Friday, July 30, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

"Now let me do the talking."
Finally got a rough cut of Scene 12 in the can. Man...what a pain in the arse! I was wondering why this scene was so difficult- then looking at the timeline realized this bad boy is almost five minutes long! It's actually three scenes in one or one scene in three parts or...well you get the point. On to lucky Scene 13!

Rat Rod Rockers! Filming

Old Man Kanker
Old Man Kanker & His Dog
Went out to Gasworks Park yesterday to film the last pick up shot for Rat Rod Rockers! This is the opening sequence showing Anywhere, Washington's famed moonshiner and entrepreneur, Old Man Kanker. We also took my daughters dog Gypsy to play his doggie. It was a quick shoot, except trying to get Gypsy to bark on cue. Now I know why movie animal trainers get the big bucks!

I also finished the last part of Scene 12 but still have several cuts left to complete the first part of it. Man- that scene took way longer than anticipated. Mostly because of boom pole removal (see my previous post). I gotta step it up- only three months left to edit this film before the Premiere!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing- Boom Pole Removal 101

Working on Scene 12 of Rat Rod Rockers! I noticed that on a few shots we ended up with the boom pole in the corner of the frame. This was due to me trying to rush this scenes and looking through my Panasoinic AG-DVX's small viewfinder (i.e. not paying attention). Sometimes you just don't catch these things, especially with complicated backgrounds like forests or reflective areas. In some cases this is not to difficult to remove. Other instances require a bit of surgery as you will see.

Boom pole in the upper left corner.

Boom pole be gone!

In the top two still examples from Scene 12, the boom pole cuts across the upper left corner of the frame. It was hard to see when I was filming,  because it cuts across a reflective window surface. Sometimes by simply enlarging the clip 105-110% you can remove an intrusive pole. I don't like to enlarge frames more than 110% for extended clips because of noticeable pixelation. In the top example frames, I enlarged the bottom frame 107%, then scooted it to the left. This removed part of the pole. I then used a 4-Point Garbage Matte to complete the pole removal process, using a frame without the pole placed in the timeline under the main clip. If you feather the edges of the matte and the scene was shot on a tripod, this can work very nicely.

Boom in corner.

4-Point Garbage Matte cutout.

Boom pole be gone!

In the next example, the middle frame is with the Final Cut Pro 4-Point Garbage Matte filter cutout of the frame. I was lucky in this clip to have a few frames without boom pole in them. Those were placed under the main clips timeline (i.e. V1), to fill the Garbage Matte's hole and remove the pole completely. You really need to watch for background light and color shifts caused by moving sunlight, reflections, etc. This will make the "fill in" not match the main clips colors or light properties and thus make the fill quite noticeable.

This is a screen shot of the process. V2 is the main clip with the 4-Point Garbage Matte applied. V1 is the still frame without the boom pole. I did not export the frame as a still image, as that can create a color shift. Instead I just grabbed the frame off the main timeline and then cut and pasted it in V1 using the same frame repeatedly. Because there were no major background movements or light shifts, this worked perefectly. You can lighten or darken your still "fill in" frame by frame, but that is very time consuming. Of course the easiest way to keep a boom pole out of post production is to pay attention during filming. What is it they say- hind sight is 20/20.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2nd Generation Dodge Charger Ads

You gotta love these old ads for the Second Generation Dodge Charger.  I especially dig the one for the '69- girl and guy in what is that? A bayou? As they look longingly at the camera. She even has his coat draped across her longing shoulders- what a gentleman! But why is she sitting on the ground? Is she tired? Did he smack her down? This advertisement picture could not work in 2010.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life In A Day Submission

Guitars in my apartment
RR Crossing in Snoqualmie
Snoqualmie Falls
More Snoqualmie Falls
Here are a few stills from yesterdays casual filming for the Kevin McDonald, Ridley Scott & YouTube's "Life In A Day" project. All filming had to be done on July 24th, 2010. I used my Panasonic AG-DVX100 at 24p. Clips will be submitted from around the world and put together in a feature documentary to be shown at the next Sundance Film Festival. I heard about the project just a few days before the 24th and decided to film a day trip we had already planned rather than-
A.) Take time away from my family.
B.) Make some fantastical scripted nonsense that wasn't a realistic day in my life.
C.) Stress out about trying to get said "fantastical scripted nonsense" into the project.

