Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nearing the End

Five days until final output/mastering of Women's Studies.

Post Sound Super Sean Russell and Composer Ryan Sayward turned in their final audio mix early Monday morning. Colorist Aaron Shirley is the last stop and he has just a few more color tweaks and some VFX work to do. Friday, we'll meet to watch it on a big screen to catch any nagging color issues. Also, Sean and Ryan will get a disk tomorrow to check for any last minute audio notes.

It's crazy to think the movie is this close to being finished. It seems like I've been working on it forever. Cast and crew started shooting almost a year ago. (May 29, 2007) Preparations and pre-production had been going on for well over a year before that. For the past two-and-a-half years, my single minded goal has been to get this film completed.

And now it's almost over.

I hear somebody saying, "Don't jinx it!" Really though, even if there was some cataclysmic act of god like Aaron Shirley's hard drive getting obliterated, the film's completion would only be delayed by a few weeks. (Fear not. Aaron, along with everyone else working post, has extensive back-ups.)

My role of late has been largely administrative. There's been a lot of approving things or asking for changes. Sean, Ryan, Aaron, and Editor Jim McGivney have been the soldiers in the trenches getting it done for you and me. They've been exceptional.

If all goes well, and it looks like it will, next week's blog will be the first with Women's Studies completed*.

# # #

(*Keep your fingers crossed. Just in case.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rally Caps Are On

12 days until final output/mastering of Women's Studies.

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

I've had meetings with various post-production crew members almost every day since late last week. Music mostly, but color got Sunday night out of me. And sound gets some more love today before I head back to hopefully wrap up that fickle mistress music tonight.

It's been a stressful week for multiple reasons. A lot of difficulties, disputes, and delays popped up late in the week. For a couple days I thought that the crew and I were going to have to postpone the final mastering. However, this fantastic crew rose to the occasion and rallied around the project. In fact, they pretty much carried me through the weekend which is rather awesome. Despite my best efforts, these guys just won't let me fuck this movie up.

Where do things stand?

According to an email I received when I woke up this morning, Post Sound Supervisor Sean Russell pulled a seventeen hour shift yesterday "seeding" (putting in place) the first half of the music for Women's Studies in the timeline with his Foley, ADR, SFX, and production audio tracks. Over 120 tracks in all. (!) At the time of this writing, he's catching a few Zzzs before heading back in to continue mixing everything down.

Tonight is my final spot check of Composer Ryan Sayward's music. There were a couple sequences that we both wanted to play with some more. I'll see those tonight and sign off on them. Then, Ryan will head over to studio with Sean and seed the music for the last half of the movie.

I saw the first pass of Aaron Shirley's color correction on Sunday night and it's looking really good. Most of the coloring in Women's Studies consists of simply color matching and balancing, making sure the colors are consistent form shot to shot. There are a couple scenes where we'll use color for effect. Aaron actually worked those out first and it's quite nice. This week is digital Visual FX week. Don't worry. Han still shoots first. Almost all of the VFX in Women's Studies is color based and correctional.

I'm growing old before your very eyes! Less than two more weeks and I can relax . . . a little bit. Okay, no. That's not true. When the film is done, a whole new world opens up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Soothing the Savage Beast

19 days until final output/mastering of Women's Studies.

Early this morning, I picked up the "master" DV file of the entire film from Colorist/VFX Artist Aaron Shirley and delivered it to Post Sound Supervisor Sean Russell. Up to this point, Sean has been working on the film in eight separate "reels," nine if you count the end credits. Though still in the middle of recording Foley, Sean can now pull his eight separate ProTools sessions into one master session in preparation for mixing which begins next week.

Look! Here's Natalie Apuzzo, our Foley Walker/Artist stabbing melons. Why on earth would she be doing that?

Women's Studies

On Saturday, Cindy and I met with Composer Ryan Sayward and for the very first time watched Women's Studies in it's entirety with music. It was a pretty exciting and fulfilling, yet surreal experience. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I was watching a movie I hadn't worked on. It was a pretty good feeling to get swept up in the mood of the scenes again. After seeing the film more times than I care to count, I've become a little numb to the emotional impact it can have. If you can't tell, I'm really happy with the music.

Ryan has also picked out some "needle drop" songs from local music artists to use as background music in parts of Women's Studies. "Not Alone" by Redshift will be featured at the beginning of the film. "Barcelona" by Soft Complex as well as a remix of their song "Beat the Chill" will also be included.

I feel good about where we're at. Sure, we've still got six weeks of work to do in less than three, but if this was easy everybody would be doing it, right?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Speed of Sound

26 days until final output/mastering of Women's Studies.

Sound has been the name of the game recently. As mentioned before, Post Sound Supervisor Sean Russell and I have been recording ADR pretty much every night for the past two weeks. Yesterday was the last session, though we'll likely have to bring Cindy Marie Martin (Mary) back in for one more night of catch-up.

This week, Sean is editing all the ADR and production dialogue while also adding background ambiance to give verisimilitude to the scenes. Today, he's finishing his Foley spotting session, and will then begin recording Foley and adding sound effects which will take up the better part of the next ten days.

Over the weekend, I'll visit Composer Ryan Sayward and hear the Women's Studies soundtrack for the first time with the movie. I'll give notes and Ryan will spend another week making any creative adjustments needed. Then, Sean and Ryan will get together in the studio and add in the music. Once we all agree that the music, Foley, sound FX, and dialogue are all what we want, Sean will begin the final mixdown.

The energy is high because 26 days is a ridiculously short time to try and get all this done, especially with two people doing all the work. While everyone is a wee bit nervous, we're also very excited. It's starting to come together and isn't half bad either. The end is near, and that's the fuel keeping everyone moving.