Friday, November 04, 2005

At last...

It's been a while since an update, but mainly because it's been a slow process of changing a line of music here, tightening an edit there, but finally last week we realised we were done and set about sorting the online out.

First though we got a sound mix done. Joe Addison did the mix for us, but halfway through he rang me and said he wanted to try something different. He wanted to try reversing the audio again (so it runs the right way) and spotting it all, so it will look in sync. We'd had a very quick and rough go at doing that in an earlier cut and it didn't seem to work (it was very rough indeed), but told him to give it a go.

Went to his studio on Monday night, and really wasn't prepared for what he'd done. Each sound had been so carefully spotted and mixed that everything seemed perfectly in sync, yet the sound no longer ran backwards. The result was that you concentrated more on the story and less on the effect. Some of the shots are so still that with the normal sound you have no idea they're backwards, so whatever backwards movement occurs looks (and sounds) totally natural. It was a revelation. Tim Olivers new soundtrack was added to, and fitted in even better with the new forwards sound.

Thursday is D day. 8.30 am back with Joe to check the final sound mix, then over to Todd AO for our online. The good people of Todd AO are giving us the suite for free, and John Pearce is going to online it for us. Sadly, the Quantel decides to go AWOL and we're forced to upsticks and move across town to St Annes (another part of the Todd AO / Ascent media group) and do the online there. Maybe it's all the reverses, but the first machine we try there isn't having it either. No problem though, we online on D5, then back to HD. Only problem is it's now 7.30 pm and we have to grab our HD player and run ruond the corner to Jasper Taylor for our lovely grade. Have to do it today or it's £500 for the HD decks.

Just make it in time. Jasper, once bribed with vodka, does his usual amazing work, draining the opening shots of colour yet still keeping them solid, letting the piece warm up slightly as it progresses before becoming truely warm and rich for the final scene. Martin Sharrocks credits, which looked great, now look fantastic alongside the colour grade.

The only downside is some trouble with the VITSC / LTC time code readings, which mean we will have to relay the film, but John at Todd AO is going to sort that for us. It's only to make sure the print marries up perfectly.

Ah, the print. At first it looks as if the print is going to cost us 22p a foot (it will be 990 ft). This is good. This is also wrong. It's 57p a foot. Plus VAT. That's £600. Add that to the (albeit amazingly cheap) deal at Digital film labs and we're still looking at some serious money to find. Oddly, the amount is almost exactly what we could get from the print funds from the British Council and Film London. Only they don't give money for prints for British festivals (a position I can understand from the British Council, trying to promote film abroad, but one which makes no sense from Film London). Still, the good news is that Bristol can show our film on DigiBeta. It's not the way I wanted it, but it means we can show at the festival and hold back on getting the print made until we get into a foreign festival, at which point we should be able to access the print funds and therefore be able to afford the print. This is the theory.

Anyway, that's in the future. For now I have a DVD of the finished film and it looks and sounds great. The only sad thing is that they didn't make my name flash a thousand different colours in the credits as I asked them, the bastards. Send it off to Berlin, Florida, Aspen, Nashville and somehwere else I've forgotten. God knows what the Americans will make of it. Probably a coaster.