Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy endings

Back to London this week for an intensive few days attempting to finish off 'Mum & Dad'. With the sound mix done, we had only the picture to sort out, and Lisa organised to do it at Rainbow Post in London. Of course, our limited budget meant that it was always going to be a fairly condensed process. I got there on Wednesday, by which time the whole film had been conformed (basically turned from rough, compressed offline into proper HD) and they had made a start on a couple of the corrections (getting rid of booms in shot, extraneous crew shadows, that sort of thing) and a composite shot which I had always had in mind, but had put off really thinking about until the online. So, in two and a half days, we basically had to grade the film, do all the titles and sync it up to the sound mix. Luckily, the online editor Steve, was a fast worker and we managed to plough through it at a respectable rate. Actually grading the film doesn't take that much time - it's more the decision-making that can be laborious. Having been aware of the lack of budget and the concomitant tightness of the schedule from the moment I started writing the script, I've got used to making my mind up (for good or ill...) really quickly - and at this point in the process, I really wanted the film to be done, so we just got on with it.

The good thing about the arse-about-tit way that we've ended up doing the post (normally the picture post would come before the sound) is that seeing the film in its original HD for the first time as a cut already made me feel really good about the film, even before we started grading it. I'd got so used to seeing it really compressed in the Avid suite (and even more compressed on the screen at Spool when we did the sound mix. No fault of Spool's, but because of the way they got the video and had to process it to get it in their machine, it was like watching the film through a tea bag), that seeing it as it was shot was a real joy (and a massive relief - I'd woken up the night before fearing that the whole thing was going to be out of focus.)

The way we went with the grade was, for the most part, to desaturate the image a little, while crushing the blacks - essentially making them fuller and blacker. With the exteriors, we went a little harsher, partially because of the nature of the original footage, but also partly to make it seem more ugly, in keeping with how the film gets more garish and fucked-up as you get towards the end.

I left late on Friday night with only the end credit sequence left to do, which Steve and Lisa are going to do on Monday morning. Then, all going well, we should have, by the end of Monday, a finished (at least to HD master) version of the film. And I can finally have an answer to people when they ask, 'What's happening with your film then?'. I can't quite believe that we've got to the (an?) end. I don't think it's going to feel properly finished until I get it in front of a cinema audience - that'll be the point where it feels like a real film. And we won't have the excuse of 'well, there's still work to be done on it, of course' anymore...

1 comment:

Rob Nevitt said...

Hi Steven,

I've been following your blog with great interest throughout the production of Mum and Dad. I'm a filmmaker myself (as well as a big horror fan) so it's very useful and inspiring to track the production. I have a feeling we may have met briefly at the Warp X launch in Sheffield (I'm sure I had a conversation with your colleague Gareth about the Fulci soundtracks they were playing at the reception at the Workstation)

I'm also looking forward to the announcement on the next Mayhem event - I've submitted some stuff before (my first short as director FRAGILE and also DEAD IN THE WEST, the zombie western I wrote/shot at uni) and I'll be sending my latest film in asap.

What are your plans for Mum and Dad? I'm really keen to see it, ideally on the big screen. Are you planning to submit the film to Dead By Dawn in Edinburgh? A bunch of us go there every year (this will be the 7th) and if you've not been, it's well worth the trip. The first year we went they screened your short CRY.

Anyway, I just wanted to get in touch to say it's been great to read your production blog, and I hope the momentum will continue when Mum and Dad is unleashed into the world...


Rob Nevitt