The Big Day is Almost Here

Long time, no see! We have been working intensively under a frenetic rhythm in the final stages of editing our film on coral reef conservation in Curaçao. This kept us away from the blog for a while. Here’s Cassie Pacenka putting Avid through its paces at 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Cassie Pacenka grinds through the details in our film.

Cassie Pacenka grinds through the details in our film.

Part of putting a documentary together includes late nights, especially toward the end of the process, to be sure every detail is perfect. Matching the music and making sure all the acts tell a cohesive story are just a two of the many tasks we are working on.

Overnight, we added the narration. Professor Katherine Fink  went into the booth to record the text that is going to help guide viewers throughout the story.

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Everything comes down the hard work of a committed team lead by Dr.Luskay and Professor Revkin.

With the premiere at Jacob Burn Film Center only one week away,  we are pulling out all the stops.  And if that means sleeping on the floor, so be it!

Dalla Ripka sleeping on the floor of the editing room.

Dallas Ripka needed a well-deserved rest! Its is nap time

This is going to be a crazy week for us. Over the next few days, many hours will fly by as we scroll down the timeline to finish the film, and get it ready for a screen test Friday at Jacob Burns.  This is crucial before we reveal the film to the sold-out theater!

Thank you, by the way!

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In a week, we finally get to show our documentary – Curacao’s Coral Challenge:  Reviving the Rain Forests of the Sea. Hope to see you there, or on YouTube.

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Shaping a Film by Matching Songs and Scenes

Soundtracks can help shape the rhythm and mood surrounding the story in a film. How many times do you catch yourself remembering a film through its music? Take, for instance, Star Wars. Would the saga envisioned by George Lucas have the same grandeur without its John Williams orchestral theme?

Or Steven Spielberg’s daunting Jaws with that music anticipating that the huge and deadly shark was coming.

Music can be a vital part of captivating storytelling. And that is what we are trying to figure out. The entire class went on a scavenger hunt in order to find the perfect tune to match the opening of our film. As we went through the pages of transcribed interviews, and searched for footage, we had our headphones on, as well.

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From Shooting to Storytelling – A Coral Film’s Second Act

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We are starting to brainstorm about how our documentary is going to unfold. Tonight we start with a long blank sheet of unrolled paper marked, “Opening, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Closing….” By the end of class we will have taped snipped excerpts from transcripts of interviews into the empty areas, creating a rough guide. There’s still analog work in this digital age!

The clock is ticking. The film debuts at the Jacob Burns Film Center on May 12th. We are very excited to share every bit of this journey with you, but we have to do it in about 20 minutes of screen time, and in a way that both captures attention and captivates viewers in a media environment flooded with TMI – too much information.

It seems like ages since we returned from the beautiful, sunny island of Curaçao with gigabytes of video, including 13 interviews and background imagery– a.k.a., b-roll – of beaches, construction work, coral and more. After logging – categorizing what we have and organizing it all to make editing swifter – we have to start stitching everything together.  Continue reading