Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Forty eight hours from London...

This weekend was the annual Sci-Fi-London film festivals 48hr short film competition, and myself and a filmmaker friend decided it would be a good excuse to get out and make something.

The competition requires teams to register at midday on the saturday and deliver a finished short film on dvd by midday on monday.

We've made several short films in the past, and a fair number of 'test films' that were shot in very small amounts of time, so I figured completing a film in 48hrs would be simple enough.

On the saturday morning we registered for the competition and set to work.  We had several ideas and selected the one that seemed the simplest, then after rooting through the props and costume boxes in the loft, we collected our actor and finally started shooting at 3.30pm.

We shot until 3am, with locations spread across Biggin Hill, Croydon and Camberwell, and then after a few hours sleep started editing at 8am.

I have a very editing intensive shooting style, so once I got into the edit it became apparent that finishing on time would be a real challenge.

While I edited, my filmmaking partner created the sound effects and selected the foley ready to insert into the edit, including some fantastic breathing sounds for the main characters gasmask.

I finally finished the first assembly edit by late afternoon, and it was running to eight minutes.  The competition allowed a maximum length of five minutes (including titles).

So I began the long task of condensing the edit, grading and adding the sound effects, which became an all-night job.

By 7am I finally had the effects shots finished and started rendering, although I opted to do only two of the originally planned four shots to save time.

It took a further hour for the shots to render and then I finally had everything ready to export at 9.00am.

It took over thirty minutes to export the film in the HD and SD formats and a further half an hour to prepare and burn the first DVD... which didn't work.   A frantic re-complie of the DVD fixed the problem and I was finally finished at 10.30am.

I was on the train into London by 11.20 and arrived at Charing Cross at 12.00am after just missing an earlier connection at Waterloo East.

I made it to Regents street by 12.20 and found a queue of twenty other filmmakers dropping off their productions, and each of them taking two or three minutes.  I was finally submitted by 12.45... with just 15mins to spare before the one o'clock deadline.

So after a hectic 48hrs we have completed another film, and entered our first competition.  Now we wait to see what the judges make of our entry.