First Primary Shoot
The 546 semester at USC Film school

#4 in a series of 13

Lights, camera, action! .. at USC Film school

Fade up & zoom in.

In their first primary shoot last weekend, Pema & crew shot an ambitious 750 feet 
of film. This means Wendy & Geof will have their editing work cut out for them. 

The entire 546 project is limited to 4400 feet, for a 12-min film. For comparison's 
508 was limited to 1200 feet, for a 5 minute film.

Digitizing the film is the first step, which converts the footage to digital format, so 
it can go on the hard drive. The quality they digitize at is not very good. By comparison,
digital video is already 'digitized' in the
camcorder, and it transferred to the hard drive
at 720x480 (via Firewire connection).

After the footage is digitized, residing on the hard drive, the next job is to sync the 
which locks the audio (which is recorded separately) tracks to their 
corresponding footage (using
clapper-board sound as sync point). 

Audio is recorded on a device called a Nagra. From there, the audio is transferred to 
something called a DA-88, finally it's digitized with the
Avid. Wendy noted how much 
easier it is working with digital video, where both audio & video are already digitized 
& sync'ed in the camera.


Wendy & Geof didn't get get very good sound logs, which made it difficult to find the 
right audio tracks. Wendy started sync'ing yesterday afternoon, and worked straight 
thru 'til Geof showed up about 11PM (after his class). She stayed with him a few more 
hours, until he got the hang of it, then left to get a few hours of shut-eye.

Geof got no sleep at all, He worked straight thru 'til the morning. But all the dailies 
were sync'ed by the time class started (9AM). Wendy said she would've stayed all 
night if necessary to get the job done on time. She expects many all-nighters near 
the end of the semester. 

She appreciates having Geof as a partner, cuz he doesn't mind working hard when 
necessary. All day in class today, he was doing basketball head (unable to stay awake).

Instead of driving all the way back to Laguna for the short turn-around, Wendy stayed 
with Alex & Berni, who live in Topanga Canyon. She got in around 3:30, and had trouble 
getting the key to work. Berni woke up, and opened the door for her. 

The alarm seemed to go off only minutes after her head hit the pillow. The French-press 
(strong coffee) that Berni made in the morning kept her cranking for hours. (Better living 
thru chemistry.) 

I get concerned about her driving after working so late.

Actual *editing* begins tomorrow (finally). She's excited about editing on the Avid for 
the first time. The thing that Wendy enjoys more than editing is working with actors & 
actresses (directing).


After the class viewed all 'the dailies' today, Mary Jensen (the head of 546) said that 
Pema's film seemed most ambitious, and that there were already scenes that moved 

The dailies of all (four) 546 films are shown & viewed together, in the same class. The 
detailed feedback & critiquing of each film, of what works, and what doesn't, and why, 
is one of the more valuable aspects of Film school.


Wendy showed her 1-min project for the Intermediate Directing class yesterday. 
It's titled Madre, and is about the fears a mother has birthing a child into today's 
society. It's posted
here. It's heavily encoded & compressed to meet broadband 
streaming specs. The original looks much better.

Hers project was one of the more ambitious ones. For example, one guy did a piece 
on a guy taking a crap. Made her feel like she was in 7th grade again.

She's also been holding auditions for the next project, a 5-minute scene taken from 
a chapter out of the book
Green Mansions. She was gonna use Zarena for this project, 
but Zarena couldn't make it to the auditions Sunday. 

Instead a girl named
Dawn showed up, and stayed the entire duration, reading for/with 
all the guys who auditioned (during Super bowl Sunday). She said Dawn is perfect for 
the part.

Dawn is currently playing Puck, the mischievous fairy is Shakespeare's Midsummer's 
Night's Dream
. For the play, she has a green silk dress that will work perfectly for 
the Green Mansions scene. Both Wendy & Dawn are excited about seeing a chapter 
from the book come to life. 

She still needs to select a guy for the other part. She's pretty sure she's going to 
choose a guy name
Rich, a substitute teacher from Jersey. 


Wendy got a job in the Sound dept. She'll only work a few hours per week. Before 
students can get a position as TA, they must first work at
USC for a semester. The 
guy in charge of the Sound dept is understanding, and knows why she wants the job. 
He has stuff she can do on an availability basis. She chose to work in Sound cuz it's 
a good dept to get to know the people in. 

Coming up on the horizon are:

1. Scholarship apps 
2. Making (high-quality) Answer print of her
508 film 
3. Entering
Liliana in the festival circuit.


Jahmar passed his driving test last week, and now has his learner's permit. Also congrats 
Sidney, who just built his first PC, from scratch. Not bad for a man in his 70's. 

Fade to black.

Next ->
Making an Unconventional Film
Previous -> Stress Returns

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