Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Alien Overlords

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lets Review

We have had our first review. It is of Detective Alberton: The 4 minute ReEdit and here it is:

This is pretty awful. The lighting is bad; the set is obviously a front room; and the music drowns out the dialogue. The American accents sound sub-Woody Allen. I'd guess that the actors are lower middle-class English kids; maybe undergraduates. The bartender delivers his lines with so little conviction that he seems ashamed to be there (an understandable emotion, in the circumstances).

He also chose to give it 1 star (the lowest you can go).

Well this review made me laugh a lot. Not least because the thought, "what's wrong with Woody Allen's American accent" flitted across my mind. But yes, it's a pretty funny review. I think we can take from it, "must try harder", and get ready for the next one!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Learning Aloud

One of the things that's been interesting for me during the Troy Road process so far has been the process of learning how to make films with no safety net. Whenever we make a film we stick it up on the internet to see how it goes.

Some might argue that it would be safer to practice in the quiet of privacy and wait until you were really happy with what you had before you unleashed it. But that I think is a mistake. This version of a strategy means that we can literally chart our progress. As we get better you will be able to see that and appreciate the leg work that went into that rather than seeing a finished work and thinking - hey that looks pretty easy.

In fact I'm pretty sure Nick and I thought that it would be easier than it actually is. Luckily it's also fun and something that we both have always wanted to do. But it is tricky, and massively time consuming. It probably works out at about a day a minute! (this is counting the detective drama at four minutes not twelve.) It's about a day of filming and then lots of grabbed hours in the editing booth.

It was only while editing some of the up coming film on Sunday that I really appreciated the time involved. And wondered why I hadn't remembered this from my film making exercises in my youth? But then as I thought back I did remember the long hours editing (with video tape back then) so why wasn't it imprinted on my brain? Well it was simple I was having fun and I didn't have a job. On those long summer holidays it didn't seem to matter if you needed to lock yourself in a room for a three day stretch. Now it's much more tricky but still just as worth it. Even if what's coming out seems a little raw. We've all got to learn somehow.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Hardest Cut - The details

The edit here had three new elements which I hadn't tried before.

Under the inserts there are often multiple cuts even between one actor. So I might have said a long string of dialogue with an important part at the beginning and the end but there was a lot of waffle in between. Well under the insert I would just cut out all of the waffle.

Second even when we are in the two shot I am cutting seemlessly the audio. This allowed me to turn up your dialogue. Not quite as much as I'd liked because there wasn't as much differential between your dialogue and Radio 4 in the background as I'd hoped and it was simply making that louder too. But I think it makes a big difference. And the worse excesses of the radio were hidden by the music. We should really use those tie mics next time.

Third, and perhaps most subtly, the footage is out of order in places. When I was editing the thing at first I was basically trying to save as much of the footage as possible. Basically I was just editing out the fluffs and so on. Whereas once I wasn't restricted by this I could make some pretty big cuts. So under one of the inserts we go to (from the master edit, a clip from 2:20, a clip from 12:30 and then back to a clip from 4 something). Because I knew I wasn't going to use the bit at 12:30 but I had a piece of dialogue that would make two bits I wanted to go together go together it worked really well. Although it seems obvious now that you can do this it really was a revelation to me as I was working because I had been working as a restorer at first trying to take each scene back to the it could be in isolation, rather than a storyteller in the edit room who could completely revise the script (not that there was one).

As an additional note the music in the film is from 1950 and is called All the things you are and is by Charlie Barnet. Because it is from back in 1950 the rights to this music have now expired and so we are legally allowed to put it into our music without paying royalties. I think that we should try wherever possible to use this kind of music (or our own).

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The hardest cut

After a week of trying different things to get Detective Alberton to work and after having published that yesterday I decided today to try a violently re-cut version which takes us down to around 4 minutes.

I think it is massively improved by this even though most of the plot is left on the cutting room floor.

Let me know what you think:

Friday, March 2, 2007

Detective Alberton

Part 1

Part 2