Monday, August 24, 2009

Film Scheduling Workshop DVD in Progress

Sid is editing video right now. We've got a big DVD project coming out for our good friend and client over at http://filmtvworkshops.com. Film Producer Tom Kane teaches a 3-day intensive film budgeting and scheduling workshop. The workshop is not just for film students, though it is a great benefit to those just starting in the industry of film and motion picture production.

Tom Kane's Film Production Workshop is also a great resource for people who work in various departments of film production, but would like to pursue the roles of Assistant Director (AD), Unit Production Manager (UPM), and/or Line Producer. Tom has years of in-the-field experience, on feature films including Taxi Driver, Kramer vs. Kramer, Prizzi's Honor, as well as producing record-breaking original cable features such as Crossfire Trail, Last Stand at Saber River, and Girl in Hyacinth Blue (filmed in Holland).

The DVD package is going to be an alternative to taking the course, and will be multi-disc set of the key points of the workshop. Included on each disc will be bonus anecdotes and '"jump-to" menus during playback, for the viewers to pause and jump to an extended scene in which Tom talks "Behind the Scenes" about real production challenges and experiences working on the pictures mentioned above. At least that is Sid's vision and goal. At the moment, Sid is still whittling down the final edges of the rough cuts from a 4-day version of the Film Production Seminar shot in Denver, CO earlier this summer.

So far the challenges have been minimal, and easily foreseeable. For instance, Sid knew that with a 4-day, 3-camera shoot, there would be a lot of media to manage. So, planning on capturing to 1TB hard drive, and then backing that one up to another HD before editing, which would itself be media managed down onto a third 1TB hard drive for final touches and MPEG-2 export. Technically, all the media would have fit onto the 1TB drive, leaving about 200 MB free, which is just a touch under the recommended 5% of free space theory (which says, leave 5% of your HD space free to act as "bonus RAM").

However, it proved to be even better to capture 1 days footage, from all 3 cameras, and edit a rough cut of that footage. Because Sid had to render what became about 4.5 hours w/ timecode and export that for he and Tom to individually review, the project created an additional 12+ GB of render files from just the first day's sequence, and then Sid was able to export a low-bitrate MPEG-2 export at about 4.2 GB more for the DVD burn. So, if all the media had been captured, with just under 5% of HD space remaining, Sid wouldn't have had the space to render and export any tests. It actually worked out, that we were able to capture and edit 1 day. Then render and export review copies, delete these render & media files, and capture the next day, and still had just enough space to do that again for the fourth and final day.

Unfortunately, the project had an early stall, because the capture drive crashed during a backup of the 2nd workshop day's capture media. Sid lost only 4 hours from 1 camera, but waited 1.5 weeks for a replacement drive before continuing on. The process continues quite nicely. There has only been 1 hour of footage that was incorrectly white balanced, and 1 camera on day 1 had to have it's light levels adjusted slightly, but the content itself is clean and the audio is solid, if just a little heavy on the low bass.

But again, Sid is just now finishing the rough chopping on Day 4, and then will media manage that down to just the good bits onto his extra HD. Then the additional visual components, animations, and audio editing can begin. By the time this thing is packaged, Sid will have gone through the course so many times, and so concisely, he might just have to teach the workshop himself. Just kidding, Tom. That's not our thing.

So stay tuned for updates on the DVD's release. Any readers who are in film or video production and feel like they could benefit from additional skills on budgeting and scheduling feature films, documentary films, or cheap indy films, would be wise to check out this workshop. Sid actually took it back in 2002. (of course we weren't gonna say that at the top ; )
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