Sophie On: Ashes Post-Production

Hey Guys!

Answering a Q&A after the Trailer premiere
    It's been two months since my last post, and my activity on here has been so quiet that I'm even been getting spam in my comments box (no, Daniyal Memon, I do not want to see hot girls!). And a lot has happened in those two months - the main edit for Stop/Eject has locked, the project is fully funded, and I've even witnessed the final shoot day of Jar of Angels, which has been a long time coming. I've also moved house and office, the latter of which I share with Manny the Guinea Pig and my frequent collaborator Chris Newman (who, for the record, has a new Facebook Page and a fancy website on the way).

   Aside from these, and a couple of edit jobs for clients, I've mostly been working on Ashes, getting it ready in time for the upcoming festivals. Less than a month until the Cannes deadline, so the proverbial race is definitely on.

Neil & me at Undewrire
   So, what have myself and the crew been up to? First off, there's promotion. After the trailer premiered at 5Lamps Films in November 2012 (the photo credit from that day belongs to Chris Newman), myself and Neil Oseman attended an Underwire Festival Networking night in Wolverhampton where both the Stop/Eject and Ashes trailers were shown (photo credit from that night is Neil's). And recently we've had an unexplained but wonderful surge of views on the trailer, averaging at around 400 per day, so we're almost on 5,000. Which is more than any film I've ever uploaded, and more than many of the ones I've worked on!

   The main edit for Ashes came together fairly quickly, with me doing a large quantity in my spare time, and Neil brought in towards the end to edit a 'fat quarter' of the film (yes, that is a textiles term. 'Once a costume designer' and all that!) My main job since then has been designing and organising the all-important press kits, although I have had some great help and advice along the way from Iftkhar at The Definitive Design.

Working on the concept art and lay-out for the Ashes press kit folders

Chris colour grading
   For the other jobs, I've been delegating to other people. The first of these is Chris, who has been working hard on the colour grade - and since I've been hovering over his shoulder in the office, suggesting things, he's ended up being the third credited editor as well.

   On the other side of the film disciplines, technical wizards Ian Cudmore (aka Cmore Trix) and Adam McCready have been dancing with the sound design. So far this has composed of making the recorded sound as neat and clear as possible... then breaking it down and making it almost unrecognisable. I don't understand the language of sound design, but the score definitely speaks for itself, as you will all hear soon enough.

Ian Cudmore and Adam McCready working on the Ashes sound
   Then there are the Visual FX workers, and finding them was somewhat bittersweet for me. On the one hand, this is the first time a film I've directed as had VFX, and I've certainly found the right time to start using them. But of course, I cannot help but think of the man who was signed up to do the VFX for Ashes, our dear friend Carl Cropley, who we lost (too young) last year.

Scott Nolan's super8 filter on Scene Three

   But I'm happy to announce that we currently have two new VFX credits on Ashes. Firstly, after my dilemma as whether to use the super-8 footage from scene 3 or the HD alternative, I was contacted by a very talented man called Scott Nolan who made combined the two, by converting the HD footage to accurately look like Super-8. What a godsend!

John Butler's Visual FX

  Next, after various applicants and responses to my 'VFX Artist' shout-out, we finally recruited John Butler to create some moving blood effects in Scene Two. I won't reveal the words they spell until the final film, but the still shows how effectively John has blended digital and live-action elements.

   And it's not just Ashes itself which the crew has been working on. There's also  'Love Will Tear Us Apart: The Making of Ashes' (named after the Joy Division cover in the trailer), created by our documentarian Lara Elliot. Mostly Lara has been conducting these interviews herself but I made sure Neil recorded one for himself when we did the credits shoot, and I had a fun visit to a London travel lodge last summer where I interviewed actors Sarah Lamesch and Adam Lannon. Here's a preview of those interviews:

Lara Elliot & me interviewing Wan2Talk co-founder Carol Lambert (photo: Lara Elliot)
Screenshot from Neil's interview for Ashes

Nothing but the best location for our actors' interviews (but I'm not sure what Travellodge thought we were up to!)
Chris was distracted during his interview by a director with a light (photo: Lara Elliot)

   Although Ashes itself won't be available for public viewing until well after its festival run, the documentary will be available to watch on Hatch'd Magazine in a few months time.

Our glamorous premiere venue!

    And finally, leaving perhaps the best news until last, both Ashes and Love Will Tear Us Apart will be screened at London's The Lexi Cinema at the end of April. This exclusive screening will only be open to cast and crew, their selected guests, and members of the media. If you're a reporter/successful film blogger and would like an invite (or you know someone who fits that bill) then don't hesitate to get in touch.

   So that's everything you need to know about Ashes' progress. All that's left for you now is to head on over to the Facebook Page for the very first teasey glimpse at the finished film (just don't get your hopes up for a plot-revealing screengrab!)

Sophie x


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