C Plus is one of my favorite upcoming artists on the scene. Chase Moore and Hippie Sabotage are quickly becoming my favorite producers in the game. All Nighter finds the Sacramento emcee C Plus linking up with Chase and the Hippies to bring you the perfect combination of solid production and dope lyricism, with the sample and visual treatment inspired by the movie Drive. With this video I had the freedom to creatively bring to life a hip hop influenced take on the film, with C Plus as the driver and the sexy Ciara Gorman as the co-star. Shot in the only a day and a half, one at first look probably wouldn’t be able to tell how much work went into the pre-production of this video but I will say that planning definitely pays off. This video has to be one of my favorites so far in how the whole concept and look came together.
In the video C Plus stars as the driver, who with his female accomplice, ends up going head to head with a mob boss (played by Chase Moore) and a hired hitman (played by So Crates) after a botched robbery plot. Anyone who has seen the film Drive will quickly pick up on the loosely inspired plot and theme, to which Chase Moore and Hippie Sabotage superbly do the sample justice. In All NIghter C Plus must quickly learn how to deal with these threats, all while seeming totally cool and unnerved by the attempts on his life. Chase Moore and So Crates do an excellent and convincing job in their portrays of their characters, and we’re still sure that So Crates is still in a little bit of pain. All Nighter can be found on C Plus’ Still Out Here mixtape which is available now at thirdletta.com. Enjoy.
When Final Cut Pro X was announced by Apple back in June of 2012 I was ecstatic. As an avid (no pun intended) Final Cut Pro Studio user who had grown a complicated love/hate relationship with the render bar, coupled with the fact that Final Cut Pro 7 only utilized 4GB RAM max. With FCPX I was very much wooed by the thought of not having to render along with the idea of my projects being edited that much faster. The new design, the organization of shots/footage, and the ability to utilize more than 4GB Ram had me to the point where I was unable to sleep for months thinking about this new Final Cut Pro X (ok a little exaggerated). I felt my life was soon about to change.
Then Final Cut Pro X was released. I remember that day logging onto the Apple App store for the first time ever, ready and willing to cough up $300 of my hard-earned cash for this new software and not thinking twice about it. I just happened to start reading the reviews on it before hitting the purchase button…I was crushed.
No backwards compatibility. No XML support. A “magnetic timeline” that feels like it was made for dummies and beginning editors. But worse of all……NO APPLE COLOR COMPATIBILITY!!!!!!! WHAT????
Needless to say, apart from taking the time to re-learn a new editing software in the midst of trying to finish a gazillion video projects, the new Final Cut Pro X suddenly did not interest me at all as I just didn’t see the benefit of making the change to the new software anytime soon…mostly because I create 50% of my “look” inside of Apple Color. So I decided to wait it out and keep using Final Cut Pro 7 until all of the may lay had been figured out and resolved. Although support for FCP7 would soon come to a halt, I would take my chances and keep editing on it until the day where I was forced to make the change.
Enter the Canon 5D Mark III.
Up until about a month ago I had shot all of my film projects on the Canon T2i, a camera that I have been very pleased with. I would always watch videos comparing the T2i and 5D Mark II and showing nearly similar results for video, under the right lighting conditions of course. A client of mine wanted his new video shot on the Canon 5D so I decided to rent one and try it out to see exactly how comparable the two were. Although I had shot on the 5D Mark II before and couldn’t really notice any remarkable difference in quality compared to the T2i, I must say that with the Mark III I was blown away. The full frame, easy controls and video settings (minus Magic Lantern) and the picture quality spoiled me to the point where I no longer wanted to even look at my T2i. This was the upgrade I needed….little did I know of the hell that was about to unfold…..
After shooting the video with the Mark III, and completely wowing my client, I got home and tried to import the footage into Final Cut Pro 7 via the E1 plug in within Log & Transfer. I got an error message about the file structure which is typical if the .thm files are missing…mine were not. After some online research I found this to be a common problem, and was reassured that my problems would be solved by downloading Canon’s new E1 plug in V1.4 for the Mark III, and would hence be able to use L&T to upload. Again…no luck. Same error message. Is this for real? I tried to not let the frustration get to me…it was enough that I had only five days to edit this video and had not even figured out how to transcode the footage yet….little did I know so would begin my spiraling into transcoding hell.
I tried using Compressor to transcode the footage. It crashed. I tried using Quicktime 7. It crashed. I did some more research online and came across a promising software that would convert the footage from H.261 to Apple ProRes 422 for me called 5DtoRGB. They had two versions on the Apple App store, the lite version that would transcode one file at a time (really?) and a batch version for $50 that would process multiple files at once. I bought the batch version and gave it a go. Out of the first four efforts, it got stuck four times, forcing me to do a hard shutdown of my computer because my external HD would no longer respond. I emailed Apple and they have since refunded my $50 back, although I am still without a transcoding solution. Should it really be this hard?
Enter Final Cut Pro X.
After months of ignoring FCPX, I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to learn and use the new version of Final Cut Pro after reading online that FCPX could transcode my media from the Mark III natively. If I had to use the new software then so be it. The time clock for editing this video was steadily ticking away so I re-activated my Lynda account and commenced to watching the Essential Training videos for Final Cut Pro X. After about 4-5 hours or so I was finally ready. I begin trying to import my Mark III files and all looks good. Then out of nowhere I get an error message…..NO!!!!!!!!!!!
