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Good news, the longest, most tedious portion of the entire production is done. Onlining comes after the final cut is locked and is done to give the film a unified, polished look. This primarily includes color correction and color grading to match a disparate array of shots from different settings and different cameras and combine them under a stylized color palette. Another part of onlining is combining any visual effects shots, fixing lighting problems, and any compositing. 

 

I used After Effects CS3 with scripts from the DV Rebels Guide. I followed the process described in the “Onlining” chapter of the book and am very satisfied with the outcome. 

 

For the look of the film I pushed the shadows towards purple, the midtones towards an orange and the highlights to a pale yellow. This is a much less stylized example of color grading because I loved the colors of the location that we had to begin with and wanted to do just enough tweaking without losing them completely. The final look has a more stretched range of color and a more rustic, weathered feel. My goal was to mimic the look of a movie shot on film as much as possible. The DV Rebel’s Guide was great for unlocking the secrets behind achieving this in some of the tools in After Effects.

As a result of these past two months of work, the movie is a visual whole and not an amateurish hodge-podge of shots.

So where does that leave the film now? Well the only thing left to do is audio: effects and soudtrack. Keep checking back to stay posted on where the project is going. 

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I just locked the final cut tonight at 21 minutes 52 seconds and 25 frames! I’ll post some color correction tests and examples as I move into the onlining stage. I’m very excited now because it feels like most of the “real” work is done. The story has been told essentially, its just time to make it easier to watch. I know that’s not completely true, but there is still the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Wish me luck as I dive in to After Effects.

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Are We There Yet?

I’m still procrastinating locking the cut. I have reviewed the film multiple times and made a few revisions. I’ve shaved about 3 minutes off the run time, mainly in the dialogue heavy scenes. I’ve also been working on a few visual effects shots – primarily adding smoke to the gunshots.

I hope to post a discussion between Richard, the executive producer, and myself about the film’s initial creation process, as soon as I find time that won’t take away from progress on the final editing stages. So keep checking back, more is coming soon.

Also, I want a couple extra test screeners. Comment on this post and let me know if you want to see the rough cut and I will include you in the limited-time screening of the film.

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I just finished the rough cut of the film! Overall it looks good and the story makes sense. It is still very disjointed and I’ve found a few places that I didn’t get exactly what I wanted in the footage. To me the rough cut is always the most discouraging because it is such a shoddy telling of the story. All the way through shooting I’ve had a image of the film in my head.

Editing presents the biggest challenge to this concept. Its disappointing for the film to not turn out exactly the way I wanted it. This is partially a result of being too locked in to the concept during production – I didn’t let my concept change and adapt enough to fit the location and action I was working with. 

Editing becomes a process of breaking down the old concept and rebuilding a new film. The more objectively I can approach it the better. I need to edit to tell the story, not just to match the concept in my mind. This makes the rough cut useful. It shows me a general sketch of the original way I conceived the film and reveals how this helps or hinders the story.

I can now break into the parts that do not work and experiment with different fixes. Without this rough cut, trying to generate the entire movie one polished bit at a time, I would be constantly trying and failing to perfect the original concept rather than focusing on the story as a whole.

The next step, as soon as everything finishes rendering, will be to review the cut and note changes to be made. I’ll then work scene by scene until I get the right shots and timing to better tell the story. 

 

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Rough Cut – 80%

The rough cut is about 80% complete. I have most of it spliced together except for the end of the third scene and end of the final scene. It will be about 25 minutes long. The rough cut should only take another two hours to complete and I should be able to wrap it up tomorrow.

The rough cut means that all the clips are in general order but lacks sound work, color processing, and fine tuning.

I am working on a short teaser trailer which I want to complete by the end of the week. I’ll be working on an animated logo for my pseudo-production-company, October Films.

Production company logo.

I still have a little bit of footage to get. One is of a sunrise and then I still need a shot from behind the cabin.

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Welcome!

Welcome to the official blog for the short western Redemption. Look for bi-monthly reports on the progress of the post-production of the film.

Synopsis

Redemption is a western that tells the story of the outlaw Jesse on the run from the lawman Sam and his deputies. Jesse is trapped by the lawmen in a little cabin inhabited by a starving woman and child. Their plight forces him to consider his own struggle for survival and as he realizes that he could turn himself in to save the woman and child with the reward money.

Director’s Statement:

I never considered creating a Western until my friend Richard Wolf gave me the script. The subject matter of this movie has allowed me to break away from the conventional college locale of “student-films” and create a setting different from our own.

Redemption represents my desire to make films that are entertaining while challenging emotionally and intellectually. The action and gunslinging is integral in that it draws the audience into the story. At its core however is a philosophical question which haunts us all. Jesse’s self-confidence is a carefully constructed cover for his fear. He fears dying and this compels the destruction of anything that endangers his survival. He realizes this when he encounters the woman and child. He sees his options clearly: turn himself in and give them the reward money or continue his flight from death. It is only when he stops running from death and sacrifice that he can give life and stop destroying the world around him.

Redemption is my first “real” movie. It became more than just a class assignment or personal project with a couple friends. I have begun to apply my artistic vision of my own initiative. It has been an incredibly challenging experience and I am only a part of the forces which brought the project together.

— Paul Hinson

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