Author Topic: Hello, I'm new here!  (Read 6777 times)

mysticjim

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Hello, I'm new here!
« on: October 27, 2011, 10:04:52 pm »
Hello,

I'm Jim, I'm based in Bristol and I found this site whilst looking for local creative collectives of people.

I'm looking to move into film/video directing and editing, after a long time mostly working purely with audio and music production.  I am hoping I'll find this forum useful as a place to test out/bounce ideas around, maybe even find people to collaborate with. 

As far as film and video production goes, I'm starting at the lower end of the budget scale, I've got a very basic consumer camera and a decent computer platform for editing, I'm presently working a basic performance music video for a friends band (we're going to shoot in just over a weeks time), but I've also got a few scripts together for a few short films (around the sort of length of the films on this site) plus a few other feature length ideas which I'm still planning out (or rather, haven't found the time to finish yet!) 

I'd also be happy to offer my help to anyone else on here with their projects, I'd be happy to help out with filming, editing or collaborate on script ideas, but probably I'd be most useful in an audio capacity, as I mentioned above, my background was music production - I used to run a  part time recording studio helping local bands record demos on a budget.  The studio has since become home-based since the birth of my youngest (alas, simply don't have the time to run a full studio what with kids and my day job)- but I've still got the means to produce my own music or work on sound design, so if anyone wants help with that I'd be glad to.

Well, thats enough rambling for now, look forward to seeing you around the forum

jim

Felek

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 04:53:00 pm »
Welcome!  :)


Felek Werpachowski
Jimmy Jib Operator
& Indie Cinematographer

Rich

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 06:59:16 pm »
Hello!

Nice to see someone else working in the indie filmmaking field, and we often help out on other people's projects as well as people helping us out. Hope you're video work with the band is successful!

Regarding collaborating on projects: We regularly have opportunities to volunteer, and we welcome people to collaborate with us on projects in all realms, especially in the realms of sound and music production. Particularly excited to see/hear any work you've done - do you have a website?

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 08:07:30 pm »
Hi Rich

I used to have a myspace relating to my studio work with a few examples of my production work.  Now I've supplied a few links below to pages by the various bands I've done recording and mixing work for;

http://panicoffice.bandcamp.com/album/blue-hour
I recorded and mixed this bands first self financed album myself, but for this, their long awaited follow up, I did the recording in the studio but their singer wanted to mix it himself as he'd not long started a music production degree.  There is, however, one mix done by me that made it onto the final album, track 6, although I did get credited as co-production with the band.

http://www.reverbnation.com/theottawahoax
I recorded and mixed the first track on this page for the Ottawa Hoax, although the other two tracks were rough live recordings and nothing to do with me.  While i do like a bit of heavy music myself, this was the first in a seemingly endless succession of angry/shouting/teenage bands I recorded in 2009.  I liked the finished result, but don't care too much for the genre.

http://www.myspace.com/brinkofextinction
More metal - I did a mini album with these guys, the two first tracks, Ouija and The Oddities, were taken from this - sadly this band ruined their own recording by mastering it themselves and trying to make it as loud as possible, which is why it fluctuates and distorts so much.

http://www.myspace.com/thesquarewheelproject
Heading into really dodgy territory here, these are the only two completed tracks from a friend of mines very short lived rock/electronica project - its pretty naive stuff, but as well as doing the production I did managed to contribute all the guitar and bass parts on the finished songs.

I could probably dig out lots more examples of my studio work, but things are a bit different now its a home studio, I'm not dependant on the quality of the equipment bands bring in to record anymore (that was always a bit heartbreaking, the number of times I had bands come in with malfunctioning guitars or drumkits that hadn't been re-skinned or tuned in over two years!)  However, I've struggled a bit for inspiration as a solo artist, hardly used the studio pc for recording since I got it home, have been pre-occupied with script writing and short experiments in video editing, but given a musical brief I have lots of beginnings of idea just waiting to be crafted into proper songs.

Well, I'll probably stick a link on here to the first cut of the music video I do, hopefully to get a bit of constructive feedback, and will definately keep an eye out for any projects that I might be able to help with - and of course, if anyone there thinks I might be of some use with their project, please feel free to contact me.

Jim



Rich

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 09:33:59 pm »
Awesome, will give those a spin later on. Thanks!

