We’ve now been working on post-production for about two and a half weeks.
First it took about a week and a half to transfer everything to AVID (mini dv, timecoded, so we can do an online). We did this to an external hard drive and have now duped this hard drive so we have a copy of the material.
Then Nimal started cutting, and this itself was interesting, as we’ve had to work out how to cut a 5 screen piece on AVID. We’d decided anyway to have a single screen version in order to raise money for completion, but this is itself not straight forward, as the film is not designed for 1 screen. Working on the principle that we’d use picture in picture (i.e. a series of boxes) to represent the screens, then this allows us to build 5 timelines in the edit window, and cut them simultaneously. I don’t know if this is the best solution, but it’s the one we came to first. It has one advantage – the timelines are in parrallel, and several disadvantages. Everything has to be kept in sync – no mean feat when there are 5 video tracks and 2 audio. You can still only see one timeline at a time, unless you perform the optical (the picture in picture) and this is both timeconsuming and a bit premature when we’re just trying to do a rough cut.
I feel our edit has been a bit like the children’s story of Simple Simon. Simple Simon does as he’s told, but he takes things extremely literally, and ends up keeping some butter cool, by hiding it under his hat. It melts and runs down his face. Usually, I’ve left Nimal to have a first go at the cut. He’s made a really good job of it. I’ve come in and had a look and made some suggestions. When Nimal does the suggestions, the result is worse than his original version. When looking at this, I think it has to do with understanding the nature of the 5 screens. There are certain points that have been designed so that the action on the screens interacts, e.g. Zeus leaves Heaven and comes down to earth, or Hera blinds Tiresias across 2 screens. Getting these timed in the AVID, has been difficult, partly due to not knowing the sophisticated usage of the AVID (in Lightworks I could have done this quite easily), as it requires back timing, and timing of events within shots. However, it also requires us to make the action on two or three screens run to a particular timing, and, so far, we’ve made this too dominantly dependant on a master screen (where the important action is) and cut too tightly on the other screens to this. Also, some problems with coverage have meant that the transition between scenes has not always been thought through sufficiently, so there’s not enough reaction on one screen or other. The action is therefore choppy and has lost its rhythm and coherence.
We’ve only cut about a quarter so we’re still learning, and hopefully we won’t be so choppy with the rest of the stuff.