Saturday, 7 April 2012

The digital hand-over

The pace car has pulled into the pits, and now we get to hear the glorious roar from the powerful engines.

As in F1, so in post-production. There is a strict hierarchy and order to the various tasks; it’s a relay, and not a sprint. Before anybody gets a chance to play with the footage you need to lock the cut down.

And after two weeks of entertaining St Marcelo in Winchester, we’re there. 78 minutes of shambling hordes, miscellaneous bludgeonings, excessive swearing and Danny Brown looking sheepish. After building in all the comedic beats and adding a bunch of people running through woods with toy guns and cutaways to exteriors, we have reclaimed seven minutes of film from St Marcelo’s original pruning. And the mood in Charmed Central is extraordinarily positive.

Finally, finally, we have a DVD that our post-production team can watch that Jake and I are happy to stand behind. This is our film, like it or not.

The rain break is over, and the rest of the grid can begin the race proper.

So, this week in Charmed Central has been enormously busy – chopping the film up into manageable chunks and handing them over to our merry band of post-production experts to work their magic on.

First up – Dale-the-tunes on Monday; it was the turn of Glen-the-sound and Tom-the-foley on Tuesday, and then a big box of all the shots that need a little CGI to Ads and Matt-the-VFX on Wednesday.

And sadly it was a big box. For all our earlier intentions to get as much of the gore done in-camera, and thereby honour the films that made me fall in love with horror cinema as a younger man, it turns out that we still need 88 different digital enhancements. Some of them were always planned in (see, for example, the IndieGoGo video of recent amputee Joe Rainbow wandering about in a green sock); some of them are simple augmentations of the footage (muzzle flashes, smoke from guns, and getting rid of that red light that we failed to spot on a smoke alarm); and some of them things we just couldn’t get working on the shoot (such as my brother’s pathetic inability to cry me a single tear on demand at a key Messiah-of-the-undead moment).

But, as the silence fell across Winchester on Wednesday night, Jake and I relaxed with piping-hot mugs of Encona safe in the knowledge that the mightiest of engines were now in full voice. This is a really terrific post-production team. If we’re happy with the movie now, just think how good it’s going to feel as the fruits of their labours start filtering in.

And so, a man’s thoughts turn to Cannes. Poster art, scheduling meetings, and a 6-minute digest of the movie to tart around a cathedral-of-film filled with distributors and sales agents.

With this in mind, we now welcome St Marcelo back to Charmed Central. The man that turned 91 flabby minutes of Andy‘n’Jake’s limited editing prowess into a watchable 71 minute movie gets the chance to get really aggressive on the footage. Can you please now do it again, but lose another 65 minutes?

And they’re off. I wish all but six of you a very restful and relaxing Easter break. Whipping.

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