|December 19th, 2008, 05:48 PM||#102 (permalink)|
Damn Good Ninja
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Perdition City
Welcome to you're "DOOM"
I'm a bit late to the party, but I suppose it's better than never arriving at all. For those that don't know, I am the editor for The Novella Vosselaar. This was the second project I've worked on with ND, after directing the music video for Autumn Reflection. It was honestly great working with ND again, even if all we did was WORK.
What Paul and Larry related about the entire production/post-production process is very accurate. Typically in professional film production circles it is rather taboo to bad-mouth other people's work, but since instead of playing editor, I was relegated to a level of damage control that FEMA was ill-equipped to manage. In most situations I would keep quiet about the shortcomings of others, but this is a unique case. The "uniqueness" being that the video crew that was hired clearly misrepresented their abilities and capabilities. This is only my professional assessment of them, for all I know they are fantastically nice people personally.
Now, before anyone prejudges this post, I want to assure you that I am not writing to merely point fingers or place blame on anyone - I simply want to provide an accurate history of this project and quiet any dissent (toward the DVD) that may still linger.
Given ND's budget, they definitely paid for quality, unfortunately they did not receive it. Without getting too technical, I'll rundown some of the bigger issues and how we dealt with them.
All of the camera's were indeed set to EP (Extended Play). This problem was exacerbated by the heat and humidity in the club, you can hear about Vito's unique problem with this on the Easter Egg. Anyway, excessive heat while recording on EP causes the tape to expand to the degree that the only possible way to get an accurate playback is to use the exact same camera that originally recorded the footage. Multiply that problem by six camera's.
My personal vote for biggest fuck-up is the fact that none of the cams had synced TIMECODE. This meant that I had to visually sync each tape to the master audio track. This problem was compounded by the EP setting, which caused intermittent frames to be "dropped". This meant that the audio "drifted". The audio would be perfectly synced 1 minute in, but 2 minutes later it would be off by a few frames and need to be re-synced. In all, I spent about 32 hours just syncing the audio for the DVD. If the cams were set correctly, this process wold have taken an hour at most.
One entire camera angle was useless. Paul, Larry and I agree that it was more like security camera footage than concert footage.
Believe it or not, the original footage was shot Full Frame. Some might say; "but then why is the DVD Widescreen?" Well, the original intent was a Widescreen (Letterboxed) DVD, but (believe it or not) the video crew set their cams wrong. In retrospect this was what Bob Ross would've called "A Happy Accident". This is because most of the framing was very "loose", there was a lot of dead-space around the band, especially on close-ups. Dropping a Letterbox Matte on the footage was only a half-fix, since after that I had to re-frame every single edit in the DVD. I think that there are about 1,800 edits too...
The color calibration... WOW. I'm very disheartened to hear that Agalloch had to deal with the same issue. The problem was that none of the cams were calibrated to each other, so each cam rendered color differently. To compound that problem, not every cam was of the same model. If you've ever walked into a Best Buy or Circuit City and watched their wall o' monitors and noticed that while they are all playing the same footage, the colors all look different - then you can imagine what the original footage looked like. I did as much as I could to color-correct everything without the footage turning to grainy moosh. The image enhancement/restoration that they do on CSI is a fucking myth.
For some reason, during the show EVERY camera cut at the same time to change tapes, even though each tape still had 25+ minutes left. Maybe the crew was sharing a brain that night? Anyway, I'm not telling where in the DVD that incident occurred. If I did my job right no one will ever find it, not even Paul.
Like I said before, my real point here isn't just to bitch or blame. It's really to illustrate what ND went through to get this DVD into your hands. I can honestly say that this was never a cash-grab for them. They put up with and overcame a ton of unnecessary bullshit for their fans. The DVD was never about "them", they didn't make it to satisfy their ego's, they did it for their fans. Period. If it was merely for personal gain, I think that they would've pulled the plug after I gave them my first report of the footage.
Instead of crying about it, we all discussed how we could get a professional product with what we were given. After I completed the rough-cut, Paul and Larry decided to fly down to Florida for 3 days (on their own dime), to supervise the final edit. Basically they just told me where and how bad I fucked up. Their decisions were always what were best for the DVD. Since only Paul and Larry came down it could've been their show, instead the entire band is showcased fairly equally. The question they asked me the most is also the most telling about their intentions, they repeatedly asked; "would you buy this?" Their concerns were and still are their fans being satisfied with this DVD, not making a quick buck. Shit, the whole process is anything but quick...
