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

Spring Break

Happy St. Patty's day, Erin go braugh and the luck of the Irish 

Spring break wasn't nearly the haven of R&R she'd hoped for. Except for a couple of excursions to nearby retreats, most of it was spent working on film 4. She had ~7 hours of raw footage to wade through. She only has enough hard drive space for about an hour's worth of (captured) footage. The final product will be about 7 minutes long. The distillation process is tedious. The subject material will be emotionally challenging for her.

Finally got her new video-editing card installed & working. Had a problem with batch-capture function initially, the same problem USC is having with their Macs. It's possible to work without the batch-capture function, but she'd have to stay at the PC while capturing (video -> to hard drive). Batch function lets her set all start & stop (in & out) points for each tape - then she can press Start batch capture & go away. Take a break while the computer finds all the points on the tape that she wants & puts the footage on the hard drive. Elegant when it works right, tedious when it doesn't.  

Her new card is what they call, real-time. It has more processing power, which means she doesn't have to wait while transitions & effects 'render'. Waiting for effects to render kills creative flow. If you can see right away how your changes will look, it's easier to stay in the creative flow. Film 4 will be her first movie with the new editing hardware. If something doesn't work right, she'll have to pack up & head to the bullpen at school (for rest of the weekend). Got my fingers crossed. So far so good. She likes what she sees so far - says, "this thing shreds."

Wendy pushes a PC to its limits. No matter how many hard drives I put in there, or how much processing power she get, she uses every bit of it [& complains if she has to wait. =) ]. This next film will be the first where she'll use three clips at once - all faded together - something that will make the PC groan. 

Luke, the Canadian, stopped by this morning. He's a wiz with a camera, who Wendy badly wants to team up with for next semester's 16mm projects. He said he can't believe she lives so far from school. He exited freeway in Santa Ana, cuz he thought he'd gone too far - only to discover he had another 30 minutes to go. 

Luke is the first classmate to visit here at the house. She made his brief stay as enjoyable as possible. Wendy showed him some of the techno goodies we have - like our recording & editing equipment. He came down to borrow her SteadyCam for a shoot he's got planned. 

Luke told a funny story how he (accidentally) knocked over a tripod (with camera on it) at the beach, in knee-deep water. A big wave came in -> ker-splash! He thought he was going to lose his $1K equipment deposit, but it only cost him $250. [school's camera = $2K]

All four partners from Wendy's acting/directing class will be coming here Sunday afternoon, to rehearse their scenes.  One group is scheduled right after the other - three hours per group. This will save her from having to drive to LA. They're looking to get out of the city, so don't mind driving. Having them here should help develop relationships with her classmates, something that's important to her. We always feel like we know someone better after we've been to their house.

Wendy wrote to the Director of Student Oscars & suggested they consider accepting DV projects - since they could still evaluate a student's technical & artistic merits with DV, but without the co$ts associated with film - especially since money is (often) the biggest hurdle a graduate student has to get over. His reply (copy-n-paste):  


The 'powers that be' (i.e. our Academy members) are aware of everything going on in the industry. They not only look at new processes, but they're the ones who are inventing, developing and using them. However, at this point, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not accept entries into the Academy Awards or Student Academy Awards unless they are projected on 16mm or larger format film. 

They can *originate* in other formats--but they must be transferred to film to be eligible for our competitions. This is not to say that things won't ever change in the future. As the theatrical motion picture industry changes, the Academy will change with it. But--as for this year--the Student Academy Awards rules are "written in stone" and additional categories are not an option. Good luck with your movie and your future career in the industry.

Richard Miller
Awards Administration Director

Lani is back in town, spring break. Taking showers again - heard they don't take many showers up there at UC Santa Cruz. =) 

You can check out Yahoo Film Festival HERE. Note that some are by 'USC School of Cinema-TV'.

BTW - I just posted an article that I threw together on building & setting up a PC-based video-editing system - based on real-world experiences (blood, sweat, & tears). See here.

Wendy is editing film 4 now - a tribute to her brother, Van. She's been watching the raw footage, talking lots of notes, for days now. Kind of depressing, hearing people talk about how they miss Van, and how much he meant to them. But now that the actual project is in the works (she's 3 minutes into the timeline) -> looks impressive. Amazing how she puts things together. 

She's heeding the advice of her profs, by using a walk on the beach as a 'vehicle' to tell the story. Various thoughts dissolve in & out of the picture while she walks. You hear people laughing, crying & talking about Van. Artsy the way her 'thoughts' fade in & out. 

Coolest thing was that a foggy day rolled in at the beach the day she filmed - perfect for filming a 'dreamy' sequence. Almost eerie the way it worked out. Only a few days prior I heard her say, "Now if I could only get a foggy day." Like she ordered the fog.

She hopes to have 'picture lock' (visual part done) by tomorrow eve, so she can do the audio Sunday. Looks impressive so far. The subject matter is mature & serious. 

Next -> Film 4 Picture Lock

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