Number 99 on AFI’s top 100 movies list is Toy Story, Pixar’s first full length feature. While this isn’t my favorite of the Pixar films (The Incredibles is tough to beat), it did set the tone for all future Pixar works. Toy Story can certainly be credited with changing animated features from 1995 forward. Just look at the ratio of major studios releasing 3D animation versus 2D. A big surprise for me, since it is has at least a decade since I’ve seen this movie, is that Joss Whedon is credited as one of three writers. This was a few years prior to Buffy the series, so his only major credit would have been Buffy the movie. Another fun tidbit from the trivia is that every frame took a render farm 4 to 13 hours to render. Yikes. Onto movie 98, Yankee Doodle Dandy.
This thread has been shifted over to The AFI Project. Follow along there.
9:01 am • 18 January 2012
So I ran out of sci fi geek shows to watch (or rather put them on hiatus) and decided to watch all 100 of AFI’s top films in reverse order. Last on the list and first for me to watch was Ben-Hur. I have to say I was a bit skeptical because I’m not much of a Chalrton Heston fan, and the 3hr 31min running time was daunting to say the least. However, the sets and costumes alone were worth the time and the chariot race is truly one of the greatest scenes in film. I find it interesting that the subtitle was “A Tale of the Christ.” It felt more like a tale of things that happened in Judea at the time of Christ giving the Passion a historical frame of reference. I would say it’s worth watching if you have a lot of time on your hands. Onto number 99 - Toy Story.
10:41 am • 17 January 2012
So as far as Nightscape or any other project is concerned, I’ve been out of commission for most of the week. That being said, this little bundle of joy has kept me busier than I have ever been in my life. If I never see the inside of this hospital again it will be too soon. Mostly everyone at Emanuel is very nice. Some nurses are too nice, in that saccarine way that drives Rachel and I insane. During the transition, or pushing part of labor, our nurse was very much like this. What Rachel needed was direct, almost forceful directions, not “Oh, you’re doing so well. Great job.” We had a charge nurse take over while the other one went on break, and she was amazing. “Feel that pressure?Push through it, do it!” Our doula sort of took over on the instruction at one point and carried on in this same vein. The doula had been there for 36 hours at that point. Very dedicated. We ended up at getting a c-section, but only after exhausting every other option open to us. Our daughter, Lucia Aurora Meader was born at 9:03 pm on Thursday, August 11th. She weighs 6lbs. 14oz and measures 19.5 inches. She has dark brown hair, almost black. Right now, she has a high bilirubin count, which means we may be here another day while she undergoes treatment. Our hope is that we can leave today and avoid that treatment because it involves her being away from us all day. I can’t go a couple hours without being next to her.
8:37 am • 14 August 2011
Last night, we visited the set seen above for Nightscape, designed by Gregory Gilbert and dubbed the “Revival Tent.” it was impressive to say the least. Added to that were classic cars parked out front, amazing lighting, and two dozen extras. Half of those extras were members of a choir. The first order of business was for them to run out of the tent screaming. I can’t wait to get this footage. I’ve been looking forward to this scene since first reading the script.
We had a chance to interview the sound mixer Christian Dolan. I don’t envy his job. Sound remains the biggest challenge for me, which is why I love to pass the buck to professionals. A number of the locations are near busy roads. This makes sound mixing especially tricky, so for Nightscape each actor has wireless mics hidden on them to get the best sound without background noise. A wireless boom mic is added in, which I had never seen before and I immediately thought it was the best thing ever.
It seems like things are running fairly smooth on set. The DP said they were on schedule, which is monumental half way in. Dailies are coming along nicely. The scene mentioned in the last post took a while, but I’ve caught up. As the footage comes in I get to piece scenes I’ve cut before with their adjoining scenes. It is starting to look like a movie.
9:03 am • 7 August 2011
Some of you will know how to interpret this screen shot. For the rest, let me break it down. This is my Final Cut project for Nightscape. On the timeline are a series of 25 different shots lined up with their audio (save for the MOS shots). The important thing to note is that all of these shots are for the same scene. The bulk of the shots will make up around 30 seconds to a minute of the movie. The whole scene will likely be 5 minutes. I should stop delaying and get to cutting it together.
4:06 pm • 5 August 2011
On Monday we listened to the delightful musical stylings of Emily Galash (playing Kat) and then watched Joshua St. James (Smoke) get splattered with blood. The guitar doesn’t show up in Nightscape, but the blood does, lots of it. My wife reverted back to horror movie fan girl at the sight of it.
