Rough Cut is Finito

After a very long couple of weeks editing my movie, I finally have a rough cut done.  It is very rough, with some rather rude elements stubbed in and other experimental attempts I doubt will make it to the final cut, but it has everything done except the singing scene.

This morning I was going to rework that scene, which I put off initially because I was bogged down too much with it, but my brain is fried and I can’t make any decisions any longer.  I plan on at least a week off before I look at it again, hopefully then I’ll be able to make some progress.  It’s only around two minutes, but it totally messes with my mind.

As my sound guy / mentor said would happen, I got to the point where I hated everything and everyone.  While the vast majority of the scene had several good takes and it was a matter of trying to choose the best among several worthy options, I had one scene were I felt everything sucked.  Every angle, how the camera was set up, how the actors handled their lines, the lighting, everything.  It was a matter of finding the least bad bits and attempting to stitch them together in the least offensive way.  I even had to drop some dialog because I couldn’t find any combination of sights and sounds that I felt would work.  The lines weren’t fundamental, thankfully.

But that was one scene out of nearly 80, and while there were several takes ruined by the camera boom or microphone being in frame (and, in principal, those elements could be excised), there were others that allowed me to easily work around.

The finished render came out at a bit shy of 68 minutes, so in this case, 84 pages worked out to around 48 seconds per page, as opposed to the supposed standard of 60 seconds/page.  That’s considered a very rough guide anyway, with probably more exceptions than anything, but that’s what the industry looks at.

I’ve sent links to the rough cut to a handful of people that I feel can look past the inconsistent audio and crappy singing scene and will wait for their feedback.  No doubt I’ll be cutting some elements and they may have suggestions for better ways to handle others, so I expect to make significant changes, but I don’t believe they’ll be draconian.  I also sent the link to some musicians for their thoughts.

I still have yet to learn how to do color correction, or making each take visually look alike.  I also have painfully blue skies during some of the night scenes that need addressing, which I believe color correction will help, and I have a couple of small insert shots to take yet.  I also have a scene I didn’t put in because when I started to cut it together I realized I hadn’t filmed enough.  Fortunately it’s something I could film myself, but unfortunately, all the leaves have dropped off the trees, so it might not look good.  I’ll see if anyone misses it.

It will probably be January before I start to close in on a final cut.  First I need to lock the picture, which won’t happen until I’ve received and incorporated the feedback from the rough cut.  Then I need to polish the audio, which I fully expect to be almost as much of a PITA as cutting the video together.  Then color correct.  Then add Foley, which is the background sounds you take for granted (e.g., the sound of people walking), ambiance sounds, like birds and crickets for outdoor scenes and top it all off with music.  I got a lot of work left to do and am still struggling with some of the most seemingly trivial things using the editor (it took me days to finally figure out how to adjust the audio volume for each clip; by then I was too tired to do it).

I feel pretty good about movie making and am planning on doing the first draft of my next project over the Christmas holiday (a horror concept, since horror is one of the rare genre with a reasonable track record of getting distribution with small budgets and no names).  But any future projects have to fund themselves, as the boss (wife) has made it adamantly clear she won’t be using our retirement to finance any further projects.  So it might not get past the script stage, as if I can’t find investors in my nascent production company, I won’t be creating the LLC for the horror flick (there are good reasons that Hollywood accounting is so arcane, though that does make it easy to abuse).

Author: mitusents

Biochemist, MBA, then programmer. Now novelist, screenplay writer and hopefully director. What a strange trip it's been.