Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tonight's the Night!

We're completely done, and not a moment too soon. Tonight's our premiere screening, and we hope you can all make it....

The City of Lights
Premiere Screening
7:00 PM

Folino Theater
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Chapman University

323 N. Cypress Street
Orange, CA 92866



Can't make it? Follow the link below to watch the live webcast...

http://ibc.chapman.edu/Mediasite/Viewer/?peid=2a7727e1-1e67-4c37-baf2-0d319e0a0bc1

See you there!

-Zach

Friday, April 24, 2009

Live from the Screening of The City of Lights...

As promised, here is the link to our live event feed...

If you can't watch it live, it will be archived and available to watch online later as well...

http://ibc.chapman.edu/Mediasite/Viewer/?peid=2a7727e1-1e67-4c37-baf2-0d319e0a0bc1


Enjoy!


-Zach

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

VFX, Sound Design, Credits, and Conform... [4 Days Until Screening]

Only 4 days left until we screen, and in the final hours, here's what we've accomplished [and what we still have left!]...

Mike, our VFX guy, has finished all of the visual effects shots. I've posted a little preview of his work below. Believe it or not, this image is a complete composite - the only thing we actually filmed was the back of Alex. The rest of it was created - piece by piece - in post-production by mike. Looks pretty good, eh?



Brianne is still working like crazy on the final sound design, mixing the music, dialogue, and effects to the perfect levels. Tomorrow we get to mix our final audio in Folino Theater, the same theater we are screening in, to make sure everything sounds PERFECT.

Credits are almost done, just waiting on the last few names that need to be added to the "special thanks to" section.

And finally, tomorrow we do the conform in Nitris. This is probably the most exciting part of post-production, because it is when every element of the film - the final picture, final sound, VFX, credits, etc. - all come together for the first time. We're excited to see it, and we'll keep you updated as to how it goes...

See you at the screening!

-Zach

Monday, April 20, 2009

4 More Days to Work, 5 Days Until the Screening...

We screen this Saturday, as you all surely know by now...

Here's what we're working on in the final hours:

Right now I am rendering out of Lustre, which is the program used to color grade the film. It's what gives the film the professional look. Lustre renders out the film by exporting each frame individually. At almost 24 minutes, The City of Lights has more than 34,500 frames. As you can imagine, it's going to take a while... [thus giving me plenty of time to blog while I sit here and watch it go...]

Brianne, our sound designer, is busy mixing the soundtrack. Yesterday, we received our final score from our compser - Karlston Yago. Now Brianne is busy incorporating it with all the other sounds she's been busy creating over the past week. Candace has been working with Bri in order to get the soundtrack to match the one she has playing in her head. Candace wants The City of Lights to feel empty, almost haunting at times. Other moments will feel warm and hopeful. It's truly amazing how much you can do with sound.



I've also been working on the opening title and closing credits using an application called Motion. Motion allows you to build visual effects [including titles] in a real-time format, making it relatively easy to assemble our long list of scrolling credits [this film had a lot of help, and therefore lots of folks to credit]. Those will get added to the project later on this week when we finalize.

So, 5 days until our screening and still lots to do... But don't be worried - we're not. After all, we learned to work well under pressure.

We hope to see you all at the screening. As if the film itself isn't reason enough to come, there will be a reception held afterward with light drinks and desserts. I hope you can all hang around after the screening to talk with the cast and crew.

-Zach

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce Madison Leisle...

Madison Leisle plays the role of Jade in The City of Lights...



Check out Maddie's filmography at IMDB. You might recognize her from episodes of Grey's Anatomy or Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards.

Maddie's performance in The City of Lights is truly stunning. She's an absolute dream kid for filmmakers - always eager, and instantly best friends with the cast and crew. Check out her independent website here to view some of her other works!

The City of Lights premieres this Saturday, April 25th at 7:00PM in Folino Theater at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, California.


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The screening is open to all, free of charge. If you plan on attending, please let us know by commenting in the comments section of this post! We look forward to seeing you there!



For those of you who can't make it, stay tuned for information about our live feed from the event, allowing you to view the screening via internet connection from anywhere in the world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Allow Me to Introduce Alex McKenna...

Alex McKenna is the lead in The City of Lights, playing the role of Megs.


Alex's impressive resume is on IMDB, having worked on shows like Crossing Jordan, Malcom in the Middle, and Boston Public.

We're all really happy to have had the privilege of working with Alex. She gave so much to the film, and was always so easy going [even when we asked her to journey to Bombay Beach for a second time].

Our screening is in 7 days, and we hope everyone can come to see Alex's incredible performance. We're excited, and you should be too...

Locked Picture and 8 days to SCREENING!

We've officially locked picture, which means we're just days away from having the final product. Our sound artist, Brianne Hunt, is currently in the process of perfecting the audio. Our wonderful talent was in studio this past Wednesday recording ADR [Automated Dialogue Replacement], ensuring that every line of the film is delivered to you - the audience - in perfect quality.

Today Brianne and I will be doing some Foley work, one of my FAVORITE post-production activities. Foley is the art of replacing and enhancing sounds during post production. I've put a YouTube video explaining foley below, and I'll try and post a video of our Foley Session later on...



Yesterday the locked, color-corrected frames were delivered to our Visual FX artist - Mike Cusic. He is busy working on our various VFX shots, including some green screen and masked shots. While most of the film was created using "in-camera effects", a few of the shots needed some modern-day VFX assistance.

Well, that's all for now! We screen in 8 days and we hope you can all make it. It's going to be great!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Design...

When Candace approached me about designing her film, then titled "Units", I didn't flinch and without hesitation, accepted without seeing a script or hearing any ideas. I know Candace well enough by now that pretty much any idea that pops into her head is brilliant so, duh, yeah I want to be a part of that!


Also, her film dealt with a kind of fantasy world in the post-apocalyptic era: a designer's dream! I can make up what I think this world should be like! With cooperation and collaboration of course, but it wasn't another Orange County living room set, ya know? Wonderful! I was imagining aging concrete walls with black who-knows-what in the cracks and lots of dripping pipes, metal, old technology that burnt out, and lots of light bulbs hanging by themselves. After lots of meetings, I think Candace understood that I was inside her head and was definitely going to take care of her idea so she pretty much let me have free reign; again, another designer's dream!


Ultimately, The City of Lights is all those things I mentioned; lost or leftover technology, lots of junk, metal, light bulbs, things rotting, etc. I didn't want the film to feel comfortable. Almost everything has a hard edge or a sharp edge except for Megs's bed (which still looks questionable), Megs's curly curvy hair (because she is our main character!), and the light bulbs which represent a variety of things from ideas to hope to the remainders of the past generation. Honestly, we really just liked how cool they looked, but there is subtext behind them, too! To contrast this hard environment, I laid down warm colors for the walls. This kind of terracotta color doesn't make the environment feel warm, but it does make it feel locked down and safe: hidden away.


I opted for cool metal colors with bits of rust (a warm tone) to contrast those walls...it should make you feel (subconsciously) uncomfortable or on edge viewing warm and cool hard surfaces next to one another. This is the reason why I made the front door copper. It's still a hard metal but the copper tone gives it a warm color temperature and also makes it stand out from the rest of the doors. Sometimes, there's also that voice in my head that just says, "yeah that looks right" and that door definitely looked right when it was done.

-Katie, Production Designer