Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Literal Font of Technicalated Mambojambonation

New York City is alright. Its a town of hustle and bustle, and a place where you get off the subway and get yourself lost in no seconds flat.

Its full of annoying things like raucous taxis, yuppies, crowded sandwich shops, stores full of clothing that's more expensive than god, posers, those little dogs that like to bark at you for no reason, advertisers, and people.

Its also full of awesome things like stage shows, famous people, non-crowded sandwich shops, stores that have anything and everythin in existence, artists, ice skating rinks, reliable public transportation, and people.

The technical expertise here is very nearly palpable, -tastable-, you could practically squeeze it between your forefinger and your thumb, some places you go. Or at least, all the hundreds of godforsaken powerwalkers who flock and swarm along Fifth Avenue and Forty Second want you to think that.

New York is everything and anything, in the end, and that includes a self contradiction. The city is quite possibly one of the most confrontational cities around and it gets in your face like its got something to show you often. But more often then not when you stop and look and show your face back, you find in the end that nothing too much was looking you down in the first place.

So what have I been doing while I've been sitting pretty here in the Big Apple? Well let's see...

Anathema is complete. At long, long, long last.

How about I take you on a journey through its creation?
Yeah that sounds like a good idea.

IN THE BEGINNING, God created the animals.

No wait, that's too far back.

SO FIRST, I came up with the idea.

No wait, that's still too far back.

According to this blog the last thing I showed you guys was the animatic. So let's start from there, shall we?

The Story Reel, a sideways glance at a first look at a beginning:
So in any video project worth its salt, there ought to be video....footage plates shot onto which the effects and everything else are added and edited against.

Bit of a no-brainer, this one, I shot my footage somewhere around October when my most gifted talent, Joanna "Akemi" Micco was in town. She did a bangup job of the role I asked her to do, adn there's nothing like looking at a bit of raw video plate and saying "yeah this is gonna be awesome."


I would know. That's what I did.

The Rough Cut + Color Correction, chipping, chipping away:
A rough cut, as any video editor/producer worth his salt would know, is first pass at editing a piece, after the footage has all been slotted into their placeholders, marked out in the animatic.

A little while ago, a friend of mine, working on the same project, asked me what the difference between a Story Reel and a Rough Cut was. And so I told him. His response was that meant that they were the same thing, since a good portion of the editing was supposed to have already been done in the animatic.

I didn't have a response to that.


I did all my color correction in the same pass. Why? It was a button. Well, a button and a slider, and a few more buttons and some adjustments and a couple more sliders....what I'm trying to say is that I did it, and I did it because there wasn't that much tweaking needed for the editing.

The Effects Pass, like a backstage pass into WHOA (not really):
Here's where the brunt of the work happened.


The aim was to terrify. And every single effect, filter, slider, and button that I inserted into this was made towards that goal. If anything seemed like it didn't more rightly align the piece towards something unnerving, something discomfiting, something that would give the viewer that sense of -unease-, it got chucked.

At the same time my knowledge with Aftereffects, as I'm doing this is about as stable as a palsy victim tapdancing on a seesaw.

Continually change, continually morphing, and acquiring new parts like some hideous metallo-bionic collective, I found myself having to throw out half of the effects that I started with whenever I found something better.
Radial blurs got replaced with horizontal-restricted gaussian blurs. Manual camera shakes got replaced with time squeezes and remaps.

Text was added and adjusted in ways that I hadn't anticipated before and as is evident, even the ephemeral title sequence got a complete workover.

But I like it.

The Sound Pass, a valley of audio connecting the Sound Valley to the Sound Plains:
Sound effects are horror. They are what makes the scary terrifying, what makes the disquieting unnerving, and the disturbing horrifying. It adds that extra thick filmy layer of immersion that is so essential to pulling your audience in when you're trying to disturb them.

In other words, I had fun with this.


Putting together the sound effects for this monster was a bit of a doozy. I wanted to keep the backing "music" track, I'd refrained from inserting that particular track into any other project specifically for the purposes of this very project.

So what else? It didn't really feel cohesive unless the individual cuts had some other sound things going on top of it.

Originally I recorded a bunch of audio using my lovely little headphone mic...gasps, wails, groans, and strange mumblings.

Exactly ten seconds after I put them into the track, I threw them out. Homemade audio is not conducive to scaring people, unless you're going less for "scary" and more for "really freaking sketchy".

So I went back to the library of ambient tracks that I had originally pulled the backing "music" from and began slicing and julienning things as I saw fit and sliding them onto the tracks.

And I liked it.

The finished product that made it onto the DVD deviates exactly none from the finished Sound Pass. Everything up until that point had been polished out nicely before I moved on to the next step so I felt no real need to go back and whip a dead horse that's already primed for the races. ... ...


More on my other projects later.

Stay tuned.