Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nothingness of the Other kind

What do you write when you got nothing to say or write? How do you put that 'nothingness' onto the paper or onto this....screen, when you know that it's not the 'nothingness' you got in there, but something...and that something just wouldn't come out. On the one hand, that something is either too small to manifest itself because it seems so insignificant or (on the other hand) too huge that you cannot possibly contain it in words. The most usual thing/s that you would do typically consists of the following. 
You wait a little. You take long pauses. You stare at something so long that it blurs out in your vision. Then you fix your gaze at something else. Blur out again. Then you make a feeble attempt at voicing out something which turns out to be crap. Then you erase it. You start all over again.
I guess this is that stage of nothingness of the 2nd kind - the nothingness that's loaded with that huge something which couldn't possibly be contained...ergo...can't be written about. So, as I contemplate on this and life's other meaningless shit, we, the collective, are working towards giving closure to the project that needs one. Can't really tell if this closure would be a definitive one...yet!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Converting the movie from 23.976 fps to 24 fps

To convert your movie from 23.976 fps to 24 fps, use the "Cinema Tools" application.

1. Open Cinema Tools application

NOTE: It is a good idea to backup the files before you confirm them. 

2. Batch Conform the folder where the movie file resides. A pop-up window will appear, choose 24 fps and that is it. Seriously that is it, all the movie files under this folder are already conformed to 24 fps.
File -> Batch Conform

3. Go to the folder that you chose in the previous step, you will see a conform.log file and a "conformed 24.0" folder, under this folder it will have all the movies conformed to 24 fps.

4. In order to confirm it, just right click on the movie and open with "Cinema Tools"
Under the "Analysis" tab see the details of the movie and if you see Frame Rate as 24.00FPS. Voila.

5 Tech. things we're onto right now for '500 & 5'

Though we are compiling other blog posts(for the tech-inclined) on various technical stages in detail, here's a little glimpse into the madness of the film's technical universe. For the last 3-4 days, 3 MacBook Pros are processing overtime simultaneously connected and mixed and matched to 7 to 8 External hard-drives. The following 5 is just a little peek into our state of mind.

1. Getting the DCP Log files ready for conversion
2. Updating the Censor warning Title cards onto the Reels
3. Readying up the DVD Compression files
4. Syncing and final Output of Audio Files for 24fps 
5. Syncing the Subtitles for Output to DCP

And much more...(The above pic is a 15-sec frame preview from the start of the movie - for Cigarette and Alcohol warning as suggested by the Censor Board - what we are adding now. If anyone needs to put it up in your film in the future, don't keep searching. Just download this and use it)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Enter the Censors - 500 & 5 scores a clean 'A'

Bells, Whistles and Applause!!!!! Folks...we got some 'A'mazing news...or should we say 'A'wesome news, or should it be 'A'stounding news. Alright, alright, alright too much drum-roll not needed for this...since we've never gotten 'A' grades in high school or college or where-ever...we figured we'd score an 'A' at least in...well...our film. Yes, my sweet, dear, lovely people...'500 & 5' just returned from the Censor Board for Film Certification this week and we've been awarded an 'A' certificate. Yes, not U/A, but a loud, unadulterated, clean 'A' without any cuts.

Our dear examining committee members from the CBFC were too nice a people. We had a nice long chat for almost an hour as to the justifications of what Indian society deems censorable or uncensorable. Obviously, we expounded on the necessity of certain scenes(like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, kissing etc - really basic stuff, hellloooo) and the significance of an open-thought-based society. The board members agreed to everything we said but eventually (and apparently) according to them, in Indian society, we can DO certain things but NOT talk(or make movies) about it openly on grounds of the usage of our most flaunted(but under-utilized) constitutional right - freedom of speech and expression - without the content being labeled 'Adult'. Seriously, who really isn't an Adult these days. I can probably write volumes on this but...please remind us later as to what the topic of our discussion/justification was, after you see the movie.
The board members said some surprisingly flattering things about '500 & 5' and that though our style of expression deserved a creative merit, it would not be understood the way it is supposed to be, by the society at large, and that was why it had to be for a restricted audience. Don't know if I concur on that, but in my opinion, in our current zeitgeist, our prevailing collective consciousness is by far the most intelligent it's ever been. So without any pretense of knowing what the audience or people in our society want, we want to just create and let it out in whatever way it can be possible. A mere 'label' or 'certificate' is not gonna change anything. So...anyways, since we don't really care about what certificate we get(it never really was an issue other than the fact that we are NOT tax-exempt), at no point do we(as creators) want to hold back because filmmaking, according to us, is first a purgatory and deeply personal Art form and then...everything else. The board actually did not want us to cut because they felt it would dilute the intensity of the expression.
Anywho peeps, here we are...crossing the next milestone of a 'seemingly' long journey. But wait, we have a moment for...Wooo-hooo! Can we hear you say it?....Thank you. And Actors and contributors and friends of '500 & 5'! You can now proudly and emphatically say that you are part of a larger grown-up, Adult movement that's happening in society and blah, blah...ok ok, again too much build-up not required. Sooo...Howzatttttt???!!!

(For all things '500 & 5' in our blog so far, please go to the '500 & 5' tag on your right, or click HERE)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

5 things you didn’t know about the Pre-production of ‘500 & 5’

Well, it all has to be in 5's right? they are...

  1. The thematic core of ‘500 & 5’ was conceived one frustrated evening, in December 2010. Obviously, this frustration was a result of long, tiring periods of our ideological/philosophical ramblings about all things under the sun, especially creating a film independently and that too about money.
  2. Initially, since we planned on this being a low-budget, independent film/s(it still is), we figured we’d hardly cast 5 to 10 people to illustrate the story. But eventually, it turned out to be a 90-member casting coup.
  3. The entire script(actually 5 scripts with a total of about 90 pages) from ‘FADE IN’ to ‘FADE TO BLACK’ was completed in 15 days (my personal best in terms of speed, coz usually I take months of research, writing and rewriting). The script was finalized and greenlit on 11th February, 2011. Of course, the incubation process took a little longer and constant tweaking was done to the finished script till the shooting stage.
4. By early February 2011, we had started fabricating/designing and mechanically creating various equipments ourselves because we couldn’t afford to rent out from high-end production houses. With help from Youtube tutorials, local blacksmiths, carpenters and mechanical workshop technicians, Dass, Ramesh and Toot-machi over-saw and managed this entire mechanical process. We literally created Steadicams, Wheel-cam rigs, Track dolly and table-top dolly from scratch for real cheap but of awesome quality. For example, we made our Steadicam for a mere 5000 Rupees when the ‘Rental cost’ of a professional Steadicam is 10,000 Rupees per day in Chennai.

5. 500 & 5 is actually a crowd-funded film thereby reaffirming that this is a truly democratically-made film. The funding for this film was put together in exactly 9 phone calls. Though right now we can’t discuss in detail about it, we’ll share more later.

Pictures: 1. Dass testing the Camera-rig we made. 2. Our first shooting schedule in Bangalore for Adi(Me, Dass, Ramesh & Shankar). 3. Dopehouse scene with Dass holding the wheelcam rig that we created. (In it, me, Pradeep and King Sek.)

Jenny's Poem - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song

Ganamaanadho Mounam - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song

Panatha Mattum - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song