And yes, we'll be happy to provide any constructive criticism on things you post. :D

Chrissey_TGE

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 09:39:23 pm »
Hi Jim,

Nice to meet you! I had a listen to some of the tracks you linked to. Pretty professional sounding stuff :)

Music is something we often struggle with sourcing and we would like to try our had at doing some music video type shoots, so I'm sure there'll be opportunities for us to collaborate in the future.

What sort of set up do you have in your studio?

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2011, 11:24:04 pm »
Hi there Chrissey

Thats very kind of you.  To answer your question, in the studio as it was - I was based in an industrial estate and I basically had a single live room where the band set up their instruments and the control room next door where all the recording gear was.  The original inspiration for me starting a studio stemmed from my own experiences as a novice recording artist in a band.  The first demo I ever played on, my band at the time paid an absolute fortune to be bossed around by a very cynical sound engineer for a weekend, who did an appallingly rushed job of mixing our songs and ultimately left us with something we were all unhappy with.   With that in mind, and with the cost of digital recording equipment tumbling, I pretty much managed to get a workable recording rig on an outlay of about £2000 (obviously I encountered premises rental costs, etc, but 2K was my inital spend on gear.)  That basically got me a custom-built PC configured for recording, a very flashy recording interface (essentially a rack unit with enough inputs to plug in about 20 microphones), a selection of budget microphones plus a couple of higher end ones for recording vocals, etc, and shedloads cables and other studio related bits and bobs.  The idea was very much to challenge the conventional notion of what a studio should be, so there was no expensive control desk with masses of expensive functions (that no-one ever used!) -  or anything like that.  It was guerilla recording, but extremely affordable to bands with low funds - and if they managed to prepare correctly, get their gear to the studio in reasonable nick and most importantly, knew their music inside out (you'd be amazed how many bands didn't really know how to play their own songs!!!!), then there was a chance they'd walk out with an absolute bargain that stood up against a recording costing five times as much.  And there was not a great deal of studio trickery involved, the sessions had to be engineered well, the mixing was all done inside the computer, but essentially it was the same process you'd carry out on a mixing console, its just mine was software based.

I've scaled back a little since relocating the studio at home, the fancy PC I first bought when I started had to be retired(its now the family PC in our living room)  - for all the money I spent on it, in less than three years I replaced it with a bog-standard dual core desktop PC that was about 4 times as powerful and a quarter of the cost, and its still the one I'm using now (and its powerful to double up as the editing PC for my video/film projects.)  I sold the recording interface as I simply didn't need to record whole bands or use 10 mics at once to mic up a drumkit, I've bought something that allows me to plug in two mics or line signals at once, and allows me to connect a midi keyboard.  I still use the same recording software, albeit a slightly newer version of it.  Its a fairly typical home setup.

Jim

Chrissey_TGE

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 11:16:48 pm »
Sounds great, Jim.

Rich does most of our on set sound recording and the sound design during the editing process, so I'm sure you two will get on well, chatting about the techy side of it all.

Did you mention you were working on some script writing? What sort of thing are you writing?

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 07:42:27 pm »
Hiya Chrissey

Script writing, yes.  I used to enjoy creative writing when i was much younger, but kind of let it drop - mostly because I was working full time and playing in bands.  I really fancied getting back into it a couple of years back, but scripts really appealed to me because I love writing dialogue.  Its a good match for me, while I've lots of time for creative story writing, flowery description and all that, I really like the clinical nature of script writing - the descriptive bits are simply functional statements about what the viewer should be seeing, so they are brief and to the point, the humanity comes from the dialogue and balances it all out.

I'm still learning with script writing, I started a couple of ambitious projects but got a bit waylaid with stuff and lost momentum, so recently I've tried scripts with short film in mind.  I've got a couple of first drafts that I'm reasonably happy with, and I've got a slightly longer script that I'm working on whenever I get some spare time.

Style wise, I've not gone for anything too ground breaking, I like horror, sci fi and dialogue heavy comedy.  Some of my aborted projects were attempts at more serious work, but I love to genre hop.


Maidenscombe

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2011, 11:32:29 pm »
Hi there,
when you say about short film length, how long is that?
I've finished a few scripts: shorts, feature, 60 min tv episode, music video's, one that is feature film length and two tv series. The first I was writing just as Merlin was released, what I was writing was pretty much the same, I have one on hold until I find out the content of the American tv series Once Upon A Time as my idea is about set on fairy tale beings.
I've also started a heck of a lot more scripts that didn't make it passed page 20.
I love tinkering about with scripts I've previously done (trying to make them better).

