Archive for the ‘Post-Production’ Category

The Way It Was Meant To Be

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The other day I was listening to some podcast jibjab about Oscar best picture winner The Hurt Locker and its current re-release woes. As has been trendy in recent years, big Oscar winners often get a second theatrical life. It seems however that major US exhibitors are reticent to give Kathryn Bigelow’s flick another shot at the big screen as it has already been released on DVD.

But this isn’t an essay on the closing release window gap that’s going to spell the inevitable destruction of the old way of doing things. *Sob*. Boring. What made my ears perk up during this discourse was when one commentator lamented that it was a shame that without a re-release few people will ever have seen Bigelow’s film on a big screen; “the way it was meant to be seen.”

This was interesting to me because with the cinemascape changing so much lately I wonder how many filmmakers still actually envision their movie on a big screen.

I used to design websites and one thing I learned very early on in this type of media design is that you can’t control everything. You do your best to cover all platforms, browsers, plug-ins, etc but when it comes down to it, your immaculate design doesn’t stand a chance against a computer user with his own control over his screen colour calibration, resolution and aspect ratio. So you do your best to control what you can and learn to accept what you can’t.

When I produce something I do think about the final destination. An obvious example would be where titling comes into play. A small font size on a big screen looks great - not so much when it is downgraded to a smudge on the web version. But titling can be altered for varied exports in post. Shot footage, less so. The notion of a close up or an extreme wide is going to change drastically depending on whether you’re shooting for a theater display or a cell phone. So, like, website design you sort of have to control what you can and accept that your brilliant cinematography and sound mix may not translate too well to, say, the LCD display and previously-loved headsets of an in-flight movie.

I’m not advocating mediocrity or settling for less than what your project deserves. I’m just thinking about the fact that the more the technologies advance - the more multifarious the media become - the more finesse it is going to take to bring out the best in your project wherever and however it is seen.

So will most people lamentably not see The Hurt Locker the way it was intended? That depends on what Kathryn Bigelow intended, I guess.

Short Cutting

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Not too long ago I was asked if I would edit an acquaintance’s short movie. Knowing the filmmaker to be a run and gun type of guy who’s shorts always followed a punchline driven format I thought it might be fun. After all, I’ve been editing for years but never someone else’s work. I’d never acted as just the editor, with no other input into the film than that. Not the kind of position I would normally think about putting myself in which is why I immediately said “yes.”

I’ll do anything once for free if I haven’t done it before just for the experience.

Going in I was asking myself the most obvious questions: What will the director, Radu, be like to work with? and Will I be getting the footage I need to make this work? But what I started to question as I got into the edit was what am I really contributing here? Or more specifically will this movie, when it’s finished, be something I can at all lay claim to and include in my portfolio of work? Will it bear my signature?

Final cut completed I came to the conclusion that no, of course it won’t, and that’s the point. Editing is only good if it doesn’t bear any signature, if it isn’t noticed at all.

That said, I did enjoy being the editor for hire on this project. There is something satisfying about contributing to something in an almost anonymous way… With the exception, that is, of prefacing it with a big self-indulgent editorial on one’s own blog…

I’ve embedded the video below. Good luck watching it without being tainted by all the foregoing!

Decompression a short by Radu Juster:

(There seems to be a sound hiccup near the end… Not my department. Ooh, deferred responsibility, a fringe benefit.)