Thursday, May 24, 2012

Monsters is Almost Complete

Monsters Under the Bed, a film many of you helped me with too long ago, is finally wrapping post. We are wrapping up sound design and score with the help of two guys across the pond in England. Tom Jenkins has been working with me on the sound design and is a blast to work with. He's been pushing hard to really tune the monster's voice which is a mix of many levels and parts he's pushing through vocoders with gurgles and goat bleating as the container to push the voice into. Less is more in this movie but it seems like when we take the time to push too far out there and then reel it back in, we have something very strong.

Nick Watson is doing much the same with the scrore. Building up and then taking away. I'm very thankful for these guys and everyone else who dedicated their time to this little film. I'm most excited for everyone to see it.

Color is done, effects are done. It's close. We're targeting a completed film June 8th... oh, that's 2012 by the way.
Opening Title

Jonah's "friend"

Bully scene

Bully scene

Maya Sayre as Jonah's teacher

End Credits

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Off the Map

It's been quite a while since I've updated my blog and a lot of that has to do with a crazy travel schedule for the last year. I had the opportunity to work with my good friend John in helping him build a strategy and organization at the ground level for a new music division at Maker Studios, a tech darling in Culver City that is catching both the film and online world's attention as it's quickly heading towards 1 billion views a month in Youtube traffic.

The opportunity appealed to me as there has been a clear trend developing with a shift of major dollars along with audiences to online entertainment. Convergence is finally becoming a reality. What does that mean exactly? It means that for maybe the first time in modern history, storytelling is changing. It now can be told and consumed in so many different ways that it makes the mind spin. Think about it. You now have a chance to create a singular story, cut it up into something that looks more like a puzzle and spread that across the web. Audiences are finding new content in the manner that they want to engage in. It's the storytellers job now to find them where they are with a piece of that overarching story and loop them into the overall grand adventure they are creating.

When creating, think about the overall palette you have available to you now. Not only is there mobile, TV, film, there are platforms everywhere, each with their own flavor. Youtube is king of content but it conjures certain viewing habits and tastes more than others. Vimeo is a completely different audience with different expectations of how long they'll watch a single video. Now you can include platform tastes including gaming device platforms, Blip, Sony, HULU, and Netflix and on and on. Put on top of that applications like Frequency, Roku, and a growing number of others that are curating content into a single place and you've got a lot of options.

If you're diving into your next story or script, think about the mass effect audiences are having on how content is made. Think like them. Who are you trying to catch? What do they like? Where do they live in media terms? Now start sketching how you want to go get them and where you need to start with that story. you have a chance to reach and engage in an entirely new way. Create the puzzle and go put it out there.

Jenis Ice Cream

Here's a fun video we had to chance to work on with George Lange.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What's All the Hub-bub, Bub?

A bitter man's opinion on the bitter DSLR shooters who are watching their world collapse:

It's amazing to me on how many recent test shots and camera reviews for the new Sony F3, Sony FS-100 and the Panasonic AF-100 where commenters are screaming that it's no better or worse than DSLR footage. They complain the codecs are lower quality, the chips are too small, that it doesn't look enough like... DSLR footage.

Seriously? Let's back up and take a look at what we get out of our DSLR cameras right now. I have to work around a serious number of issues that limit my options on pro shoots. I'll just breeze through them. Moire from line skipping which can not just look like a buzzing pattern but look like you spilled water color all over your shot. Pink and powder blue like a baby's room. You've got insane amounts of rolling shutter that show up bigtime. Now yes, they cost under $3k a camera, wonderful. But shooting in a professional situation with those cameras is hell. You need more support gear, everything needs dealt with differently in post which slows you down. Particularly the audio. Now I love Pluraleyes for syncing but I hate waiting 5 hours for it to batch match a ton of footage and hope that it gets them all right. I can have a rough cut in that time on many projects.

And I'll argue the point now about the codecs. You have a 50mbps codec in the 5D and a 35mbps codec in XDCAM. I'll take the XDCAM hands down every stinkin' time to work with in post. It grades better, keys better and doesn't need to be softened in the camera to avoid above said issues. Sony and Panny know how to make a camera, and they delivered what is great for their price points. They work like pro cameras and are priced great for what they provide. I will gladly pay the money in purchase and rental to not have to deal with DSLRs and wondering how they might burn you next. Red's going to get it's Scarlet lineup out soon enough as well. Right now the bottom is completely over saturated with shallow DOF milky shots that all have a very similar look and feel. There's not an enormous difference between the good and the bad because you can't push the cameras as many directions as you might want. Of course framing and the eye of the artist are key but when someone has to throw the background out in a wide because it might get messy, that's frustrating. That footage has a certain flavor to it that is unchangeable to an extent as well. I've graded tons and tons of it and while you can do some great things with the Canon footage, you just cannot quite escape its signature. That may be fine too. But its a choice.

You can argue many points against things you can't do with the Sony or Panny but it sure can't be they don't work in a production workflow well. To sum up my my little rant here, if you want to be a pro shooter (I'm not saying director, editor, etc) and you can work up into a a higher line of cameras that have less issues and even better, give you the chance to separate yourself with more of a true look and identity that is your own, why not? In this market, it only makes sense. Here's the point, there are literally dozens of options to choose from now and each has something unique to it. What's the project, goal, situation, budget? Okay. Now that you stopped and thought about that, what's the gear that should be used?

...end rant...