Manhunt on show as a rough cut
Last week we showed Manhunt to the world (or a bunch of fellow students and Jonathan!) for the first time. It was good to get some independent feedback on our film because I had spent so many hours trawling through the footage, adding effects, to-ing and fro-ing, that it was good to get a different perspective.
Some of the advice we took on board was:
- shorten some of the clips, such as the one of Rob bobbing his head up and down from behind a car in a comical fashion
- lose the scene of the car entering the carpark – it adds nothing
- add a few more special effects, such as flame from the gun in the final scene
- fix the titles and credits
I spent quite some while creating rolling credits and trying different effects for the opening credits in Premiere. In the end I deleted the credits I’d created in Premiere and redid them in After Effects so that I could animate them and sync them with the theme music. They probably run a bit quickly for that reason, but I think they fulfil the requirements of the assignment better than had I left the Premiere titles in place. I also added some kinetic text to the mid-way scene where the words “difficult, but not impossible” are narrated as part of the music, because this added to the sense of the assassin hunting his prey.
Finally, we had our film ready to upload to Vimeo and present to fellow students as part of the Media & Communications student exhibition at Swinburne on 4 June 2014.
Below are some images to demonstrate activities during this period.
One of many Premiere versions of the opening credits
The final iteration of titles in Premiere, soon after this I redid the titles in After Effects, much jazzier!
Creating kinetic text to mirror the audio “difficult, but not impossible” in Adobe After Effects
Kinetic text in production in Adobe After Effects
Here she is in all her glory…Manhunt, effects added, edits complete, sound in place…ready to export as an H.264 / 1080p MP4 file, then import into Vimeo.
Starting to come together
By now we were well on the road to having a rough cut of our project ready for next week’s in-class presentation. I had pretty much sorted out which footage would make it and which would end up on the cutting room floor. It was a continual process of watching and re-watching the footage, editing on the fly, and watching it again to see how things flowed. I was beginning to realise what a massive job it must be do edit a feature length film because I had spent days working on our little 90 second job and still wasn’t done.
Rob and Bird had created some good gunshot, smoke and fire effects, and a nice pool of blood for the final scene. I had enjoyed the process of working with AE and Premiere to get the effects we wanted.
Here are a few images to demonstrate where we were at by now.
An early cut of the film, before any colourisation had been done.
Sorting out sound effects in Audition
So, this week’s post is all about the editing process.
Having spent the first 9 weeks of the semester being tortured by Adobe After Effects, I enjoyed being back in the saddle of Adobe Premiere. We had a good amount of footage and had managed to get just about every angle we needed to tell our story in a dynamic fashion. All except one, which was a close up of Bird (the assassin) picking the lock to the apartment. The footage we had made it look like he was opening the door with a key which I felt threw the whole plot into disarray. Having in a previous post alluded to how far away our stars lived from the “film set” (my home) in Footscray, I decided to do what any sensible director would do…reshoot the scene using my own pasty old hands and try to pass them off as Bird’s youthful tanned ones!
You be the judge…did it work?
Close up of Bird’s hands
Close up of “imposter’s” hands
Anyway, by the time our weekly lecture came around I had a reasonable cut of the film and was keen to meet the team at uni and see what effects they had come up with. There was a risk they may have added effects to footage that I hadn’t used in the final cut, but I was hopeful that wouldn’t have occurred. Surely fate wouldn’t be so cruel…
Fate is indeed that cruel, and in fact they had cut ALL the effects so far onto bits of footage I hadn’t used so it looked like I would be returning to the drawing board for another round of snip snip snipping…
Here’s a screen grab of what we had so far. The plot was thickening…
First cut of Manhunt. Original titles done in Premiere using an image I shot at dawn one morning…a nice image, but it wouldn’t make it to the end of the editing process.
Having written an action-packed and rather suspenseful script, now came the hard part – filming it! We booked the Swinburne camera gear and jotted “film shoot, 9am Saturday” into our diaries, and soon enough the big day arrived.
The location for the shoot was a dream for me because it was at my apartment (a good suggestion on my part I thought!)…not so good for Rob who had to travel all the way from Traralgon (well, he did choose to live there!), and Bird made his way across town to Footscray by the allotted time. I’d had a slight glitch the day before when arriving at Swinburne to collect the camera gear because the AV chaps had shot through. Jonathan went above and beyond when responding to my distress call and came back to uni to help me out, but alas I’d also shot through by then having decided to use my new DSLR for the job. Rob was bringing his Sony pro-cam that he’d never used before, so the question was would we sink or would we swim?
We loosely followed the script with a fair amount of creative licence, and spent a highly enjoyable three or four hours creating our masterpiece. Rob shot a few scenes with his Sony but for the most part was acting, plus his camera weighed a ton so I wasn’t keen to use it. Plus I love my Nikon so shot the lion’s share of the footage with that. I was very glad of my experience making another short film, “The Medusa Syndrome”, last year because it had taught me the importance of doing numerous takes of critical scenes from different angles to aid the editing process.
Bird and Rob seemed to enjoy their brief stints as Hollywood leading men and got nicely into character as assassin and prey respectively. They were responsive to direction and happy to repeat scenes when Lady Spielberg demanded it! I thought I was quite generous only making them run up and down the stairs a few times, but suspect they may have been spared by the arrival of our building cleaner to check that Rob wasn’t having a heart attack (he was panting like a champion and it echoed quite alarmingly in the stairwell!).
After all scenes had been shot I left the chaps to download the footage onto their various hard drives and memory sticks while I raced around the building grabbing sound effects on a digital sound recorder.
As I waved them off we all felt we’d had a great day and had some good footage to work with. Next steps – I’d cut the film into a cohesive piece on Premiere and they’d start working on some effects in AE.
Here we are shooting scene 2 in the hallway…