Mar 14
DIGITAL MOVIE PRODUCTION by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Mar 14, 2008

Part 3

As a recap, the Pre-Production phase of movie production involves the decision on the choice of the story, approval of the script, and selection and finalization of casting only after the budget had been secured before commencing with the Production phase which is the actual shooting of the sequences as described in the script.

The Post Production phase starts with the Editing process. The sequences (scenes or several scenes shot in a particular setting in a given timeline) are sequentially numbered (hence they are called sequences) in the script. But in the production output, the footages are not in the sequence (order) of the script. If the movie has many sequences (scenes) in a room which, in the story, appear in different timelines, shooting the sequences (scenes) in that particular room will be done continuously so as to save on the set arrangement and only the lighting would be changed so as to signify a different timeline for such sequences (scenes) shot in the room. To put it simply, the production of sequences depends on the availability of shooting resources like the actor, the set and the props.

It is a given that the Editor receives footages randomly sequenced. Aside from cutting off undesired portions of the footage, the Editor also rearranges the footages in the proper sequence (order) based on the script. So it is important that the Editor know the script by heart. Unlike in the linear editing of film where sequencing poses as a problem especially for new editors, video editing softwares provide a convenient facility and sequencing is just like positioning blocks in a fence. Another factor going for the video is the timing because the timer facility is so easy to use in video editing softwares. Compared with linear editing (film), non-linear editing (video) with so many features is very convenient to use.

Aside from the script as a guide, the Director also gives specific instructions to the Editor. There are times that the Director closely supervises the editing process. “May mga instruction kasi na mahirap intindihin at hindi puwedeng isulat,” explains a veteran film director on the reason why some directors are on top of the editors. With video editing, the retouching or resequencing of edited video doesn’t take much time because of the facility provided by the software. This is a plus for the Editor particularly if the Director is very meticulous. “Nung araw gagapang ka pag metikoloso ang director mo, ang hirap kasing mag-iba ng sequence lalo pa kung may idadagdag,” wails a retired film editor on the hardships of retouching in linear editing.

The Director, and probably the Producer too, take a preview of the so-called first draft. Sometimes there’s a Creative Consultant who can lend more taste. This first draft version is almost complete but without the sound effects and some dialogues still need to be dubbed. It is already more than a skeleton of the finished product since the duration of the movie is decided on this first draft. But if some scenes would not pass the quality standard of the Director or the Producer, some sequences (scenes) would be re-shot. This re-shoot is not really uncommon. In the digital film Lagusan, the Korean producer was not so happy with the first draft such that several scenes had to be re-shot. Gina Tagasa, the writer and director, however, reasoned that the Korean Producer had a change of mind on the agreed script, meaning, there’s a great deviation from the original concept so a re-shooting had to be done.

By the way, in order to save on talent fees, most digital productions don’t hesitate to use their talents especially for the part of extras or even bit players. But we have yet to see a movie featuring the director, who happens to be the producer, scriptwriter and editor, as the star of the movie. In Pamana, the Fil-Canadian producer was also the director, scriptwriter, editor and sound technician but he didn’t play a part in the movie.

The first draft becomes the second then the third and so on until the final cut is approved by the Director and/or Producer. But before the final approval comes in, the musical scoring and the sound effects take center stage. Like in film editing, the editor has a ready library of music and sounds such that musical scoring is avoided. However, using canned music runs the risk of intellectual property infringements especially now that the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) law is getting stricter. That’s the reason why some digitals use just a small portion of some songs and mostly old songs to avoid legal entanglements on copyrights.

But in times where musical scoring is required, the midi composer comes into play. MIDI (Musical Intrument Device Interface) is actually a software that mimics musical instruments. The music for each instrument can be created individually and then later on merged into a symphony. The MIDI can create the desired minus one for original songs or even for rehashed old songs. But the MIDI is not the territory of the Editor since he is only in charge of the video editing, canned musical scoring and ready-made sound effects. A musician is the one who composes musical scoring with the MIDI.

If some dialogues are missing then dubbing is held in a studio. The draft version of the movie is simulated by the dubber for synchronization. Difficulty with the dubbing causes unsynchronized movement of lips vis-à-vis the voice. And if the actor is not available then a voice talent is hired for the purpose. Special sound effects not available in digital sound libraries are also created in the studio.

Another step in Editing is the inclusion of credits. The text, as provided by anyone in the Production team, is created and inserted in the movie by the Editor. If the movie requires animation or CGI (Computer Generated Image) then a digital artist is hired for the job.

While in the process of Editing, the promotion of the movie can already begin. Promotion can be done in many ways. But the target audience should first be determined before embarking on a promotional campaign. Some movies cater to a particular sector like in the case of gay films or movies produced for students. Movies for public consumption should be promoted in major media like newspapers, TV and radio while the sectoral movies can focus the promotion on the particular target sector. With schools, the Producer or Director can strike a deal with the school head. Some others have thought of producing a movie to cater to rural barangays. But getting a deal with the local government is not an easy thing so those ideas were not pursued.

The standard material for promotion is the poster. It normally features the faces or images of the leading actor/actress plus the credits. With the emergence of the cheaper version of tarpaulin, even billboards are now using tarps. For big productions, the tri-media approach is the most desired, i.e. guesting in TV programs, plugging on radio and advertising in print.

The premiere showing is the last step in the promotional procedures. Of course, media is the first and foremost target audience and next are people with influence like heads of schools or corporations or officers of organizations. Presumably, the actors of the movie are present in the premiere and preferably dressed in their costume if any.

Production outfits with no budget for premiere can settle for a simple press conference where two or three movie reporters are invited, feted and handed money envelopes as token. And those with lesser budgets can settle for press releases which can be sent out to newspapers. The internet is now being used for such press releases by employing the so-called spammers who email potential customers or audience in the case of the movies.

But before the promotion and the premiere showing, the movie should have been booked already. Especially for digital movies with limited venue, booking doesn’t come that easy. The Booker, an agent who secures exhibition schedules with theaters, should be informed earlier of the intention so that the desired showing dates in preferred theaters could be reserved.

In summary, digital movie production is simpler and cheaper to produce than the traditional film. But despite the facility provided by the technology, skills and talents of the movie maker should still be present.

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