So as I stated in my last blog, I’m revisiting my short film BITTER OLD MAN for the 10 year anniversary of that work. We (meaning Alex the Intern) have made the picture lock of the current edit, which technically is not a “re-edit” since we selected all the same takes (except 1 I think). Once I started down this dark path, a snowball turned into a miniature avalanche of ideas.¬†Firstly, the impetus was to update the FX work at the end of the piece. There are only 9 shots total, and of those, only 6 are from different takes and angles. Not that much work, but I wanted to take some decent time and put forth all that my skills had to offer. As I formulated a game plan for the workflow, I decided to put the call out to a friend who is an amazing artist/conceptual designer.

If I’m going to do this, why do it all myself when I can make the work much better than what I can do alone? So I have some matte paintings in the works now that might take a full 2 weeks to come in, especially in layers so I might add some virtual camera movement and have parallax motion in those shots. I am applying my current aesthetics and attitude towards work. I’m a lot more of a perfectionist now than I was 10 years ago. I strive for more quality over quantity/speed than I did before. Rather than rush to get it done because I am excited; I slow down and push my own expectations higher.

Another first for me will be to do a 5.1 surround mix on this. In the last 10 years my audio editing experience has increased so as I heard several sound and noise works that had to be done; I figured why not challenge myself and do a full short film in 5.1? I had tested a title sequence in 5.1 a few months ago to learn the basic tools, but I have not attempted to do an entire piece this way. Placing voices and sounds in a 3 dimensional space sounds like fun and a challenge.

Looking at the piece today, the opening two shots, the exterior of a building were subpar by my standards. Even though this existed in standard definition, and the HD is only an uprezzing of the original files, these two shots did not pass muster. Seeing the next shot is a nice dolly going left to right, I have decided to re-shoot the establishing shots as a dolly shot and I’ll wipe on a car passing to transition into the piece. Now I’m reshooting an element for the movie too.

So what was originally supposed to be a 5-6 hour simple hobby job is now going to take the better part of a month in my spare time. I will be much more satisfied in the end, but I really don’t like looking backwards into the past, but this piece warrants the extra special attention. BITTER OLD MAN delves quite a bit deeper into serious issues and the acting stands up to my raised bar for performances.

I cannot figure out exactly what is motivating this inside my head and heart. What drives me into thinking about this a lot, in that obsessive “must do it!” mode? I do not know. All I do know is that my subconscious mind into that creative zone and the muse visits me a lot more often when I’m awake, asleep, and in between. Never neglect the sweet voice of inspiration when she whispers to you. NEVER.

A blast from the past, shortly after BITTER OLD MAN was shot in 2001, but before it was completed…

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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