Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #29 - CCR

Enjoy the CCR! Full review on the production of "Sciolism"

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #28 - "Sciolism" Final Upload


Film Opening - Blog #27 - Project Reflection

The train had left the station, and our production's puzzle pieces were being individually crafted. The element to each practice in a film: Location, writing, lighting, dialogue, color, set design, sound. All of it makes up a whole new level of identity, like ants forming a bridge, or people building a city filled with expansive infrastructure. Alas, the Coronavirus ultimately was the nuclear-weapon equal to our micro-city of character and design. Though there were delays in our process due to school and other mishaps of life, we realized that things would need to start from scratch. However difficult communication became with my team and how hard it was to develop as a team due to the quarantine and conflicting agendas, I took a hold of a new brainstorming for a script after I scouted for new concepts and explored Florida's now vacant landscapes for eminent ideas. Abandoned areas, prisons, and forests amazed me. They were the source of adventure and unease, the perfect spawn for a film.

I wrote the concept behind "Sciolism" - A Mazz Runner / Indiana Jones / Get Out style movie. Due to the lack of actors, especially the time to train anyone in their rolls, that told me I had to bring my focus to the writing of a story that didn't solely rely most on a dialogue exchange. So instead of a beginning conversation between two characters or a group (especially with the lack of people), I looked to bring more emphasis to other aspects like color, set, and sound. I wanted to create something in the environment that lived on its own in the soul of the scene. I wanted to let the characters excitingly express themselves - Show, don't tell.

After writing on Friday, March 3rd, that Saturday Emil and I scouted the forest areas just beyond Manatee Bay Elementary that were about half a mile from the barren roads. Working with him to see how we would execute the set construction and design of the scene extraordinarily helped us visualize the idea. Once we were on the same page, we discussed ideas for music and got everyone up to speed on the plans: Alyssa, Emil, and his girlfriend Nadya.

The weather began to look nasty when I checked that night. We were going to need at least 3-4 hours to collect all the content we needed, including audio and all the shots we had butchered together with sticky notes on the side of the script. The rush was unreal and more reckless than I had ever set up a scene before, but hey, when you had as little time as I did I'm proud we got through it. Rain looked like it would fall around 1pm on Sunday, so last minute I shifted it all back to 8am, my place sharp. Even though Alyssa was late, everything else was moving well on time and we shot the whole production together like machines. We implemented the attractive parts to the area into our shots to bring something out of the Markham park looking scenery. There was no one out there, how on Earth has no one seen this place before? The hustle dragged on with our greatest efforts until 12:20 that day. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and dehydration. Even with the moped helping me lug equipment back to our car I was shot on the inside. Thankfully it wasn't too hot out there. I got home, and from that Saturday to today I had been editing and piecing together it all together in harmony, it's beautiful, and I can't wait for you to see it all. Even after all the exhausting frustration with trying to communicate with the team, I was happy to say that I could bring the project back to life under my name with my work and efforts. Its paid off greatly.

It's something that implements an adventurous and horror style to it. I hope you enjoy it soon. We'll upload the segment onto Youtube and embed it into the blog.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #26 - Editing and Grading (the fun part)

It is amazing to see all the footage come together - The process has finally been stitched together into a glorious piece. Here is the finalized timeline of the "Sciolism" sequence.

 The video clips are in the "V" rows, with the text pieces above in the light brown color, set with transitions. Most orange clips involve Emil's shots, while blue is with Nadya. Pink includes both of them in the composition, clearly the last bits of the opening. Most of the green tracks laying on the bottom laced with audio wave-forms are foley and sound mixing worked on in post. These include the score, external sound segments, SFX, and other important choices to bring stylizing to the scene. Lots of the sound effects included bass booms, heart beats, and winds.

Once I had my editing bit done, I moved on to taking the Blackmagic RAW video from my BMPCC4K and correcting all the imbalances in white balance and exposure, then choosing a coloring that I actually liked for the ambitions of what our film's message was. Something nature-infused and dim seemed most appropriate.

