Filmmaking Thread

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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: Filmmaking Thread

Post: # 10139Post Garrett Gilchrist »

I noticed a couple years back that Youtube was heavily penalizing 480p uploads now, to be heavily compressed and look very bad. So I started upscaling the 480p to 720p and it looked fine. Now Youtube is penalizing the 720p uploads as well-my last upload is compressed all to hell.

https://twitter.com/TygerbugGarrett/sta ... 7053812736

The tech isn't there yet to upscale this stuff properly on my systems without it being a huge impossible drain on resources and time. But that's the only way it's going to look good on Youtube.

Jamie Francis writes: Even 1080 looks like garbage, I have been uploading in 4k recently. Even if its only HD. Looks much better on YT.

Confirmed that the Youtube version of my Weathermaster video is only 103 MB in size.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: Filmmaking Thread

Post: # 10179Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Some have said that Apocalypse Now Redux, by Francis Ford Coppola in 2001, is a bad director's cut which ruins the film, and suggests that director's cuts aren't a good thing. Some were shocked that there exists a 5-hour workprint of the film, and feel that that would be unwatchable (which, as a low quality VHS bootleg, it certainly is).

Apocalypse Now Redux was not actually billed as a director's cut at the time.

"Unlike other new cuts of the film, Redux is usually considered by fans and critics, as well as director Coppola, as a completely new movie altogether."

As advertised, it wasn't supposed to replace Apocalyse Now, and has a different Wiki page. Reviews were mixed, although largely positive due to the original film's reputation.

It's not unusual for a film to have a very long, early workprint. The five-hour workprint cut of Apocalypse Now does not represent something they intended to release in theaters as final, or to be seen by any audiences. Treating it as such shows an ignorance of feature filmmaking.

This is what's called an "assembly cut" - it's a compilation of every scene shot for the film in a loose, longer form. The shooting of Apocalypse Now was famously chaotic and they shot a lot of stuff. It wasn't immediately clear how the editing should proceed, so of course the assembly cut was long. It's a compilation of stuff that might have made it into the film. It's only been bootlegged, not officially released. Of course the song sequences play out in full. This is something that was put together so that director Coppola could see what he had, and start deciding what would actually be in the film.

Three-hour workprints are common for films that end up at 2 hours or 90 minutes.

And even when I used to make no-budget amateur features with my friends in high school and college, I ended up with what would have been a five-hour assembly cut on three of those features, before cutting them down to half that. (And releasing the rest on another disc, in one case.)

Because Apocalypse Now is a great film, and the workprint was so long, and only available in unwatchable quality, the lengthy "French Plantation" sequence and other deleted scenes had become mythic and famous in their own right. They had taken on a certain legendary quality to people who are interested in deleted scenes, like the Biggs Darklighter scenes from Star Wars, or the deleted scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which no one saw for 20 years.

Eventually, David Lynch released Fire Walk With Me: The Missing Pieces, a collection of deleted scenes from the film which is its own film. It's not intended to replace the original feature, but works as its own entity (and is considered canon to the TV series - it's quite good). He had already done the same for Blue Velvet, creating a film out of his deleted scenes.

So, for Apocalypse Now Redux in 2001. Francis Ford Coppola decided to actually release all his deleted scenes. He built a new cut of the entire film around that, including everything he'd cut out before which was worth including.

A lot of people think it stinks, but it allowed all these scenes to be seen, without replacing the original film. It's also fair to say that, by creating a new edit from his original footage, Coppola became attached to the "new" film and probably likes it quite a bit.

His decision to now release a "Final Cut" of Apocalypse Now is very questionable, as this could ACTUALLY replace the original cut, and might ACTUALLY be billed as a director's preferred cut instead of an alternate cut.

It's a slippery slope.
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Re: Filmmaking Thread

Post: # 10281Post Garrett Gilchrist »

I was talking to someone who wants to start making movies. I said the following:


When you're first starting to make movies, it's about practice. You'll need to work on the writing, and do as much of it as you can until you have something. I started doing this sort of thing when I was in my teens. The technology today is much better, but you're still going to learn by doing it, and making lots of mistakes as you go.

It's not a bad idea, if your interest in projects wavers, to have two or three going at the same time that you can switch between, but you do need to finish something! And find your voice.

It only really takes a few other "willing participants" to make a movie. But you need a script and concept. What you might want to do is start out with something very short and simple that can be shot in a day or two, just to start learning. When I attended film school at USC, I'd already made five or seven little comedy features on video with my friends, but for class we started out making what were intended as five-minute shorts with no dialogue (which I then expanded to 16 minutes, then 18-25 minutes with dialogue, but still, I learned a lot from the simpler format).

