Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Locking the film

This means the editing process is basically - primarily - finished.

Now it's time to pursue two separate and equally important processes: color correcting and sound mixing.

Color correcting means a technician (in our case at Modern Digital post production in Seattle) "equalizes" and enhances each frame of the film's color in a digital program. In some cases, as in one scene we shot - half of a room was shot on one day, the other half the next. Predictably, each half looks different because the lighting cannot be specifically calibrated to make the picture look exactly like the day before for another location.

I'll sit near the technician, asking for exactly the look I need for the film for every frame of the film. Today there are amazing ways to affect the appearance of a movie. But - if the basics aren't already on the film or video when it's originally made, there's only so much that can help the image in post production.

Fortunately, between DP Paul Mailman, Gaffer Ted Barnes (he's the lighting genius) and Grip Greg Smith, our film is knee deep in production values, depth, color and dramatic detail, highlighting not only our actors but the production design work of Rachel Thomson.

With this rich tapestry, we can pull all sorts of magnificence out of every picture.

The other process, sound mixing, is a finite, weeks-long creation of every sound heard as you watch a movie. Music is mixed with sound effects and dialogue and natural sound and Foley creations. Foley is creating a sound that sounds like another sound.

Like in one scene, a brush is painting a creamy concoction. To get the rich juicy sound of what this *looks* like it will sound, editor Stephen Meyers and I got a paper towel dripping wet, folded it into a small square, and I dragged my finger across it. When the brush is supposed to tap the concoction, I tapped my finger on the soaking wet surface.

Or there might be a sound created by the same thing as the actual sound, only in a confined space. Like a character walking across a gravel road. We put gravel in a box and wearing shoes identical or similar to the character's, someone steps exactly at the speed of the actor onscreen as it's recorded.

It's way fun. Stephen and I created a lot of sounds and sound effects; he's the master.

In the mix there are many channels of sound that need to be sorted and scaled so each can be heard appropriately by you. Is Ragnar Rosinkranz' fabulous music up enough when it is to be heard along with natural sound (sound that can be heard naturally where we filmed the scene).

It's an extremely detailed and distinctly subjective procedure led by the director. But sound technician Dave Howe at Bad Animals studio provides the best of the best from which to choose.

It's all very exciting to me. Sitting day after day over a period of weeks for incredibly long hours as each minuscule piece of the acoustical program is put into place, just as the color correcting procedure calls for the director to attend to each tiny element as it is finessed.

I love it when people think what I do is "glamorous." It's just many many many hours of hard work, putting a huge puzzle with a couple hundred thousand pieces together, creating what is commonly known as one's vision.

Directing is such a massively collaborative effort, but there is a basic vision that drives all of us in the same direction. With a little bit of luck, the outcome is a film that you find worth watching - again and again.

I'm thrilled to report that many people who have seen the test screenings of the film say that is exactly what they want to do - see THE WHOLE TRUTH again! All I can say is after our final edit, the color correction and sound mix, it will look and sound many times better than it was when they saw it.

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  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger The Entertainment Corner said…

    Getting a chance to watch THE WHOLE TRUTH is definitely something I'm looking forward to this year.

    Keep up the great work :)

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Jarrod said…

    Awesome! Congrats CP and to all on this project!


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