More Creative Issues…

Mix Six days to go…(blimey) And still the film is not complete!

I spent this morning back at Midnight Transfer, completing the picture grade. Editor Eddie Hamilton came in to take a look and some very minor tweaks were made – one frame here, two frames there, shaved of shots – mainly because we could see eyes more clearly now as we are full 2k resolution – something we could never have done on the offline Avid at DV res. The changes were tiny, but again, they made all the difference. It’s wonderful to work at such a high level where literally, we discuss and modify individual frames.

One other major concern was also tackled today. ‘Gone Fishing’ contains a long flashback sequence, and ‘movie convention’ states that flashbacks somehow look different to the main narrative in the film. Often you will see flashbacks strobed, or in black and white, or de-saturated… In the offline cut, Eddie had de-saturated the look, reducing the colours. And it really helped the narrative through the various edits. But in the final grade, we went the other way and saturated colours giving it a Kodachrome kind of look. Personally, I loved this look, as did DP Vernon Layton, but I had a niggling doubt that it could do with more. We discussed putting a soft vignette over the flashback shots, but both Vernon and grader John Claude, felt this was too much. We also ran out of time to deal with it in the main grade before Xmas.

So today we applied a vignette to the flashbacks. Each shot looked very attractive with this darkened edge look, but collectively, it became too heavy and resulted in a ‘narrowing’ of the image. These flashback sequences now looked darker and somehow less widescreen. So Vernon was right.

This really helps illustrate the creative dilemma we all face as film makers – who is right, which idea is best? All you can do is your ‘due diligence’ – try it out. Surround yourself by smart people, listen to opinions and then make a choice based on your own gut and their advice. Thankfully, on this occasion, trying out the vignette mean’t that everyone ended up on the same page and in complete agreement. So the vignette was removed.

We also had a problem with the end roller, so I am typing this blog now as 90% of my computer resources are rendering a new end roller in After Effects – only 40gb of individual frames saved as DPX files! Hopefully, I can drop them in tomorrow at Midnight Transfer.

Onward and upward!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

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