Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Back From Another Trip

The picture above has nothing to do with anything. I just saw it and liked it, so here it is.

Anyway, back from NY.

It was a fairly easy auction all in all. That doll that was supposed to sell for around $100K sold for $250K. I'm going to chalk it up to my stunning video.

Found a good place to eat while we were there. We ate there for lunch and dinner on Friday, dinner Saturday, then grabbed something to go on Sunday. That's right, four times in three days. (my brother tried something different every time--I ate burgers three times, fish and chips once)

Here's a picture. Awesome burgers, reasonable prices(which I've found to NOT be the norm in NY)

Got back, immediately dove back into the editing on the short. Want to wrap it up because I'm thinking this:

The short that got shot last weekend--the one I helped one day on--I'm a little worried about the 2nd day. The director's never shot anything before and I'm not super confident about his shooting script. I'm guessing they missed shots.

And the guy who's supposed to edit it isn't gonna get on it fast. I'm thinking I should offer to do a rough assembly just to see if they're missing shots, because if they're going to get them then they need to do it soon.
Did I mention to you that the guy, Mark, who played my clown in FOC has been hitting me up trying to get me interested in an FOC Carnivale flick. Personally I've found the idea to be ridiculous.

He just sent me an email that he wants me to skype with some producers he's got interested in the flick. Claims a director he knows pitched the idea to these guys and they loved it. Says he's gonna have the guy send me the script for my approval, and wants to talk rights and whatnot.

It's like I told him in the earlier email--I'm open to it, but only if it involves upfront money. Under NO circumstances am I signing off on this for backend promises. My two requirements are that the script can't suck and I need some money upfront and a small backend if by some miracle this thing makes bank.

FB friend got drunk and posted this. And I gotta tell ya, the highlighted part is something I've thought about over the years. Weird.

So drunk. Trying to find me. Buried under all the bills, petty life struggles, bullshit that doesn't... NEVER matters. I lost a friend. Who did not know his end was upon him. What was his last thoughts? BILLS? Daily life struggles? I am wrapped up as well as all of us. We have to fight. Not against people nor obstacles that lay before us. But against ourselves. Find a way to live. To remember we are dreamers. Who was that boy who watched horror films and would imagine himself in the roles of the main character and the love interests on a girl I would soon meet. Where is he? You know, we day dream about what it would be like to visit ourselves from the present to the past and tell ourselves about iphones and what marvel has to offer. But we can learn so much from our younger selves. I wanna link with that night. I believe the film was Spookies. My heart had beaten with such passion then. I want it again. I need to find him. HE WAS so much better than I. He longed to be me. And I long to be him. Is there a way for the two to meet? For their hearts to beat in the same rythym. Drunk rant. For that I apologize. BUT under the jokes and image. This is me ... screaming.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Frame By Frame Photopainting. Again.

So. The first half of the anthology short is pretty much done. I'm happy with it.

I put some temp music in, which I always do for two reasons. 1) If the scene doesn't work with good, professional music then the scene is not going to work at all. 2) I can help get a rhythm with some of the edits, sort of massage them into place.

Taking a final look at it I realized that there's a scene where we shot inside a tent. To make it work I had to cut a slice in the tent to insert the lens into to get the angle I wanted. Problem is, the tent is sliced in some of the later shots when it shouldn't be.

I was hoping nobody would notice, but I showed a buddy and it's the first thing he mentions. Super. So now I have to frame by frame stitch it up. No rotoscoping or rotobrush here, because the tent billows and moves with the wind(and movement of the actors).

It's probably only a grand total of about 18 seconds of footage. So that's only 432 frames to individually paint. Not that much, right?



I do not have the patience to be a color correction guy. Been messing with Speedgrade, and the name is deceptive. There really is no such thing as a fast color correction.

You mess with your primary color correction just to get a basic neutral picture, then apply some secondary stuff, and odds are you gotta fix the skin tones after that, and don't get me started on then using masks to get a certain effect.

Debating about just using the basic color correction I'd had in Premiere, and simply use Speedgrade to match some of the harder-to-match clips.


Could not pay me to go on this ride:


It's very cold. My computer and its hard drives approve. I do not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Am going through some old CDs looking for something, and I came across this. Years ago I was trying to come up with a new look for my film company web site, so I was messing around.

I spent some time in 3D Max creating a movie theater auditorium with my posters up. The theory being I could add more as I did movies, and if they double clicked on a poster it would take them into the theater where they could watch the trailer and stuff.

So first off, I'm not an accomplished 3D Max guy. My knowledge of any kind of 3D creation software is very rudimentary.

