Sunday, 2 October 2011

Head-hitting

Ah – the ever fluid goal-posts at Charmed Central.

Why don’t we ever just stick to the plan? A couple of weeks ago the way forward was crystal clear to the pair of us: off-load the film to an editor post-haste, and start to work on all the other things that we need to do. Such as cutting a trailer and chasing down more money to pay for all the digital effects work, sound mixes and music. And grading. And mastering.

And then we started having a little play with Sam’s first assembly edit. This was either a really good idea, or a moment of extraordinary stupidity.

To be fair to us, we didn’t have much choice but to dip our toes into the morass. Sam’s assembly came to us with one scene uncut, where his editing software had resolutely denied repeated attempts to import the footage. And we couldn’t hand a first assembly over to our prospective editor unfinished, could we?

So, we made an attempt to quickly bolt something together for Scene 71. Just to reassure ourselves that we have all the necessary footage; essentially answer the same questions that propelled us into getting Sam on-board to start with.

And it took us two days to do; way slower than the speed of the on-set edit. But after we were done, the general consensus in the office was pretty positive.

One of the things that made watching the first assembly so painful in places was that the pace was all wrong. Gore moments were dwelled on for too long; tense moments came and went in an instant. And none of the humour seemed all that funny. No disrespect to Sam – this wasn’t what we wanted him to pay too much attention to; his job was to get us out of a world of pain when stuff wouldn’t cut together properly, and when we could actually do something about it. Which he did admirably, and on a number of occasions.

But once you spend a bit more time getting the beats right, a much more enjoyable watching experience crawls out of the wreckage.

And Jake and I allowed ourselves to relax a little.

So the conversation moved on. OK – why don’t we spend a bit of time going into the scenes that would most benefit from some work, and tinker with them? Just so we’ve got a more representative cut to hand over. Should only take us a week or so.

Start at scene 1. Hmm. Cue a radical re-working. OK – Scene 2. Hmm.

And so it went on. We have now re-cut the first eleven scenes, and a proper movie is slowly emerging. Using Sam’s assembly as a starting point, we are adding in beats; shuffling shots; editing around moments we don’t like. And it’s coming together really nicely.

And it’s a whole load of fun, more importantly.

That’s not to say that everything I wrote in the last blog about being too close to the movie to have a sensible view of the material isn’t completely true. We are still planning to look for someone to come in and shape out the best film possible from the available clay, it’s just that when it happens they will have a much better idea about what they’re working with.

Till then, it looks like Jake and I will be frittering away the Indian summer sat in front of a monitor after all. Has anybody else ever wondered how many accumulated weeks they will spend over the course of their lifetime watching computers turn themselves on and processing bars slowly crawling up to 100%? Patient.

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