Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Tiger Time!

2009 segued into 2010 without much of a fanfare. I was fairly busy back in December *quickly clicks through iCal to refresh my memory* We had some shoots to settle before everyone disappeared for the year-end holidays and we were on the lookout for an AP to join us since we were booked for more than a few projects due in first quarter of 2010.

We also had two launch videos for the same client, both with short but hard deadlines to meet. Project was awarded mid-December and delivery was January - right after we crossed over the calendar. Which meant the X'mas season was a terrible inconvenience!

Quite a fair bit of prep was needed. Casting was the main task during prep as it was a simple concept which hinged heavily on performance. Both videos required effects finishing as well. Here's an excerpt from one of the videos:

That said, the project went rather smoothly and I managed to spend some time indulging in the festive spirit with some friends - late night suppers, hotpot, BBQ and karaoke!

Once we entered the new year, we had a TVC shoot for Toy Factory, a local theater company. One of our long-term clients, since we also produced the TVCs for their previous annual productions. We were blessed with amazingly bright and sunny weather, which was exceptionally helpful since it was an entirely outdoor shoot and we didn't have the luxury of postponing it to any other day since we were working with a bunch of very busy actors. What if it had rained? Well... we would've had to work out something.

*One lesson learnt during the shoot: If you're shooting with the Letus adaptor, bring enough spare AA batteries! Better yet, always change into a fresh pair of AAs at the start of the shoot, especially if it's rental gear.*

The TVC was shot on a Sony EX3, with a Letus adaptor. Shots came out really nice. Love the colors. I was doing SxS card wrangling on the set. Compared to my previous wrangling experience with Panasonic P2 cards, I find the workflow for ingesting SxS cards much more intuitive and straightforward. Bonus was that the SxS cards plug right into the Expresscard slot in my MacBook Pro. Secure and fast transfer.

Fast forwarding from then on, my iCal has been packed with edits, edits and more edits. Guess my wish is finally coming true! A lot of shifting of schedules, since I plan my own edit schedules around shifting delivery deadlines and various other factors. As always, as a preditor, there is never enough time to edit when the producing minutiae swarms around you.

Had a fairly productive session today, though. It's only the day after the long Chinese New Year break and if not for my backed up edit schedule, I'd have taken it easy [or the day off!]. But duty beckoned and I went in for an overdue color grading. It was also the first project I've fully color graded using - we bought it at an awesome deal during X'mas [50% off, if I remember correctly].

We've previously used Magic Bullet Editors but I find Colorista and Looks much faster and easier to use. The only thing I wish I had was a 3-knob control panel of some sort for Colorista. But alas, I am by no means a professional colorist and the clientele we service do not demand such level of color precision. But nonetheless, color grading is such a value-adding step, that as much as possible [budget and schedule permitting], I'll do it.

Managed to finish the 6-min video in about 4 hours - with the help of absolute silence, minimum disturbances [or breaks] and intense concentration. Since the theme & tone for the video was pink, everything else in real-life looked too blue once I got my eyes off the monitor!

The next video to get the Magic Bullet Looks treatment would be the musical TVC. The footage that came out of the EX3 is already quite close to the look we're going for, so it's more a matter of enhancing and bringing out some of the colors.