We'll Fix it in Post

About the same time I wrote the entry above, I asked Matt by email what the schedule was. He just replied with a very detailed message, which is a great peek at the post-production process of a film. With his permission, here's his message:


I just realized I probably never replied to this email (plus, I noticed your "limbo" comment in your blog), so I figured I'd email you back and give you a heads-up.

We're actually a gnat's wing away from having the rough cut done. We just have to edit your interview and one short scene, and then the entire rough cut of the film is done. Of course, this is still months away from a release print. (I'm telling you all this because I think you might be interested. If it's too much detail, just skip down to the part where I say "DWG will probably be in the can by the end of the year.")

After Andrew (the editor, who was also our sound guy) and I finish the rough cut, the next step is to "spot" the film with Brian, our composer. This basically just means I sit down and watch it with him, but "spotting" sounds more technical. I will also spot the film with Jason (the graphic artist who is doing our titling).

Once Brian and Jason are sent on their merry way to compose the score and create the titles, Andrew and I sit down for the arduous task of syncronizing the sound. This is where we line up the sound recorded on MD with the picture already recorded (that's what the slate is for). This is the suckiest part of post-production. It's very tedious, but has to be done exactly right, or we end up with the swing dancing version of "What's Up, Tiger Lily?". This is also the time that we will record any replacement dialogue necessary (it looks like we only have one line that needs to be re-recorded, so that's pretty good).

After we get good sync on the sound, it's time for the "polish edit". This is where Andrew and I sit down and tweak the cuts (based upon responses we've gotten to the rough cut, as well as our own thoughts after looking over the material again). Basically, this is our chance to make sure the story makes sense. We also do any color-correction necessary in this step.

Once we are sure that the film is the way we want it, it goes into a state called "picture lock". This means that we will not be changing anything with the video portion - no footage will be removed or added from this point on.

If our timing is correct, we'll be getting picture lock around the same time as Brian finishes composing the score. We'll match up his draft recording of the score with the film, and assuming everything looks (andsounds) good, he'll go off and have the musicians record the actual score.

We finish up by having the audio mix "sweetened" by an audio engineer, and possibly run the whole video through a CineLook processor (to step it down to 24 frames per second, to better emulate film stock). Then we're done!

Long story short, Dancing With Gaia should be in the can by year's end. As we get closer to release time, we'll be keeping you all posted about where/when you can see the film, and when you can expect your very own copy.