After many months of hard work and frustration, I'm happy to announce that Butterflies and Breakfast Cereal at last has a release date! The film will be online for you all to see on Vimeo at 8am this coming Monday April 14, but until then I thought I'd share with you a little bit of what we've been up to.
In between now and my last update, which was a shamefully long time ago, a lot has happened. Our editor, Doug Scott, and I created a picture-locked cut last December and since then I've been working with our post production Sound Mixer/Designer, Renso Landa, to help create the sound scape of the film.
With the music to the film complete--you can preview Clark Aboud's wonderful score here--step one was cleaning up our existing audio. Through a series of equipment errors on set, and my own lack of experience, a lot of the sound we captured while shooting was garbled and messy. We could have gone ahead with this, but Renso and I wanted to make sure that BBC sounded as good as it could so we decided to undergo the arduous process of ADR.
ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) is when you bring an actor back into a recording studio to dub over the dialogue that was originally recorded in production. There are a number of reasons you might need to do ADR--actors not enunciating, footsteps overlapping with dialogue, technical errors--but it's always done with the goal of getting cleaner audio. ADR is a bizarre process to coach actors through and even stranger to attempt yourself. As opposed to on set where you're trying to get the best performance you can, in ADR you're trying to mimic the best performance previously given both in tone and timing. Get it wrong and it feels like the bad dubbing from a Kung Fu film, get it right and it's strangely seamless . Lucky for me, our cast has great timing and with a little elbow grease we got everything we needed. In this clip to the right you can see us watching back Ian's different versions of the two word line "Oh Shit."
After the ADR came the Foley. Foley is the process of creating the everyday sounds that are not produced by peoples' mouths on set. Everything you see in a movie from footsteps, to cars screeching to a halt, to a baseball bat scraping against the floor was probably recorded after by a Foley Artist in a Foley stage. With objects for making noises all over the place, a Foley stage looks something like a madman's laboratory. Then, in the middle of the room, there are little 2'x2' squares of floor with different terrain on them. They have everything from sand, to hard wood, to dead leaves, that the Foley artist can walk across to record footsteps. While much of the time a Foley Artist mimics noises on screen with identical objects in the studio, other times the Foley artist uses a completely different object to create the sound effect that feels right. In the clip to the right you can see John Rivers, our Foley Artist, recording the footsteps of Ian Hopps' character when he first appears. Since John is confined to a small square of wood floor to create the steps, he has to do a kind of dance, walking in place.
After Foley, the last step is the mixing and sound design. I have a limited understanding of this so I can only offer a very simplified explanation of these processes, but let me stress that these are two very complex and extremely important steps in the creation of a film. At its simplest mixing is setting how loud each sound clip plays during the film. At its most complex it involves going in and adjusting the reverberation of certain sounds so that they sound as though they are coming from characters within the room, and much more. Dialogue recorded during ADR initially sounds too "clean." It matches the actors lips but in comparison to how the rest of the dialogue sounds it feels off. To make our ADR fit Renso had to go in and adjust certain things to make it sound like that dialogue was recorded in the apartment we shot in instead of a Recording Studio. He also had to compensate for how far away a character was from the camera when they were talking. If there are two characters on screen the one who's closer to the camera should sound a little different from the one who's further away. These adjustments are subtle and go mostly unnoticed by the audience, yet they are crucial to a film's success.
So that's pretty much where we are now. As I write this Renso is finalizing the mix for BBC and I'll be checking in with him throughout the week. This Saturday we're having a small screening party for cast and crew and then on Sunday I'll call some of our kickstarter donors to thank them for helping us make this project. Finally, on Monday at 8am the entire film will be live on the internet for everyone to see.
It's been an odd couple months leading up to this full of stress and frustration with delays but it's sad and strange to think that it'll all be over soon. I have, as I always do when finishing a short, a new found appreciate for everything that goes into making a movie--the way I listen to a film is forever changed. Thank you to everyone who donated to this project with your money, time, or support--this movie would not have been possible with out it. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I think the same is true for a movie--no matter how small. So, again, thank you all. I look forward to sharing this film with you, and hope you enjoy what we've made!