Thursday, 28 May 2009

Editing TIme! Entry 10

The final countdown!

Deadline tomorrow and approaching fast, the film is currently in a completed state and ready to write to DVD. We spent today reviewing the film for any obvious mistakes and problems we would like to change. In addition, I have tested the film in a private showing with close family, and a few friends. This was probably not the best thing to do, as all the response i received consisted of "wow thats awesome" and "well done, am proud of you" and other quotes of that nature. Nothing critical to aid an improvement of finalization process.

As it stands this evening, we are ready to collate all the pre production materials and other relevant data to add to the hand in DVD. The main inputs i shall be supplying is my editing journal, and other bits supporting that document. We shall cary out the file organization and DVD burning tomorrow morning, ready for the 4pm deadline.

Thats pretty much it for the editing journal am afraid, there will still be much more to come on the succession of additional improvements to the film, and in the bigger picture, a premier (of which i am really looking forward to) Also the process of entering the film into up and coming competitions and film festivals and cinema screenings is something we will be looking into over the summer months, so keep posted for announcements concerning such events.

The project was a great learning cure for both myself and my team, i have most certainly learned great new skills, and suffered at the hands of horrific mistakes. But this as we say, builds character, and moulds a more efficient professional. Its been a great experience for myself, and i hope i managed to share this experience with any reader following this series of editing posts.


Mark Braithwaite

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Deadlines closing in, the restriction is slowly cutting off the air supply. Time to get this project put to bed. The next and final process is to treat the sound for levels and broken audio levels in the projects cuts. This process was out of my specialist duristiction, but i still wanted to have some input on the process and learn new skills in the post production field. So I handed this over to james as his skills with sound design better mine. The process involved going through the film, and piece by piece edit the sound levels to avoid any very quiet sections, and more importantly any peaking levels that would sound horrificly destructive in the mix.

By keeping the levels to a standard mid level mix, it slowly turned a mixed up audio mess, ito a perfect sound mix to match the visuals quality. In addition to improove the sound, we applyed a graphic equalizer to all the problematic vocal clips. By changing specific frequencys in the equalizer, we managed to eliminate all the low frequency bass sounds of the boom rattling and the air conditioning scattered around the location. This resulted in the vocal levels sounding crisper in the mix.

As it stands now, we still need to apply a soundtrack for the final scene, this is something that we may have to consider sacrificing for the subission, and take more time over, and be more considerate to the production of a soundtrack ready for film festival entrys and other things of that nature in the up coming future.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Editing TIme! Entry 8

Long time has past, and many things have been achieved since the previous editing blog entry.

Late last week editing finally started to become a major chore, a feeling i have long been anticipating, but thankfully came much closer to the end of the working session than i estimated. Although i did not intend to spend as long editing the film. Now, finally we have completed the edit, and just need some final sound treatment, and one additional soundtrack for the closing scene to the film.

In the later stages of the editing process i started to run into some workflow issues. These issues occured when we started to apply colour correction and colour application with the "Magic Bullet" plugin suite. It took some serious routing and head scratching to solve the issue. In the end it was my workflow to blame. By exporting the after effects camera edits in the "animation" codec format, it changed the final cut projects sequence settings to custom, and in addition to the file sizes being "HUGE" final cut quite litrely died. Its poor little heart stopped beating, and was replaced by apples multicouloued spinning wheel of death!!


Anyway we managed to rectify the problem, by exporting a new movie file and using that new movie export as the project move, and resluted in final cuts ressusitation, after an hour of rendering the clip of course! the spinning wheel of death give way, and the cursor returned to alow the scrub of the projects timeline. happy days =D From there on in, it was a matter of matching up color correction and andding a desired color treatment to the films best visual intrest. Started doing this process but was cut of at 9pm as the colege shuts!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Editing TIme! Entry 7


Pretty much picking up were i left off with the last post, at around 9-9.30pm yesterday evening we took out the XD cam and a tripod to capture some additional establishing shots of the main casino location and the surrounding area. We was intending to get some dusk shots and full night time shots! but to say the least, what i feared and what did become very apparent, May is not the best time of the calendar year to wait around with a camera and a tripod for nightfall to occur as i experienced, and fully well realized that the sun does not set until well after 10-10.30pm. With that in mind, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the XD cam and its censor was not adequate enough to capture efficient footage in extreme low light conditions. So the footage we managed to capture was in more a dusk like condition.

