As a company we have a great fondness for letting a project takes as long as it needs to, presenting it only when it is finished. That being said it is always a bit embarrsing when a short project indended to take only a few weeks ends up taking 4 months!
It has been hugely enjoyable throughout, but it certainly is a slow process. Filming-wise this is mostly a secheduling issue, particularly when it comes to the precious-few daylight hours we have after everyone gets out of work. But the part that has really taken up our past few weeks is the editing process, and it does feel like we have spent an awful lot of time crowded in a room staring at a screen. Part of the delay is the fact that we to go through 2 editing stages. While Theo does have some very nice Sony Vega Pro editing software it isn’t compatible with the format the camera records on, so we therefore have to do an inital basic edit on Windows Movie Maker on all scenes, so it can then be rendered into a format that the better software can recognise.
The first stage of the editing is primarily about visuals, working out which take to use and putting it all together. One problem we would sometimes find outselves in is not having enough footage – because of a tendency to shoot only the moments and lines we already had in our heads, and therefore missing out the in-between parts, which would leave the scene with a rather choppy feel to it. This would lead to a list of re-shoots that had to be done, or chunks that needed to be found in stock footage when it was past our capabilities budget-wise. At the end of this we had the main body of the film, but far below presentable quality.
This is where the second stage comes in. With the Sony Vega software’s superior range of options we could add the necessary visual tricks, from simple subtitles to the effects-soaked opening titles. However the main task of this stage was to get the sound right, and while in some scenes this is only a matter of minutes in others it can take a lot of time and complex layering. Often it is a case of cleaning up background sounds of cars or rain, or using the dialogue from another take which sounded better, or perhaps even dubbing a few lines over. But to really give the film the right film you need the right sound effects and music. With the exception of a few Bond themes and our fantastic title song by Jack Davy, all of these these can be sound from our good friends freesound.org and freeplaymusic.com. It can be quite a fine balancing act getting the levels right between all those layers, and while we had most of the things we would need already noted down and sourced, we would still have to have a couple of people ready to hunt down some forgotten gun shot sound, and film, render and transfer it across as quickly as possible.
And so at the end of a tricky but fun process the film is almost ready for public viewing. It is currently chugging through the many hours of rendering but will be uploaded to youtube in the next few days, so watch this space!