Posts Tagged ‘jacob rangel’
I am amazed yet again at what can be accomplished in one manic weekend.
Last year, after posting my profile to the 48hourfilm website, I was invited by Jacob Rangel to join his crew named Team Stroganoff for their first ever 48 Hour Film Project. I really lucked out that I joined his team. We made a solid film and won “Best Film of 48 Hour Film Project San Jose 2009″ along with multiple other awards. Realizing that it was coming up again in a few weeks, I receive a text from him asking if I would be down to get back together for another run!
Jacob rounded up most of the key crew members from last year’s team, as well as crew from another ambitious indie film project I’ve been working on called “Project: Arbiter”, along with a few new faces!
Here were the elements this time around:
Character: Sherlock or Sheila Berman, a judge
Prop: a laptop
Line of Dialogue: “You’ve got to earn it.”
The genre Jacob pulled, in my opinion, couldn’t be more fitting: Dark Comedy!
I arrived at homebase Saturday morning at 7am. This was the first time I wasn’t around to witness the initial brainstorming process and writing (and re-writing, etc.). It was nice to have some moment of peace during the weekend.
What I found most intriguing is that the first day felt very lax. This was our third time writing, shooting, and editing a film in such a limited timeframe, that I thought maybe we were just getting used to it. As Joel, script supervisor, said, “I think we just know what we’re getting into now.” Of course, I would realize later that the weight of the film would rest on me in the final hours.
I had three pages of the script, which so far was pretty funny, but it was all setup and I had no idea how it was going to end! At 10am, they started shooting. Jason and Tim, cinematographers, shot on the 5D and 7D, respectively. We were also limited on lighting equipment, which I think actually helped make the shoot flow a little smoother. While they were shooting, Ben and Justin helped get our post-production department all ready to go.
Though, unlike last year, when Raton wrapped shooting at around 3am on Sunday, this one wasn’t going to wrap nearly as soon. Jacob needed the daylight for the final scene. This meant that Sunday, the day the film was to be turned in at 7:30pm, he intended to still keep shooting! Long story short, I did not get the rest of the footage until 2pm. With transferring, transcoding, crashing, then transcoding again, I didn’t get to start editing the last 3 minutes of the film until 4pm!! That only left me with a couple of hours to edit!
Jacob sat down with me at around 5:30pm. I always look forward to this, because it’s always an exciting and intense session in which our communication with each other is critical in order to finalize the film. I focused so strongly on each of his reactions and responses to the cut, and ways to fix it. After doing this two times before, I really think we reached a moment in the “zone” where we totally worked together in harmony. I could remember moments thinking and knowing his intended revision to a cut even before he completed his sentence… “copy that” was my constant response followed by a quick slice and dice of the footage and replay to show a new cut. BOOM. Then I would continue and play the next sequence in the film.
With crew members peering over my shoulder, the clock ticking away, every minute, every second, felt raw. There were so many things happening at once along with finalizing the cut: Jordi and Jeff were finishing up visual effects shots and handing them to me as they finished, Ben and Joel were transcoding shots that were needed for the final cut which I had to import, scoring was being done in a different location and being uploaded to a server from which I had to download from, and audio needed to be synced to the shots.
Oh, and Ben was also trying to figure out a way to export to MiniDV! This was absolutely critical to the completion of the film. They were willing to accept an HD version of the film, but only in H264 codec. I estimated over an hour just to transcode the film to that format. But with a live feed to a MiniDV camera, the idea is that it will record in realtime, therefore we would have an export of the film in 8 minutes.
Jacob and I worked fervently until about 6:34pm. I placed in the final VFX shots and music. Mike and I finalized audio and completely locked the film around 6:45pm. That’s when I handed it over to Ben to handle the export.
Just when I started to celebrate the finish, Vicki asks us to exit the room so they could focus because there is some trouble with the export! The video wasn’t feeding into the camera! This is when it started to get even more intense. Ben was walking back and forth between my editing station and his own where he was testing out the Print to Video method of exporting. Even Jordi jumped in and started to play around with ways to get it to work… and finally… around 7:01pm, the Print to Video RENDER started! RENDER!!?? Apparently, Final Cut still has to render it before having it export realtime to SD. That was the longest render bar I had ever seen.
I think Vicki and I probably looked the most concerned because our eyes were peeled onto that render bar. And then, halfway through, the screen goes BLACK!!! Mini-panic ensues, I move the mouse, and screen pops back up. Screensaver almost had us. As it is rendering, we keep talking about the time table (8 minute film including credits, 8 minute drive to the drop off point, etc.).
5 minutes… 3… 2… 1… 10 seconds… 5… and at about 7:12pm, the video render bar completes and the window disappears. “THIS IS IT!” And then guess what pops up next. An AUDIO render bar!! !#%!@#%!#$ “4 MINUTES”!!! But oh how FCP likes to mess with you. That 4 minute render bar sped up and finished within a few seconds.
The screen goes black. Everyone in the room takes a deep breath. Little “Print to Video” window pops up, and Vicki beckons me to click OK. Never have I been so careful to avoid hitting the “Cancel” button on accident! Oh how tragic that would’ve been. Once I click OK, I can hear the tape mechanism on Jacob’s HVX start, and then bars and tone on the screen and on the LCD of his camera!
It is now 7:13pm, and the movie is recording to MiniDV. Every second is being watched. Preparations for the drop off begin and pathways are cleared. This is going to be very, very close. We know the export won’t finish until about 7:21pm, and downtown San Jose is about 6 or 7 minutes away!
As the credits near the end, I steady one hand on the handle of the HVX, and one of the firewire cable connected to it, while checking my pathway to the delivery vehicle. Credits fade to black, I hear Vicki say, “Go! Go!” and I unhook the firewire cable and jet for the car. WOOHOOO!! =D The adrenaline is addicting! We scramble to get inside the car. Jason takes off, Jacob in the passenger seat, and Mike, Chels, and I in the backseat.
We check to make sure the film recorded onto the MiniDV tape while on the way, and everything looks good. Contrary to how I felt the weekend first started, it now felt very similar to how Raton ended… in a near heart attack! In fact, most of us in the car were the same people that rushed to the delivery point last year. And as I was documenting our rush on my iPhone, Chels says, “We have arrived!”
We officially turn in our film at 7:26pm. Four minutes to spare. Phew.
So, what are we shooting next weekend?