Now seen as we were on track, i decided to try a technique that i had in mind to get a more visually stunning effect in post production. With me being in charge of the D.O.P Job on set, i thought it would be nice to get a set of visually pleasing establishing shots. The technique i had in mind shares a very similar workflow process to that of HDR image processing in still photography. By taking two exposures of an exterior shot, an under exposed composite for the sky, and a correct exposure for the foreground, i would then overlay the two exposures on to separate layers in Adobe After Effects, and mask out the under exposed foreground on the under exposed file. This would result in having a nice exposed foreground with a nice contrasted sky instead of being blown out.

The main workflow for this process was very successful as i did the exposures in a fixed position, however i would like to have done the same with moving footage but to do the same process with moving footage would be impossible unless you have a perfect duplicate of the shot with two separate exposures, plus it would be a nightmare to mask out.

Heres some teaser screenshots of my D.O.P Work in the new film:

To explain the images shown, the first screenshot is from one of the establishing shots to the main casino location and/or the "jazz club" as it is known in the film, were the main character plays gigs from time to time. This is the shot were i used the exposure technique i explained above. plus the addition of some nice color treatment, we have a successful HDR style shot, crediting my cinematography skills! i am very happy with it also! =D

The second clip is of a nice focus blur. it was a spur of the moment thing, that has now made it into he final cut. The shot consists of flickering lights coming in and out of focus, and we have now linked it to the fading career of the main support actor "brandy" so its acting as a visual reference to the life of the films "brandy" character"
In addition to yesterdays progress and todays progress, i have applied the establishing clips into the final cut, and they do a great job of slowing the pace down in much needed places, and setting the scenes moods nicely.


I ran into a major problem today, as we started to apply color editing to the clips, Apples final cut, pretty much had enough and grinded to a halt. This fault was being caused by huge files having very heavy effects applied to them, the software had no chance keeping up with the live rendering of the clips. To resolve the issue, i exported the clip and replaced in into the position of the reference clips from he scratch. Not ideal i know, but was the best option available considering the other option would have set the film back a week at least.

Apart from that we now look set to continue with color application, and finalize the sound and soundtrack! then ladies and gents, we may have finished with a bit of luck! fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Editing TIme! Entry 6


What a long day today has been, and to add to that i am now
Blogging in what i consider to be a break due to having a location shoot at night fall! In the mean time i am sat blogging in the av suite, now thats comitment! I have been producing some of the sound design elements manly ambient background sound to cheat that busy feel to a scene. In addition to that, we went down to the casino location earlier today to capture some roulette table footage (as seen in the picture) this was essential for the story and its flow in the closing scenes. After a few hours and some nice sfx, i managed to slide them into the final cut! So the film is making steady progress, and hope to get the final footage in the next 2 hours! Then i will be tierd! Very tierd! But am still eager for tomorow! Av got a screw loose!

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, 18 May 2009


Monday Monday Morning, and i was exited about getting the final cut complete today

I almost didn't get up this morning, and would not have done without knowing why i was getting up!
I have been having such weird sleeping sessions over last few weeks but thats not important!

Right todays editing session was great fun, but tedious all the same! got started fairly well and still had my workflow in great working order after the steady weekend break... well maybe not steady seen as i was either working, worrying about the FMP, or editing the title sequence! of which i shall be moving onto later.

Today schedule was to complete a cut of scene four, and with a bit of luck, complete the ending sequence A.K.A Scene nine. And we did it! we now have a complete rough cut for the film at a staggeringly long 10 minutes 20 seconds. But this is subject to a critical assessment and a second fine tooth-comb cut session later this week. Oh and the addition of some location establishing scenes to split up the pace of the films dialogue sequences.

We are now currently organizing a final shoot to get these location clips, and hopefully some more casino clips, especially of the roulette wheel itself as it seems relevant to the stories structure.

