Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's finished

Archon Defender is finished!!!

(Which is to say that the film is all finished
and the sound is all finished)

(And aside from a few tweaks on the levels of the sound
color correction bc my monitor gamma was way too off and
everything is way too bright)

It's about as done as it's going to get ;D

And, exactly 3 years to the day that I started the first shots...

Now it's time to burn some dvd's and get it out to film festivals. Amongst 20 other jobs I still have to do... But the film itself is done. Keep tuned here for further developments.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Other filmmakers...

Offline is a gritty looking cyber horror film, and the work of director Matthew Santoro (at least, director when he's directing his own film, and not busy being the senior visual effects artist on films like Aliens vs Predator: requiem) ...anyways, read all about it over at slashfilm and in the meanwhile, check out his full set of vimeo posts, the first one will have you clenching your usb port closed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Almost Done ;D

The main animating and rendering is done (and has been for a while).
Sound effects is done.
Music is done.
Syncing voiceovers to the the computer voice track I initially used is done.

Much thanks to everyone who contributed thier efforts and voices to the voiceover project.

Now, with a few shots to re-work, a credit roll to be added at the end (and possibly a 20 second epilogue at the end, I haven't decided....) The film is almost done

99 % done and 100% watchable right now. (I'll certainly be watching it)

So you're itching to know when and where you can see Arhon Defender. Well, it's off to film festivals, and then online distribution of some form. I'd ideally like to see online retail of digital files in HD format. Converting to DVD doesn't do the film justice. Keep tuned here for updates, as I figure things out ;) If you have any good info regarding film festivals, or on line distributors, let me know...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Voiceover recording Tips and Tricks

I'm in the middle of syncing up all the voiceovers (and I still have a few characters to record, so if you're still interested in doing voiceovers, let me know...)

Some tricks I've learned from doing these voiceovers:
  1. More than 5 takes is overkill
  2. The first or second take will usually be the best
  3. I need to make a mic stand
  4. I also need to make a 'P' pop shield out of pantyhose
  5. I don't wear pantyhose anymore, so this is problematic :o
  6. Syncing my voice actors up to the computer voices is just as easy as I thought it was going to be. And far less labor intensive than sound effects editing was
  7. Some of the computer voices don't actually come off that badly
  8. Oops I forgot to record a couple of lines. So far, only a couple and those actors are local so it's easy to re-record the missing lines.
  9. Make sure you have your script finalized and that you didn't ad-lib any lines into the final cut that you might miss (see step 8...)
  10. Noise reduction, Lowpass filter, and Time Stretch are your friends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fix it in Post....

Pretty exciting stuff:

Here's my AviSynth script to convert my master comp down to DVD resolution for distribution to film festivals and for eventual DVD mastering.

My original master for Archon Defender is HD 1280 x 640 15fps. I use a 2:1 frame aspect ratio, umm just because that's what I got used to using since the first Rocketmen vs Robots film. (I'll be changing to a format based on the golden ratio for the next film... not to mention golden ratio timing for the film as well) So to convert my film to DVD it needs to become 720 x 480, letterboxed, and at the convenient and easy to use framerate 29.97 fps.

Now, when it comes to online distribution and film festivals, I'll be keeping it at 1280x640 15fps. Either in divx avi or in Ogg Theora (because it's open source). Hopefully, now that we live in times of accelerating technological change and it's 2009, film festivals will have gotten their heads out of their arses and embraced digital presentation formats. The 2003 Renderfest in Toronto had this cool harddrive / pc based all digital projection system, so formats like obscure pro video tape formats or celluloid film prints seem a bit antiquated to me.

# Convert to DVD
# 29.97 fps
# 720 x 480 pixels MPEG2

# OPEN source file as DIVX

DirectShowSource ("C:\Documents and Settings\administrator\My Documents\Video\Archon Defender - second cut interim master - sfx comp jul 05.avi")

# OPEN source file as AVI (HUFFYUV)

#AviSource ("C:\Documents and Settings\administrator\My Documents\Video\Archon Defender - second cut interim master - sfx comp jul 05.avi")

# Resize to DVD resolution

ChangeFPS (29.97)1
# change to DVD 29.97 frame rate

Spline36Resize (720,360)
# resize 1280x640 archon defender frame to dvd 720 x 360 size

AddBorders(0, 64, 0, 56, $000000)
# letterbox to dvd full resolution 720x480

# Adjust Color Correction

Levels(0, 0.6, 255, 0, 255)
# adjust archon defender color correction gamma

AviSynth is a really powerful tool that lets you do all kinds of manipulations on video, and also allows you to bypass intermediate steps. AviSynth acts as a filter between your source file and your video encoder, so if you want to encode mpeg 2 for dvd, and also encode a divx version for the web or a lower resolution version for youtube or something, then AviSynth will let you convert to multiple formats at the same time applying color corrections or adding hard subtitles, etc., all without having to render out intermediate files.

AviSynth is a bit nerdy, and you're going to have to get your head around the scripting language, but once you get it all figured out, you can do whatever you want. (It could even be used to do a full edit of a film if you were a real masochist.) It's freeware, and integrates seamlessly into most encoder apps like VirtualDUB or dvd mpeg encoders.