It would be nice if you could shoot a bunch of footage and just dive into the editing
Well, sometimes you can. When Collette and I are at some festival and I want to cut the footage into a music video, I can do just that, pull the footage into Final Cut, lay down my music track and start cutting
That will not work for this new project. There is no script for this video, not formally. I have a pretty solid idea of where I want things to go but I have yet to finish shooting. I'm still waiting to do my final shoot with Nadia, where I will have her narrate her footage from our day at the Expo
Still, I want to start organizing things. Post production is a lot more than just editing and music and graphics.
Right now, while I'm waiting for my final shoot, I'm concerned with two areas: Logging footage and Legal.
I'll deal with Legal first. I have no intentions of the finished video ever going to broadcast. But I will be posting it on social media (and perhaps some unsocial media) and I will be sending it to whatever "film" festivals I can get away with. That is a different level of legal concern than broadcast but it's still a concern.
Film festivals, amateur or not, like everything neat and tidy. You have to prove rights to your footage, your music, locations and to all principles involved in the production.
I will of course have Nadia and Brandon (her Spiderman) sign a release form that I've worked up. They were not the only people that I have on cam. The interviews I did at the Ex break down into two categories: Fan streeters and Organization Interviews
The streeters were just fans I corralled and had give me a minute or two on cam. I am not terribly concerned with these. I made of point to record them as they gave me consent to film them and that should cover it.
Besides talking to fans, I talked to a few orgainizations/groups who were at the Expo to promote themselves. Groups like The Toronto Steampunk Society and Superheroes for Charity were at the Ex to raise awareness of their group and to raise money for charity. I also talked to a non profit LARP group (Live Action Role Playing) who where there to drum up new members
For these people I'm going to need release forms, not just for the person but for the group. And I'm going to want proper contact info so I can credit them. They of course gave me consent to film but because they represent a group of people, I want to make sure I'm covered and beyond that, I support their causes and want to credit them. No matter how organized they are, they are fans and they are not looking for a profit
The other legal concern is locations. Very often film fests want to make sure you have permission to shoot in any venues in your film. Fan Expo itself is very liberal in its allowances for video. It's really a fantastic thing. You see camera crews all over the Ex and not just from TV and online stations. I felt very comfortable shooting there and never had an issue from the event staff .. except when I was standing in the wrong place. Hey, welcome to my world
Still, I will probably send them an email, let them know what I'm doing and get a response. And, again, I definitely want to properly credit them. After all, the Expo itself may emerge as the "star" of the video
The other location concern is the venue that hosted the Expo, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is just as important, perhaps more so, than the Expo. This is the physical venue in which I was shooting and what film festivals are concerned with. Again, I'm hoping I'm covered because of the event itself. And I also want to credit them
I want to start this process now. I am a long ways from a finished product but while I'm waiting for my shoot with Nadia and before I get lost in the editing, I want to make sure I have this covered.
Now we come to logging footage. I began this process when I took the shots off the cam and put them on my computer. My cam can shoot in a variety of formats. For this shoot I chose HD 1080p at 60 frames per second. This gives me the best possible quality and because most web hosting sites want to compress your video (usually to 720 sometimes 1080) I feel that shooting at double the normal frame rate of 30 frames per second gives me the best chance of keeping my footage as clean as possible Plus, the slo mo is awesome
My Sony records the footage to its own internal hard drive. It compresses, or wraps, the footage to MTS files that can not be edited, not by Final Cut, not by any editing system. So I have to unwrap the files in order to be able to edit them. I use a program called Clirpwrap and unwrap the files to Apple's ProRes 422 standard, which keeps the files at their original resolution and makes for easy editing in Final Cut
After each day of shooting I downloaded the files to my computer, unwrapping them in the process. This cleared off the cam's hard drive and allowed me to do my initial orgainiztion: I targeted the unwrapped clips to a folder for each day of the Expo. Labelled them Thursday, Friday etc.
In traditional edits, like for a drama, I would log all the shots, pen and paper or with a computer logging program, describing each shot and it's location so that later, in the edit suite, I can quickly assemble these shots to match the script. In this case, at this point, I don't have a script. Eventually I will write some narration and if Nadia does her VO, that will constitute the script. What I need to do now is figure out what I have to make that latter process easier. In a sense, logging the clips is like writing a rough draft of a script
Some of the how I want to organize is obvious; for instance I want to put all the interviews into one location. That way, not matter how the video goes, I can easily find those clips. Now, you can do this kind of organization right in Final Cut. I can bring in folders from the computer, like the folders of clips organized by day and then create new folders, what FC calls Bins. I would rather do this work in my Mac's Finder. I created a folder called Interviews and dragged all of those clips over from the Day folders. It's easier to do in the Finder because I can expand the clips in the graphic interface so that they are easily identifiable.
This will be a rinse and repeat process. I can sub-folder this (yes, I just made up a verb, deal with it) as much as I desire. Folders for all cosplay, a folder for all footage from the North Building, a folder for all footage from the South building, a folder each for Celebs, Comics, Horror, etc Hopefully this will make it easier later on as I'm assembling the video
OK, this was probably a boring post and it deals with some of the less exciting aspects of video creation but it's all essential stuff and honestly, I enjoy this process. It gives me a chance to review all the footage, I can organize it, mark it and in some cases just trash the clips that will never be used
In the meantime, I did cut a little music video/trailer video that can be viewed here on my other blog