Monday, June 06, 2005


Can I say I'm done now?

Hopefully, this last weekend was the last weekend spent on 'Nothing Travels Faster Than Bad News'. Yes, the film is done and has been done a while, but I still had the DVD to finish off.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I produced 'Making Bad News', a combination of an interview Suw and I shot last year (albeit edited down from 40 minutes to 5) and outtakes from principal photography. Saturday and yesterday was spent creating a new trailer. The first trailer used Fatboy Slim's 'Right Here, Right Now', so I needed to do a new one with original music. That ended up taking far longer than I intended, but after coming up with music I was quite chuffed with (my approach to creating tracks is very much trial and error, so the quality of the end result is somewhat random), I finally managed to cut together a new trailer that just about out-does the original.

Discovering new things I could do with the DVD authoring software meant I arrived late to watch Sin City on Sunday afternoon. So late that the theatre was almost full and I opted to skip seeing the film rather than watch it from an extreme corner of the cinema.

I finished the DVD proper at about 7pm on Sunday night, after putting on some sample storyboards and a few stills from the film I had lying around on my hard-drive (I did have some proper photos Suw and Nicola had taken somewhere, but I couldn't find them, so I'm 'saving' them for a second version of the DVD). Then it was just a case of burning DVDs (at 15 minutes a go, I knocked off 10 last night before going to bed).

I've handed out some already this morning to people at work who featured in the film, but I need to make time to get down to the post office to send off copies to those contributors who live further afield and to festivals and internet film portals. Seeing as I am rubbish at bothering posting stuff off, this is likely to be my stiffest filmmaking challenge yet.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bad News Online

Suw has managed to set up a BitTorrent for a 125MB Windows Media version of 'Nothing Travels Faster Than Bad News'. Find further details here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Post-post-production... relatively relaxing. I spent last night sitting at my computer trying to output the film in a compressed format for the internub. This involved fiddling with a few settings, clicking a button and then waiting twenty minutes for a render that is then too big / too small / too grainy / too silent*.

The Apple Lossless audio codec almost amused me by losing the entire audio track every time I tried encoding with it.

After fiddling around ad infinitum with Quicktime exports (none of which were great), I eventually produced a quality 67MB Windows Media version. This may surprise you. I know when I watch video on the world wormed web, I usually choose to watch in Quicktime. Unfortunately, the encoding options for Quicktime in Adobe Premiere aren't nearly as good as those for Windows Media or Realmedia.

However, I have just found a Quicktime MPEG4 encoding tool called 3ivx which may help. It costs about as much as Quicktime Pro, so provided the demo delivers the goods, a Quicktime version of the film might still be on the cards.

So, this does mean the film shall grace the Tintin-net imminently. I've also printed out the submission forms for iFilm, so I once I remember how to get the film back onto MiniDV tape, I can send that off (and expect a response in 4-6 weeks).

Festival-wise, I'm pretty sure '...Bad News' will be going off to Raindance and TromaFling. Then there's currently a shortlist of others that includes: Chicago International REEL Shorts Festivals (who make far too many reel-y bad puns in their promo bit on withoutabox), Hawaii International Film Festival (yes, just because it's in Hawaii), Rome International Film Festival (no, not that Rome - the West Coast of the US Rome), DIY Film Festival (nothing to do with actual, self-assembly shelving DIY) and The World of Comedy International Film Festival (in comedy-central Toronto).

Other festivals like The Manhattan Short Film Festival might be on the cards if I deem it worth creating a Digibeta transfer (many festivals don't accept submissions on DVD or MiniDV tape, accepting only Digibeta, 16mm film or 35mm film). The problem with that would be that MiniDV footage on a Digibeta tape is still MiniDV footage and commensurately of a lower picture quality than a native Digibeta submission would be.

I've also listed as possible submission targets: Kinofilm, The Leeds International Film Festival and The Foyle International Film Festival.

Almost all of those festivals listed have submission deadlines in the next couple of months.

Those without published deadlines at the moment include: Tromadance, New Zealand International Film Festival and The Sydney International Film Festival which the film may or may not be eligible for.

All of these festivals, with the exception of the Troma ones, charge filmmakers to submit films for the selection process. iFilm charge a yearly exhibition fee if their programming committee don't select the film for free hosting. This means getting the film seen could turn out to be a costly business.

* - Delete as applicable

Sunday, May 15, 2005

It's done


The final cut is locked. The film will premiere on Friday. Everything now is just removing lint.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Yes, it's just the same post I just posted on Dragons Fandango

But this is the director's cut post. As opposed to the theatrical cut, which I didn't make quite as good as I absolutely could have done so I had a definitive version to put on the DVD.

