Picture was locked on around July 23rd. I brought in an editor named Kelly Montgomery to help make some cuts that I wasn’t able to. He did a great service to the film by cutting many minutes that I wouldn’t have been able to, which, in hindsight, I didn’t miss—which is very amazing in itself. He also cut about five scenes in such a way that material I wasn’t crazy about could be cut out and there still could be a scene left—something I couldn’t figure out how to do myself for those particular scenes.
He also cut many lines and scenes that I felt the film couldn’t live without and I put those back in. In the end he improved the film a great deal but we were only able to work together up to a certain point, when his knowledge of the heart of the film reached its maximum. At that point I had to take over again and go through several more versions before locking picture at 84 minutes.
For about seven weeks since locking picture I’ve been working 14 hours a day and seven days a week on the sound. About six of those weeks have been spent cleaning dialogue tracks that are very problematic—with low signal-to-noise ratios or way too much background sound. There are certain scenes where only the camera mics were delivering sound, because either the sound from the boom mic was lost, or the sound from the boom mic cut out in the middle of the take.
This obviously has been extremely difficult, even with specialized software like the Waves Noise Suppressor, which is made only to clean dialogue tracks, and Izotope RX 2, which has several tools like a Denoiser, Spectral Repair, De-hummer, De-clicker, etc. I’ve also made a lot of use of a parametric equalizer. There’s very little noise-removal that can be done without damaging the dialogue itself, so with every clip it’s a balancing act to remove as much noise as possible, damage the dialogue as little as possible, and match the way the dialogue sounds to the clips around it. I’m going through the dialogue line by line, sometimes syllable by syllable, to make it sound acceptable, i.e. not distracting. With noise removal it’s easy to end up with digital artifacts that are as distracting as the noise that’s been removed.
I’m doing everything I can to avoid asking Greg and Sarah if they would be willing to record more ADR, especially given the lack of funds available. Fortunately I recorded some ADR with both of them in January of 2010, guessing which scenes were the worst. And some of this has been useful, although some was unnecessary, whereas I should have re-recorded some scenes that I didn’t, just because I didn’t suspect they would be problems until I got into working with them in the last few weeks.
Several great pieces of music have been composed and produced for the film, but so far I haven’t had much time to work those into the film, or do much creatively with the sound, given the amount of time spent getting 90% of the dialogue to an acceptable state.
The reason why I’ve spent such a concentrated amount of time on the film recently is that the late Sundance deadline is coming up fast—September 26th. I intend to enter LOST TO LOVE in the best state I can—which will be a rough mix of the whole film, but no color-grading. Then the late Slamdance deadline is about a month later, October 21st, and I hope at that point to have the film finished, with color-grading, VFX (mainly the gun shooting), titles and credits, and a finished sound mix.
- September 13th, 2011 - 3:52 am