I got to thinking: one of us could be famous one day. When you’re a famous artist people pay for your junk. Or they’ll go out of their way to at least see your junk; kind of like what I did with Christopher Nolan’s early short film: I looked it up on YouTube. In the end I didn’t like it much, but I didn’t regret seeing it either. It’s the comfort of knowing he was once a Plain Jane filmmaker, like me, trying to get noticed. So I got to thinking…
…I should totally remaster what I can, because they really need the overhaul. The screencap is from the newly tailored ending of Drew’s “The Trick of the Treat,” which I was in charge of editing along with my own “The Thing at the End of the Hall.” That’s two ten-minute long shorts I had to cut and polish within two days, because at the time we wanted to have them out for Halloween. I never gave them a final cut. The ones you might have seen on YouTube are the “Absolute Utter Crap” cuts. Avoid them. The ones on Vimeo you can call the Alpha cuts.
Do the new cuts make a difference? Is Ridley Scott’s cut of “Blade Runner” superior to the studio’s? I’m not saying our skits are as awesome as that masterpiece, but I am saying these final cuts make a dent. I finally color-corrected every shot in Drew’s segment and tweaked the exposure and saturation throughout. Here’s a before and after of what I did in post. The natural lighting was piss poor and perhaps we shot a little too quick; although we did use a reflector. I was the one holding it, crouched on the floor off-camera like a good little monkey.
What made this segment such a pain to edit was the audio: I mixed tracks from opposing sources while trying to mask the ambient noise (there was a church congregation at the time of shooting). That took a good handful of hours to clean up in my effort to make the three conversations appear seamless. I then revised all the sound effects and added more (keys jingling, door opening and closing, the ruffle of the candy bowl). It took me less time to cut the video than it took to mix the audio.
I’m proud of it. Visually, “The Trick of the Treat” now contains more depth of contrast and a flesh-toned color palette. Aurally, the skit is more seamless to listen to. It’s also a minute-and-a-half shorter, at 7:40, versus the nine minute cut on Vimeo and the perversely longer one on YouTube.
Hopefully Drew will upload it onto his Vimeo account and replace the older, inferior cut. I’ll post “The Thing at the End of the Hall” whenever I get a Plus account. This is not to assert the notion that we made never-before-seen masterpieces. Heck no. What I am saying, and what I am excited to show anyone willing, is that these skits are not as bad as what they were. And, God help you, if you liked them before, you’ll like them even more.