“The following clip encountered an error during import and is still referencing media on the camera”
What????? Are you kidding me??? Import failed. I tried and tried again…no luck. I finally discover that although this message pops up, the media is still importing so I get a little hopeful. All I have to do is stay in front of my system for four hours and hit the ok button every time the import failed window pops up to resume the “failed” import. When it was finished I checked the events folder under transcoded media and all of my files “appeared” to be transcoded.
I attempted to start my edit within FCPX right away but noticed a strange lag in the software…not the usual lag that is forgivable due to CPU constraints, but a lag of about 3-4 seconds for every single move and click of the mouse! Final Cut Pro X was unusable! I tried rebooting…same thing. I’m now about ready to quit when I get a bright idea….I’ll import the files from the transcoded media files into Final Cut Pro 7 and edit like I normally do…and it worked!!!!
The video was completed, with a couple nights of no sleep, and all was well. My workflow had been fixed. Or so I thought.
When looking at my transcoded media files again I noticed something very strange….NOT ALL OF MY FILES HAD BEEN TRANSCODED!!!! On top of this, FCPX was making copies of the original media even though I unchecked the box that says to do so. WHAT GIVES????? I now had unneeded duplicate copies of my files and missing transcoded files.
In moving to a new video project, I tried using FCPX again to transcode…same error messages, same duplicating of original media, same missing transcoded files. Is this a joke? Apple? Canon? I am now without a solid means of transcoding my media other than doing it file by file in 5DtoRGB lite. To add insult to injury, my E1 plug in inside FCP7 no longer works correctly, I’m assuming due to the V1.4 upgrade (LOL!!!!) so my Log & Transfer is now totally useless in FCP7.
I have always been a happy Final Cut Pro user, and while everyone started to jump ship to Adobe, I decided to stay on the sinking ship. Now the hypothermia is starting to take effect and I have no life raft to grasp onto to save my sinking editing workflow and therefore productivity.
Somebody throw me a line here……I’m desperate. I don’t think an editor should have to go through all of these hoops and hurdles just to import footage into an editing system. Maybe I’m wrong….maybe Adobe has this all figured out. I’ll go see….
Thanks Apple. Thanks a lot.
On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, I was granted the opportunity to sit down with Zach Weintraub, director of “Bummer Summer” after the it’s first showing at the Cinequest Film festival in San Jose, CA and here is what he had to say:
Zach: Realistically not every type of film can be made independently. In my case it (Bummer Summer) was. I went to NYU. The whole time I was in film school I had no idea of what I wanted to do when I got out. They say you are supposed to make a short film when you leave and bring it to festivals and hopefully people will want to buy the scripts you wrote, directed and produced. I said to myself, “ok…this is what I have to do, ” but it can be really scary doing an independent film for the first time.
Amadeuz: How do you handle making a movie without a budget?
Zach: Well I’m from a small town, Olympia, WA, and we really kind of failed at raising money. Luckily, the film was cheap to make. The budget was only $7,000, including all of the equipment, which I now own. I wish we had a bigger budget because it still felt like we were in film school, you know, just kids, and we really couldn’t pay anyone. People deserve to be paid. You can really only do that once.
Amadeuz: What did you shoot it on?
Zach: The Canon 5D Mark II, a digital still camera that had just came out when we started shooting the film. Its basically a still camera that has video capability. Everyone told us “no….you can do that!” but we did. The camera definitely has its limitations, but for what we did with it, it was perfect.
Amadeuz: What about lighting?
Zach: Well there was really only one scene that required a lot of lighting. Thats why the camera was so amazing because its really light sensitive and things look naturally beautiful on it. Its a great camera when you don’t have a budget or a lot of time.
Amadeuz: What was your biggest challenge?
Zach: Laziness. I mean, it was hard because we wanted to have this really rigorous rehearsal schedule, and wanted to work out everything with the actors. We did, but it was a little hard working with the actors because they were just kids our age. It took some work getting everyone together.
Amadeuz: Do you think it was easier to work with a smaller staff?
Zach: Definitely. We spent about 2 months shooting, which was good because as soon as we started things started to kind of fall apart. One girl dropped out and we had to find and re-rehearse with a new one. When it was all done, we had 4- 5 weeks, which is good for a movie that has over 100 shots. I think we had 106 shots in the movie. It was easy to work with these actors because they didn’t have any expectations, but the first rehearsals were a little scary because the actors had to warm up at first.
Amadeuz: What about editing?
Zach: One of my good friends from school edited it. I actually went out to New York and stayed on his couch for a few weeks. Sometimes its hard when you have friends edit for you, because they lag, but the fact that I was living there helped a lot. We had the first cut in a couple weeks, showed it around, and made some minor changes. There was a lot more character depth than was shown in the final cut, especially with Lila’s character. Things got cut because the improvisation was too loose at times to really be that interesting.
Amadeuz: What would you have done differently?
Zach: Well I love the way the movie looks. I shot in in 30p. My next film I will try to work a lot more with the actors and concentrate on each scene, maybe even write some stuff down in terms of dialogue (laughs). Equally beautiful, equally composed, a little more connected with the characters.
Amadeuz: What challenges did you have shooting location wise?
Zach: None really. We didn’t need any permits. We definitely got denied from certain locations, but a lot of scenes were filmed at night so the places we used were closed. I think that is the benefit of shooting in a small town…less issues. We didn’t have any real problems. We shot in a month, though it took a few months of planning. Had we had a real staff, it would have been shorter.
Amadeuz: What kind of films do you see yourself making in the future?
Zach: Very similar. I don’t know if I will ever make a movie that is commercially viable (laughing) but I have such a broad way of thinking that I don’t know. The next one I’m planning will take place in Argentina and will be similar to this one, hopefully I can get a bigger budget.