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October 05, 2009
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I’m getting closer to the end of the creation of another piece. I love this part. The edit feels good to me. The tail end of the making of a movie tends to take the longest amount of time because you either rush it and it’s not as good as it could be and you re-do it, or you take your time and do it right the first time, but it takes a long time to nit-pick to truly make it better than good.

The sound is coming together nicely. I’ve done the basic sound editing too now. I haven’t gotten back to the DA master files, but editing is separate from mixing, so that’s okay for now. We recorded the audio with the BOOM mic separate from the wireless LAV miv on each actor favored in the scene. We had both tracks mixed on the left and right side for the RED footage. That gives me a very basic idea of the sound I’m using, so I can edit with that. Editing requires some times using different audio than appears on screen, especially with L-cuts, etc.



Some times to use a take, you create a space or moment that didn’t occur on set where you have the actor reacting to a line that is either removed or said at a different time. Also, you get total audio gaps in a take, either because of a line of dialogue being said off screen or a pop sound (which we had none of on this soundtrack thanks to Chauncey and Rusty). You still have to fill in the hole of sound because the ambience of the room tone just drops off, and sometimes it takes more than that.

Micah and I recorded a single foley track yesterday. I needed the sound of someone kicking a something specific, so that required something not really found in most sound effects libraries. Scott showed up and ceremoniously kicked the object. We set up and recorded straight to the editing computer’s hard drive from the mixer I have on my desk from the boom mic in the garage here at the studio.



Tomorrow is color correction day. Spending an hour or two to balance out the color and brightness will finalize the basic look of the movie. Two out of five FX shots are more or less done. Andrew Kramer of Video CoPilot.net saved the day with his site, tutorials, and products. A new lesson learned working not only with RED 4K footage, but seriously shallow depth of field: LENS BLUR is my friend for making any kind of effects work in context. Sometimes an actor’s face is in focus, but their ears are already blurred, so anything you’re doing to them digitally has to match that focus plane. I’m used to digital video EVERYTHING IS IN FOCUS style work.

Up next, SCORING. Finding the right composer, the right music, and “spotting” the movie, which is picking where music does and does not belong, is all on deck. This will slow the process down. I’m hoping to work with a composer I have never worked with before.
After that, the final sound mix and this piece will be ready to screen. In many ways, this movie represents a return “home” for me. Working in a dark comedy, something with teeth, and a darker skewed view of Americana, are staples of my earlier film work. It feels like the right fit for me.



I just got notified that RELATIONSHIP CARD just won “BEST MINI FILM” at the INDEPENDENT’S FILM FESTIVAL 2009 in Florida. I forgot that I submitted it to over a dozen festivals a few months ago. No one told me it got accepted, so that’s 2 festivals in a row I got in and didn’t know.

The weird part is that I feel like this movie is my past, even though it’s less than a year old. The new movie represents the direction I’ve been headed in for 3 years and it’s the first thing that LOOKS like it. I love RELATIONSHIP CARD very much, but it isn’t very cinematic. It has no depth of field, no significant camera movement, or anything that makes it stand out as a DIRECTOR. I knew that with the volume of visual FX work it would be a problematic to say the least if I did use any of those tools, but that doesn’t compensate for it. I love the performances and I even like the writing, which is rare for something I wrote. There was so much basic human truth in RELATIONSHIP CARD that I feel like anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship “gets it”.

At the same time, I’m immersed in this new project that I see my future in. What I’m doing now represents what will be my next feature film and the next 2-3 years of my life and I’m happily running towards that future. Why does it also feel like I’m running away from my past works too?

I bid you adieu,
Peter John Ross
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