DVD Label artwork

Here is what the DVDs will look like!

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Concept Art

Here are some concept art pieces for the posters.

Originally I thought that the movie poster should have a feel that was less than serious. I designed both of these pieces before it was evident that the film would be much more somber and dark. These designs were not only meant to be colored in a more Colore (heavy brushstrokes meant for adding exciting texture rather that solid lines) style than a Disegno one (a very precise style, mostly associated with works that feature architecture, that relies heavily on intricate detail and straight, definite lines), but they were also meant to have bright colors with pinks and blues; mostly for the one with the mouse skeleton in the costume.

In case it is hard to decipher, this is a mouse skeleton holding a frying pan and a piece of Water Hemlock. The title would appear along the bottom.

Here is the Piece that was originally going to be colored with bright colors. It is a mouse skeleton that is wearing a mouse suit and holding a frying pan and a piece of Hemlock.

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Newest Poster!

Here is the Newest Poster! Let me know what you think of it. The DVD jacket is on its way.

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Lessons in Sound – Lesson 4: Editing Sound Effects

When I record sound effects, rather than creating multiple takes for a single sound source (ie, hitting a pizza pan), I tend to continue the recording and try multiple permutations of sound levels, microphone distances and, in the case of something like a pizza pan, velocities.  By recording these permutations in one track you save yourself time by not having to continuously start and stop your recording unit.  The downfall of this method is the copious amount of time required to cut these continuous recordings into useable sections.

This is where editing software like pro-tools comes in handy.

Pro-tools has a useful tool which finds transients.

A Transient is defined as:

“. . .a short-duration signal that represents a non-harmonic attack phase of a musical sound or spoken word. It contains a high degree of non-periodic components and a higher magnitude of high frequencies than the harmonic content of that sound. Transients do not directly depend on the frequency of the tone they initiate.”

In essence, a transient is a beat and in pro-tools you can simply push the TAB button to jump to transients in the timeline.  Then you can cut at that moment to obtain the instant when the sound initiated.

Once you cut all these pieces up you can then export them as individual audio files.

Screenshot Examples:

Multiple Audio Files Ready for Editing

Close Up of a Transient

One Single Audio Recording

The Same Audio Recording as Above – Cut Into Sections via Transient Location (TAB)


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Even though the official class is gone, I still often bring up how awesome it was to my friends. I miss the people I grew close to over the several days we shot. Since moving to Canada, I found it hard to meet people in classes when everyone was so quiet and kept to themselves, but this class really gave everyone an opportunity to meet someone they normally wouldn’t talk to. We were open with each other when it came to critique, and were always ready to jump in and help anyone on the set that needed it. We also all started on the same page: liking movies, not quite sure what it really took to make a film. It was an easy transition from a group of individuals to a team.

It makes me wish we could all get together again as a crew and work on a new film, eating snacks and trying not to get too stressed (leaving that up to Dan) and just generally getting to know each other more. Wish a strong director and a great Director of Photography, we made this short film come together. How Socrates Bought the Farm was a great experience for everyone who participated, and hopefully, to those who will eventually view it.

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Editing and the Last Hurrah…

Tyson Laidler
June 25, 2011

Well I suppose this is my last post.

Looks like the editing team has gone beyond the call of duty. The final cut is almost done except for some sound effects and the end credits. The last few classes really showed off the progression and hard work then went into the editing. Although there was usually something to critique, the latest version fixed most of the flaws. In other news, I sent in my Bio to Devin and handed in my work binder to Dan.

Thursday was our last class, and honestly we couldn’t have ended it any better. The potluck/Wrap party (or ‘rap’ party if you prefer) was a fuck-ton of fun. Seeing all the cast and crew come to view the latest cut was great, although it took some time to finally screen it due to unseen technical difficulties that we finally overcame. Sopranos was just as enjoyable. I grew some balls and went up and sang Semi-Charmed Life (ahhh…nineties nostalgia) and got a pretty positive response back. Loved Dan’s jazz singing, I think we were all pleasantly surprised by that. It was amusing to see those shady biker guys singing all those hardcore songs like Dead or Alive. For my first time going to Sopranos, it was totally worth it.

Anywho, that’s all I have to say. I wish all my classmates a good summer break,  may the shwarts be with you, and as an added bonus, here’s some video I recorded on set.

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June 27th

We have wrapped class! We have wrapped class! Last Thursday was our last class of Writ 320, yet the production of How Socrates Bought the Farm continues.