Finding something to write a script about is all about getting the initial inspiration, so, with that in mind, if you'd be in for it. How about send me an idea or two, I'll let my imagination loose on it and send it back to you. The end result might hopefully give either of us the inspiration to write something.
To date I've written about vampires, werewolves, aliens (from space), mermaids, demon hunters (that is hunters of demons and demonic hunters), aliens as vampires, aliens as druids, a comedy about normal people. I prefer anything fantasy although I've never bothered with zombie stuff. If you are interested, put something here or PM me. We can do the email thing later if it is working ok.
I should add, at the moment my scriptwriting is just for fun as I have never had any of them produced, but I'm hopeful.

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 01:12:49 am »
Hi Maidenscombe

I totally hear you about the whole scripts that haven't got to more than 20 pages, my hard drive is a graveyard of them! 

You asked about how short a short film script is, I know the rules are fast and loose, but if typically anything with a screen time is generally considered feature length, then pretty much anything under 90 mins is normally classed as short.  Calculating how long a script would translate in terms of time were it ever to be filmed is not exactly a precise science, but most people seem to agree that a page of action should translate to around 1.30mins and a page of pure dialogue 30 secs to 1 min, so if you take an average, each page of your script equals approximately 1 minute of screen time.

When I first started trying to write scripts I think like a lot of novices I just had an idea and went for it, and typically the idea either ran out stream or I got waylaid with other things usually somewhere between ten and twenty pages!  You and I are probably not alone in experiencing this phenomenon!!!  I'm pretty sure the ideas I'd had would have ended up at feature length scripts had I completed them.  After three aborted attempts at script writing this way, I decided to actually do a bit of studying and bought a few books on screen writing, fairly basic stuff explaining the whole three act structure of most modern film scripts, what you should be aiming to establish by the various stages of the script, etc, and how to plan the whole story in advance.  I was initially concerned by this approach as I generally love to just sit and write when inspiration occurs, but I'm convinced that it would take an extraordinary writer to be able to have an idea and then maintain that inspiration for 90 plus pages of script.  Planning the story, the setup, conflict and resolution, knowing all the characters in advance, the plot twists and turns, I've come to the conclusion that there is something in it as an approach to writing a feature length script. 

Now, have I planned some full length scripts properly, yes I have and I must admit, I started the scripts with a totally different feeling - I felt like the inspiration was all sorted, I just had to do the donkey work and following the template I'd done in advance of my story and that would be it, I'd finally finish a feature length script.  Did I manage it?  Hell no!  In fairness my attempts were no longer being thwarted in the same way, my first fully planned out script was abandoned around the 20 page mark due to the latter stages of my wifes pregnancy and the birth of our little 'un!  I did try to return to it but even with the planning I'd done I just couldn't get back into the rhythm of the writing.  My second attempt was thwarted by us moving house.

Attempt number three was the most bizarre of all, again I meticulously planned my idea out, and again I got to around 20 pages when disaster struck!  All within the same week my wife had a re-occurrence of a back injury so I was essentially full time carer for her, my 12 year old stepson (who also just happens to be higher functioning autistic and can be a real handful if he's having a bad day) and my son who was then about 3 months old, and then when things were tricky anyway, we had the shocking news that our little one had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, so most of my focus was diverted to suddenly learning how to manage his condition, his medicines and treatments, etc.  Frankly, script writing went out the window, as did most other things!

I believe, once my domestic situation had returned to something more stable (I can never really use the word normal!) that I tried to plan out a feature length script one more time, but I didn't get as far as beginning the actual writing - that time coincided with me embarking on quite a major career change, so new job and little time to write, again!

Since then I've tended to aim for much smaller scale projects, I figured if I seem to be able to write up to 20 pages of script without too many problems, then maybe if I specifically came up with short film ideas, 20 pages or less, then I might actually finish one of my bloody projects for once!  Lo and behold, this seems to work, my chaotic domestic situation seems to just about allow it! 

