Saturday 27 November 2010

Still Alive

Okay, so it's been fairly quiet recently but that's because there hasn't been a great deal to report. We're at a stage now where the only activity at the moment is editing. We've watched through all the footage - we've got an edit list for every line of dialogue and all I'm doing is mechanically following this list.

However, if it was that easy - the film'd be done by now. Picking takes for each line of dialogue works great when you're just paying attention to those lines but it needs to be a cohesive product and the edit list fails me on a fairly regular basis because of this. Shots can't be used because of glaring continuity (there's some continuity problems that won't be picked up on - some, I'm only noticing after watching a scene for the 500th - probably not far off - time), the tone in which the line's said may be slightly off with the rest of the conversation and just silly little things like that which force me to reassess what we thought we wanted.

And that's why it's taking forever. For example, right now - I've half cut a scene and just realised that an actor stumbles over a word, again, it's not too noticeable but everyone wants it looking its best so I'll have to go in and swap that one out. A consequence of that is the following stuff may not sit with the new take and then I have to reevaluate that too. And before you know it, half of what I spent ages editing has to be replaced.

It happened a couple of weeks back - I'd cut a 30 second sequence together only to realise something didn't work and the chain reaction was so great that I just deleted the entire sequence to start from scratch. Not the best way to spend 3/4 hours.

And this is what I'm up against with editing. It seems to be this snowballing monster that just eats more and more of my time the deeper that I get with it.

I do need to stress though that I am totally enjoying the experience. It's a mess of frustration but that only makes it much more sweeter when I eventually export the edited scene and view it away from the editing software. There is such a sense of satisfaction when you watch this product that you've pieced together from multiple sources and see it work as a single piece rather than the Frankenstein's monster that it technically is.

So where are we then? I would hope to be done with the rough edit by midnight Sunday. Hope. It can be done. I guess it comes down to what gets thrown my way in the edit. It's definitely a case of the finishing line being just out of reach. Once we have this rough edit, we're about 70% done with the film. I want to show the film to a few people that are completely alien to it and just gauge reactions. Not that I could or would change it if something thought it was rubbish but just to get an idea of how it plays - is there an issue with playing certain scenes out a certain way, should there be greater gaps between things or shorter ones? Are there things that aren't so clear that I'm able to sort? All these little things. That'll happen before we colour grade and master the audio.

I'm aware of the film's limitations - we aren't going to change the face of cinema with this but I want to put out the best possible version of the film. I've seen way too many films, commercially available where no care's been given to the film in post. Things like the audio not being smoothed out so where there's a cut to a different angle, the audio changes too. It's one thing that I refuse to let happen with scAIRcrows because your eyes follow your ears and it makes each cut as subtle as a sledgehammer. I will get this film right as far as I possibly can as I have a responsibility not only to myself but the producers, the cast and the audience to put out something that at the very least is technically competent.

At the same time, I'm not going to be forever tweaking it - there's some battles I've already lost and I've accepted that it's better to go with them than fight them as I won't win. A line will be drawn but I have to reach that point where I realise there's nothing else that can be done.

I'll try and get a few more blogs up in the next week or so about things somewhat related to the film - it's actually nice to get this all out there so everyone knows where we are - I don't feel as though I'm suffering alone this way!

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