Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Making the grade

On a gloriously sunny spring morning in early March, Captain Jamie-the-marine must have thought that Jake and I were being a couple of wankers for insisting that he wore a plastic night-vision headset.

To be fair to him, I did sympathise. You couldn’t see a thing through the prop goggles; it was hard enough to negotiate the way around my flat with them on, and we were making him run blind through dense woodland with only the promise that we’d yell “stop” if it looked like he was about to career into a tree. It’s a level of production respect that’ll be responsible for a thoroughly boring out-takes reel on the DVD.

But all the scariest horror movies happen at night. Sadly, even the happiest cast and crew get grumpy if you stand them outdoors at 4 am in March while you faff about trying to swap out the blown fuse on a generator just because you haven’t got enough light. So this is where the movie magic comes in – shoot it all during the day and then turn the brightness down later.

Fuck it; we’ll fix it in post. The rallying cry of failed film-makers the world over. We can just paper over all our ineptitude and incompetence when we’re grading the movie.

Grading is a massively complicated and laborious exercise. First you have to adjust every shot to match up the light levels; balance out any differences in colour, hue and chroma; basically deal with all the footage direct from the arse-end of the cameras. And only then can you start to make the movie look like how you actually want it to look.

So when I say “turn down the brightness”, it turns out that it’s slightly more complicated than that. This is why Ads-the-grade is on speed-dial.

“The thing you’ve got to realise about Ads”, his business partner Matt-the-VFX assured us at the time of the first trailer, “is that he’s a bloody genius”. It’s complicated, but it’s well within his talent set.

Repeat blog attendees may recognise Ads-the-grade as Ads-the-VFX; the man has been extraordinarily busy of late. And today he sent through some screenshots from the graded Cannes trailer for Jake and me to check over.

So this is what the film’s actually going to look like.

And in amongst the screen-grabs were some of Captain Jamie-the-marine. But at night.

Jake and I have always wanted to go for a really bleached out and desaturated look for the film. It’s all to do with the rods and cones in your eye - when it’s dark a more sensitive set of photoreceptors take over; only they don’t do colour very well. And, bloody genius that he is, Ads-the-grade has made it so.


…and by moonlight…

This month has been conspiring to surprise and delight me at every turn, with the astonishing quality of stuff that's coming in from our post-production posse. It seems that the less that Jake and I are involved in the minutiae of making the film, the better it gets. Contrary to popular belief, these guys could polish a turd; I just can’t wait to see my face in it. Reflective.

1 comment:

  1. you guys seem to know stuff about undeads lol
    any idea where to find decent Online Zombie Games ?