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Sleeping On Her Couch revisited


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#1 Scot McPhie

Scot McPhie
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Posted 03 September 2005 - 07:14 PM

Some of you may remember my short Sleeping On Her Couch from 2 years ago. I was never entirely statisfied with the result so have been going back over it in the last few months and improving and changing things - the result is alot better I think and is here:

http://www.mango-a-g...m/show/sohc.wmv

From the films web site these are the changes I made - the film is all 16mm 250D btw

# On and off for the last few months I've been working over the film and have basically done a new version which greatly improves the original - I've made alot of changes (if I can remember them all here they are:)

# Firstly I started looking at codecs and image quality - I tried recapturing all the source footage through an analogue capture card straight into the huffyuv codec - and actually it had a nicer contrast quality than the dv - but there was a faint reception/interference kind of effect going on (due to the cable quality I guess) and the quality is always limited by the fact it was coming off a compressed minidv tape - had it been an input via the s-video port from a higher quality original source then the result would have been better than the dv capture via firewire - but as I couldn't do this - it was kind of pointless but a good exercise. So anyway I decided to go with the minidv capture but then render that out to an uncompressed version and only work with that file which has made a huge difference to the picture quality, and since the film was short enough I could do this with out chewing up too much hard drive space.

# I dropped the still picture behind the opening titles - it didn't look good (because it was a still - I wanted a live shot but we didn't have one that lasted long enough) - and it also gave too much away. I also changes the style of the credits - in that I've randomly changed some of the characters to red - which seems to suit it I think

# In the opening shot I actually comped out the top left of the frame where you could see the remnants of our unsucessful shaft - I just layed over a portion from another frame that had none - if you look carefully you'll see there's no grain movement in that part of the frame - but it's so dark it's not noticeable. In this opening scene and a few others I worked carefully on the looping - we had to do this as some shots just didn't last long enough unfortunately - so I picked the cleanest bits to loop so it wouldn't be obvious - and just more attention to detail here has paid off.

# I found a good Virtual dub plug in to remove flicker and ran that over about 4 of the shots. This was quite sucessful and makes the shots look alot nicer and fuller. I'm still not sure why we had that flicker - I'm thinking now it's because it takes the camera a few secoonds to get up to speed (25 fps) and it's not crystal synched - and I think this flickering may be a result of the interation between the wildly varying frmae rate of the camera in those forst few seconds and the lights which were running off a 50Hz power supply - at any rate I was able to get rid of about 99% of it and it looks quite good - it wasn't in all the shots - I'm assuming just ones we used from right after we started the camera (I'm going to conduct some tests later)

# I also did abit of image stabilisation on some of the shots too

# I regraded it all - it was mainly just brightness/contrast adjustment - and regrading the colour to bring out the red/soft warmth a bit. The shaft was interesting - that was done by desatuarating it to lose the aqua blue colour then dropping the RGB levels in the shadows to improve the contrast (or darken the surrounding black areas) with out effecting the shaft. I found the normal contrast control was degrading (overblowing) the shaft too much when I tried that

# Two shots suffered from alot of dirt speckles on them so (in about a dozen or so frames) so I went over them individually and cloned out the specs in photoshop

# Added in an extra shot of a sunrise - actually taken from In My Image!

# Changed the closing credits to roll now - which I think looks alot more professional now

# Re-recorded the poem with a different microphone (condensor instead of shotgun) and it sounds better

# Over all I think the film looks alot more complete now and I'm going to be sending it off to some festivals now -- I guess it's all just experience! - I can't believe I let it go how it was before! - but as I learn I'm getting better at these things and the film is better for it:-) Depressing how many post production fixes had to be put in - but that' something I've learnt from!

# I'll put this new version on the In My Image extras disc too, and replace the old one

# The compressed wmv version too is something I've looked at - and that's much better too and at a higher bit rate (about 950k I think). The final file is almost twice the size (18mb) but it needs to be to do it justice


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