Secondly, as the files tell me, this was in 2005 so it's a while ago. Hence my laughter.

But I uploaded it--it turned out that no matter what I did, the pieces were large and so the web site would take far too long to load. Nowadays I could probably make it work.

Anyway, here ya go. Hover over a poster to see it change slightly, click it once and the camera will zoom into it. Click on it again and it will SWOOP you into the theater(and stop). You'll have to reload it if you want to see the other posters in action.

This is hi-tech, people! hahahaha

Also my furnace appears to be broken. There's about an 80% chance I'm going to need to buy a new one in the next couple of months, and don't get me started on how complicated and expensive THAT is.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Busy week

Finished two versions of the main credits for Cutting's web series. Waiting on the names/footage of some other actors in future episodes.

Then I got hit up to shoot a vid for the upcoming New York auction. Went in the next day, shot it all, got busy editing and had it up online the next night. Was a lot of editing(70 minutes of total finished videos) but I wanted it done.

Still using CS5 for those, as I'm not used to the new CC layout yet. I've discovered how to do much of the stuff I need to do, but am not really digging a few things. The way you now minimize/maximize your timeline workspace is particularly annoying. And there's this space at the top of your timeline that's just blank, and you can't remove it. I don't get that. It's taking up monitor real estate and does NOTHING.

Two weekends ago I also went out and helped with another short. It was at an abandoned VA hospital. I feel like I posted this already, but I don't see it.

Anyway, the location was great but the shoot went horrible. We shot in the road around the area--there was a bunch of abandoned buildings, but the main building looked like the set of Session 9.
I got there at like 10am, and the problems began immediately. They were going to do a shoot-in-car thing, and he had a tow truck that was going to pull the car. Sounded good. Then the tow truck and the car get there.

The tow truck is gonna pull the car on a chain, I find out, and the car has terribly-tinted windows. The camera guy is gonna sit on the back of the tow truck and shoot, but since he can't use a tripod and doesn't have a low-boy, he's gonna hold it on his leg.

None of it works. The car keeps getting jerked because the tow truck pulls, slows down, pulls, slow down. It looks like ass, even though we lit the interior of the car so you could see the actors' faces through the tint.

After a few hours of messing with it, the director asks me what I'd do. I say I'd abandon it. Not gonna work. Figure out something else. So we do that.

We go to a nearby trail and get a scene shot out there. That's goes okay. It's cold though.

Then we prep for the woods shoot. We have to create this prop item from the sticks and things he's prepared, but that means dragging 10 foot sticks into the woods, along with a giant buck of large stones. Takes some time. We needed to shoot a scene at dusk, but we lose light too fast. He changes it to a night scene, so we shoot that.

Biggest problem is this--we have no power. He has two LED soft boxes, that I'll grant you are pretty freaking bright and last a lot longer than I thought. I think it was this kit:[name]=PROMASTER%C2%AE-P180-Manual-Control-Studio-Lighting-Kit---2-Light-%239413-Studio-Lighting-Kits&catalog[product_guids][0]=832965#category_3

Problem is, that still left the background black. I have an amazing flashlight that widens and casts a massive light, so we ended up using it to light some of the background on each shot to give a bit of depth, but at one point I asked him what ISO he was shooting at and he said 3200...

Now, I tested the 5D and it was unusable on video at any ISO above 2000(and even 2000 is gonna take some noise-removal software), but I don't know anything about his cameras so I just grimace and don't say anything. I don't get home until 3AM.

Couple days later I talk to him and he's bummed. Says it's all very noisy, looks nothing like what his monitor what showing him(he DID have a very nice monitor, rather than use the LCD screen). He's looking into noise removal software(he has one but I think he's pretty skeptical he'll be able to use any of the footage we shot, and he's thinking about quitting the entire venture...)

So yesterday I went out and helped actually SHOOT another filmmaker's short. It went substantially better, and I don't believe it's a coincidence. There's still some things I can't believe go on. (missing props? Really? I mean, if it was some sort of background item I might understand it, but it's literally a PLOT POINT.)

At least it was a day shoot also, but again it was very cold. As Murtaugh says, I'm getting too old for this shit. Was out there from 9am to 5pm, then took off to attend a friend's birthday party.

Anyway, back to my segment--trying to finish it up. Shot a composite pumpkin on my own, which was tough(have you ever attempted to do a selfie with a DSLR that's zoomed in? Now picture trying to line up the hole in the top of a pumpkin from 10 feet without a monitor AND get it in focus)

Have been putting in some temp music to see what's what, whether it's working. Parts of it certainly do, some other parts don't.