One nice thing about doing self-contained shorts when you're starting out is that you can eventually pretend the worse ones didn't happen, and you're not stuck if you can't get the same people back for the next one.

In my teens in high school, I did my first videos which were dumb sketch comedy, shot either on 8mm or VHS video. It was hard to get people to show up and be in them until I'd proven myself, when I released the whole feature edited together. That first movie, most of it was just me for that reason.

The rest were built around - not just what I wanted to do, but what the other people I was working with wanted to do. It was easier to get a script done, early on, by bouncing off ideas with someone else.

When figuring out the structure for your script, ask these questions:

What does your character want? What are your character's flaws? What do they need to learn?

In my screenplay Frog Without a Soul, the aging actor Vance Kennedy has "maturity which is really immaturity." By the end of the script he learns something, and acquires "immaturity which is really maturity," because he understands himself better.

Exercise: Have a chat with one of your collaborator friends, which is really a scene. Each of you wants something in this scene. You have a goal to accomplish. One of you is in a position of power or authority over the other. Are you able to get that thing, achieve that goal? How does the balance of power shift?

Here is an early student film I made at college in 2001 (I was 20).

https://youtu.be/G9IkASc99C0

What is the structure of this short? Her day to day routine is established. Something in her life is lacking. Something strange occurs. She goes through a difficult and challenging time. When she returns to her normal day to day routine at the end, she is different.
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Re: Filmmaking Thread

Post: # 11314Post Garrett Gilchrist »

My archiving project- which has been running for a few weeks now- has been MiniDV, Digital8, Video8/Hi8, audio cassette, and VHS. All being captured as MiniDV to a 5TB hard drive. Almost full now.

It's a strange feeling, archiving MiniDV footage from a couple dozen years ago and thinking, three of those actors are dead now. More maybe.

Also some of these movies stank but I'm being thorough with my archiving. (And a lot of that was down to a complete botch job in the editing, as it often is. Where I had no control over that.)

I did a few projects in the 2000s, where I wasn't the director, which went roughly as follows:

The script was horrible.
(Should have gotten out at this point.)

Cast was good.
Everyone worked hard.
What they actually shot was pretty good.

What was edited/released was horrible.

I even did a few projects like that where I was directing to an extent- credited or uncredited.

But yeah, if you're making a movie, and the script stinks and is sending up red flags, get out while you still can.

A crew can try to save a bad script, but maybe that won't get used. Maybe the edit will be bad, or the shape of the final film will always be the shape that the script had, so there wasn't much you could do about that, when you thought you were improving it a lot.

The directors and the producers have the final say, and the script can give you an idea of who they are. If you don't like what you're seeing, listen to that concern.

It always hurts to see a project end up as garbage. You work just as hard on a bad project, or harder because you're trying to keep it from going underwater. And it takes a lot out of you in the end.

I thought I had a lot of strength in me to bounce back from that kind of thing, but you only really get a certain amount of chances.

____

BTW since someone asked, I'm not actually being coy about this stuff for a surprise reveal; I don't actually think that the many, many hours of footage I'm archiving is anything that the general public would or should be interested in at this point. I'm doing it anyway, for me, just to make sure it will exist into the future, and contacting other people who were involved, privately.

But maybe I'm not mentioning names because it was a long time ago, or it wasn't a good film, or so on. You worry that this stuff becomes blackmail material. For me too. There's a ton of stuff I'm proud of in there, or think that other people should be proud of, but at that point I think that's for me rather than for strangers. Some of it mingles with stuff I wish had never happened, or am ambivalent about. And on a technical level it's all very much of its time.

I will release some footage that has name actors, or actors who might want the footage, for I guess historical purposes. Easier to release it without worrying if it's not stuff I'm in ...!
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Re: Filmmaking Thread

Post: # 11357Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Answer to a question about fixing bad green screen:

I've sometimes keyed out stuff which wasn't shot against green screen by using Remove. BG's app and EBSynth. I suspect you can gradually improve the green screen work with various trickery anyway.

EBSynth is a style transfer program where you draw keyframes to look the way you want them, and then synthesize that over the footage (at least until it starts to smear too much). It's useful for colorization and painting out backgrounds, and so on. Ideally you'd have a new keyframe every couple of seconds. It can be a lot of work.
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