Archive for January, 2008

Production Update

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I’m sorry to have to report that the completion date for the RetroRoadTrips DVD package is still in the ‘tantalisingly close’ category. It’s in the nature of the self-funded, one man in a room type of operation (of which my project can definitely be said to fit) that work nearly always gets sidelined by events, mainly through software and technical hurdles that appear from nowhere. I only spend about 10% of my time on what could be called creative activity – the rest is devoted to problem solving.

So, rather than suggest actual completion dates, I think from now on that it will be less frustrating if I outline the tasks I’m dealing with and then update the list regularly as I progress. I have no idea whether this is at all interesting to anyone – my hope is that at least these details will indicate that I do work on the project on a daily basis, that I am as keen to get the RetroRoadTrips DVD completed as anyone, and am not down at the pub evading my chores.

1. The (excellent) Sound Effects Library are having a sale that finishes at the end of January. I now put much store in adding fx to the soundtrack (to flesh out the mute Super 8 film), so will have to go through all six episodes of Road Dreams with a fine tooth comb to establish the range of fx I would like to acquire – then start the quite lengthy process of searching for, and auditioning, fx from their collection. The cost savings mean that I must take advantage of the Sale. This is at least a week’s work, maybe more.

2. Finish designing the graphics for the DVD and audio CD. Most of the designs are complete, though I have to establish quite how to translate these into file form for the printer. I use a software called Discus – and very effective it is in combining text, images and graphics – but there are indications that the exported files for the printer are not sized at 100%, even though a straight A4 print is correct. A problem to solve.

3. The DVD Booklet. Write the 3rd anecdote; add images to the booklet; design the layout; and provide a compatible file for the printer. I’ve been using Pages in iWorks 08 – a brand new software for me.

4. Four of the music tracks have been remixed during the last few weeks (at Dave Pick’s ffg studio near Tewksbury). These were four of RiK Loveridge’s collection. Rik has, as he always does, come up with some wonderful sounds. I consider him in the same category as the late Simon Jeffes (whose music I used in Road Dreams). It’s not that he writes Penguin Cafe Orchestra clone music – his sound is entirely his own, but they both have distinctive musical voices. François (Godefroy) is no mean talent, either. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the chance to work with both of them. There are thirteen tracks chosen for this RRT audio CD (selections can be listened to on the site’s Music page), but a total of 27 tracks have been almost finished for use in the full length ‘Codachrome – a time of road dreams’.

5. These four music tracks have to be relaid to the Final Cut Pro Timeline, and each complete film re-encoded.

6. Finish the process of ‘cleaning’ the film, using CHV software. This requires each clip to have five separate parameters set. There are still five of the DVD tracks to be tackled (eight have been completed), as well as all thirteen of the iPod tracks (these versions use a different aspect ratio frame filter to the DVD ones – I don’t think I can simply layer the one set of filters from one to the equivalent version, though that has yet to be researched).

7. Finish encoding all these tracks, ready for export to DVD Studio Pro.

8. Set up the DVD master, with layout and button interoperability. I need to get up to speed with DVD Studio Pro 4 for this.

9. Physically produce the DVDs and audio CDs myself, at least to start with. The estimates received for the sort of production runs required to justify commercial work make this a cost that can’t yet be born. As part of this, I need to become proficient at creating LightScribe designs.

10. Do the final set of changes to the website, to include a functioning shop mainly. This requires setting up a merchant payment agreement, and also a visit from Aidan O’Rourke, who has been instrumental in helping me establish the website to date.

And with that all done I shall be able to email those of you who have asked to be notified, and also to place a large sign on the Homepage saying DVD READY.

That might even justify a topping out ceremony.

Thank you all for your interest over the while.