Now the exiting part..

I have been masking away in After Effects to produce the title sequence for the film. Its still not complete as of yet but its looking nice and tight to say the least. I am very impressed with myself on coming up with the idea to squeeze the title in at this point, and the process i went through is something i have been wanting to try for a while now.

Basically its a cut between two scenes, but in this case its to a title and not a second scene. Instead of just jump cutting to a new scene, i have masked an action within the scene to reveal the title underneath. To keep the film confidential, i am only providing film stills at this point in time to avoid any conflict with future entries to film festivals and things of that nature.

Anyway take a look at these stills, not great quality, but provides the point:

Nice? I would like to think so! please comment, and constructive criticism is more than welcome

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Catch it, bin it, kill it!

Although swine flu appears to be slowly fading from the media spotlight. And people now seem complacent that there is nothing to worry about anymore! I am
Still keeping to the good old catch it, bin it, kill it way of life! This "handy" bottle of hand sanitizer helps with vital routine, and has come in handy for keeping the imac nice and clean!

Posted by ShoZu

Testing of blogger iphone application

Well am hoping this works! Will allow me to enter blog posts while on the move! Thank god a.k.a steve jobs for the iphone!

Posted by ShoZu

Film Title! Its a tricky one

Its getting to a crucial stage of the project now. The summer sunshine is closing in, well it would be if it was any chance of the horrific rain clouds getting lost. The slow tightening slipknot around our necks that is the deadline starting to constrict the airways and blood flow of the FMP's progression. Today i have been racking the old noggin to eradicate the working title of "Brandy's Song" for a more suitable and more permanent alternative.

The struggle was not from lack in creativity, its more as a result of how abnormal the film is shaping up to be. Getting a title that can make sense of the plot seems to be near on impossible. However i do have some titles in the making and wish to share them:

Titles go as follows:

All or Nothing

Raise The Steaks


Wild Spin

Last Spin

Last Odds

Whats The Odds

No Odds

True Odds

Wild Card



Am liking "Whats The Odds" and "Payoff" at the moment, and after an email from Greame, something along the lines of
"The Payoff Blues" or "The Blues Payoff" Its at least looking more promising that the working title of "Brandys song"

More to follow on that issue soon

Friday, 15 May 2009



Friday was not officially an editing day, and as you may have gathered Thursday was not either. This was because of the crit in the morning and then we exported the sound in the evening ready to be treated. Now back to Friday. As I said it was not a day for editing as we received sudden but really good news that our cast were all available for the final shoot at the location of Billy’s House. All hyped up and ready to go we all gathered at the location in healingly. The house we were using belonged to a good friend of Graeme’s. To say the least, we could not have asked for a better location when considering the scripts description of Billy’s Place =D

Besides the horrific rain and cold damp environment of the location. We could not have had a better performance from the cast! Its amazing how in the most uncomftable location with the tightest working timescale produced what appeared to be the best performances of the cast to date. This could be down to the fact that we have developed a relationship with the cast, and have past that ice breaking barrier and started to enjoy ourselves. Shame it happened on the last shoot of the production. But we shall be extending invites to all cast and crew for the premier of the film

Good times =D

After the shoot, we managed to capture the footage to the project file. And was halfway through doing next Mondays job of filtering the video clips into scenes and removing the unwanted clips before matt kicked us out at the very early time of 4pm!! Grrrrrr!!!

But never before have I looked forward to getting up on a Monday morning and getting on with some video editing ha-ha!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009



Wednsday was a straight forward day, it must be my editing workflow kicking in now. Rather than wasting time umming and arring, I knew what was happening and what was coming next in my editing workflow. To top it off it was also saving some valuable time in the day resulting in more scenes being edited at a faster rate.

We managed to manufacture the cuts on scenes four, six and partially seven. Throughout the day it became apparent that the sound design is going to need some serious work to match the films visual. We are already in the process of listing Foley that we will need to find or produce for the sound design. The dialogue in areas is very quiet and sometimes disrupted with odd background noises such as a passing vehicle or bar staff cleaning the location. This has also prompted the thoughts of dubbing the dialogue to replace the poor quality sections from the boom microphone recordings. This is something we shall make a decision on dependant on time restrictions and prioritising our jobs into a hierarchy of importance.