I've finished a couple of first drafts of short scripts, one just over 20 pages and one less than 10.  These have coincided with my increased interest in trying to make shorts films myself, both were written specifically with my fairly limited film making and editing resources in mind.  At the moment, as I noted in previous posts, I'll be working on a music video shoot next week, then hopefully a slightly more ambitious music video for the same band if all goes well with the first one, but after that I'd really like to step up to shooting one of my scripts as a short film.  I've been quite encouraged by some of the examples I've seen on this website, I really liked Threefold and Yarn and I'd love to try and produce something in the vein of those two.

As for what I write about, it might put you off so apologies in advance, but I love zombie stuff!  I do like horror, but vampires rarely do it for me, possibly its because of how mainstream vampire/romance/fiction has become - if you say vampires to me I tend to think 30 Days of Night or Near Dark rather than True Blood or Twilight!   

There seems to be a bit of a theme developing as far as my zombie scripts go, I've written or partially written three scripts where the main protagonist is a kind of stoner/waster type individual attempting to survive the inevitable undead holocaust - it seems to be a limitless source of ideas and humour, I do wonder if this is because the stoner/waster characters I seem to create remind me of myself, before I met my wife and she made a partially honest man of me!  I don't truly know why I like zombies, I think its the humanity, or rather the lost humanity of them - they're scary because they started out as people like you or I, in fact some of them could even be people who we once knew, only they aren't those people anymore.  I find them far more realistic than any of the supernatural horror entities, such as vampires or werewolves, they posses no superhuman or supernatural abilities, on their own they are slow, cumbersome and stupid - but they are relentless, and there are millions of them - a enclosing zombie horde I think is a truly terrifying prospect!

Zombies aside, I've planned a few sci-fi ideas, mostly post-apocalyptic - I love the concept of our why of life suddenly ending, and trying to come up with a convincing vision of what might occur afterwards.  I've dabbled with a bit of fantasy, but I admit my ignorance within that field, its not really my thing. 

The main thing I tend to like in my scripts is snappy dialogue and humour, I do like the banter in Tarrantino or Guy Ritchie films, I love a good funny monologue or sharp one-liner.  Maybe one day I'll progress to more gritty drama, but I'm not quite ready for that yet!

As for possible collaboration, maybe.  Perhaps in the first instance we could exchange some of our work, to get a taste for eachothers writings? 

Jim

Rich

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 11:32:57 pm »
Hi Jim,

I got into audio production the same way you did in a way: through recording for bands. Back about 9-10 years ago I was the bass player in a band called Nine Carat Gold Albert (you can hear some of our interesting songs over at http://www.last.fm/music/Nine+Carat+Gold+Albert - I won't be offended if you're not a fan! :P)

During that time we decided to record some of our music, so I purchased a now-archaic and obsolete digital multitrack recorder (a Fostex DMT-8, which was billed as one of the first ever digital 'portable multi-track' systems - I suspect 'portable' is definitely a bit of a stretch!). When the band broke up and we started making films, it continued in use as a field recorder. Overall, it worked really well, and up until about 2 years ago was the primary method of recording audio for our film projects (as until last year we didn't have a camera with a good audio in).

Since 2010, we've begun recording directly to the camera to save time not only in synching but also in getting the audio into the PC for editing. The first HD camera we had offered 4-track recording, but our latest one reduced that down to 2-tracks - a bummer, but we got along OK with it. Our main equipment at the moment are Sennheiser and HTDZ mics and a Mackie mixer.

As for editing, I formerly used Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro 2 for audio production, and a couple of edits I did on Apple Soundtrack but this year we've moved over to Adobe CS5 and with that Adobe Soundbooth. To be honest, it's quite crippled in terms of what you can do in comparison with the other packages, and I'm definitely thinking of moving on to other software in the future. Seeing as I primarily use Windows-based PCs and I'd like more inputs I'm tempted to move over to an M-Audio M:Box Pro and Pro Tools. What are your thoughts on this?

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2011, 02:07:13 pm »
Hi Rich

I'll be sure to give Nine Carat Albert a listen later today!

Looking back at the origins of my adventures in audio, I actually started out with an analogue 4 track tape machine, I think it was a Tascam.  I used to be the one in the band who recorded all the rehearsals and stuff, we even tried to record a proper demo with two 4-tracks synch together, but seeing as back then we were recording onto audio cassette, possibly the worst ever recording media ever invented, naturally it sounded shite!  It wasn't until about 6/7 years after, having recorded demos with bands in a proper studio and as computer recording became an affordable reality, that I began getting serious about it.  I did think about going down the digital multi-track route rather than the computer, but I think I needed a change.  And honestly, I'd be lost nowadays when editing if I didn't have a screen, mouse and waveforms in front of me!

