Film Opening | Final Cut

Yesterday we finally hit “export” for the last time in this project! Our film opening is done, after months of planning, a stressful day of shooting and weeks of post-production. You can watch it below:

 

The actor, a short film director himself, was very pleased with the result and gave us very positive feedback. We have yet to show the piece to our colleagues from school, but I’m sure they’ll like it, too!

Film Opening | Update

We finally managed to pick a voice actor to do the narration. His name is Ryan Williams and he agreed to do the recording for free, although he is a complete stranger we met on Reddit.

We also made some important progress with the post-production, having chosen fonts for the titles and being halfway through the color correction process. Ana did all the color and exposure edits, while I placed all the titles and pieces of narration. I also added five sound effects (Foley) in different scenes to make them feel more like a movie.

I will finish the title transitions and effects this weekend, while Ana will work on the color correction on Monday. We will have the final cut done by Wednesday, April 29th.

Film Opening | Voice Actor Casting

Since our actor is not a native English speaker, we set out to look for someone else to do the narration in the character’s voice. My first idea was to go to reddit.com/r/recordthis and to make a post there. Sure enough, I got around 5 offers so far and I requested samples using our character’s monologue. (Here’s the original post, most offers were sent to me privately.)

The first voice actor, Callum L., didn’t quite get what the character was like, so I tried to explain what we’re actually looking for and he’ll send me another sample soon.

 

This guy, Ryan W., did a great job, but his voice sounds a bit too young for our character. Still, he is talented and we might use his voice if we can’t find anyone better.

 

 

Film Opening | Soundtrack

For the soundtrack, we headed on to YouTube to find a piano piece that felt gloomy and sad. Radiohead is my favourite band, so their song Exit Music (For A Film) performed by Joshua Piper was the perfect fit.

Being a photographer, I care a lot about copyright and intellectual property, so I reached out to the artist to request his permission for using his piano cover. Sure enough, he replied and let us use his song.Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 21.29.15

Film Opening | Shooting Day

We shot the entire opening on April 2nd using three locations: my apartment for the kitchen scene and a hotel for the bedroom and bar. Special thanks to Hotel Topaz Cluj-Napoca for allowing us to film on the premises.

Our set photographer was my colleague Ana‘s mom.

Our main prop, the central theme of our movie, although only making a 3-second appearance in the opening.

Re-reading the script with Ana, preparing to start shooting. We started with the kitchen scene and then left for the hotel.

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9 Frame Analysis | Mad Men

I chose to analyse the intro of a TV series called Mad Men, because it it a cartoon, as opposed to regular openings.

The first frame shows a man (a cartoon version of Don Draper) walking into an office, dressed in a black suit. The objects on his desk are only contoured, they are not actually drawn. This could connote the unimportance of whatever he keeps on the desk. A nice touch is the moving blades of the fan, which could show that not everything is dead in the office.

In the second frame, we see a close-up of the man’s shoes as he walks in, but this frame lasts for less than a second.

The third frame shows the whole office falling apart, while the man is still standing. Its intended meaning could be that everything around the man is chaotic, but he is able to resist (at least up to now).

In the next frame, the man is falling from a skyscraper (where his office was) and the entire building is covered in an advertisement showing a woman. A tiny reflection of the man is seen on the building, perhaps suggesting that people pay much more attention to sensual women than to average white-collar worker.

As the man keeps falling, the fifth frame I picked is a wider shot, in which more tall buildings are visible, all having their façades covered in huge billboards. This shows how dominant and aggressive the advertising industry is.

He continues to fall by an ad of a glass of whiskey with the text “Enjoy the best America has to offer”. This could somehow also refer to the man as being the best ad agent in the country. The whiskey is actually moving inside the glass, as if it was just poured.

The seventh frame is a first-person-view of the man falling between three buildings, while photos of what could be famous people are floating through the air underneath the buildings.

In the second to last frame, the man falls on top of the camera, his tie and suit being blown around by the air. When the man fills up the entire frame, the ninth and final frame comes in, zooming out of a black screen which ends up being the man sitting on a couch, with a cigarette in one hand.

Throughout the intro, actors’ names show up on the screen, with the title of the series being shown in the final frame.

Film Opening | Budget Estimates

As you will see below, we estimated a budget of about 1150 lei (£186) for our opening, although we included a margin for contingencies.

Above the line:

  • Cast – 300 lei

Below the line:

  • Travel – 30 lei
  • Food – 50 lei
  • Lighting – 500 lei
  • Locations – 150 lei
  • Props, wardrobe – 100 lei
  • Petty cash – 20 lei

Post production: 0 lei (all done by us, all software on hand)

We hope to end up with spending less than 900 lei, but we put in safe estimates so we won’t encounter any problems during production.