After almost a year of work in the editing room — a task interrupted to film Jessica’s trip to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan — we finally “locked picture” on Right Footed in November. The final result is a testament to editor Susan Metzger’s careful, diligent work and a product of a lot of input from the many friends who visited us in the cutting room, and test screenings. In any case, after months of hard work in a dark room, making decision after decision about what material stays in the movie and what material goes on the “cutting room floor” as they say, it seemed like Susan was finally going to see daylight. Alas it was not meant to be! It turns out that finishing our edit was just — the end of another beginning. There are a myriad of details that must be taken care of to take the “offline” version of the film and turn it into a finished product. Not the least of which was our score. Composer Nathan Halpern, who contributed music to form a “temp track” for our edit, got to work creating an original score in November. While we waited for the music a host of other things had to be addressed. Director Nick Spark began working with an attorney to clear all the music, photos, stock footage and other elements in the film so that we could buy what’s known as “Errors & Omissions” insurance. Graphic designer Carl Anderson started work creating a main title (sneak peek in the photo above) and other graphical elements from lower-third i.d’s of participants to our end credit roll. Producer Mona Lisa Yuchengco helped create and double-check the credits, quite a time-consuming process in and of itself, while sound designer Adam King began working to clean up our recorded sound tracks, adding sound effects and ambiances to supplement what we recorded in the field. While all that was going on, our post production supervisor Bret Cornish started the process of up-rez’ing our low-resolution Avid project — documentaries are usually edited in low-resolution to save hard drive space — to a high-resolution “online” version in HD. Did I mention that at the same time all of this was going on, we ran a second Indiegogo campaign, trying to raise additional monies to pay for all this? We did, and achieved enough success to keep moving forward.
One of the more exciting moments in our post-production phase was the creation of our poster. After graphic designer Carl Anderson had come up with our main title, it seemed like the right moment to move forward with this project. Aviation artist Joe Jones was talked into working on this one-sheet, and photographer Amy Haskell shot the still. Again it was one of those tasks that seemed like it would be simple but — in the end it took many hours of work to get it just right.
Once our “up-rez’d” version of the film was complete, we went through a process called “color correction” where we made various shots in the film that were shot on different cameras, match one another, painted out a distracting bright sheen across someone’s forehead, and made our archival footage shot on VHS back in the 1980s look acceptable. Then, once Nathan’s score was delivered (sounds marvelous by the way), we were off to the sound mix, then a “fix mix”, and finally another on-line session.
Suddenly, it was all over. We had a final version of the film about 82 minutes long with a final score and final picture!
Yes there are many more things that have to happen — we have to make a shorter version for TV, and we have to get our closed captions done, and start to submit to festivals, create a distribution plan, and oh yes fulfill all those commitments we made when we did our crowd sourcing campaign. (Started that already — as those of you who received posters in the mail know!) So a lot of work to do, but it does feel nice to take a minute and say — we did it!