In our final meeting we tried out a couple of songs for the intro to the film. One of them had a classical feel and the other had  more of a Vampire Diaries/western feel. They both worked great with the film, yet they produced completely different moods and tones. The more classical song gave the movie more of a serious tone. It worked great with the opening scene of the movie. The western style music also too worked great. However, this song produced more of the comedic vibe. It was a lot more light hearted. Personally I would prefere a more light hearted song instead of a classical song. I just think that because the film is a dark comedy we really need to try to enhance the comedic part of it and by choosing a song that is more “easy going” will do this.

I can’t wait to see the final version of How Socrates Bought the Farm! It should be finished soon, seeing as we are hoping to enter it into some film festivals coming up!


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Lessons in Sound – Lesson 3: Teambuilding

As I mentioned in an earlier post, on set things can get tense. It is hard enough to work long hours let alone working long hours with people you don’t really know. This is why it is important to bond with your fellow crew members.

This is likely to happen organically but being conscious of it should help accelerate the process. The quicker you build this relationship, the better.

There are many ways to help this growth along, such as:

  • Telling jokes (because everyone likes jokes).
  • Showing respect for the ideas of your fellow crew members.
  • Sharing meaningful stories.
  • Eating food together.
  • Coming up with ‘secret’ handshakes, etc.

This list could likely go on forever.

To give you an example from our set:

Before this project I had never met my boom operator Kelly.  Once we found we would be working as a two man team we discussed ways to create a shared identity. Primarily this resulted in a team uniform and a set of calisthenic exercises (Both of these are featured in the short film below).  This was incredibly effective for team building because Kelly and I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it.

Lesson 3 – Teambuilding

Just remember to be patient,  creative and, most importantly, inclusive because you never want to leave anyone out.

And for next time, be sure to Keep Fit and Have Fun!

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That’s Editing!

So, Lachlan and I have been logging insane hours trying to piece (by piece) together How Socrates Bought the Farm now that we’re in the post production editing phase of things. You think when faced with doing a rough cut, it’d be pretty straight forward. Wrong! First we had to sync the footage together with the audio that’s recorded separately. Syncing isn’t difficult, it’s just time consuming. Then we had to export the files (confession: I don’t really even know what exporting something means! Saving it maybe? Lol. I’m in trouble when my prof reads this.) Exporting was painfully slow because of using such a high resolution camera. But after everything had been exported, the cut and pasting could begin! But it’s actually a pretty complicated process because we have to try to figure out what takes work best in terms of a) acting, b) camera angle, c) focus, d) sound, and e) continuity… and probably a whole pile of other things that I’m forgetting right now. Finding a take that scores highly on all of those gradients is very difficult. And you have to remember that viewers now a days are used to a very high level of visual stimulation. No one wants to watch one continuous take. So even if you do find a good piece, chances are…that’ll only hold anyone’s interest for a small period of time. The audience wants to be shown as many vantage points as possible without the jump in position feeling awkward because otherwise they get taken out of the story. IT’S A MULTITASKING NIGHTMARE! But, when it works and you do manage to string a series of shots together as seamlessly as possible you land up doing a little dance in your seat! But most of the time you’re shushing people around you in the computer lab while loudly cussing yourself and sporadically slamming your fist down on the table to get some small sense of accomplishment. Ok, that was a little bleak.

Moving on!

Lachlan and I have done several reworks since our original rough cut and so now, after class today, we’re swapping the footage that we’ve been working on. After spending just under two weeks working and reworking the same footage, our stamina is fading, so we’re swapping it up. In other words, we get to play around with each others work (Lachlan’s probably sweating about it RIGHT NOW).

Truth is, I’m sweating the swap too.


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We were strangers once….

Now that the production of How Socrates Bought the Farm is slowly coming to an end I’ve realized how close of a class we have become. I am going into my 4th year at the University of Victoria and I can honestly say I have never been apart of a class quite like this. I have met people I would have never gotten the opportunity to get to know had it not been for me stepping out of my comfort zone and throwing myself into a film class.

I’m sure most students can relate to me when I say that in a typical 300 person class at Uvic meeting people for some reason is hard. It is easy to say hi to people on a day-to-day basis, but really getting a friendship out of those “hi’s” and “bye’s” is really quite difficult. Writing 320 has allowed me to get to know more people in one class than any other class I have taken to this day. We’re kind of like this little film team…..perhaps even a crew?

The people who are enrolled in this class come from all different social circles at UVic. We are a very diverse group of people. Some of us want to continue on in film while others want to never touch a boom, or a camera ever again. Some of us are writing majors while others of us are econ majors. We have come from all parts of the campus, here at UVic, and produced at short film!


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