Monday, July 14, 2014

Back From The Living, Time To Kick Ass and Chew Bubble Gum Again

I've been having a little break from this project to do some work, and move. First to a new apartment, and before I was even finished with that I had to move my studio as well. I really really hate to move.

Seriously, did this bastard just moon me??
Well, shit happens. My old place is nothing but stems and bare concrete walls nowadays, and though it would had been nice to do some recording there in the dead of night, I've already recorded what I need from another identical building, and this one'll be stuffed with gear anyway. Pretty hard to justify to the viewers why there would be reconstructive machines, power-supplies and general gear in hell...though some might argue that such a place would be a natural habitat for contractors with powertools and a taste for early mornings anyway.

I wasn't happy with this forced break, but truth be told, it was probably exactly what I needed! If not to charge the batteries so to say, after all the last two months have been among the most stressful ones in years, so to get a healthy distance to the project.
Sure, even more truth be told, it meant some seriously painful realizations when I looked through the entire project again like it was the first time (a very useful aspect of ADHD I can tell you. And I'm not kidding), after all this was originally recorded with a really crappy camera, bordering to being useful at all.
Previously, as I went, I concentrated on the different sequences to make them consistent and fluent. That is indeed a good thing, but frankly I forgot about all the less then impressive parts. I had no clue what to do with them - should I process them in any way, or discard them in favor of improved recordings of the same thing altogether? Frankly, that last choice was in far too many cases not even possible, the places I've visited was in almost all cases lost forever, some of them even razed or in other ways obliterated as soon as the very next day after I was there, I had to make use of the scenes or do something else completely.

Yesterday, after finally having my edit-station all connected and up and running, I was looking at one of the most difficult scenes in the entire movie for now. It was a key scene that couldn't be replaces, I had been recording it during the very razing of an old hospice, and it looked anything but good.
That is a recipe for depression, but at the time that I recorded it I could had done nothing differently, and the scene itself looked awesome not counting the bad quality of the picture.
Often in these cases it's better to scrap the bad photage and make up something new, but this wasn't a Kill Your Darling-moment, I didn't want this scene for myself but for the movie itself. That's really a tremendous difference which MUST be kept apart. There has been a lot of things I had to scrap already in this movie, but though I was displeased with this part, it did actually work well for what it was needed for.
But i wanted more.
I don't really know why I ended up doing what I did the first place. As someone who's only been working as a very straight editor before, I've already had to invent a whole lot of techniques as the work advanced and got far more evolved than originally intended, but truth be told, everything, except a great effect I found by chance and incorporated because it just plain inspired me, and some awesome ideas improvised during session by my assistant and actor Lisa Schrööder, almost everything I did I could visualize and plan ahead. Sure, there's a whole lot of improvisation from there, but fir the most part I always had some sort of plan for every shot. Script or no script - if you don't know what you're doing or at least have a basic plan, it WILL end up crap.
For pretty obvious reasons I will not discuss the very nature of the scene or what it really is, if you're curious I will mention it on the commentary when this beast is released, but looking at this sequence for the first time in two months, rather bemused at that, something struck me and I, for the time temporarily, turned off all the previous processings I had been using to make this thing float. In the back of my mind I think I had a distant memory of this here thing I tried out but that never even remotely worked out. Before, that is.
I tried it on a single clip to see ho it would look. To my surprise, the originally pretty bad clip merged absolutely perfectly with this very technique! I did have to tweak it quite a lot to really make it fly, but that is something I always gladly do anyway. Here I went from a scene that was technically working well enough in context, but wasn't what I personally wanted, to a scene that added something I had wanted to add for almost the full extent of this over a year and a half I've been working on this project!!!
Now I do not use the iPhone 4 anymore since I got my nice new iPhone 5s - still not a good phone though but a good camera and so far very reliable - but I do keep it as a backup. But fact is, despite its limitations in light-sensitivity and resolution, my new method proved to work out so exceptionally well with that very material just simply because it was so limited, that I ended up applying it on many other places in the movie, adding a dimension to this flick I could never had even dreamed of before.
I love happy accidents!!!

Truly moving pictures, don't you think! 

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