Thats interesting the way you capture the audio for your films, is it just dialogue that you capture with the camera - I'm assuming any other sounds, footsteps, etc you'd dub in afterwards?  By any chance, have you read Robert Rodriguez' book 'Rebel without a Crew?'  It documents how he made 'El Mariachi' - apparently he had to completely record all of the audio, dialogue, everything, into a separate audio device after he'd shot the film as his camera didn't really do sound,then he had to manually sync it all up in an old analogue editing suite.  I do recommend that book, if you haven't read it already, some of it defies belief, but its very inspiring for an amateur film maker! Have lost a bit of respect for Mr Rodriguez for the abomination that is Spy Kids 4, though!

As for new recording interfaces, I must admit I don't like M-Audio hardware - the first recording interface I ever bought was made by them, I'll admit that it was a budget model and PC wasn't exactly up to the task, but it was a seriously temperamental bit of gear.   I've also heard mixed things about their tie in with Pro-Tools.  A dedicated Pro-Tools rig will cost you thousands, so corners must have been cut somewhere.

Exactly how many inputs do you think you'll need, as that will be the key.  For my old studio I needed as many as I could get, I went for the pretty pricey RME Fireface 800, it only came with 4 dedicated preeamp SLR inputs, but it had 8 jacks at the back to connect another 8 inputs via a mixer, and then I got an 8-input Preamp with an infra red output and managed to connect that to the RME for another 8 inputs - and all of them could be used at the same time(providing the PC was having a good day!)  I picked the RME unit based on reviews in all the audio magazines and roundups, it always came out somewhere near the top of the pile and had the least amount of reported issues.   It cost me about £800 new, and its testimony that after 5 years of serious use it was still working perfectly and I managed to sell it for about £550 (I was swamped with so many calls I could have sold it for more.) 

My advice would be for you to work out how inputs you are going to need(maybe add a couple just in case, you never know!) then go for the most expensive one you can afford - that extra cash will be well spent as it will get you better build quality, much better preamps and probably will allow for recording at much higher sample rates. 

For more than 2 inputs you will need a firewire interface, so you'll need a firewire input on your PC - and this can be a nightmare too, some interfaces only work properly with Firewire cards with a certain type of chipset (usually Via or Texas Instruments - RME devices only work with the later.) 

The final part of the equation is the audio software - obviously with the M-Audio device you mentioned you'll get a version of Protools, but most interfaces come bundled with something.  My Alesis interface came with Cubase LE5, so having used older versions of Cubase before it was easy to get on with, and for a bit of bundled software it was very functional, it allowed for 48 audio tracks (which was plenty for my home setup).  And cubase uses VST effects and instruments, of which there are literally thousands that are free - its truly the choice of the DIY music producer!

---------------------------

Edit/Update

Just got in from the video shoot for my friends band, it all went fairly well - despite a few battery related issues late on - and the band being unable to lip-sync to the ending of the song, the cheeky bleeders tried to claim that my MP3 player was glitching the track they were trying to play along to and thats why it kept going wrong.  Turns out the drummer kept getting confused towards the end of the song and the other musicians kept trying to follow him instead of the recording!  But we got there in the end, and I got a lot more dynamic/moving pan shots than I was expecting.  Am about to go review the footage in a minute, I'll keep you posted as to my progress.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 12:03:33 am by mysticjim »

Scarecrow

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2011, 01:01:40 pm »


I'm the busy fourth wheel to this insane vehicle that is thegreatesc, and I just wanted to pop by and say hello. Always amazing to meet more people interested in indy media, and hopefully we'll be able to work together in the near future. Having not ahd time to look over the whole thread has anyone mentioned CineMe to you?

it's a regular indy film screening event in Bristol and a couple of us will be at the latest CineMe event this coming Friday. Even if you're occupied then, a future CineMe event might be the perfect opportunity for us to meet up some time!

Anyway, all the best and welcome to thegreatescape!


 - Scarecrow

mysticjim

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Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 07:10:51 pm »
Hello Scarecrow,

Yes, Chrissey PM'd me about it, alas I'll be at my sisters 30th birthday bash on Friday, but definately look to meet up/collaborate at some point soon.


 

anything