I am a huge Ridley Scott fan (come on- Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, etc., etc.) and although it would be a dream come true to have some of my film work in one of his projects- I have my own projects, namely Rat Rod Rockers! that take up most of my time and priority, so I had to make this stress free.

So keeping it casual, I filmed around our apartment for a bit and then we drove out to Snoqualmie Falls for our day trip.  All the sight seers at the various lookout points gave me room with my "bigger than yours" camera and bulky tripod. Because of the hydro-electric construction, the trails were closed and the observation areas were jammed with people. Still it was an awesome sight, all those millions of gallons of water crashing down. Such a powerful sound! After the falls we went into town for ice cream and a look at the Historical Railroad Museum. All in all a very good day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Teri Aslett in B&W
Teri Aslett in Slightly Muted Color

Completed a rough of Scene 9/10 last night. The timing is good. Still need to finish the music- right now I just have beats with a rough bassline holding the scene together. I jump to Scene 12 next since I completed Scene 11 several months ago.

Also I still need to decide if Rat Rod Rockers! is going to be Black & White, Muted Color or something else entirely. I am leaning towards high contrast B&W for nostalgia reasons.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Merch & Editing

Added two 12 month wall calendars full of Rat Rod Rockers! stills to our pages. Took a good part of the morning to get all the stills laid out and sized.

Also finished the first half of Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 9/10 last night. Only a few more edits left to complete the double scene. Ended up using several vocal tracks from different different takes and a high pass filter to fix the audio rumble caused by the big bad 1956 DeSoto we were filming in.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Rat Rod Rockers! Logo

Finally got around to updating the Rat Rod Rockers! logo to a still from the Drag Race Scene in the film. for the last year, I have been using a still image of Chris Darland's '33 Plymouth that was actually from Hot Rod Girls Save The World. I just hadn't taken the time to update it. Figured with all the new pre-press the film has been getting, I better get of my arse! I also used the new logo to make some merch (coffee mugs, shirts and small posters ) for our RRR! pages on

Yesterday I completed the Opening Credit sequence for Rat Rod Rockers! Looks tight! Also realized I gotta pull a little bass from the guitar track of the title theme. It booms (not in a good way) in spots.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Filming the Rat Rod Rockers! Intro

Got a call late in the morning from Rat Bastard Car Club member Ron Foreman. He said they were building the trophies for their Rat Bastard Infestation III Car Show and asked me if I wanted to film a bit for the opening credits of Rat Rod Rockers! We had talked about setting a scene like this up in the next few weeks, but since the guys were actually working in the shop today, it would be easier for me to film them now than set up a "fake" shop scene in the near future. I jumped in the van and headed over to Sultan, WA. to film the guys making the trophies, which entailed welding, grinding and cutting the metal. Ron brought his Rat Rod over and parked it in the background. The shots turned out exactly like I had hoped- I love it when things just fall together.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Filming Scene 63 of Rat Rod Rockers! at the Coldass Beach

Up at 5 AM for an early morning of filming (to beat the beach goers) at Richmond Beach, WA. This is one of the last scenes left to be filmed for Rat Rod Rockers! We wrapped principle filming last December. This one didn't take very long, but man for a summer day, it was windy and chilly! All that's left to shoot is a quick opening sequence of guys working on cars and a portrait of Old Man Kanker and his dog.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Drummer on DVD

My wife rented (and we just finished watching) The Drummer from Blockbuster and I was pleasantly surprised by the film.  Subtitled but still very engaging, the basic story centers around a young rock drummer (Jaycee Chan) named Sid (yes that's his pronounce name- not the translation) who's father is a heavy handed Hong Kong mob boss. When Sid gets in trouble with one of his fathers rivals, by sleeping with said rivals girlfriend,  Sid's father sends him into hiding in the Taiwanese Mountains. There he stumbles across a troupe of Zen Drummers and quickly becomes intrigued by their serene martial arts  "drumming style." Quite a few plot twists and turns, but the films pace is moderate yet not boring. Very good acting and cinematography.  I can definitely see why The Drummer has won so many festival awards. A worthy rental or purchase.

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Jumped right in on Scene 9/10 of Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 11 is already rough cut so when 9/10 is finished, I move to Scene 12. Editing is tedious, but when you start seeing the film come together, it feels real real good.

Also the Rat Rod Rockers! Theme is now up as an MP3 download on Amazon for a meager 99¢.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing & 99¢ Theme Song

Completed the rough cut of Scene 7 of Rat Rod Rockers! yesterday. Dropped it in the completed timeline with an already finished Scene 8 and now the first ten minutes of the film are rough cut! I have also completed random scenes so the total count of scenes left to edit is 39 (out of 62). Scene 7 was very difficult because of the intense dialog and some continuity issues. Now on to a double Scene 9/10.

Also did a little revamp of the Rat Rod Rockers! website, adding a link to the films title theme MP3 on Amazon. CD Baby and iTunes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cutting Room Floor Interview & Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Spent all day yesterday editing Scene 7 of Rat Rod Rockers! Thought I was in the home stretch, then found some glaring problems. Spent most of yesterday correcting two words in the dialog and adjusting cuts to match. One of the best "audio" takes was from an actress reading off camera for another actresses close-ups. To make this work with visuals from another take (of off camera actress audio) I had to manipulate the video portion of the actress by slowing down the video for certain words then realigning the audio and video. This is very very very time consuming, but effective if done properly. I did tons of this type of editing in Hot Rod Girls Save The World and best part is, nobody notices! If they notice- then you have failed to fix the problem. So now the scene is close. I still need to wrap up the ending.

Did an internet radio interview with Casey Ryan and his Cutting Room Floor Show this morning. Had fun getting to blab about my films, internet pirates and the state of the indie-film industry. I don't do as many interviews as I used to back in the heyday of Kill Switch...Klick. Back then I'd run home from my day gig for lunch, do a quick interview with a national magazine or college radio station and then run back to unload trucks. Inevitably the interviews would run long and my boss would get mad saying, "Where the hell were you!?!" Talk about living a dual life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! and Chopper Chicas

Almost complete with Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 7 editing. Had some continuity issues and again I overshot the scene (shot multiple angles and takes), so I had too many angle and action choices. Sometimes too much is a bad thing- especially if two versions of the scene start competing with each other. Still I am happy with the final choices I made and how this scene is turning out. We have pick-up shots this month to complete all Rat Rod Rockers! filming. A few little fill in scenes.

I also started planning out my bad girl biker flick Chopper Chicas. We may shoot this one next summer, I still have to script it, cast it and line up sponsors and locations. The Legend Of D.B. Petty is also in the scripting stages, but I am writing it as a novel (already on Chapter Three) first.

NOTE: The Horse Documentary I was working on is on indefinite hold. A long story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Latest Car Kulture Deluxe Article

Got my new issue of Car Kulture Deluxe at the P.O. Box today and low and behold, my article on Big T and Carla McDonald's insane 1956 Thunderbird Gasser is in there! We did the photo shoot with photographer Ric Merry and pin-up model Hot Rod Heidi June 2009, so it's been awhile. I need to write more features and articles, but making movies seems to take most of my time.

Weather wise it's heating up in Seattle. Supposed to hit 90 degrees this week. Not as crazy as the East Coast with all the humidity, but most North Westerners don't have A/C Units at home, so 90 is cookin'.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bass Pod XT Live Mac Editing

Was working on some new riffs on my Danelectro Dead On '67 Baritone Guitar for my upcoming film Rat Rod Rockers! and decided to try (after reading about it online) running my Baritone through my Bass Pod XT Live. Baritones are, pitch wise, between a Bass Guitar and regular guitar. My Boss GT-3 stomp box really makes the Dano Baritone sound tinny sometimes and you can not tune the lowest strings with the onboard tuner (Bb below the regular E on a standard tuned guitar). I was worried that the distortions and effects in the Bass Pod wouldn't work well on the Baritone, so I never tried it before. After connecting the Baritone to the Pod XT, I quickly realized that this was the effects box for that guitar. The bottom end was huge! Not only that but the tuner worked!

As I got deeper into the Bass Pod XT, I decided to hook it up to my Mac and try the Line 6 editing software. Un-F'ing Real! After having the Bass Pod for almost a year, why hadn't I done this before!?! Using the computer, all your editing takes a fraction of the time that it normally does by scrolling through the menus on the little view screen on the face of the unit. You can drag and drop sounds into new locations, copy sound templates and modify patches real time. You can also upload your sound patch creations to Line 6 for publishing. Within an hour I was able to create close approximations of sound patches that took weeks to create on the Boss GT-3. I am now seriously looking at other Line 6 effects units for my studio.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th and Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Completed Scene 8 of Rat Rod Rockers! yesterday- just in time to head out for some fireworks in Edmonds, WA. Took the family out and sat by the waterfront waiting for the show. It seemed a bit scaled back this year. I hear many fireworks shows were suffering cutbacks, like everything is nowadays. Moneys drying up.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thunder Alley & Fireball 500

Last night watched a double feature on DVD of Fireball 500 and Thunder Alley. Both are on the same disc. Got the DVD from Amazon a few weeks ago and finally got around to watching it. Very kooky but cool sixties pop culture films. Fabian and Annette Funicello are in both films with Frankie Avalon in just Fireball 500. A bit racey for that crowd of pop fluff actors, with Fabian smoking and actually getting in bed with his "girl" (simply scandalous!) There are many snippets of vintage NASCAR and Mopar nostalgia footage in both films. Fireball 500 opens with Avalon driving a George Barris Kustomized Plymouth Barracuda, towing Richard Petty's 1966 #43 Plymouth Stock Car while singing the title theme! Surreal! Petty's Plymouth (one of the winingest cars of all time) features prominently in both movies. Both films use real NASCAR, demolition derby, stunt circus and modified racing footage, with the close-ups of drivers having obviously been filmed on a soundstage. Funky cool. Both films have flimsy plots that work hard to tie all the seemingly random racing footage together. Fireball 500 is basically the story of a race car driver (Avalon) being pulled into an illegal moonshine operation (in 1966?!?). Thunder Alley is about a race car driver (Fabian) who has strange blackouts while racing. During one, he accidentally kills another driver and gets suspended. He then has to work his way back into the good graces of the racing public and NASCAR officials. Of the two films, Thunder Alley was my favorite. Like Avalon in Fireball 500, Fabian drives a Barris Kustom- although his is the hideous Thunder Charger. I love 1966-67 Dodge Chargers and is just plain fugly. I can't believe they paid Barris to create this thing! Fabian's stock car in the grand finally race is actually LeeRoy Yarbrough's #12 Dodge Charger. Petty's #43 is fictitiously driven by a team mate during the last race. These films are must haves for anyone interested in vintage stock car racing or seeing Fabian getting beat up by Frankie Avalon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dodge Charger/Dodge Challenger

Check out these early Dodge Charger styling pics. The front grill treatment resembles the 1970 Dodge Challenger. Seems that two headlight center grill theme was floating around Dodge for years before it ended up on the Challenger. I have always been fascinated with automobile design and before Punk Rock changed my life, I wanted to go to the Art Center College of Design and become a designer for Chrysler.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot Rod Girls Save The World (100 Minute Version)

After watching Hot Rod Girls Save The World for the hundredth time at our portable drive-in a few days ago, I decided to do a super short cut up version of the film for playing as a double feature with Rat Rod Rockers! I basically cut everything with the Jake Hammerboy character subplot out, Bunny's character subplot and several other extraneous sections, as well as the Alternative Ending. This leaves the core of the film- but in a much tighter format. Will I ever be done editing this thing? Kinda like remixing a movie. This cut clocks in at just over one hour and forty minutes. I am shooting for an hour and a half for Rat Rod Rockers! That would be a three hour double feature.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Finished a rough cut of Scene 6 of Rat Rod Rockers! Didn't get as much done as I'd like to this week, because of extra work I had to do at our arts school. We got hit by Taggers and I spent the afternoon repainting walls.