Friday, 27 February 2015

Big News For Sexton Lovecraft

Sexton before and after: colour grading at Deadbolt facilities, Farnham.
After a very successful screening of the 'short short' Sexton Lovecraft in Pompeywood, work has begun on a longer episode.

We will be joining Sexton Lovecraft in webisode 69,105 within the next few weeks.

Sexton Lovecraft has previously defeated the Zargs in animated adventures designed by Kevin Turrell, MND.

Character creator Mike Peter Reed has been pursuing a live action version for some time.

To date the character of Sexton Lovecraft has been portrayed by the same actor in both animated and live action forms.

Reed calls his character "a mash up" of everything from Sexton Blake, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Men In Black, Ghostbusters, Austin Powers, Sapphire and Steel, and of course H.P. Lovecraft.

The episode is being directed by Gav C. Steel, whose previous credits include the splatterfest that is The Shadow Of Death.

Can't wait!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Chris Jupp talks about his new short Scissor Happy

Fat Finger Films are working with Deer Studios (amongst others) to bring Scissor Happy to screen. This interview was produced completely using the Airninja Movie Method.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What's This? I am totally sold on Rotolight RL48-B

It seems like only yesterday I was using a featherweight LED panel for my iPhone reportage. Then I saw a recommendation for this thing called a Rotolight, looks like a ringlight, what's the big deal? Ringlights are hefty juice-sucking encumbrances when you are running-and-gunning, right? Er, wrong. In fact I couldn't find anyone with a bad word to say about this particular Rotolight product. Well ... where to start.

How about starting by showing you the contents of the ~£100 package I bought from Amazon (reduced from £170):

And what's this? They are a British company?! Yaaaay!

My opinion based on a day's play?

It's lightweight. Not featherweight but definitely no heavyweight. Mere grams.
It takes AA batteries. A boon if you are like me and keep zillions of the things around.
It only takes three AA batteries.
It's rated last for three hours continuous use on common alkaline, or four hours Energiser Lithium.
It's surprising bright (I'm not really sure why this would be a surprise, perhaps I was skeptical of all the positive reviews).
The kit includes basic filters and a bunch of other creative filters (gels).
The filters are stored in the light housing. Genius!
The filters are Lee filters. Hurrah!
I think I read somewhere it's weatherproof. There's certainly a decent seal, I would easily take this out  in the Great British weather without thinking twice about it.
Decent build quality.
High quality LED, you can tell they are the pricier type just by looking (without it switched on).
The kit comes with a carry pouch that is actually useful and well considered. Hurrah!
It's highly mobile and versatile, it's just what I have been looking for.

There's no electronic dimmer, so that is accomplished by adding in the included ND. Can't help thinking if only it had a dimmer then those AA batteries might chug along for an hour or two longer at dimmer settings. It's not really 'bad' and it does keep things simple and presumably reliable. I just have to complain about something, right?!
Adding in the gels is a bit faffy. Though I expect to get better at this the more I use it. So this is more a reflection on me rather than the Rotolight, hmmmm.

There is just nothing ugly about this light. I've loved ringlights forever (since I first had to hold one up for Spidercom on an early music video - D:REAM was it, I forget?!) - this is the first one I've owned. Which is rather capitalist. Is capitalism ugly? Maybe. You can tell I'm struggling to find fault here.

Really looking forward to using this on a forthcoming Tagsta (working title) shoot.

Click the Amazon link above, save £70 while stocks last.

'Scissor Happy' Major Collaboration with Fat Finger Films and moakley54

Last night saw filming of the title sequence and final voice-over for 'Scissor Happy'. I was there representing Deer Studios in my capacity as sound recordist. We got some cracking footage and a silky smooth v/o. And a beer.
Chris Jupp, Mark Oakley and Phil Lyndon rehearse title sequence actions.

We were also able to review the final cut of the film and it's a really well-paced dark comedy.

Hat tip to Mark Oakley for a great edit.

It does however need some serious work on M&E (music and effects) which is where I come in. I'll be working with director Chris Jupp of Fat Finger Films over the coming weeks to nail the foley, spot effects and any music cues.

No doubt I'll also have an opinion on the final mixdown.

