Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some nights there are two posts

Paul wanted to title this post "We are soo good." This is our mantra. We are very self-satisfied after writing another scene for project quesadilla. Project Quesadilla was originally going to take a month, but it looks like we are going to extend it to six weeks. I really do not have anything profound to add to this post, all of my creative mojo has been spent in the service of the GREAT QUESADILLA. Paul is still worried about lyme disease.
paul asks if i am writing the gulag archipelago - i could not have spelled that without the aid of paul. I am spelling impared.

i am not writing the gulag archipelago - fyi

"This is New York, there are a lot of (fill in the blank)

We are getting ready to cast our first characters for Project X, code name "Quesadilla," and NOT "HH, not Blavatsky."

Anyway, we need some specialty characters. I don't think that naming what kind of people they are, or what kind of physique or other attributes they have, is really offensive, but Meredith tells me we have to exhibit the sensitivity we are famous for, so I will just say (Fill in the blank) and you will all see.

This *is* New York, though, and there are lots of everything here.

Still working on Lumia, incredibly enough.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Iron Goddess of Mercy

Today we are drinking iron goddess of mercy - tikuanyin. It is oolong tea - the finest in the world. I really like it - paul says he likes it, but it is not convincing. Paul likes black tea but is not drinking it for medical reasons. He has enough free radicals - or not enough - are free radicals bad or good. Paul and I are going to make a movie one day about free radicals and quantum entanglement - it will be a suspense thriller with lots of nudity. Just you wait

we are doing a little side movie before beginning HH (not blavatsky) we will code the name the side project Quesadilla. Paul and I were doing word associations and came up with that one after american flag, apple pie.

Paul just gave me a lovely little book called "Novels in three lines" by Felix Feneon:
Here is a novel:

"Severely burned -- her skirt cought on fire -- Leonie Lefevre, 10, of Saint-Maur, died in Trousseau."

back to project quesadilla

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sumerian Linguistics

"House of" in sumerian is "BIT"

we think that is deep

"I don't think you should ever go to nowhere."

That's one of the pearls generated during this, today's session of "Remapping DVD Button Navigation 101, 13BIT Style."

Meredith and I are wonking away on the incredibly strange interface for Encore. After I had burned a bunch of test DVDs, we discovered that there was a too-healthy dose of randomness when our buttons were activated from a remote control.

We have plowed into the program and are doing what we have to do. I kind of like the idiotic little GUI interface, but Meredith is grumbling. She's a command-based woman, after all, and I prefer idiotic little GUI's, which is what makes us a good team. See "Why it Takes 13BITs" for more on that subject.

"There are a lot of ways to fuck this up," she is saying, as we use the little pick-whip widget to remap the buttons. Does anybody out there in blogland appreciate the gravity of this? Only those other few, poor pathetic souls who have found themselves in the sorry position of having to author their own DVDs. *THEY* will appreciate our pain.

Actually, for all my kvetching, we really like to make DVDs.

Our new top-secret project has the code name of HH. NOT for Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, I might add.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

So, what do you want to eat?

The real questions of editing and film work don't always revolve around cuts, frames, angles and lighting. They don't even center on plots or dialogue.

What it really comes down to most of the time is "What do you want to eat?"

Sometimes, these decisions have a greater effect on the outcome of a project than anyone would ever care to admit.

Ponder that, Socrates.

"Better Than Criterion"

The original title for this post was to have been "What Is A Plot?", which is what Meredith was musing on as she read a quote from Socrates in our preparation for the next project, our equivalent of a trek up Mount Everest. As we gird for that monumental expedition, we are wrapping up the loose ends of our lives here on the planet of documentaries, meaning we are still finishing "Lumia" and getting ready to get it out to festivals.

Though we are still possibly going to make some changes, we are working on a DVD. In fact, that's been the last few days. We were really high on Adobe Encore, but after today's many crashes and general pixel-mapping wonkiness and kludgy interace issues, we may be ready to return to our first love - DVD Studio Pro. Only the future will tell the end of this tale. Meredith is now muttering "Oh man, this is ridiculous" as we endure another restart.

Anway, she was just testing a menu page and saying "This is better than Criterion" when I decided it was time for another progress report. I think it will soon be time for the Little Pie Company or Miracle Grill. Then I must pray for the Yankees.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

People Find Cross Fades Magical

"What are we going to blog about today?" Meredith asks me.

"My shoulder hurts. What did I do? When will it end?" That's where *I'm* at. Well, not really. I'm as into the final cutting as she is, and we are getting close. It's funny how you can keep making edits every time you go through a version of something. The tweaking never ends. But that's as it should be. How could anyone trust themselves to be absolutely certain of every last thing they create? Yes, it happens sometimes, but I am much more suspicious of certainty than I am of "What do you think of that?" or "Do you like the way this looks?"

