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Sunday, January 16, 2005

editing, Day 8 Recap

To update the post-production status, I’m about 70% through my first edit. I’m happy with it, but I’m trying to not judge the quality of things at this point. I’m just trying to get the scenes to cut together any way that works. It’s enjoyable-- lots of things make me laugh and exclaim, “I love this!”-- but I’m starting to feel the pressure of getting something done. My biggest concern right now is how am I going to get a film print that looks great and doesn’t cost more than the production itself. I was hoping the new Sony HDV format that comes out next month would be the Rosetta Stone of my post process. The deck is reasonably inexpensive and I thought I could cut the negative, do a color-correction film transfer to the Sony HDV, finish titles & credits myself in Final Cut, then strike a film print from the HDV master. Turns out the Sony HDV format isn’t going to work-- not enough resolution, not the right input/output capabilities, just not right.

I can still go this route, I just need to find film transfer & color correction to a real High Definition format. And find someone who can insert my titles and credits to that HD master. All this will be very expensive, but having a 35mm film print and an HD master opens up a lot of doors that a simple, standard-definition video finish does not.

This is all too much big picture stuff to worry about right now. I need to finish the editing of the film first, see how good it is and go from there.

Here’s another daily recap from the shoot.
DAY EIGHT (Wednesday, October 13)
Locations: Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida; Coquina Beach, Bradenton, Florida; Beach House Motel, St. Petersburg, Florida

This is the start of the longest two days of the entire shoot. Crew Call for me, Evan (DP), Bill (Camera Operator), Arma (producer), Claire and Travis is 9:00 AM for the drive to Sarasota Jungle Gardens. We’re shooting scenes of Theodora and Hector frolicking for the ‘love montage’.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is an old-school Florida attraction, straight out of the ‘60s with talking bird shows, Tiki statues everywhere and flamingos that eat out of your hand. The location and the weather are perfect, absolutely gorgeous . They even let us use their golf cart to lug our camera & tripod around. We get 4 or 5 shots and head to Coquina Beach to meet the full crew for lunch and pickup one scene with the Ford Fairlane that we missed the day before. We shoot two takes of dialog and a couple of drive-bys, then pack up about 2:00 pm to start the one hour drive to St. Pete to shoot our motel interiors.

Unfortunately, our cube truck (with all our props and film) couldn’t follow the production directions because of weight or height or something and got lost, then got stuck in Tampa rush-hour traffic. The whole crew is on location, ready to shoot, and we don’t have any film. Everyone wanders up to the ‘Dairy Barn’ to get ice cream and sits around. I work on shots lists for the next couple of days. It’s quite frustrating, but not a bad break for a crew that’s been running pretty hard for a couple of days. After a 3 & 1/2 hour wait, we get our first shot at the motel at 7:07 pm. We shoot our interior daytime scenes first, using lights to cheat the Florida sunshine. Most of the scenes are dialog heavy with a little blocking to keep things interesting. We have two night exteriors that we save to the end of the day. I have to cut two scenes and we wrap at 2:45 AM. Nobody gets back to their rooms until after 4:00 AM.

Just to make things interesting, Gaffer John Swindall, who is driving me, Evan and Bill home, gets pulled over for speeding 50 yards from our beach house. Amazingly, the local police office lets him go without a ticket and offers to be an extra in the movie. I pass out the instant I make it to my room. That’s a good thing because we have another 9:00 AM call on Thursday to shoot Mary Kraft’s last scene before she has to drive back to Atlanta (see journal # 8). I guess if you don’t have at least one 20 hour day on your no-budget indie feature, you’re just not doing it right.

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