on Post-production

on Post-production

Shortly after completing principle photography in December, and after taking a well-deserved and much-needed break from work, I started to think about the workflow for post-production. Having never edited something so large, I had no idea what to expect, or even if we had the right tools for the job. I started scouring the internet for ideas and expectations for editing a feature-length film with Final Cut Pro X (fcpx). I didn’t see many people doing that, so in the same spirit as my lengthy post on directing my first feature in Africa, I offer you my nerdy narrative on our post-production process. Maybe it can come in useful to others who are considering FCPX as an editing platform. Why Final Cut X? Over a year ago, I directed our first project that we edited in FCPX. We had been undecided up until that point whether we would jump ship (from Final Cut Studio) to Adobe Premiere, but figured the free trial for FCPX was worth giving it a chance. We were blown away by how quickly we were able to take 6 hours of unlogged footage and assemble it into a finished video package. Normally this process would have taken 2 weeks for the logging alone. FCPX and its range-based keywording and scrubbable event library allowed us to do this in a day. The trackless, magnetic timeline, with auditions and compound clips helped us to very quickly assemble a rough-cut. It did take us a few weeks to really learn the ins-and-outs of using FCPX efficiently, but by the end we understood the unconventional but clever choices Apple...
Finishing the movie

Finishing the movie

The events of the past week have had a rippling effect in our movie release plans. Last week was to be filled with media interviews and showing our trailer on TV and gearing up for a huge pastor’s conference about this movie. Now those pastors are officiating funerals and counseling grieving families. They also decided it wasn’t best to advertise too publicly that thousands of Kenya’s missions-minded pastors would all be together in one place at a certain day and time. They’ve delayed their conference a few weeks, and we’ve delayed our release to be closer to their dates. Things are finally coming together, though. After spending the past 2 months writing about 54 minutes of underscore, working with some of Kenya’s best musicians in licensing their music for the film, and pulling a couple of 80+ hour weeks in sound design and mixing, the movie is almost ready for release. Just last week we went to a major cinema in Nairobi to test our DCP, which is a special video format for the large, expensive digital projection systems that most theaters own. We decided to make our own DCP instead of sending a hard drive to LA and paying thousands of dollars to have one made for us. We honestly weren’t sure we could do it. But after a lot of trial-and-error we were able to make it work, and were totally blown away by the quality of the picture and sound. It really looked like a movie. And sounded like one. Also, if you haven’t seen the new Distant Boat website, please check that out. And the...
Scoring the Distant Boat

Scoring the Distant Boat

Below you can listen to my orchestral underscore to “The Distant Boat“, which opens in a month. The biggest music project I’ve ever taken on… about 50 minutes of music in a 2 hour movie… about 2 months of work for me. (c) 2013 Andy Brown Click here to see more about The Distant Boat and the past 18 months of my life in producing this film for the African...
On directing

On directing

I used to do a fair amount of mountain climbing. When Robbie was born, Lesa and I lived in Denver, which is a good place to live for that kind of thing. By the time we moved from Colorado, I’d bagged 12 of the 14,000 ft peaks (called “fourteeners”… Colorado has 53 of them). And last year, about the time that the seeds of an idea to make our first feature-length movie were taking root, I hiked 16,000 ft Mt Kenya with Robbie. It was about 3 months later that the OFM team, and Ted Rurup (producer) in particular, tasked me with directing it. And we were about to leave on furlough for 2 months. While being up for the challenge, I realized I was woefully unprepared for what lay ahead. I wasn’t even sure what it was that lay ahead, but only that it was big. Too big to wrap my mind around. Like standing on the Colorado plains, looking west toward the mountains, it’s very hard to judge scale. I’ve done it enough times to know that something that looks from a distance like a quick scurry up a hill is actually an arduous, strenuous, lengthy climb up a huge pile of rocks. It takes preparation and forethought, planning and training. Once you start climbing, you realize how slowly the peak seems to grow, and often disappears behind smaller peaks in the foreground. You feel light headed as you pass the tree-line. A headache, or nausea might follow. Half-way up the final stretch of mountain you wonder if this will really be worth it. From the top,...