1. New Opening Music
2. Constant background hiss throughout opening scene
3. Balance music and dialogue
4. "I'll do it now while I remember" instead of "better do it now while I remember"?
5. Redo dialing Cass and getting "sorry, the number you have dialled..."
6. Constant background hiss throughout office scene; office ambient fx
7. Redo "Kevin, thank God. Listen, you haven't spoken to Lindsay..." outside
8. Redo mix on 'The Cassandra Complex' - reduce bass, add guitar kick
9. Add engine noise, door slam impact fx to rundown scene
10. Remix Joe's dialogue in rundown scene to balance live sound and dubbed clips
11. Add wrapping crackle fx when Joe picks up flowers
12. Redo dazed recovery sequence to keep eyes visible
13. Remix 'Bad News' - replace piano sample
14. Add punch fx to lift scene
15. Add keypress tones when Lindsay dialling Cass?
16. Add unlatch, door open fx to Cass finding Tyler outside her flat
17. Add some wrapping crackle when Tyler trying to present flowers at door
18. Add fx for Tyler running into flat?
19. Add fx for Tyler hitting sofa, hitting floor.
20. Add fx for Tyler replacing phone handset.
21. Add fx for Tyler catching his breath.
22. Add fx for Cass walking into living room.
23. Add fx for Tyler clambering to feet and falling into chair.
24. Add fx for hitting 'delete' key and play confirmation dialogue "message deleted".
25. Add fx for stereo being switched off.
26. Redo line "Does this have something to do with last night?"
27. Redo line "Cass, I wanted to be the first to tell you... I bought you some flowers."
28. Redo line "You cheat on me and the best your guilt can buy me are some tatty flowers."
29. Redo line "You did Tyler..."
30. Redo 'When Harry Met Sally' sequence.
31. Redo line "You don't?"
32. Add fx for bedroom door closing - rustling flower wrapping.
33. Add fx for Joe opening flat door.
34. Add fx for struggle with Joe across all clips.
35. Add fx for bodies falling to the floor.
36. Add fx for thief scrambling to feet.
37. Add fx for thief tackling Joe.
38. Add fx for nose cracking against floor.
39. Resample Joe's line "No! My little angel..."
40. Redo line "I thinking about..."
41. Finalise credit roll.
42. Produce stereo dialogue mix.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Good News on Bad News

It's been a while since I did a proper post on the progress of the film and since there has been some progress of late, I thought I'd do one now.

Yesterday was a good example of why post-production on the film has taken so long. The morning and some of the afternoon was spent doing nothing at all on the film, with me playing World of Warcraft instead. When I finally tore myself away from that, I produced another song to cover one of the gaps left on the soundtrack. That took a couple of hours and when I finally imported into the current edit, I found I'd synch all the beats to an old edit which no longer fit.

This meant while the drum fill kicked in in time with my character realising he's just had his mobile nicked, the climax of the big crescendo arrived roughly two seconds after the cut to Seb in his car and overlapping the next musical cue.

Rather than fix that straight away, I decided to start polishing up the credits and some time after trying to use Premiere Pro to directly import unused clips of the principal cast and finding out it didn't work and then managing it using Pinnacle's DV Tools despite that piece of software's perennial glitches, I found Premiere had suddenly gained the speed of a sloth and now took ten minutes to respond to a click on the file menu and produce the file menu itself.

I spent a couple of hours trying to fix that (open other project, close project, kill Premiere, reboot, re-reboot, open Premiere, kill Premiere and then eventually go to bed leaving my scratch drive defragmenting itself overnight). I actually fixed it this morning after re-installing Premiere (though I think the cause of the problem was Windows suddenly recognised my Sony DV Camcorder as a new device, which I think caused my Pinnacle capture card to get its knickers in a twist and confuse Premiere when it tried to play any video).

All of which doesn't really you anything about how the film has got, but does give you an idea why it's taken as long to get there as it has.

But I can report it is approaching the final cut now. I still need one more piece of music, I need to tidy up the editing around a few of the key scenes and then there's the painful job of cleaning up the audio. In the latter case, I've cut out most of the shots that might have required additional dialogue to be recorded (simply because they're no longer needed) and the music does hide much of the hiss that came from not getting the microphone close enough to the actor, but all the dialogue is in mono, which means I need to expand it to stereo and in some cases I need to add hiss to clips where there isn't hiss because a non-hissy clip next to a hissy clip only draws attention to the hissiness of the hissy clip and makes the non-hissy clip starkly quiet by comparison.

All that stuff really put me off working on the film for a month or two. Then I finally got around to choosing music and it completely transforms the experience. Despite having watched the final sequence roughly 73 times so far with the new closing music, it still gives me a kick of enthusiasm. This, coupled with the fact the visuals are considerably tighter than they were in the cut I presented before Christmas, means I'm actually looking forward to showing a final version that people can watch and enjoy, as opposed to presenting a version so riddled with continuity errors, bad acting, incomprehensible lines and sloppy cutting that imagining the bleak criticism brewing behind the viewers' eyes feels like a million knives being stabbed through your genitals by a horde of rabid toothless Rhesus monkeys starved for sixty-three days and able only imbibe their favourite testicular snack in the form of a puree.

Of course, the film still possesses continuity errors, bad acting, incomprehensible lines and sloppy cutting, but, rather like Star Wars, with a corking soundtrack it actually makes for a pretty fun ride.