Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

Film Portfolio

Project Greenlight finalist | Short about sex, death, existence, time

Lily in the Grinder

Shabbat Dinner

Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

Search is Back

Featured on TechCrunch | 7k users per day

Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

Uber Forecast

Tracking Uber's surge pricing to guess what the weather might be

Archive for August, 2011

Color Correction: It works, bitches


Corrected and uncorrected music video side by side.

A warning: if you liked the Wonderful music video, this breaks the magic by revealing a bit of what’s in the sausage. If you want to skip the explanation, just watch the comparison above.

It is eminently satisfying watching a film in the last stages of post-production, when it goes from a rough cut to a finished work. Edit cut points are tweaked, sound is perfected, but what really turns a film into a FILM is the color correction.

I’ll admit it, I am a framefucker. I think that details matter a lot, and when all the details are in line it pushes the big idea forward. When they are out of whack they get distracting, so I will tweak every single part of every single frame in an image. This involves reframing (the RED camera we shot on produced images twice as large as 1080p, so I had a lot of room to play with), and removing elements (look at the bubbles scene and notice the hand I removed from the bottom.) I also used some magic to remove some camera jitters and wobbliness (caused because Vadim had to walk backwards with a heavy RED camera, which is not a recipe for smooth images. See if you can spot the other tweaks I did.

But the real trick up us filmmakers’ sleeves is color correction. It begins with tweaking each shot’s colors to match the others, so that variations in lighting do not become apparent. Then it is done stylistically, using techniques like power windows, a nearly universal practice, to focus the eye to the right parts of the image, create a vignette effect, and in general create a look. Then there’s the totally wacky and trippy techniques that I did here, which are a combination of color correction and special effects.

Take a look below at the uncorrected film, then watch the corrected one the whole way through. You really have to watch them individually to get a feel for the differences.Note the difference not only in professionalism and tone, but also in storytelling. I was told by people watching the uncorrected version that the story was confusing, but the corrected one was crystal clear. And that’s what a big difference professional coloring makes.

I’m available for professional color correcting consultation – just shoot me an email with the link above.


Uncorrected music video

Corrected music video

In Transition

(as usual..)

When my life gets interesting, my blog suffers. In a perfect world it would be the other way around, but since I like to use this space as a way of making some relaxing writing, I always prefer to get creative rather than descriptive. But I think it’s time to describe.

FilmAid

Wednesday was my last day as Program and Operations Manager for FilmAid. It was extremely bittersweet to leave a company I love, people I love, and a job that has given me so many fond memories (and a steady income in a time when that’s no guarantee for anyone! But ultimately, it became clear to me that I want to make films, and the time to do that is now – as much as my personal career may be aligned with the mission of the organization, my day-to-day work was mostly administrative. I am very hopeful that the future will bring more opportunities to collaborate with FilmAid.

The organization is now gaining legs and a renewed sense of purpose. The famine crisis in Somalia is sending tens of thousands across the border and into the areas where we work, so FilmAid organized an emergency response to this, which I hope will be impactful.

So I travel..

I’m off to Los Angeles today for a week. It’s been a year since my last trip, and am looking forward to seeing friends and family. I’ll be looking closer at the film industry there, re-considering my choice to live in New York and what it’s costing me in terms of career mobility. There are so many opportunities in LA for a young filmmaker, but so. many. people in that rat race. I’m hoping to come to the same conclusions as I did last time, that I don’t need to move out there…but it’s far from certain.

Burning Man

After LA, then SF and Burning Man. This is a yearly opportunity to reset and re-envision my life in the context of Western Society, my goals in the context of existential questions. Then four days of meditating with Mike in Northern California, then diving back into the grind.

Refugee website

I’ve been bandying around the idea to create a kind of tumblr for refugees, where they can post articles and pictures about their lives for the international community. Hush hush. I’ve got the domain name, but haven’t built it yet. I promised it to a few people when I was there over a year ago, and feel terrible that it’s taken so long. I was just speaking with one friend in Dadaab and trying to set him up with a tumblr, and he asked me if I needed his passport…adorable. You can see his new blog here! Very excited for this.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m editing the Bohemian Rhapsody film Alejandro and I shot – over a hundred New Yorkers singing Bohemian Rhapsody from all around the city. That will happen as soon as a pocket of time opens up.

Scan The Tee

Scan The Tee has been crying for my attention recently. I’m planning a big publicity push, but probably not until I get back to town on September 12. Anybody know someone looking for a business/publicity internship for the Fall? About 1-2 days per week?

Writing projects

Always got a few of these. My TV pilot is nearing a solid draft stage, but there is much more work to be done on it.

Dreams

I had a dream a few nights ago that I saw a woman get hit by a car. I raced to help her, and when she got up I saw that she was a short, squat woman in a fancy tweed jacket. There were tire marks over her. She said in a meek and frenzied voice, “oh no, my husband will be so mad! I won’t ever again be allowed to lunch!” as in go out to lunch with her lady friends. I thought it was funny.

Personal life

I continue to be in awe of the intelligence and insightfulness of my friends. I feel lucky to know, and be meeting every day, such amazing and beautiful people. I’m also seeing somebody now who makes me very happy, which..well, makes me very happy.

Scheduling, goals

I realized in July that I had so much going on that nothing was getting done, so I followed Maha‘s system and scheduling myself by the hour. What a radical change – I was churning out pages of script and rocketing forward on my other work.
I realize that, looking at this list, I have a lot going on. I’m trying to focus in on priorities while at the same time keeping a breadth of projects in chill, slow development.
Narrowing my goals, though, I know that I want to focus more intently on film now that I have left FilmAid, and I also want to begin to focus on business.

A small bit of a summary update here, expect more later!

u+i

Lady Gaga just released her music video for You and I. Alejandro and I watched it, and it’s beautiful. We both yearned for the opportunity to work on something so grand and epic, to have a team making projects like these. God would I have loved to direct that. Sometimes it gets so bad that I can’t watch music videos. But like Tarantino said, to get big, the best thing to do is “make Reservoir Dogs.” So that I will do…

It reminds me of this beautiful cover of Born This Way by Tyler Ward. I fell in love with it the first time I heard it, and then noticed that they omitted any mention of being gay (silly, because that’s what the song is about..) I excused it, and it wasn’t until I saw someone really ragging on them over iTunes that I re-confronted this as the virulent form of homophobia that it is. Removing something in the name of propriety, though subtle and polite, is just about the worst form of prejudice. That’s precisely because it *is* so normative and quiet, a reinforcement of your bigoted beliefs when you know you have a huge audience.

I’m sharing it because, well, it’s pretty, and maybe it will get you angry too.

A reminder about your conception of time

As I head towards burning man I’m reminded of this lesson:

You think you’re late. You think you’re not where you’re supposed to be. You think you just missed a bus, a deadline, a chance to say how you really feel. Things are never where or when they should be.

But remember that there is no should. Should implies that you know where your life is heading and you’ve never been surprised by happenstance.

Instead there is you, standing on a subway platform, a gloriously multifaceted human surrounded by a world pregnant with possiblity.

These imperatives are constructions. Internalize this.

Thanks dcdead