emailed Aaron at the time but with limited investor money left there wasn't much we could do. So now I called him and we talked. We realized that we could do those few scenes over 2-4 hours. So I negotiated a price and made a couple of phone calls to raise the money. A check was in the mail and we set the date for January 29. We were on. And no delays were allowed because Miss Claire (Matt's wife) was delivering their first child sometime during the beginning on February. Nothing like finding the last possible window to open before going down in flames.

Matt & Aaron figuring out the workflow
I sent Aaron a link to the film and on Friday night I watched it again. I took notes on every flicker that I could, all those moments that stood out from the rest of the film. And the credits. I reviewed everything and made sure that those people who supported this film were given their due, and was able to fix one of the songs that didn't have the first names listed (much gratitude to the power of the Internet here).

It was great being back in director mode. After settling in with fine wine, crackers, cheese and some tasty mustard, Matt and I powered through in 4 hours. Aaron was done after 3 hours. After another day to render all the files, we were done. So I bought some cake and celebrated.

It's always the little things that teach you the most... like knowing there are layers to color correction, and you either have to delete the old one or add to it, like knowing sometimes you gotta bring in the hired guns to get the job done... 

And now we're ready for prime time showing. The premiere is set. It's gonna be a rockin' party.

WHEN:  Friday, April 15
WHERE:  The Starry Plough, Berkeley
3101 Shattuck Avenue
TIME:  Doors open 8 pm
Film starts at 8:30
Film Q&A starts at 9 pm
Two Sticks plays from 9:30-10:30

For your enjoyment, a copy of the DVD cover. Kudos go out to our designer LeeAnn Nelson, who creates magic for us. It looks fabulous!

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