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

Film 3 is a Wrap (Editing)

Titled Breathe. Seven minutes, not counting credits. She'll show in class today, at 2:00. Learned her lesson from the last film & will (try to) emotionally detached from the film. She discussed with profs about how not to take criticism personally. They told her she needs to learn, "We are not our art" - but agreed this can be difficult to apply. Hopefully she won't come home & ball her eyes out today. =)

This film seems a full step beyond anything she's done in the past. Perhaps it's the film's multi-layered approach. The second half if rather poetic. Tonight we'll know how well it held up the shredding machine (class). 

She's getting proficient (fast) with both the video- & audio-editing programs. Practice makes perfect. This gives her an advantage over someone who may be learning Premiere for the first time. She has lots of editing experience with the program now. 

This story has more narrative structure than her first massage piece, BodyMind, which was more artsy. The story moves quickly, & lingers nicely on the magical moments. Everything was filmed in frame movie mode (Canon GL1), which tends to look more film-like look than video shot with other DV camcorders, or in normal video mode (interlaced). 

She included a few neat visual & audio effects. For example, she filmed a stream of honey pouring from jar into a bowl in the backyard, with sunlight reflecting from behind. This lent a prism effect to some of the footage she used in the film.

Lynne, the girl who played the massage-getter & dancer-on-the-beach, might sit in on the class today to watch the film. Wendy wasn't sure how that'd work when it came time to do the shredding, or critiquing. They might be reluctant to critique freely with an actress there. Lynne attends USC too, so would be no problem for her to drop in. 

I'm sure she'd love to see the movie projected big. Her beach dancing rocked. Wendy tweaked the white-balance setting on the camera while shooting the beach scene, which gave the entire dance scene a neat effect -> everything was cool/cold shade of slate-blue. Hard to describe. You'll have to see it yourself to understand what I mean. Artsy.

Never ceases to surprise me how completing the audio brings everything together. Audio/sound seems to be one of her strengths. She works extra hard/long on the audio. Wendy uses Vegas Pro (by Sonic Foundry) to create her soundtrack, Sound Forge as her audio-editing application (special audio effects like reverb, etc.).

She had a problem with the live audio shot indoors. Seems that the (sensitive) shotgun mic on her camera picked up an low, but annoying, electrical hum from the PCs (lots of spinning hard drives). Extra work to correct. One of those unforeseen problems that is hard to plan for. This was one of the more painful lessons to learn. 

She has a Noise Reduction program, which allows her to eliminate certain frequencies - kind of the cops use to make poor-quality audio sound cleaner & clearer. But this is the first time she's had to use it, so it involved scaling the steeper slopes of the ever-treacherous learning curve. 

She didn't finish editing until 1AM last night - then had to write a 5-page script. I went to bed after she finished editing, so not sure what time she finally turned in, but she had to get up at 5AM, so she'll be dragging today. She left me a note on the kitchen table that said she should be home by midnight - she has to rehearse her scenes after class with two classmates. She has some herbal energy pills - will probably be popping a few of those bad boys today. Better living thru chemistry. =) 

She's directing a scene from Ordinary People. Wendy loves directing. 

She originally planned to attempt an original score for this film - a first for her - but one of the musicians canceled at the last minute. Won't mention any names *ahem* Vondano *ahem*. But it's prolly just as well, cuz that would've meant lots more work (than simply ripping music from CDs).

She's used of reverb in the audio in this film. Reverb is the slight echo sound that noises take on in different environments. For example, the same sound will sound different in a broom closet than it does in a opera house or a metal tank. She's been learning about reverb in her sound class. 

When you want the sound to appear as if it's coming from farther away -> add more reverb. If you want it to sound closer? (e.g. thoughts in someone's head, for example) -> less/no reverb (called 'drier'). Wendy uses an audio-editing app (on PC) to add reverb to a sound clip - the
Timeworks 4080L. Wendy's sound prof (who developed THX for movie theaters) said reverb is a world unto itself.

While lecturing last week, her Sound prof said that, in the past, he used to tell students that, "digital audio was coming - it's not here yet, but it's coming - but now, it's finally here!" He said the people who are getting the good sound jobs now are people who know how to work with & manipulate sound/audio by working with (sound) files on a computer. 

Said it's all about working with files, & that the old is making way for the new. Wendy has been learning how to manipulate audio files on her PC. It is lots of fun & simply amazing, all the effects you can add to a sound file. Anything that can be done the old way (analog), can now be done digitally, for much less $. 

We have a high-end sound card, & have been learning about digital audio. It's much more involved than we originally thought it'd be, but is great fun.

Wendy recorded our wind-chimes (big metal tubes) & added reverb, then used this audio in the soundtrack for the Breathe. If you listen, you'll hear the chimes. Sounds great. She had me running all around, recording different sounds here & there (need two people to record).

Even before film #3 shows today, she's already setting up for film #4 -> reserved a room tomorrow for holding auditions - something she's never done before. Going to make some calls today & set up for auditions tomorrow. She would've liked to take a break after completing this film, but no rest for the weary. Not yet.

I made a crock-pot full of yummy beef stew late last night -> was ready when she woke this morning. She left a note saying she had two bowls (piggie wiggie). The stew included all the veggies that grows in the ground -> carrots, taters, onions, beets, garlic, etc. including a can of stewed tomatoes, beef ribs (tender) (bones & all), string beans - everything bought fresh the same day. So at least she's starting her day with decent nutrition. The stew has staying power - better than coffee & a donut.

I got the idea for the recipe from a Psych prof who said that much of folk's psychological problems stem from their diet, & if they'd only start their day with hearty nutrition (rather than a cup of coffee & donuts), they'd have much less psych/emotional problem. He mentioned how many people are taking Prozac, which affects brain chemistry & even personality. 

He concluded that, if the students learn nothing else from his class than that one bit of advice, we'd get our money's worth from the course.

Looks like the Oscars will air on March 26th, held at the Shrine Auditorium, right across the street from USC. USC holds graduation ceremonies there. Wendy's working her contacts to see if she can get us a pair of tiks. Rumor has it that there's a block of seats available for lucky USC Film school students to work as seat-holders, so when the camera pans the audience, they're no empty seats. Have never noticed that before.

Jahmar has the week off from school, & went up to Santa Cruz to spend the week with Lani. Should be a good experience for him.

Next -> Film 3 Report Card

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