Making short films is way too much fun.

December 7th, 2007 by Clint Posted in film | 1 Comment »

We spent the weekend from November 2nd through 4th making a short film for a competition at the Pleasanton library. It was the world’s only 49-hour 48-hour competition because of daylight savings time. I picked up the rules the day before and learned you were allowed to do writing and planning in advance – whoops. I wrote for the first day, and we filmed the second day.

It turns out editing is not trivial. I spent half of the editing time getting video onto the computer, and the rest of the time learning from online beginner’s tutorials. Miraculously I got film from each part of the script into sequence, burned to a DVD, and delivered – with 5 minutes to spare. After catching up on sleep, I resolved to let it go and be more prepared next time – I don’t need another long-term project. BUT… I figured I could use the film to get more familiar with the editing tools, so I made this one more version based on the original footage.

The competition was part of a Film Noir program at the library, and most entries were detective noir, which apparently means black-and-white, big-band music, and borrowed Naked Gun lines. I wanted to cram one solid emotion into 6 minutes, skimping on explanation wherever possible. It didn’t work out quite like I’d hoped, but I think someday I’ll pull off a good scene.

We shot on 2 cameras, and making colors match takes genuine magic. Reading Stu Maschwitz’s DV Rebel’s Guide (which I first heard about on Marc Andreessen’s blog), I learned that people who correct color, and people who compile audio are 2 incredibly important and well-paid groups. Unfortunately I read Stu’s book after the competition, so the submitted film had no color correction or audio work done on it. This version is still a bit off, but my magic wand is on backorder, so this is as good as it gets.

The puppets were a joke at the audience’s expense. I wanted to get them hoping it would end before it even got started, so it’s a couple long stretches of dialog. I wanted it to feel like a couple rambunctious teens were making “grown-up” drinking jokes with dad’s camera. I spotted no fewer than 3 people in the screening turn to their friends in exasperation as it was unwinding – success!

Video is nothing near as forgiving as still photography. It’s obvious when you re-size or re-frame a shot because of the low resolutions. I had to re-frame often, and I cringe at the results each time.

I’ll end with a huge thanks to my cast and crew who worked way past bedtime for the sake of art, and to Penny Johnson of the Pleasanton library for putting on such an awesome program.

One Response to “Making short films is way too much fun.”

  1. Go Broof!

    Great job Clint, Marisa and all else involved.

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