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

Film 4 has Picture Lock

Film 4, titled Vandancing, has 'picture lock,' which means the visual part is done. All that remains is the audio, and she seems to have an intuitive knack for putting together an audio track. She'll do the audio Wednesday, & show film Thursday. Can't wait to see what she does with the audio. I know she has John Lennon's Love Is song, & Temptation from New Order (from Trainspotting soundtrack). There's also little bits of the Bowie tunes, Ground Control to Major Tom and Ziggy Stardust.

I'll be glad when this one is done. It's been a little tense here last few days. 

Wendy made it about half-way through the project before crying. It was scanning the baby + childhood pics of Van were too much for her. She broke down saying, "He was such a cute kid." Tears dropping on the scanner bed. Then she was okay again until she played Van's favorite music -> David Bowie's, Ground Control to Major Tom.  

That was the straw that broke the camel's back - especially the part where he sings, "Can you hear me, Major Tom? .. Can you hear me, Major Tom?" That was particularly bad, cuz Major Tom can't hear Ground Control any more. There's no reply. Major Tom is gone - forever.

I heard her say, with tears running down face, "I wish he woulda took better care of himself."

But it's not all tears. There's a surprise ending, which I'm not allowed to divulge. It's a funny surprise.

This latest project (her first with new editing card) has tons of effects - could've never done it with the old card. Many times you see footage from two separate clips, and sometimes you even see three. For example, there's a part where she has a shot of herself walking along the shore on the foggy beach, thinking about things Alex said to her. 

You hear Alex's voice, while he & Wendy were taping on Sunset blvd in Hollywood at night. You hear cars drive by and waves breaking on the beach. Behind Alex, a car drives up to stoplight, pauses & turns right. Alex is talking about Van's dark side (which is why she filmed this scene at night) Alex is talking about Van, and then you also see a third clip of Van & Davy. 

The contrast between daytime at foggy beach & nighttime on Sunset blvd is designed to suggest the contrast of Van's personality, which is light & playful on the outside, while darkness & sadness lurked within. It's subtle, but I think it works. Wendy doesn't delve very far into Van's dark side, but definitely doesn't ignore it either.

Then Alex says, "I think the thing Van loved most was his son." - and you then see footage of Van playing Davy playing in Chuck's swimming pool. Davy shoots Van with big-stream water gun, while Van plays like he's shot and falls over into the water. Very sad part. Even I cried there.

The fog plays key role in this film. It's lends to a dreamy, reflective state. You keep coming back to that fog again & again. You think and hear the kinds of things that are not uncommon to think about while walking along a shoreline in heavy fog. I don't know if it would've worked as well had it been a bright, sunny, clear day. 

Wendy rehearsed her (acting) lines with Lani this weekend. Made her happy - spending time with her baby. Lani is drama major. Sounds like they're talking another language when talking that actor's lingo.

Two of Wendy's classmates came down yesterday to rehearse their scene (from Sex, Lies & Videotapes). I met Doug & Sabrina. Doug brought his wife & 4-month old baby girl. Sabrina graduated from MIT. 

The other two classmates that she'd planned on meeting with bailed on her. This was for the scene she's directing them in. Wendy went to great lengths with Lani to 'map out' the scene. Since they bailed on her, she'll have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to drive up to LA and meet with them at 7 AM, before class (which starts at 9AM). Students tend to care most about the scenes they're directing, and no so much about the scenes in which they are actors, being directed. 

One of the problems Wendy's having is dealing with some of the younger students in her class, who may not be as reliable or responsible as she'd like. When it affects her, it becomes a problem. I hear her talking to some of them like she's there mom. Heck, she talks to me like that sometimes. =D

Wendy discovered that all the audio recorded from footage shot on tripod in homes with PCs running picks up an (annoying) electrical hum. It's not very noticeable when being recorded (headphones), but afterwards, when played back -> yuk.

She had to edit the audio files (w/ hum) in Sound Forge, which lets her scan the entire frequency spectrum of audible sound - like waving a magic wand across the (audible) frequency spectrum. While scanning, she can hear when the hum drops. 160Hz was the magic frequency. The hum went away when she got rid of everything at that frequency (+ or - 40Hz). 

She also boosted volume of some interviews that cam out quiet. Can hear people speaking much clearer now. Rather impressive, considering you could barely hear the some of the people talking before. 

Sometimes when I try to offer advice on how to craft her film, she points to the degree on the wall & says, "Who's name do you see here?"

Next -> Film 4 a Wrap

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