Friday, January 29, 2010

Adjust Your Color

Hi Everyone! Sorry we haven’t updated recently, but things have been very busy here in the Fugue-iverse. A couple weeks ago, we started color correcting the movie. We found a very skilled friend who offered us his services for a bargain-basement price. We can’t thank him enough; when you’re making a movie at this budget level, you basically have to count on awesome people like Matt doing you favors.

But for those of you not in the film business, you may be asking what is color correction, and why do we have to pay for it at all? Good question! Color correction is a process where you go through every frame of the movie, tweaking the color, lighting contrast, exposure, and many other visual elements. Since all this is done on a high-end computer system, it’s impossible to do it for free.

Your goal is to not only get the film to look uniform, so it flows naturally from shot to shot, but to also subtly support the story-telling through your visual palette.

“Fugue,” for example, is about a woman who learns the truth about her past. To show that visually, we’re putting a bit of glow in the beginning of the film, to give it a hazy, foggy quality. As the movie progresses, we’ll slowly pull the glow out until by the very end, everything is crystal-clear.

We also want to amp up the presence of the garden as the movie unfolds, so we’re slowly bringing in more and more greens as we go on. Hopefully, all of this will be so subtle that no one notices it. The goal is to have it be seamless, and affect the audience on a gut level.

The amazing thing is how much you can correct nowadays with computers. There are so many filters and mattes and manipulations you can do to the image, it’s easy to agonize over every frame. In one shot, for example, we literally took an exterior of the house during the day, and made it into a night shot. We did this by amping up the contrast, darkening the edges of the frame, adding blue, and matte-ing out the sky. Now, it looks like we shot it at night.

While this is awesome, it reminds me how important it still is to think about what you’re going for while you’re on set. Just because you can tweak everything in the post process doesn’t mean you should wait until then. That leads to lazy filmmaking. Despite having all these tools, you still need a strong idea about what you want to achieve, and some way of communicating that. All this technology is simply a method of getting to that point.

We’re heading into the home stretch on “Fugue.” In the next couple weeks, I’ll do posts about the photography shoot we did for the poster, our sound mix, what DVD extras we’re starting to prepare, and there’s even some rumblings that we may have a sales agent. It’s very exciting, and we’ll try to keep you all updated.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Happy New Year from the Fugue team! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I know we all took a much-needed break from thinking about the movie 24-7, and have returned with our batteries re-charged, and ready to race toward the finish line (I tried to mix more metaphors into that sentence, but couldn’t do it).

Hard to believe that at this time last year, we didn’t even have a first draft of the screenplay. Sure, Barbara and I had spent all of December breaking the story and outlining, but the first draft wasn’t complete until January 8. And we started shooting less than four weeks later.

Now, after much work from everyone involved, we have a picture-locked film, but we’re still dealing with other post-production matters. We have to mix the movie, which is expensive. We have to record foley (all the little footsteps, movements, and teeny sounds we didn’t get during production). We have to color-correct the movie (making sure all the shots look not only good, but the same).

But this isn’t about getting bogged down in work details; this post is about looking forward. It’s the time of year for resolutions, so here’s what we’d like to accomplish on with “Fugue” in 2010:

1) Finish the film. As mentioned above, finish the sound, color-correct the movie, and master it to DVD.

2) Screen the movie in film festivals. We’ve applied to 20 fests so far, and have heard back from two (Sundance and Slamdance, both of which passed, to their extreme and everlasting loss). We hear back from a couple more in mid-January. We’ve tried to apply to a variety of festivals, so hopefully we’ll get in somewhere.

3) Get distribution! With our without festival screenings, this is the true goal. Ideally, we’d like to get a deal that includes some kind of minimum agreement (or MG, which is the up-front money you receive). Worst case scenario, we can sell the movie ourselves through our website, which is becoming more and more popular among indie filmmakers, since you keep all the profits.

4) Start work on the next project. “Fugue” was always intended to be a jumping-off point for our careers. We’ve got some great ideas for follow-up films, and we’re hoping once this movie gets out there, we can find some real film investors/production companies who want to help fund the next effort.

Thanks again to everyone who supported or worked on the movie in 2009, and here’s to success in 2010!