Friday, November 28, 2008

Editing Myself

I've finally started filming for my interactive project. Yesterday me and two good friends of mine, Hani and Kak Siti went down to one of the locations to get started with the shoot. The thing about this shoot is that it requires me to both act and direct at the same time. It was weird shooting with Kak Siti, an established Assitant Director in Malaysia. I found myself intimidated since there are still lots that i need to learn, and that what i know is nothing to what she does. The weather was a bitch yesterday, it was cold and windy. It is bad enough that it is cold and we had to stay outdoor for hours, and the wind just had to spoil my shots as it screws my captured audio on the recording. Now i have to do dubbing and foley works.

So i just finished editing the scene we shot yesterday (what i was able to edit; note that i still need to edit the sound adn record ambience and do foley works). But that's not the real point of this post.

The thing about editing this is that this is the first time i had to edit myself (a video in which i'm acting). Which is way different that editing a trip video of yourself or a birthday video of yourself. This is editing yourself ACTING.

I felt weird doing this. This is the first time I've done such a thing, before if there were any acting that I did on video, Siddiq would be the one who edits it.

It was weird, like twilight weird.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quarterlife - If anyone means to ask what type of films I aspire to make

Well a few days back i was pretty free, well actually I'm not supposed to be cause I have something that's due pretty soon - But hey; what can i do when I haven't even start shooting yet?

So being this carefree pain in the neck to myself, i started to wander around the net, like any other worthless 21st century teen would. So i was on youtube, browsing a few videos. And you know how it is on youtube; first you were looking for some Sasquatch videos, then one video led you to another and at the end - You end up wasting like 2 hours doing so.

So yeah, that happened to me (yet again, shocker!) and i end up reuniting with the cast, and the filmmakers that touched me once, as a film student. "Quarterlife" an online series about a group of young artist facing their quarter-life (20's or so). Ever heard the term; Mid - life Crisis? Well, this is a series about a group of artists facing their Quarter-life-crisis(es). Which I, personally extremely relate to.

Quarterlife Part One

Well I'm posting up the first episode up here so that later people can go follow the series (now cancelled). A bummer, but understandable since it was getting bad by the episodes. Watch part 1 to 7. Those were my favourites, cause later it started to get a little bit more and more ridiculous and populist from my point of view.

But while it was good, it was really good; for me that is. Notice the witty, charming, yet not trying-too-hard dialogues; it makes you feel..feel..well it does just that; It makes you feel . It's being very philosophical but yet, without cliche. Imagine a Malay film being philosophical; "Hidup ini mmg palat, tapi esok masih ada" wth? How cliche is that? I mean, yes it tries to improv what typical Malay novels like Budak Setan would write and make it look a bit more today by putting a swear word (which I believe they didnt even know it truly mean) in it. But still, you don't need to feed us with that, not anymore; we're sick of that shit. Instead, we used the same peribahasa's in our UPSR BM penulisan paper.

The dialouges in Quarterlife are real; and it touches you. This of course is helped by the fact that it is also enacted by some really talented young actors and actresses. I mean look at them! Are they acting? No they're not, they're being what the script requires them to be, and does even more with it. Acting and being are two different things whatsoever.

The camera work; well yeah, it's amateur, a bit shaky - makes you dizzy, screen-sick and it just irritates our eyes. right?


Cause from where i observe, the hand held camera motions helps you feel more. It makes what's real to the character, real to you, it's sensual, it's gentle and it's natural. It evokes more emotions than a tripod can. Proving again, that what Allah s.w.t created (two hands) is more artistic than a three legged tripod.

The Foley (sound); listen to the every detail of the sound piece, the sounds the characters make as they embark into what's real to them. It could be as simple as the sound of footsteps, sheets rumbling, clothes, or a plastic fooze-hockey game. It all contributes to the gentleness of the film piece. Sub-consciously, it's lending the character's ears to us.

Editing - the gentle colors used as it color scheme is very identifying. Again, subconsciously, it delivers the emotions that we are expected to get while we, as the viewer from another end of the screen identifies with these people we see on screen.

Try and watch the first episode, if you can't find to like it, i apologize.

But to me, INI SENI

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I soo want to change my Module!!!

Aku benci class orang Singapore itu!! Why the friggin hell did I even select it as one of my modules?!! Wargh!! I dont friggin...urm..ehem2..correction; NONE of us friggin understands what she says and yet she treats us like idiots! (well, maybe we are; TO SELECT her module). I was mistaken and fooled by the name of the course; namanya sungguh indah dan nampak macam best dan sesuai untukku. Namun Hakikatnya; Hancus!! I'm not sure if were allowed to change our modules up to this time of the year, but if we can.. I'm soo outta there! I hate writing essays!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes, I'm updating. So enough sarcasm kay?

So recently i looked back at a few things that i made back when i was in high school. Thinking back, i used to call them masterpieces, now i realise i'm just another teenager who found video editing to be fun. But looking back, i was a bit more ambitious and talented for my age, and for that time ( i know i'm being perasan; but bare with me as it's a form of self-motivational thing for now that i'm here, doing film seriously)

Anyways, what I'm really meaning to revisit here is that over-rated video i made for teachers day back in 2006 (All because of Amin putting it up on his blog; real embarassing). If you guys still dont get what i mean, can't recall such video, or don't even understand what i'm talking about since you weren't even there.

This piece of scrap is what i'm talking about

Rings a bell? No? Whatever..

Well to those who are getting it, or at least deja vu's of it, did you guys remembered what kind of hit it was? Coz i remember feeling like a rockstar when it premiered in our tiny little Dewan Putra Perdana. I also remember having a hard time backstage when the time to fire it up on screen closes by. Since I was using Cik Maryam's laptop (gosh, to think i was pretty close to her back then..urgh) back then, it had a problem projecting video using a projector because of insufficiency of codec (bloody acer!) so we had to go all trouble of finding a new machine, transfering all the videos and so on so forth. I even had my boys to go and grab the towers (desktops) which we used for the work. After all the trouble, our darling Miss Marwani ended up being the life saver since we used her codec sufficient hp laptop to broadcast all the shit we had to entertain the crowd.

I'm drifting away again!!

Well i realized that i was ambitious enough, at the age of 17 to try chroma keying. For those who aren't familiar of this, chroma keying is the typical green/blue screen technique filmmakers use to superimpose image. Notice the green background of the video; it was meant for chroma keying. Well it didnt turn up all so well because the subject matters i'm superimposing are stickfigures - they have thin edges. I end up spilling the background all over their bodies! That's why the green screen stays.

Notice the animation too; it was purely drawn frame by frame in a 3rd party application (i.e. powerpoint kahkahkah how lowly software provided we were back then). The frames are then arranged one after another in a video editing application (i.e. back then - Ulead Video Studio) and then played in a timeline against the soundtrack. Pretty neat huh?

Well now that i'm far ahead of where i was back then, i thought that i could enhance the whole thing all over. So, the very keen me started the whole thing from step one:

Drawing new full fledged (well, almost) 2D characters.

Using Flash for the Animation (Notice The Green Screen)

And Using Final Cut Pro 6 to superimpose the animation on top of an actual footage of a location i shot.

This way I can get a more stylistic video when I'm finished. I already have some test clips up and running, and I'm really pleased by it. It rocks! But i wont post it up anywhere yet, not until it's done 100%. I really want to continue doing this little project of mine, but it seems that i can't since i'm still in my writer's block state and am coming close to a deadline for an interactive narrative piece. Heck, when can i start doing what I want?

And guess what? None of this would happen (with much reduced stress taht is) without my new machine:

Owh I just LOVE my macbookpro!