Well, the day has come.
I am writing you all to let you all know we have finally finished Post Production and wow, what a journey that has been. We have put the final seal of approval on 1) Color Correction; 2) Frame Stabilization; 3) Frame Removals; 4) Original Music Score; 5) Opening and closing credits; 6) Blu-Ray qualification and compliance; and most importantly, 7) Sound Design. We’re done!
I will go over these briefly:
The original RGB signal from the cameras naturally has to be corrected for dozens of color variations (saturation, hue, range, crush, exposure, tint, tone, etc.)—the movie in a theater is never the movie that was originally shot. We have arrived at a beautiful look for our film using two power software packages we bought and everyone is amazed how good Shroud looks.
Some scenes were shot with a hand-held camera on which we later reversed our opinion. We meticulously have stabilized all the hand-held footage we didn’t like to achieve elegant, smooth camera movements that were unattainable on set.
Frame Removals (clearing the frame)
Unavoidably, the sound-recording boom would dip into frame on occasion, or up from the bottom of the “camera safe” area. Also, in editing for our DVD format, some things were not visible, but seeing how we have invested heavily into making sure Shroud is Blu-Ray compliant, we noticed a few things that, though not identifiable at DVD resolutions, are very identifiable at Blu-ray resolution and so had to be digitally removed.
Original Music Score
Sounds great and we are wrapped on music!
Opening & Closing Titles
Finally counting up everyone who was involved in this venture, we’ve got everyone’s name on screen.
This has been the source of virtually all our labor this year. Originally believing our systems were strong enough to handle the un-compressed 1920×1080 Progressive frame rates of our movie (80 hours of original footage), we learned the very painful lesson that it was not—not even close. Requiring very, very expensive proprietary licenses, multiple software packages, no few hardware elements (designer video driver cards, for example) 64Gb of RAM, 7Tb of hard drives, patches, plug-ins, online registrations and approvals, and a little bit of cannibalization, we spent our sound mixing budget on all the architecture required to conform Shroud to a Blu-Ray standard.
We are expecting Shroud’s Blu-Ray eligibility to significantly increase our asking price. It has been an absolute, soul-numbing beating, but we are finally and legitimately Blu-Ray compatible, so we can bring that to the table when we sell the film. The pursuit of this standard (Blu-Ray) is what crashed our principal workstation twice, requiring total rebuilds and reloads of all software – and brother, that’s a lot of stuff.
We finally rented a true progressive 1920×1080 monitor that has enabled us to view the true Blu-Ray signal at 100% and we are astounded how good Shroud looks in Blu-Ray. And thank God it does, that would have been an enormous amount of lost man hours had it not proved to Blu-Ray compatible.
This has been the second looming monster. We’re finally wrapped on this and everything sounds pretty darn good! Lots of ambiance, queues, voice correction and environmental tones—all good.
We chosen to undertake all these challenges internally to educate us about the process, internalize costs on future projects, and empower us to comprehend the necessary technologies to catapult our work (and your investment) to the top tier of movie buying. This journey has intimately prepared us for our second film. Our education is complete.
Now that all the audio is done, we have to MIX the audio and music in a professional sound lab with a qualified sound engineer.
We need to recall 5-6 actors to dub their lines from the film that are unusable from the original footage. These are principally due to the actors’ proximity to waterfalls and a nagging audio glitch in long scenes inside the Victorian manor we rented in Grapevine, Texas. These anomalies require us to rent a mixing stage, record the actors, and do our final mix of music vs. dialog for exact 5.1 Surround Sound distribution and maximum dramatic effect.
This process should take, at the most, 10 days once we get all the actors’ schedules compatible.
And there was much rejoicing.