We captured an update from David (the director) and another couple of interviews for the Behind the Scenes. The first was with Emily, in which we discussed the strange dialect in the film (she described it as “not making sense if you just read it”) and how the clothes make the woman. Kat is a drifter, which brings to mind T-shirt and jeans, but the costumes are all dresses and shawls, that seem both feminine and utilitarian in a way. There is a lot of beige and light cream colors, making her blend with the background, which Kat would prefer. The boots are fashionable, but well worn.
The second interview was with the co-producer AJ Gordan. He gave us an insight into the logistics that get sorted out during pre-production and how they’ve already had to adapt on the fly a couple of times. AJ is a born and bred film geek, which has served him well in this career. This project started right after a previous one, and he almost didn’t take it, but in reading the script he said his younger self would kick his older self for not getting involved.
The dailies are coming along. Even though I figured out the wonders of Redcine-X, it still takes a while to transcode. So far everything looks good. I’ll be curious to look at the picture after color correction. Right now everything is shot in bright daylight, which is good because it gives us plenty of room to play with color, but currently it doesn’t seem all that intimidating.
I was able to cut the scene David described as being his favorite last night. Great acting by both Emily and Joshua took place. It is always interesting to me to have these emotional scenes shot three days into production. It’s a credit to the actors that they have such a connection to their characters that they could pull this scene off so early on.
7:29 am • 3 August 2011
A while ago we went to watch Jason Edwards record the sounds of the cars for Nightscape. Here’s a behind the scenes clip from that day.
9:04 am • 30 July 2011
Redcine-X vs. FCP Log and Transfer
So I have this habit of finding something that works and then assuming that is the best course of action. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Later in life I realized that this mentality may stem from my upbringing (as is the case of most of my mentality I suppose). My dad is an expert at jury rigging. Leaving things just on the verge of operational was his modus operandi.
In my particular situation, I found that once I downloaded the necessary plugin, RED footage would transcode to ProRes4444 right in the familiar FCP Log and Transfer window. However, this took a very long time, making the notion of cutting dailies from that footage seem a distant hope. Naturally, I stuck with this method for a while because it worked, and I had stuff to keep me busy in the interim. Then the hours ticked away. I had planned on getting at least a couple scenes out today, but with Final Cut and the drive the footage lived on tied up, there was no way. Then I discovered a few forum posts about Redcine-X.
Had I listened to myself when I had recommended Redcine-X to the DIT and the DP for use on set my life would have been easier. I opened it up and spent a half and hour learning how to do what was required. (That is, 10 minutes figuring out how to do it and 20 to make sure that was actually the correct way.) The speed is considerably increased and I was able to sift through footage and export stills for the DP while it was going.
So tomorrow it is on to cutting dailies.
11:33 pm • 29 July 2011
First, it should be noted that editors are typically weirdos. No offense to my peers, but it takes a certain personality, that is often paired with social awkwardness, to want to sit in a darkened room all day staring at what other people went out and experienced first hand. There is a sort of voyeuresque quality to the job. Lately, this barrier has been broken, and I’ve been allowed on location. In this case, it is for the upcoming film Nightscape.
Nightscape, written and directed by David W. Edwards, is a movie about cars, tentacles, Elder Gods, and all Hell breaking loose. Today was the first day of production. Some people will be out there for 15 hours. I was lucky to stop in for just a few hours taping some material for the EPK (Electronic Press Kit). Immediately, my wife (Rachel, who is playing producer for the EPK and Behind the Scenes videos) and I were struck by the professionalism of the whole thing. Not that we expected anything less, but I’m always struck by professional setups on productions.
I managed to maintain my social ineptness for long enough to conduct an interview with Joshua St. James (playing the character Smoke). He, like many others, claimed he was bad at interviews and then proceeded to give several amazing soundbites and great stories. We tried our best to stay out of people’s way, which I only failed at once by introducing myself to the lead actress (Emily Galash playing Kat) right before she had to make an entrance for blocking. Otherwise, Chris Stephens (our Camera Operator/Sound Guy) was a video ninja, getting great shots while staying out of shots. All in all, a really top notch way to spend the morning.
2:16 pm • 27 July 2011
I’m blogging now.
This statement is, of course, redundant. I am going to make an effort to commit to this, though I can’t promise daily updates. When I have something to say, I’ll say it. If I find something interesting to share, I’ll share it. I won’t waste your time with mundane details of everyday living.
First thing to share: My new website.
9:55 pm • 25 January 2011