This section of my editing software, Davinci Resolve 16 (Thank you Blackmagic) includes a list of my shots in the sequence and my nodes for the coloring effects, which I can manipulate and then organize what it affects. I can add certain attributes to any color or add vignettes, warping, film grain, all sorts of things. I love using the plugin FilmConvert Pro to translate my digital footage into a more vintage look and adjust it freely to what I want. I can play with color, curves (non-linear contrast), grain, and camera sensor size (for how it treats the film format emulation, ie 8mm will look worse than Super 35) Once applied and tuned to every single shot, I have a consistent and quality look for the production of our video.

Editing has a start and an end to the process, and it takes a glorious amount of time to bring it all together and even figure out where to start. Years of producing in my school work has granted me great skills that I have worked hard for. I have learned to be efficient in my process of workflow and meanwhile produce quality content in a timely matter. In less than I week I have given my ultimate and best efforts to this project solely on my own. I'm seeing a theme now more prevalent than ever - Lack of team effort or interest beyond what they are forced to do. So be it. If they choose to live with an honesty beyond what credit is given, that is completely on them. I got this all back on its feet, and its basically everyone for themselves at this point.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #25 - Shooting and Editing!

    It was six in the morning and we met up around my house at approximately eight. Emil blasted down the road in his Mustang, and I followed with my bike down to the very same spot we had searched. Alyssa was able to meet up around half an hour later since she had slept a bit. I wasn't too upset, since this was our one shot to get the filming done I wanted to take advantage of every minute we had on set. It was our only chance after all. We began the establishing shots of the area, some extra b-roll, and Emil's scenes when she arrived on set in the forest. There was no plan for a storyboard because of our lack of time. More just a printed script like the one from last post just showered in side annotations and sticky notes. I ended up being the main camera man, Alyssa was audio and gear, and we had our wonderful duo to play their rolls that they studied the night before.

    From 8:30am to around 12:11pm that afternoon, it was shot after shot of constant exhaustion, dehydration, and hunger during production. All four of us pulled through in maximum efficiency. We were able to nail what we had to get done and work our way down the script until we had the most content to work with for flexibility in post editing. The surges of creative efforts for shot compositions and locations in the area brought more character to the scene that made what someone would call a typical park trail to be an eerie foreign forest.

Finally, we got the production done smothered in the bugs and our own sweat, but we did it! We got what we needed and the next thing to knock out was some rest and flying at the computer keyboard. We have begun our editing for the short film opening "Sciolism", a horror/thriller flick about a teenage couple alone in the forest, lost, or so they though. Teaser thumbnails! :)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Film Opening - Blog #24 - Fresh Start, Back on Track!

    Alas, after hours of searching for abandoned areas across South Florida I had no luck with finding a suitable location to tread as our vacant hell hole, we started looking for other spots to place our characters in for an adventurous maze. Markham Park, Tree Tops Park, and even Vista View Park were all on lock-down, as was the rest of the country. I discovered a little street connecting both US-27 and a few turns right past my high school. There were a few points on the road where it would deviate off into gated off pathways that lead deep into a forest packed to the brim with flourishing nature. I took a leap of faith and squeezed my bike through a crack. I spent a total of three hours going airborne through the trees, rocketing off the leverages from tilted trails and soaked in all the intelligence I could gather. I collected numerous photos of the area to scout for new spots we could apply for a script.

    The script we have is finally put together and involves two teenagers running from a mysterious criminal. The wonder of exposition and execution we crafted wraps around the idea of human fear and becoming the prey under natures wrath. We were able to get our team member Emil Lowra and his girlfriend Nadya Ackermanian to play as the duo in the story, and I would be the bad guy on the bike. The script is a simplistic urn of events that have them run for their lives, or at least they try.
Sunday, April 5th, is the day of our production. The weather looks nasty from 1pm and all the way to Wednesday this week, so that morning will be our only shot to grind and film something amazing.