Last night’s shoot went great. That’s 2 in a row where things were pretty much spot on. We shot in my parent’s house and that was odd because there are pictures of me from all ages all over the house, so it was like a “Ross Museum” or more akin to freak show as people tried to figure out where the svelte good looking teenager disappeared into the fat hairy guy who must have eaten him.
Because of the rush nature of putting this together, I did not get to rehearse and that does bother me. I very much prefer to work for at least an hour or two with actors without a crew standing by or working so we can build some kind of rapport, and work without a net. There needs to be an environment of trust so that when we talk about things I like or not like, and what they prefer and want to try, we can experiment and talk without it being under pressure or with an audience. I don’t want an actor to be self conscious if I tell them I don’t like something they are trying because with 10-12 people watching it might seem like I’m shooting them down and embarrassing them. Similarly, I don’t want to have an argument if they don’t like the way I want a line to be read and we’re in the thick of the shoot with me behind the dolly, camera, and bank of monitors.
Now for this shoot, we shot with the Sony Z1U. Since I have Cineform’s ASPECT HD codec, I read up on it and they recommended shooting in the European PAL format of 25CF (cine-frame) mode. This is a Sony workaround to get the “film” like image, they shoot in an HD PAL format into a 50i image, and my software can extrapolate the 25 progressive frames from it and converts it down to 24 frames per second, but then re-works the audio so that it keeps the pitch normal without slowing it down too. It’s all very technical and makes sense to me. If you’re reading this and feel dumb, that’s okay. Maybe you are, or at least you aren’t as super-duper intelligent like me. Or maybe if you watch Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica and the techno babble makes perfect sense to you, we can be friends. It’s a miracle I have a girlfriend, and if I have to tell you that the last 2-3 sentences contained incredible amounts of sarcasm, then you are in fact dumb and that’s not a facetious stab.
What is cool for me about working on some shorts again is trying out several HD camera makes and models. As I gear up for 3 features later on, I want to have some firsthand experience with several cameras and see how they edit, handle color correction, effects, etc. Before I shoot on another feature, I will have seen how these cameras’ footage looks projected too. All of this combines to make more informed decisions about what to shoot the features with when the money is on the line. Shorts can serve a VERY important piece of the process and be multi-beneficial if you use your noggin.
I am proud of John’s sister Joanne Fromes who is doing well with her first few projects as a director. Again, My Sexy Fiancé Veronica ™ had to work, and there is some tension over the amount of time I spend with this young nubile girl. The editing sessions will begin tomorrow and she’ll see that not many hot young chicks are into hoggin’ it with the biggies. It’s very weird to not be the director on these pieces and just a co-writer and producer. I’m having a blast anyway. Maybe I’ll stop directing and only produce. And maybe it will rain beer.
I’m still waiting for this PAL 50i conversion to 23.976 Progressive frames to finish conforming the .M2T files to .AVI. I’m telling you, if that sounds like Chinese to you, then you need to get busy studying CODECS. Your first assignment? Tell me what CODEC stands for!
Peace and B WILD,
Peter John Ross