Anyway, my shoulder hurts. A wound I suffered in the Spanish Civil War many years ago, long before I invented the personal computer.

We had a long discussion about a particular graphic asset and the length of the cross fade. Meredith used to be adamantly opposed to any cross-fading, but I have slowly swayed her to the beauty of the occasional cross fade, just as she has convinced me of the beauty of the occasional freeze frame, something I had adamantly opposed. Who cares about this arcance detailing of our process? Well, we do, for one.

Anyway, my shoulder still hurts. Did I mention that already? Anyway, we are making progress. We are in good shape. We are going to wait until the new version of Encore shows up before we make the DVD. Horror upon horrors, but we like it better than DVD Studio Pro, which we have used in the past.

Anyway, we're listening to words in Danish that we do not understand. That's an inside thing that you'll get when you watch the movie.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Tonight we are outputting a rough version of Lumia for authoring. Next step is to build the DVD. We are veryexcited.com
Tomorrow we will beginning spreading the seed or in layman's terms submitting to film festivals As I write this we are compressing frame 2816. By the time I am done writing this post we will be on frame 8000. Frames are fleeting.

Monday, August 6, 2007

That Sound Edit Train Keeps On Rolling Along

Meredith is saying "I like the mouse."

I say "Oh yeah?"

She says "The keyboard is nice, but I really like the mouse. And you know what? I'd love to have kind of foot device I can operate, maybe at work."

And so it goes. This is a typical sound editing session. In the background, we are de-essing old Otto Piene. We are normalizing Mr. Glicksman. And we are plain old loving Chris Sidenius and his background waterfall which is impossible to get rid of. "Hell, it's a documentary," one of us will say whenever it becomes too impossible to fix some particularly egregious sonic disaster.

For the most part, though, it's going well. We are ploughing along. Just signed up for our third project on withoutabox.com, and we'll be getting our promotional materials into shape soon.

Bit by bit by bit, thirteen times, to be exact.

Good thing we did not get the duck nachos tonight that they were trying to sell me at Miracle Grill. "Took nachos?" I would say.

"Duke nachos" he said.


"Duke nachos."



"Oh, DUCK nachos." I finally understood. "No thanks, I don't eat duck."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sound Edit

Audio is difficult. Even if you're not a perfectionist, as we are, sound is difficult. Color correction can be fun, even satisfying and filled with instant gratification. You correct a clip, it looks good, you say "ah, yes!," and then you apply the changes to other clips. Time passes and you steadily make the whole movie look better in a linear, measurable, tangible way.

Sound editing, on the other hand, is a tedious, thankless slog through the trenches of unfriendly waveforms, odd filters, subjective calls and unidentifiable background noise. It's a relentless riding of the meters, endless small tweaks to levels - I'm talking ENDLESS small tweaks to the levels; it's what you must do in order to have a professional-sounding film - reviewing music, creating music; it's hours spent working in the timeline, only to discover that you got ten minutes of the film done.

It's a bitch. You lose objectivity and need to stop a while. You need sugar. If we go too long without sugar, our brains cease to function, we lose energy and, even worse, we end up arguing about things. When we did "Video Out," we both felt that the first employee 13Bit would hire one day, when we finally have money to hire someone, would be a sound editor. At the same, time, it's hard to trust anybody to do it right, but I suppose that will be a leap of faith we'll have to make when 13Bit is a massive player one day in the cinema industry. If we don't learn to delegate these things, we'll never be the nimble monolith that we would like to be. At the moment, though, we are working on sound and need to stay focused.

We cut the entire section we had made on "Greenewalt versus Wilfred." We kept the part on Mary Hallock Greenewalt because she's an interesting color artist and contributes to the understanding of the art form, but the section that we made about their feud finally got cut, at the eleventh hour. We had trimmed it back in previous cuts, but we decided to eliminate it. Color and audio correction have a way of narrowing your focus, sharpening your critical senses, bringing out the ruthless axe-wielding inner editor.

We decided to skip a trip to the Little Pie Company or Tasti-D-Lite and used the time, instead, to repair some kind of demonic negative pop/click in a piece of music that the men and women of The Analog Orchestra had kindly composed and recorded for us. All we can assume is that their engineer screwed up or intentionally left it in there. We fixed it, though.

Anyway, Meredith has started t to surf the web, so I must stop blogging and crack the whip again.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Maybe not a total cliche

Today we are putting the final credits on Lumia. Paul is driving and I lending moral support my playing andean lute music on garageband and surfing the internets.

Tomorrow we start the final step: sound correction. Sound correction is very painful.

happy thursday