Problems and Solutions:

Sound design and its quality clashing in comparison to the visual
To solve it we need to go through a sound cleansing session and/or consider dubbing of the dialogue in more specific poor quality or quiet areas.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009



Tuesday morning, as I would have assumed, we pretty much picked up were we left off the previous day, and watched back Mondays progress. This will most likely be a reoccurring feature in the editing process, and as far as I could assess from this morning, looking over the previous days work with a fresh set of eyes helps to pick out problems and mistakes that the long hard worked brain lets slip in the late afternoon of the previous day.

So.. what was achieved today. To start off, we got cracking on the opening scene between the characters Brandy (Alison) and Charlie (Peter) this scene was an odd editing experience. The reason I found it odd and unconventional was that the scene was a hyped argument between the characters but the odd thing was they was having this heated discussion through a closed door. Although the cut did come together quite nice, it was both odd for both the actors and myself in editing due to the lack of emotional reactions caused by the missing eye contact between the actors.

Now scene three was an awkward one for one main reason! Pace! And a clash between soundtrack and narrative. It only became apparent after it was edited together. The soundtrack plays from the end of the first scene, through the title sequence (scene two) and all through scene three. Now scene three opens up to a track shot of Billy (Andrew) and Roulette Dealer (Luke) then cuts into a dialogue sequence between the two. Problem is this dialogue sequence is in the middle of the soundtrack. This was the fist real editing problem we were presented with. The options were narrowed down to as follows:

Cut out the dialogue sequence to maintain pace of the soundtrack

Take the levels down or even mute the soundtrack thorough the dialogue sequence

Both obviously cause problems. But in the cut which one would be most beneficial for the story is most likely the one that will be selected for the final sequence. As of yet we have not decided on which to eliminate, but it is looking promising to drop the dialogue over the soundtrack.

Problems and Solutions:

Yes, as stated above. In short, Making crucial decisions over the two different routes of either dialogue or soundtrack should be informed and backed up by relevance to aid the script.

Monday, 11 May 2009



Monday morning bright fresh and ready to rock and roll with a huge virtual mountain of video captures sitting ready on the hard drive for myself (Editor) and James (Director) to spend pretty much all Monday morning choosing the cream of the crop, disposing unneeded captures and renaming files for reference to aid the editing workflow.

So in more detail regarding the workflow for this first step, to start of we had two folders named “Day One” and “Day Two” these names were a temporary measure from the capturing session after each days shoot hence the file names referring to the day of the shoot

From square one the first process in the workflow was to organise these folders into scenes. The most logical way to approach this was to look through the clips individually with the script in hand as a reference, and one by one assess the video clips against duplicate takes. We did this by opening each clip in finder and comparing it to other takes from the same camera angle. To make a successful choice at this stage, we looked for obvious continuity problems within the clip that would never be considered for the final cut, aspects like crew members appearing, boom microphones making an unwanted appearance and other problems of that nature. After such assessments were made, we would then remove what was not needed and drop the successful clips into there corresponding scene folders.

After that very long process, but most enjoyable at times (especially the bloopers ha-ha) it was time to set up a project folder in Apples Final Cut. Since all the files were organised and ready to go this made the process of setting it up with the scratch disks a breeze.

That was it the hard part over, or so it seemed, this opinion was soon to be changed! But that’s a story for later in the journal entry. In the afternoon I made a decision to slice and dice together the intro sequence, made up of arty farty slow motion clips. The clips look amazing alone! But when there edited together! The sequence was in a league of its own.

The idea of the sequence was to establish the visual appearance and attitude of the main location. Revealing a gambling, cheating, sleazy attitude with the contrast of a rich classy looking location where all this filth takes place. Without giving too much away, it’s a great little sequence and I am very happy with the outcome.

Problems and Solutions:

The only real problem was warming to the software again after a long time of not using Final Cut. Solved this problem by taking time on editing the intro sequence with no pressure.