Recycling the Past

Nudged Update: We are still working on the score. Jason has composed and produced wonderful music and the time line is filling up. Never realized how much composing is needed to score a 96 minute movie. Soon is still the only date I can post for the cast & crew showing and then the premiere.

Topcor f1.4 lens 1

Topcor 58 mm f1.4 lens 2

As an aside. The photos above are of a Topcor 58mm f1.4 lens from my Father’s Beseler Topcon Super-D 35mm still camera. That camera was my Dad’s joy and a truly fine instrument. We still have it but 35mm film is just not a viable option these days. The camera sits unused. That lens however is a miracle of optics and after more than 50 years is still usable on my Sony digital motion picture camera.

Awhile back I fitted a brand-new Zeiss 28mm f2.0 lens to the Sony via an adapter and then recently discovered a similar adapter was available for the ancient Topcor lens. So, this will be an experiment to see how well it works. Since it’s a native 58mm lens and my Super 35mmm chip is smaller than 35mm film in still format, the Topcor lens will function as a medium telephoto of approximately 87mm. It will be great for close-ups. And the f1.4 aperture means it will record practically in the dark.

New Year and Release is Now a Downhill Run

Much of Nudged takes place at the KCCC community television station. In order to make the scenes shot there have a feeling of reality, we produced several TV programs and commercials. None of these are really complete as they only appear as inserts in the background. An exception is the episode of the Miss Margaret Show at the garden center. It is a complete segment if not a complete show. Watch it below.

Miss Margaret is played by Muriel Jackson and the garden center employee is played by Juli Dearrington. It was recorded at King Feed Hardware and Gardens in Wimberley, Texas. Thank you to Chris Nichols, the owner, and to Tim Thompson, the garden center manager.

It’s a new year (2015) and our composer, Jason Marion, has about half the music composed and produced. He says those were the hard bits and the remaining half will flow easier.

The Outtakes

Here is a small Christmas present for y’all. It’s those funny moments when a cast of very talented and professional actors make those inevitable goofs: The Outtakes.

The incidental music is one of the themes from the Nudged score that is being written by Jason Marion. It may not appear in the final movie but it seemed to fit nicely here.



The Fine Points

An update on Nudged

Jason is deep in composing mode for the score. The musical theme for the film is proving to be a bit elusive but the hunter is closing in.

I show it to selected people and gather feedback. This leads to adding a shot here and there, adding graphics, adding animation, recording new dialog, more color balancing, audio tweaking and other various re-thinking.

Progress and improvements are being made and it’s very close to the cast & crew showing. Premiere will be in the early Spring when using the outdoor Corral Theater in Wimberley provides for warmer evenings.

Also, Miss Margaret’s Show and the Prow’d House B&B commercial will be completed as stand alone items. They will go on the web site and join the special features on the DVD.

Below is a frame capture from the film. It shows Joe, Paul and John about to deliver Rusty to his sister at the end of the film.

Jay John Jason F Rob scene 45

Nudged Added to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

Nudged is finally near enough to release to have its own page in the Internet Movie Database ( Go to the link to see. The information is only partially complete. If you know you are already in the database as a performer, crew or staff, please go ahead and add yourself to the credits. There is a preliminary movie poster there (and below for that matter) plus some photos and other information.

Nudged Poster 648X960 10-30-14

Progress and a Bit of Movie Magic

I get up in the morning, watch Nudged and make note of a page or two of changes to do. Then, I spend the next few days making the changes, making viewable files and then do it all over again. It is getting finished.

Jason is composing music which is no small task. Ninety six minutes of music. It’s the music that makes the movie come alive.

I also made note that all movies now need closed captioning and so have been researching software to facilitate this process.

Finally, another insight into the process. I needed a cut away shot in order to shorten a long, sequence that needed shortening, but I had no shot to use. I did have a long shot from earlier in the scene so I tried creating a composite. See the clip below for the result.

Refining the Rough Cut

I have viewed the rough cut four times now. After my son Morgan and I spent four hours going over it, I had four full pages of notes and changes. It took four days to make them all. Morgan worked in TV for two decades and has the world’s best eye for inconsistencies and weak points.

Jason and I then watched the next version and I came away with three pages of notes. He caught all the audio faux pas that miss me. Jason now has the timings for the score and I’m finalizing the editing of yet another version. Soon we’ll integrate the score with the film and Jason will balance out all the audio levels on the final cut.

In one scene I needed a cut-away shot of the Sitar player but we did not shoot one. We did record the audio and I just happened to point the camera at the Sitar player while Jason recorded it. The shot ended up with the microphone quite prominent in the shot. In order to use it for my cut-away, I need to take away the microphone. See the before and after pics below. The shot is about four seconds long so any minor flubs (of which I see several) will probably (hopefully) not be noticed.

Before - Sitar with microphone

Before – Sitar with microphone

After - Sitar without microphone

After – Sitar without microphone

Rough Cut Completed

I have a rough cut of the whole film. It’s 96 minutes long without credits. Jason has a copy and he is timing out the score.

I watched it yesterday for the first time as a complete movie. I have a page of notes. The audio is still rough, there are errors to correct, special effects to polish, a few B-roll inserts needed, and final color correction yet to be done. Overall, I like it.

Watch for both an actors/crew only viewing coming soon and the premiere coming when it’s all final and complete.

Below is the editing software at work. On the screen are scenes 35 through 49. Each little vertical line is an audio/video clip with audio-only clips at the bottom. That’s what 17 minutes of the movie looks like from the editor’s viewpoint.

Scenes 35-49 on Edius screen




Posting Continues

Principal photography wrapped at the end of July. I have spent August editing and have a rough cut of 40 of 49 scenes. I gave Jason a little over of an hour of the film (scenes 1-21 and 35-49) and he has begun composing the score. I need to get some additional b-roll but need to finish the rough cut to know exactly what to shoot.

Below is a portion of scene 5 where Lynette makes her first appearance. I used this in my weekly column on aging (Life After Death) and then realized y’all might like to se it as well.


Editing and a Preview

Shooting a film has a certain degree of excitement. Long days of creative work. Camaraderie over lunch. Tension of doing stunts with some small degree of risk. Finding the balance of light and shadow. Recording sound in and around a natural world only rarely accommodating.

editing station 8-14-14After the shoot, comes editing. Editing is a detail oriented task of thousands of technical decisions. It’s actually often boring. It is however what makes a bunch of shots into a meaningful story. So, it is a creative process where the director uses the thousand shots like words and composes (hopefully) meaningful and compelling sentences.

Over 29 days of shooting we took around thirteen hundred takes/shots. This data, including the B-roll shots, effects graphics, and housekeeping files made by the editing tools, fills about one terabyte of space. That is one thousand billion bytes of information. This data is stored on one ultra fast disk drive for editing and two backup drives. One backup lives in a fire-proof safe. Should those three drives all become corrupted then the entire digital project would disappear forever.

On the right is a photo of the editing workstation and below is a rough cut preview of Scene 1, the prelude. This is not the final version and the music is just a temporary placeholder.