Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Spill

I broke one of the editing suites's cardinal rules just now. I had an open bottle of Smart Water - very smart - and tipped it into the keyboard of the B machine. No big deal, I'm sure we'll salvage it - it's cooking now under a compact fluorescent lamp - and the machine didn't short out, but it's just indicative of my day. Luckily,the other 6.5 bits is here and Meredith is steering the good ship "Color Correction" at this moment. We are getting closer.

We do love color correction and we will almost miss it when we're done. We'll do the sound all week, finish the end titles, then we will have a final cut. After that, we'll build the DVD and start to enter the festivals. And after that, we will start working on the next project...or two.

While we both want to finish "Lumia," some part of me will probably feel the absence of it. We have lived with this project for over two years now. Still, there is always more lumia news on the horizon, and I'm looking forward to actually seeing one of Wilfred's original Claviluxes in action after they have restored them up in Seattle.

Shout out to Joelle!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick Bits v.02

This is Meredith again with quick bits. Today we continued watching/editing where we discovered the ideal antidote to moving photos - freeze frames. We are freezing frames like mad. Now paul is watching the baltimore / yankees game which is some sort of baseball anomaly - more bits on sunday

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bragdon, Brice and Brevity

We sat down tonight to watch the whole movie, just to get an overall sense of things we wanted to do. We had not watched it once through since the last cuts, over six weeks ago, before we took a break, then did the new intro and began color correction.

As always, we were unable to get more than a few seconds before we decided to mess with it. That's the way it is: you never achieve perfection. You hit a point where you can agree that, yes, it's good enough to release, but we are not at that point yet.

And it's especially important that we get the beginning to our liking. Most of the movie falls into place fairly tightly and we are happy with it but, since we have made so many changes to the start, it's natural that we needed to do a bit more editing.

Or maybe we are just hopeless perfectionists. I recall the immortal words of Stan the Hat and Tommy Train, who once told me "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." Still, we want this to be good.

So, to that end, we rearranged our bold, superlong shot of Kathy at the start, moved the credits past her, and then moved on to the second section. The section on Wilfred's childhood is fine. We like that. The very early days needed some cutting, though. Specifically a little bit about Claude Bragdon and the Brice estate, on Long Island. We're not talking about much here, maybe 10 seconds, but we got it done. It took moving five or six clips around, rearranging this, cutting that, stretching that. The usual.

I hope it's good enough now. We got about three minutes into what was going to have been an 83 minute session.

When we are done, if I have the stomach for it, I want to go back and watch the initial 130 minute first cut, just to see what we cut. Hell, it may be a good idea, anyway, just to make sure that we didn't sacrifice some gem along the way.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why It Takes 13 Bits - Take Two

I was going to have a nice, long entry here, but Meredith is trying to hijack the timeline in Final Cut and I need to keep a close watch on her.

We have been ploughing along with "Lumia." We finished the title music much the same way we did the video - one of us doing some grunt work, then the other tweaking it.

She's raving like a delirious person about our secret new flicker-reduction method - bringing down the whites instead of using a flicker filter. These details are not really that important - at least not until we forget them and need to remember them for the next movie - what's important is that we are figuring it out now and getting it done.

Halfway through the film with color correction. The sound comes next. Then the end credits and the publicity materials. We could probably edit it forever, but we need to say "enough is enough" and lock it in. The we move on.

Found out today that at least one person is reading our blog. Hi AJ!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why It Takes 13 Bits

And not just 2, 3, 6 or even 8...

We did the titles yesterday. We had been mulling it and prototyping it for a while and had both gone in a completely opposite direction from the one we ended up with. I had been visualizing one thing for a long time and we had been working on that, Meredith in Motion and I in After Effects.

She had had her reservations, but was gamely working on it. I think I actually had a good thing going with After Effects, but eventually I yielded to her doing something on Motion while I went to work on the title music.

At some point, I looked over and, instead of using the Lumia light art, itself, as background, she had somehow incorporated one of Wilfred's seminal flowcharts about what Lumia is. Beautiful and strange work done in his own hand. I instantly liked the idea and told her so. We then set out to run with that.

We switched seats and I gathered more of his drawings and graphic detritus - none of which we used in the final titles, but all of which confirmed to us that we were on the right path.

We switched seats again and I put down the music to backseat drive for a while. I suggested that we just animate the document in our top-secret motion graphics program, which I cannot name now. She liked the idea. We did that together, both of us tweaking this and that, Meredith at the controls. We finally exported it and then brought it into Motion.

The rest of the process was our usual back-and-forth of "I like this color," "what do you think of this?" "let's do this," "change that," "make that move faster," "make that stay longer" for a long time. Between the two of us, we came up with something that we both really liked.

Then, there the inevitable small glitches. Meredith fixed some, I had to pull up an ancient Photoshop trick to fix another.

We finally had some cool titles, ones that we hadn't intended to do at all, but which we like much better than the original idea.

The moral of this tale? Stay flexible. Stay openminded. A little creative arguing can be a good thing, just so long as it's civil.

And don't forget to add some huevos rancheros and breakfast burrito from Miracle Grill to fuel the whole process.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

La Lucha Continua

I was really inspired before to write an incendiary post about our current struggle with "Lumia," but the struggle continued and I forgot what I was going to say.

Today has been about watching the narrative video we shot the other day and rejecting it out of hand. Great stuff, but not for Lumia, even though it is about the making of Lumia.

We decided to do it strictly via audio, along with visual imagery over it. We are edging our way to an answer. That is the way to go. The world doesn't need to actually see us talking about this stuff. The world is not ready for that yet. Neither are wel.

So we laid down some audio and now we are editing it. We will then insert it into the film and try to finish this thing up. It is good to be working again, bitting, making films.

It will be great to move on to the next film, as well.