Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Going Pro

I have a clapper! You know, the slate with the scene info on it that some schlemiel holds in front of the camera just before the director calls for action? Well mine came today.

It is taking all my self control to not run around sticking it in peoples faces and shouting 'action!'

I also got my shotgun microphone today. The guys at Mountain Music were kind enough to kit me out with the right cables and adapters. Tonight after work I'm going to plug it in and see how it sounds!

Altough my equipment is not that great, tecnically I have enough to shoot a digital movie semi-professionally. Camera and Batteries, Microphone and Batteries, Cables, Boom Pole, Editing Suite. At some point I'll need to buy some portable lights and gels, but that's for the future.

This is really coming together!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sound off!

Well I just ordered my Azden Shotgun Microphone and my Clapboard today. Damn I'm getting all professional!

I've been distracted by Season 7 of '24' this past week, Dad and I have been doing a marathon. But when my mic arrives (and I get a cable for it) I'm going to shoot something. In the movie sense.

I've got a scene picked out to test shoot with. Now I have to convince some friends to blow a free evening on my crazy ideas!

Success is on the horizon...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Learning Curve

I've been learning to use the Sony Vegas Pro editing software. It seems there is a lot more to learn than I expected. But the tools are very powerful.

I've gone past color correction and experimented with digital masking, composites, chroma key and several other post-production techniques.

I'm going to need some more footage to practice with so I'm hoping to do some shooting soon (if this damn rain ever stops, holy crap!)

I'm writing a small single scene that can be shot in one session to give me the footage needed to practice real narrative editing. There is more art than science to the editing process. So much to learn.

I'll keep you all posted!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Color Corrrection

Ever wonder why scenes in Hollywood movies look like paintings and your home movies look like crap? The pros use a tool called "Color Correction" to make every shot look like they filmed the most beautiful people and places on Earth and waited for the perfect light conditions. I've been learning the art and science of color correction with my new Sony Vegas Pro editing suite and the results are dramatic.

On the left is a boring frame I shot on the Rail Trail. Washed out so no color, lit from above so no shadows or highlights. Very YouTube. On the right is the color corrected version. Very Lord of the Rings!

Here I've subjected the realistic documentary-style shot of my house to the same color correction process. It looks like something that exists only in Hollywood. Kind of weird really.

Finally here's a shot I took at night. Nothing looks good under the creepy pink light of a sodium vapor-arc lamp, not even Jessica Biel. But I subtly removed the awful purple and punched up the oranges and blacks, turning a cold, dreary looking shot into a warm summer midnight shot.

Can you tell I'm having way too much fun? These are only three of the dozens of scenes I've been practicing color correction on. When we start shooting for real, I'll be able to make every frame look like a National Geographic cover and every amateur actor look like a Movie Star!

Next I'll be learning how to clean up and enhance sound tracks. Then I'll cut a short film using both color correction and sound design and post the results. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sleeper Has Awakened

It's time to get things going again.

I've purchased some equipment and more is on the way. I just ordered Sony Vegas Movie Studio Pro 9. It'll be good to learn new editing skills and be able to work with footage more flexibly than with Windows Movie Maker. When I've paid off my credit cards for my latest purchases, I've got my eye on a semi-pro Azden shotgun microphone. I also found a great company that sells top-quality sound cables at very low prices.

Another month and there will be nothing to stop me from making a movie. I won't have to borrow any equipment. I can just go shoot, record sound, edit and present!

Scott and I are working on a story for a feature length script, something we can actually shoot with the resources we have. No expensive locations, actors or effects. There's no money. Just generous people and whatever places and props we can use for free.

This blog will update on Mondays. Stay tuned for more information!