Just my luck

I seem to get everything I need right after I need it.

I recently helped in making a film, and just a few days after the deadline for submission, the rainy season finally started. We had been waiting to try and film in the rain for weeks prior to that, and ended up doing the scene without the rain.

The day after the actual screening, my YouTubesubscriber box had a video titled “HOW TO MAKE FAKE BLOOD! – Special FX!“. The film had a scene with some fake blood in it, and although our props manager did a pretty good job of making the blood, it wasn’t perfect. On the plus side, the lower quality projectors actual made the blood seem better than it was on a high quality screen, by seeming darker and thicker.

Similar, but not quite identical, Final Cut Pro X was announced literally days after I finally finished downloading the older version of Final Cut Studio.

I’m sure if I went into it I could think of many more examples if I went into it. What examples of something like this can you think of that happened to you? I’m interested in seeing your feedback.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Soundtrack

This is a response to a conversation I had with my friend over Facebook. His comment was:

the music was different. usually its all orchestral nd stuff. this time there was electronic john hopkins liek stuff and medeval sounding acoustic guitars. im talking background music specifically

just my opinion

Background music. Exactly. That’s all it was. It didn’t have any of the usual flare of a John Williams score. There wasn’t anything memorable in it, except perhaps the music Daniel and Emma danced to, which doesn’t really count.

They didn’t even use the main theme “Hedwig’s Theme” during the title sequence or credits, which they normally do.

Sure, the music did a great job of adding to the atmosphere, but that was all it was, atmospheric music. John Williams himself has this way of adding to the atmosphere fantastically whilst creating incredibly memorable tunes. Everyone knows the main Harry Potter tune, Darth Vader’s Theme, Star Wars Main Title, the Superman Theme, the Jaws theme, the list goes on.
No one’s going to remember the music from this film in my opinion.

(Follow the break to get down to the ratings and the next film)

That said, the ratings have been pretty good. According to Wikipedia:

  • Soundtrackgeek.com: 9/10
  • Shadowlocked.com: 4/5. They also added: “While this is a good soundtrack, there’s something about it that keeps it from being great. But it did make me more excited to see the new film.”
  • BlogHogwarts: 4.2/5. “Desplat has satisfied the expectations. Nevertheless, I must confess the music didn’t find my ‘soul’
  • Filmmusicsite.com: 7/10. “Desplat was really on to something when he wrote this soundtrack, and perhaps if he had given it a little more thought, he would have recognized how close he had come to writing something outstanding. Instead, the soundtrack’s musical gems come and go and never fully develop, leaving the listener disappointed by how close the soundtrack came to musical greatness.”
While the statistics seem to suggest it’s gotten pretty good ratings, if you look at the comments, you’ll see they agree with me. The soundtrack simply didn’t have anything to set it above any other film’s soundtrack.
My personal rating? I’d give it a 6/10. It would be even lower if I wasn’t taking into account the fact it is actually a film score. However, because it does do a very good job of adding atmosphere, I think it deserves to get pushed up a little. 

There was originally speculation that John Williams himself would come back for the final film. While this was the plan of both Williams and the films’ director, unfortunately they have conflicting schedules, so this won’t be the case. Because of this, the composer of this film will be returning to do the second part of The Deathly Hallows.
The composer of this film — Alexandre Deslpat, whose other works include:  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Fantastic Mr. Fox; and The Twilight Saga: New Moon — stated that:

“I would take every opportunity to use the fabulous theme composed by John Williams. I’d say it has not sufficiently been used in the latest movies, so if I have the opportunity and if the footage allows me, I’m going to arrange it” 

I agree thoroughly with the first part of that statement. I also thought that the previous films lacked the use of the original motifs written down by John Williams. However, I still enjoyed their soundtracks as individual soundtracks.
It’s unfortunate, in my opinion, that he didn’t go through with his original plan to use Williams’s themes more, because that would have been a huge boost to the overall quality of the score.

If you have a different opinion, I urge you to let me know why. Or, if you have anything to add, please go ahead in the comments. I’m interested to see what you have to say.

48 Hour Film Project

This weekend (starting Friday, 29th October 2010) a group of friends and I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project. It’s a competition where groups from all around the world have to create a movie — write, shoot, and edit — in just 48 hours. They are given a specific genre (we got “Buddy film”), line (“Same same, but different”), prop (incense), and character (“Pham Minh An, Taxi/Xe Om/Xyclo Driver”).
Prizes are largely irrelevant in this event, but they can be found here.
For more details on the event, see 48 Hour Film Project, and 48 Hour Film Project Vietnam.

My group’s name was “IdleNation”, and we chose to create a film about two unlikely friends who help each other through difficulty, and in doing so discover that they have a lot in common.

It was an amazing chance to experience what filmmaking is like. As the editor, I had to learn about the intricacies of editing in Final Cut Express for the first time, only actually using  it for the first time just 48 hours before the project started. Despite this, I feel I learnt a lot about using the program, and editing in general over the course of the project.

Targets for next year: learn to use LiveType, Final Cut’s integrated title making program; learn how to set up the project’s properties — we recorded in 720p, but the final project is significantly less than that, and our canvas had black stripes at the top and bottom, this resulted in a low quality final project. 

We took a lot of our sound effects and music from iMovie, since this is classed as not for profit. Other sound effects and music were found at various sources online — all of them royalty-free, of course!

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and I’m sure my group members will agree it was a great experience, however stressful!

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