Spent the day in the editing studio today creating the final cut of my Harry Potter film. The studio is in north London near Ealing, so we had to leave at about 7 AM to get there...the traffic is awful on the M1 in the morning. I drove, which makes this my first official drive in London proper thus far. Pretty impressed with myself, actually.
The studio was a bit of a dump. It was in this run down post-Bauhaustian looking building with lots of grime on the windows and chipping paint on the steel siding. You had to ring a bell to get in, and this grandmotherly woman let you in. The offices were unassuming, but when you got into the back rooms there were thousands of pounds of sound and video equipment.
We'd recorded about 45 minutes of film, and had to cut it down to five.
We started by arranging our favourite takes in the proper order so we had one film. This meant we first had to determine our favourite takes, which took about an hour and a half. But once they were in order we were at 15 minutes...not so bad, really.
The next step was to trim down the many shots that needed to be sliced together in order to create full flight and fight sequences. We'd gone really low tech on this. We used a toy dragon and a Harry Potter doll for much of the fighting, and then did closeups of our Harry on his broomstick doing reaction shots. It looked pretty amazing, considering that we'd filmed this by having Harry stand on a table in the garden while I laid on my back on the ground and shot him from below so the sky showed in the background. Slight problem in that the Harry shots were filmed on a sunny day and the doll shots were filmed in the rain, but what can you do?
Once we had all of this in order, we had to tighten up the different shots so they flowed quickly and evenly. That was easy, actually. By this time we had a vision and a plan and knew exactly what we wanted to emphasise.
We had the final cut ready by about 230. I had to record two voice overs, which I did in dramatic fashion in the sound studio. My colleagues were well impressed by my radio theatre reading style. It was pretty easy to time the voice to the scenes, and so all we had left were sound effects and music. Put little claps and boings and explosions in, and laid in music to cover the background noise in some of the active scenes.
The end product is 5 minutes and 15 seconds. It looks pretty professional, and is very funny. We went with a Carry On Harry theme, based upon some Benny Hill-type comedy films popular in the 70's here in England. Lots of innuendo and "naughty" jokes, with bad special effects and a corny script. We were pretty happy when the editor knew immediately what we were trying to do, not only because that meant that others would get the joke, but because he had all sorts of creative ideas to enhance our project.
The film fest and Oscar Night happens Friday. It will be exciting to see if we win!