Sunday, 12 July 2009

And the winner is...!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a forum dedicated to the Canon HV camera range, the same model as my camcorder that I've been using with my completed 35mm adaptor. The forum runs a fairly regular competition for films created with these cameras and their latest competition was just being announced.
I joined the forum specifically to enter the competition, thinking it would be a good chance to try out my adaptor and also might give me the push that I needed to actually get rolling on making fims instead of procrastinating!
I left it until very late to get started, I was working on a music video for a local musician, a project that is eating up a lot of time but not really getting anywhere yet, and also the actor that I intended to use for the competition entry had a broken leg which was still in plaster.
With the actors leg mended, and only a week to go until the deadline for the competition, we spent a day out in the countryside grabbing the footage and then I spent the rest of the weekend editing, followed by every evening that week and even a full day off work, very much leaving it down to the wire as I had to do two effects shots, lay in foley sound for the entire film (camera mic was unusable due to the vibrating adaptor noise) and create titles.
In the end, I had to apply for an extension as the vimeo upload failed due to codec problems, and even when I did finally get it uploaded, the picture quality was pretty patchy due to H264 quicktime compression altering the contrast/saturation balance and making some camera grain much more noticeable than during the edit preview. Also one of my effects shots had some noticable tracking issues as I'd overlaid elements by hand over a moving shot because I was out of time and couldn't spend any more time on trying out tracking software.
Still, I made it within the extended deadline and was finally 'done' with my first proper short film for over a dozen years, and entered into my first ever film competition.
The public voting took place over a week, and my entry came second place in the public vote, which was pretty exciting, although I really expected that the codec and grain issues would really lower my score from the private judges voting.
But as it turned out I recieved the highest marks, and my film has won, beating out the rest of the other entries and winning my first ever short film competition. It was a small competition, but it's amazing to win all the same.
My prize is a follow focus, which will go nicely with my newly completed 35mm adaptor. It's been a really great learning experience, and I can't wait to get started on my next short project... this next one will have some sync sound and probably some lighting setups as well.