This project will continue to be a lot of fun, though will no doubt need a solid few days to complete the post-production sound. This is planned to happen after next week - which gives me plenty of time to continue working on another major Deer Studios project - Seb Hunter's 'Dark Is A Long Way'.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Quick Review of Manfrotto ML360 video light Midi LED panel

This light approximates a 16:9 screen horizontally and the basic ML360 is a 36 LED panel and ships without any additional filters. You do get a cold shoe adapter.

Here's what's in the box:

It's rated at 420 LUX up to 1 metre and reckons it will pick out your subject at up to 3 metres. I'm inclined to agree after my initial testing. Easily.

This thing is as light as a feather.
It's small and should easily fit in a coat pocket or inside jacket pocket.
At the maximum brightness it's pretty darned bright, enough for fill at a relatively good MCU to mid-shot distance, or closer.
Dimmer built in.
Takes 4x AAA batteries you can find them anywhere.
I got a continual usage of three+ hours on Asda own-brand AAA alkaline batteries using 50% brightness (easily enough for MCU fill on a talking head for example).
Includes a ribbon in the battery compartment to allow easy and quick removal of dead batteries.

Only lasts around one hour at full power.
Takes AAA batteries that you will have to go and find if you are anything like me and have a bias for AA.
Doesn't ship with filter/diffuser and you don't appear to be able to buy these separately.
At lower brightnesses then at wide angles you will likely notice some vignetting. But hey, if you're doing lomography that will actually be a GOOD!

The filter/diffuser you make yourself will be pig ugly clipped to this thing.
Quite plastic-y build quality, and the battery compartment is difficult to replace so it is flush with the body.
Expensive (approx £60 from Amazon at time of writing).

Despite its flaws, the killer features for me are its featherweight, small size, and 4x AAA batteries as a power source (though I would prefer if it ran from AA cells). Sure there are better lights out there but when running-and-gunning with minimal kit,

I will definitely be using this LED panel as part of my doco and reportage acquisition.

Sexton Lovecraft Out Of The Bag

Satisfy your curiosity. Just. Press. Play. Now.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sexton Lovecraft - Update and Insight From 2nd Unit Co-Director

Strictly speaking not an airninja movie method production, there were definitely elements in the 2nd unit crew, evidenced in this video.

Certain insights into the 2nd unit production methods are given by @britmic - some regarding practical effects (gaffer tape and tree branches) and some regarding technology (it won't save us).

Sexton Lovecraft is on the big screen tonight, February 9th 2015, at the Fat Fox in Southsea and other select independent venues throughout the year.

Mind your icing sugar.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

#DIALW Post Production Update

Going well. The iPhone production scratch sound recording holds up so well. If I did this all over again, I would have the strength in my conviction that the iPhone 6 Plus recorded audio is good enough to shout 'quiet on set' before each take.

The edit has been through three iterations so far -

Example of foley stage at Sony museum.
1. Rough assemble.
2. Fine cut.
3. Locked cut.

What we have remaining to do,

4. Black & white processing.
5. Looping / ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement or Additional Dialogue Recording depending who and when you ask).
6. Music.
7. Sound Effects / Foley.

An initial black-and-white look has been applied shot-by-shot to the locked cut. This will be reviewed by the director tomorrow when he drops by with the lead actress to re-record dialogue (ADR). This was always in the plan, as I say the intention has always been to shoot MOS and use whatever the iPhone records as reference.

So this morning I have to think through the setup for an ADR session tomorrow and render some loops. Although this is a Deer Studios production, the studios in question tend to be where the deer roam - that is, out in the forest (much like early movie studios were about large warehouse spaces and back lots rather than isolated audio booths). So front room it is.

The ADR playback will be from USB stick into a 50" LCD with headphones connected (I'd better check the screen has a headphone output) with pre-rendered loops of existing edited footage with reference sound. I'll record using my super-secret Sennheiser microphone onto SD card in my Nagra SD. Having slept on it, in keeping with the spirit of Airninja iPhonemania I shall be recording using iPhone 6 Plus, my favourite recording app du jour, and my favourite lightning enabled condenser microphone. Simple. Low admin. Airninja.