March 29, 2007

The Class This Week


Assignment for Next Week

Additional Material

We are rapidly approaching the end of the picture editing portion of SHUT UP AND SING (we are locking next week) and, if we've been doing our jobs correctly the story is now starting to gel. If we've also been paying attention to things like music and sound, visual effects, etc., then we will have a much clearer idea of how to approach those things in post production.

One of the things that often goes crazy near the lock of a picture (ask me about "latching" a film sometimes) is that the filmmaker begins a mini-paralysis brought on by exhaustion (remember, it's usually been a dozen full-on cuts, six months in the editing room, preceded by three or four of shooting and god-knows-how-long of prep) and the dawning realization that This Is IT. The film will be done and all of the problems that there was plenty of time to fix now must be fixed or that is how the audience is going to see them. Things that are small become huge, things that were never problems become problematic, and comments that were easily dismissed even three weeks before now become crucial. "We MUST DEAL WITH THIS!!" It's a scary time.

Today we'll talk about this, in preparation for locking next week, as well as some remedies. It will come as no shock to you, at this point in our lives together, that I believe that knowing your film is one of the best ways to avoid this Lock Anxiety.

Main List for released version of SHUT UP AND SING
We need to begin thinking about a titles sequence for the film (we are presently still experimenting with the lips).
Continuity for v399 (PDF File)
This is the continuity that should reflect the film that we see today. I haven't listed the total running time since I didn't know it when I was doing it this weekend, but that is usually listed right at the top -- everyone wants to know it. Use this as we put together our comments and think about rearrangements. Notice how it uses the same scene names and numbers as before, but rearranges them when we've rearranged them in the film. Note also that the scenes which have been lifted are in italics. In order to minimize confusion, I usually print out a version of this continuity which doesn't have those lifted scenes in it at all, and it is that continuity which I give to everyone else. The complete version that you've got here is something that I use to keep track of how the cut has evolved.
Sound Effects CDs
I've created five sound effects CDs for your use. All of them contain some effects you might be able to use and some that you won't, in the categories of Crowds, Footsteps, Suburban Backgrounds, Weather and a combination CD with a number of assorted effects. Because I want to make sure that the CDs play in our system I haven't put labels on them, so be careful that you don't mix them up.

Create the Version 400 of your section of SHUT UP AND SING
We are now in the final weeks of our film editing (with only one more cuts left -- v400). We tried some things out for tonight and will be trying others next week (will Phil, for instance, become a minor character or stay a force?). The general process for the lock of the film will be to try and get all of the decisions out of the way by v499 and then to do minor tweaks to lock. We won't look at the lock.
Begin the final pass on your resume
We will have Janet Conn return on the 26th. This means that you will need to have your resume ready for her on April 20th. Go back over your notes from that evening and begin crafting your resume so you can email it to her by that date. Her email address, again, is
DVD Creation
In a few weeks I am hoping to have Bruce Nazarian, one of the DVD gurus (especially when it comes to DVD Studio Pro, which is the DVD authoring program we will be using), come and speak to the class. In anticipation of that, I'd like you to go onto his web site and take a look around at his introduction to the process. It lays out the major steps for web authoring (Planning and Acquiring, Encoding, Authoring, Building, and (finally) Burning.)
Sound Effects
I haven't seen much in the way of sound effects listed on the blog from any of you so, what I'm going to recommend, is that you visit the sound department's library. You can either pull the sound effecs from their sound server in one of their listening rooms, or borrow from the sound effects CD library. But you need to start putting those things in. To clear up any confusion, you should add sound effects for the things which are crucial to either explaining the story or keeping people in the middle of the movie. If something sounds too bare and the audience notices it, then you should fill it in. If there's a clock ticking, which is important to the tone and story of the film, then that also should go in. Foley that merely gives the film its "filmness" isn't necessary, though I'll give you all a CD of foleyed footsteps that may or may not work.

Locking a 546 here at USC [this link is to the entire site, not just this entry]
Wendy Millette, a recent USC grad, had a good friend post a diary of her experiences at USC. Here, because we are about to lock picture, is the description of what it was like locking the 546 that she was co-editing. Locking a picture is a very dangerous process in which many things can go astray. We'll talk next week a bit about the process.
After not coming home for a few days, Wendy dragged in with sexy dark circles under  her eyes, looking junkie-skinny. After a hot bath, slept for 18 hrs. I held a mirror to her  nose, checking for signs of life. 
Pema's film changed constantly in the final week before picture lock. The Tibetan  director tried to apply every bit of advise he got, from many sources. Not that those  offering advise didn't have valuable suggestions, but too many cooks can spoil the stew.  Wendy told him numerous times, "Pema, you don't have to use everything you hear."  End of the film was fine .. the beginning is what gave them so much trouble. Helaine [Head] offered some of the most insightful advice. She was also at Geof's 508 screening. 
Afterwards, Brad & Eric, who are editing Denise McCarthy's film, asked Helaine to come  over to the Avid editing room, and take a look at their cut. Helaine also looked at Echo, the film Wendy & Geof are editing. Echo had a dozen different versions of this-is-the-no-shit-final-cut-so-help-me-God.  Many times, Wendy & Jeff thought they were done editing, for good. One time, when  they thought they were done for good, Dennis walked up and said, "Hey guys, good news, we got an extension." They went for a long time with no sleep.  I was concerned, saying, "You can't do this for much more."  Wendy went to the athletic club in Irvine with Maria and dropped a 45-lb weight on  her foot. So in addition to feeling like she's been thru the war, and being whacked-out  from the final editing crunch, she's hobbling.  I fed her industrial-strength chicken soup for a few days.