Oh yeah, we went out to the woods again to get some final foley sounds plus get some publicity stills. Here's a couple, and again, no share. It's a testament to nobody reading this that I feel pretty free about putting them on this blog. :)

So, more work this week, and off to New York from Friday to Sunday. Staying at the Waldorf.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Big Doin's

Took the kid out trick r treating, then threw on my minimalist costume. (hey, I got TGH cape on!) Went out and got pretty drunk, had a good time, danced. It was weird because they had a band, which I think is a pretty shitty thing to do on Halloween when people wanna dance.

A weird band that started with 2 original songs, then launched into 80's heavy metal. Then later on did Lady Gaga. It was weird. We danced during the break when the DJ came on.

Didn't throw up, so that's cool.


Was out tonight, cuz I'm getting a sore throat so I wanted a Slurpee like you wouldn't believe.  First 7-11 the machine was broke. Completely broke. Drove to the other 7-11 near my house. The cola machine was not frozen. It's fuckin' NEVER working there.

So I drove a ways away to another 7-11. Success--I thought. It looked like it was working but it only filled up an inch of the cup and then froze. Wouldn't come out. I tried for like 2 minutes. Nothing.

I left the cup and walked out. I drove five miles up the road to ANOTHER 7-11. That's right, it took four 7-11s to finally find a working cola machine.

On the way out there though, I saw this truck. I couldn't take a pic, but I noted the name and looked it up and some other girl had photographed it in daylight. Take a look:
Full service novelty solutions? Like, huh? Does this seem like the kind of truck a serial killer or the FBI or maybe The Punisher would drive?


The big doin's I alluded to above is this--and you non-techies will probably wanna skip this:

On the credit sequence I'm supposed to be doing...was given a deadline of sorts, which is much faster than I'd been told. And I'm not being given some of the elements I need to complete it.

The original guy who worked on this thing used CC, which I don't have, and you can't open a CC project in CS5. I told Cutting I wasn't putting CC on my computer because I don't want my edit machine attached to the internet.

Well, I decided to do this so I could take a look at the original project file and export individual elements. I took one of my smaller old hard drives and wiped it, put Windows 7 on it, and booted my edit machine to it, with no other hard drives attached.

Then I connected to the internet and bought a month of CC. All the apps(it's $50 a month if you commit to a year, or $80 a month if you're just going to do it for a month). But you can cancel after 30 days if you want and they'll refund your money.

I figure at the least I'll open this guy's project, export the elements I need, and then mess around with the apps for a month before canceling.

But I gotta tell ya, after experimenting with the programs I may just pay for the year. Man, these programs install fast, haven't crashed at all yet, and there's some fucking great new programs. One's called Speedgrade, which I'd heard of--a new color grading program for Premiere. I opened it, and it's pretty clear I'm going to have to watch a tutorial or something.

So now I gotta decide though if on my horror short I should mess around with my edit in CC or not.

What I don't like about Premiere is that once again they've changed the layout. You can switch the Workspace back to 5.5 layout, which is nice, but the timeline is still a little wonky. I don't like the way they keep changing the audio channels. I like rubber bands, I like the keyframes you can see when you open the audio waveform in the timeline--all that stuff appears to be gone.
UPDATE: Okay, they're there. They just start super minimized, and then when you open them you have to right click on them, and decide which rubber band you wanna look at. Resizing audio tracks could be time consuming.

Also funny--when I first installed Premiere and After Effects, I booted up After Effects and messed with it, then unplugged the machine from the internet. (since I have no virus program or firewall on it)

When I booted up Premiere it insisted it didn't understand the .mov I exported from AE, and also wouldn't allow me to export any hi-def file of any kind. I couldn't find anything about why that was online, so on a hunch I plugged back into the internet and relaunched.

When you first boot up any program there's something called Sync--you Sync the program, and then don't have to do it for 30 days after that. But since I didn't sync Premiere at all, it was basically just a half-ass DV-quality version.

Worked fine after that.

Anyway, exported one clip that the other guy was dragging on getting us. He claimed it would tie up his machine for about 3 hours. I think he's exporting using a Commodore 64, because it took my machine about 10 minutes.

Am working on the credits now. The show is about UFO's, so I've had some fun creating fake pics using public domain photos with UFO imagery, and then making them look vintage. We'll see if he likes them. Fuck it, I'll post some of them here when I'm done.

UPDATE: Okay, here ya go, and ignore the music--youtube sometimes gets butt hurt if you try to upload a silent video: