A milestone was reached yesterday. After almost 9 months of cataloguing and sifting through well over one hundred hours of footage, I have finished editing my film Sleepless 'til Seattle.
Or have I?
I never actually thought, months ago, that I would actually be able to say "it's finished". Although, when I say finished, I do mean just the actual cutting of the film into a coherent story. I now have a long list of technical details to attend to, each of them representing days of work.
Currently I'm doing what's called grading. This is where I go through the film, shot by shot, and adjust the colour balance and exposure to ensure the entire film looks the same. There are occasions when I can't achieve that, mostly due to poor exposure at the time of shooting.
Then all of the transitions have to be finely adjusted. For example should I fade, or dissolve as it's called, between two shots, or just cut quickly, or fade through black etc. each one says a different thing and creates a different feel.
The audio all has to be balanced within particular parameters, so that when it reaches the cinema my film doesn't blow up the theatre's speakers, or the audience's eardrums!
There's various voice-overs that have to be redone. The story changes regularly for particular sequences, and this can then change the voice-over script. I've already spent 6 hours in a recording studio but looks like I'll be returning soon.
Virtually the last thing to do, and one that consumes most computer time, not to mention my electricity bill, is smoothing out a lot of the shaky shots. This was all filmed handheld from a bicycle after all, so there's a lot of bouncing around. I wouldn't want my audience to leave because of inducing motion sickness.
Then, once all these technical polishes are complete, I modify the entire film with a widescreen filter, so that it looks more cinematic.
Finally on 11 August it has its first public screening. This is a "test screening" whereby the invited audience then give feedback at the end. Depending on what's said the film will have parts edited again.
Hopefully, by 15 September, Sleepless 'til Seattle will be "locked" and will make it's way out into the world of film festivals.
But in the words of Woody Allen, a film is never finished only abandoned.