Posts Tagged ‘san jose’
I had been looking for an opportunity to “give back” in some way to the community utilizing my skills. Word got around and photographer Thai Chu approached me about a non-profit startup he was bringing together. When I heard about the objective of the organization, I was convinced to create a short video for it.
The mission of HoldOnto.org is to provide everybody with a chance to have family portraits, regardless of their socio-economic background. I hadn’t really thought about it before, this is something that can be all too easily taken for granted, especially this day in age when pocket smart phones are cranking out some serious megapixels and DSLRs are becoming more and more accessible. Still, there are those who don’t have access nor the means to acquire something that can be very enriching to their lives: the family portrait.
Thai enlisted the help of his close friends and supporters and threw a little BBQ at a local park. It was an event that had been all planned out; including the families that were to show up to have their pictures taken. Unfortunately, there was some kind of mixup and the invitation had not been sent. A near-disaster, but we lucked out when we realized there was a community holiday party happening around the corner. Thai is also a teacher and some of his volunteers were his students. He sent them out to spread the word that free family portraits and food were being offered. It didn’t take too long to start seeing families line up!
I was able to document each of the families getting their pictures taken by Thai and captured many smiles and precious moments. I think HoldOnto.org has a promising future and I’m glad to be a part of an organization that gives back to the community in a unique and relatable way.
Seeing our finished film on the big screen was rewarding. It was very well-received! I’m really proud of what we pulled off in such a short amount of time. I feel blessed to have been a part of such a talented, passionate, and hilarious cast and crew! And I think Jacob’s writing skills were even better showcased this time around. Each character was well-developed and all setups paid off… no filler. All-around funny, solid story!
I would love to post and share the film with you, but we do have bigger plans to shop the film to various festivals around the country, and keeping it offline will maintain it’s exclusivity.
The “Best of SJ 48HFP” will take place about a month from now, and that’s when they will announce the award winners. Win or lose, this is still going to be one of those memorable weekends that brought a group of like-minded, talented, and passionate people together and pushed them to accomplish their best. I always end up working with good people and learning something new.
In the meantime, please enjoy these behind-the-scenes and screening photos!
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?
So Timeless is a group from San Jose California. As described on their website, “The collection of artists and musicians was assembled with the purpose of providing live entertainment for shows, benefit concerts, weddings, festivals, etc; and with the goal to produce albums throughout different genres of music.”
They were looking for an editor for their latest music video and I fit the bill. It’s a soulful song with a head-knockin beat. The setting of the video has the whole band performing the song in a club. The b-roll of the video includes shots of Jonah taking the beautiful Lonnye Dotson out on a date and them enjoying their time together.
I like editing music videos because I get to play a lot with timing… sometimes you want to cut on the beat, sometimes you want to cut off beat. It’s all about establishing a pace while keeping things unpredictable.
In my correspondence with the director, I sent him a picture-in-picture version that includes nearly every take for each part of the song. I embedded the timecode, which made it very easy for the director to request changes to the edit if her preferred a certain shot over another.
I think it’s interesting as a video on it’s own because you are able to soak up all of the footage shot in one single viewing!
I first met Marcus Araiza during the San Jose 48 Hour Film Project in 2009. He told me about a music video he was directing and wanted to bring me on as the editor.
When I learned about the details of the project, I was definitely on board. The name of the band is Licked, and the lead singers, Ben and Cera, share a personal bond in that they both lost siblings to cancer. Ben wrote the song “Smiling Down” as a testament to the struggles his little sister faced in the fight against the disease. The song and video were also meant to make people aware of the disease and the fact that children are diagnosed at an alarming rate.
It’s is a touching song and video and I am happy to be a part of it.
In my correspondence with Marcus, we were sending video clips back and forth to each other. I found a very useful way for him to suggest a change in shot selection by creating a picture-in-picture version that includes nearly every take for each part of the song. Along with timecode, this proved to be an extremely useful way for Marcus (and myself) to know what footage is available for which part of the song.
Even on it’s own it stands as an engaging video simply by witnessing all of the takes that occurred in one viewing. Enjoy.
I really lucked out when I was approached to be editor for this team. I knew I wanted to participate in another sleepless weekend, surrounded by talented artists, all working towards the goal of completing a short film in 48 hours. We definitely had our obstacles but we pulled through and created a film we are very proud of!
And at the Judging Awards Ceremony, we won 5 out of 6 nominations, including: Audience Choice Award, Best Actor, Best Directing, Best Sound Design, and Best Film of San Jose. =D
Thank you Jacob Rangle, Team Leader and Writer/Director, for asking me to be a part of your team. And thank you to the whole crew who welcomed me into the group… I look forward to more battles in the field!
And here is our film, entitled, “Raton”:
Now, check out some of the behind-the-scenes photos I shot that weekend, using a Nikon D5000:
Anxious on the morning of our shoot.
Our D.P. Jason Burton and his camera setup.
Actors Jake Lyall and Zach Gossett having too much fun.
Our fearless leader, Writer/Director Jacob Rangel.
Will Myers going to great heights to reflect the sunlight before it sets!
On-set editing! I had a rough cut ready by the time they wrapped shooting.
Just another good day with the rat people.
With about 3 hours of sleep, the post-production madness continued in the morning.
With less than 10 minutes to spare, we delivered the final cut. No time for shoes!
Celebrating our success before the screening.
Thank you for reading my blog and please continue to support your local artists!
Director: Jacob Rangel
Writers: Jacob Rangel, John Broglin, Adrian Thompson, Will Myers
Producer: David Bettencourt
Line Producer: Mark Araiza
Cast: Jake Lyall, Teresa Byrnn, Zach Gossett, Marcella Galindo, Adam Bishop, Nate Duncan, Jesee Walker, Alexandra Harkins, Max Martinez, Stefany Boretti, Justin Burton, Marcus Araiza, Liddy Freeman
Cinematographer: Jason C.H. Burton
Assistant Director: John Broglin
Editor: Nelson Nunez
Visual FX & Compositing: Adrian Thompson
Script Supervisor: Joel Tatum
Best Boy: James Harkins
Gaffer: Hector Aranda
Costume Design: Liddy Freeman, Jesee Walker
Prop Masters: Jesee Walker, Adam Bishop
Boom Operator: Leo Quintero
Production Assistants: Chelsea Rangel, Alexandra Harkins, Justin Burton
On-Set Photography: Sarah Quinn, Nelson Nunez
Catering: Tony Lauro
Special Thanks: Andy Olsen, Gary Burton, Mary Hulbert, Janielle Burton, Diamond Laundry & Cleaner, SAG