We had to make a lot of compromises just to maintain what scant quality was there, and find ways to enhance it. One fairly large issue was bumping up to a Dual Layer disc. They chose this because when I compressed the footage to fit on a single layer disc, it looked atrocious. This was due to the high level of grain, low color-depth, and the footage originating on EP. A Dual Layer disc isn't a big deal for the buyer, but they do cost more to press for The End. After viewing the DVD again now that a few months have passed, I think that the dirty style is rather appropriate for the setting. I would much prefer the DVD the way it is now vs. a super-glossy Katy Perry or Roxy Music DVD.
Although ND doesn't know, editing Autumn Reflection was damned painful. It was like having flashbacks to 'Nam. I say this because the music video for Autumn Reflection took up about 4 months of my life before The Novella Vosselaar rolled around.
The Coda for the Easter Egg was born of the lack-of-sleep-delirium between Paul and myself. Larry (probably wisely) tried to talk us out of it. In retrospect it's still the perfect amount of levity against the rest of the disc. In those 3 days, I think we averaged about 4 hours of sleep, and Paul had to suffer the humiliation of me destroying him on Rainbow 6. Hey, at least they got to eat some Gator Tail while they were down here. Boosh!
For the record - Paul and Larry, if ND is planning on shooting anything in the states, let me put in a bid this time around. I've been doing this crap for 12 years and you guys are easily my favorite "clients". Don't think that necessarily means that you're great or anything, just that all of my past clients have been truly horrible. Congratulations, you're "average"!
Thank you both for the shout-out in Metal Maniacs. That was a damn nice surprise! I should get that page framed next to The Guitar.
And no, sadly I am not responsible for AR being available on Comcast. Whoever did it, gets some very belated thanks from me.
Paul and Larry, thanks again. It's not every day in this industry where people thank or even understand the work put into a project. I appreciate your appreciation of me. Hail and Kill.
Paul ~ if I've said too much concerning the behind-the-scenes process, feel free to edit this post as needed.
Now It's Dark
|December 19th, 2008, 06:01 PM||#103 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: West Burbs of Chicago
Thanks a lot for that post.
I certainly have a better appreciation for what went into the final product!!!!!
Personally, I enjoy the DVD very much. Really nothing more to say about it.
I think that Novembers Doom's fans are truly "fans" in every sense of the word.
We have all been eagerly awaiting this CD.
We, as fans, are aware that ND are not a big-budget, full time band with deep pockets.
We understand that a lot of the final product was the result of their own time and $$$.
I have seen ND five times. I would say the DVD certainly captures the vibe of seeing them live.
Does the final product equal the visual aesthetic of an Iron Maiden DVD?
Of course not!
On the flipside, would you expect it from a hard working, DIY band like Novembers Doom?
No. You would be a clueless fool if you do.
The true fans have embraced this disc and appreciate it.
|December 19th, 2008, 08:15 PM||#107 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Tony, the details you wrote are spot on... Only, Larry didn't try to talk us out of it completely. He was just as loopy as we were, and happily joined in on the "Do it! Do it!" LOL
|December 20th, 2008, 03:31 AM||#108 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2002
If memory serves correctly, I was in the other room looking through boxes and boxes of vintage comics!!
The quality of the final DVD product comes down to the hard work of two people in particular-- Tony for the visuals, and Chris for the audio. Without them, this project would've been a disaster.
As it stands, the DVD has a cool underground vibe to it. It's much better than a bootleg, but not as good as a high-budget Maiden type DVD. It's somewhere around the middle. I can live with that.
|December 20th, 2008, 03:40 PM||#110 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
also thx for the post. I was there that evening in Vosselaar last year, just like Antzor.
Knowing the troubles ND had, and hoping that Haughm regularly checks this forum i hope the crew did better on the Agalloch DVD-recording in March this year; where i was present also. For me the set-up of the camera's was the same.Maybe someone can shine a light on the release-date of the Agolloch-DVD and on their endevaour.
Thx in advance