Death Grip Status PLUS Some More BTS

Hey everyone, writer, director & editor Eric Jacobus here!

We’re in the final stretches of post-production and will have our DVDs and Blu-Rays ready soon, hopefully in time for the Premiere on June 30th.

In the meantime, here’s a status report on where I am with the post-production and packaging process:

Color: 98% – Finish on Friday.
Sound: 95% – Finish next week.
Music: Done!

Behind the scenes featurette: 40%. Finish by June 13th. This is taking the bulk of my time right now.
DVD and BD authoring: 10% (art only). Finish by June 15th.
Director’s Commentary: 0%. But this will only take a total of 4 hours. I’d like to do a more technical track with Rebecca while Drew is in town, as well as a track with my mom (won’t that be fun!) which should be done in 10 days or so. I promise it will be hilarious.
Other Special Features: 90%. We’ve got a lot of great stuff lined up for you. All I have left is to tweak the outtakes reel and export some deleted scenes. We’re also including the original Compound scene, since it’s got a lot of action that’s completely different from the final version. AND we’re even throwing in an extra fight scene with Johnny Yong Bosch that isn’t in the final film!

There’s a chance the Blu-Ray version will have fewer features since it’s going to be single-layer, but of course that comes with the upside of a more gorgeous print of Death Grip. So it’s just a question of whether you favor image quality over special features for that version. If you’re a special features junkie, the dual-layer DVD will be the better option. Or you can buy both!

I’ve been knee-deep in editing the Death Grip making-of video. Like the Tour of Contour video, I’ve opted for talking heads-style interviews with cutaways to behind-the-scenes video and film footage.

While shooting Death Grip, I had at least one extra video camera on hand – one that was much easier to use. We used a Flip Video camera, Flip HD, whoever’s DSLR we had that day, and even crappy cell phone cameras. Some days Alex Ng would do very intense behind-the-scenes shooting, but when he wasn’t there I would just entrust someone with the extra camera to shoot stuff. We’ve done all the talking heads interviews, including one with J.J. Perry, so what I’ve got is something like 40 hours of footage. So I’m basically editing another feature-length film!

The first edit is going to be long, probably on the order of 3 hours in length. But don’t worry. I’ll pare it down to an hour or so for the final DVD version. Then I’ll do some pop-up-video-style titles, overlay tons of behind the scenes and film footage, and package the thing up in time to get the DVD and BD authored, sent to press, and ready to sell by the June 30th premiere. The next month is going to be insane!

Maybe I’ll take an actual vacation after that.

So to keep you hungry, here are a couple BTS videos I exported last night while taking a break from editing. That’s right, I consider exporting and uploading videos a “break”.

Painting the “Lair”, Benny Hill-style.

A stuntman is always a stuntman, even in his sleep.

So stay tuned, we’ll have more updates soon!


The Value of Color

Now that the final edit is locked, and only a few pieces of post-production remain, we get to watch and appreciate seeing the impact of those last effects. Possibly the most important and yet most under-appreciated of them all is the color correction. Our amazing Colorist Drew Daniels (who yes, was also the film’s Director of Photography) has been slaving away making each and every frame of the film that much more beautiful and balanced, giving the footage (that he himself shot) the crisp silver screen quality it deserves.

To demonstrate what kind of a difference this makes, we’d thought we’d show you some screenshots of the “before” and “after” color correction was applied.

Can you tell which ones are better?




Locking the Final Edit

Whew, well we did it! We finally put the finishing touches on the Death Grip edit, so the picture is now officially locked!

Now all we need to do is send the last bit of footage off to our very accomplished composer Brett Cameron Perry, sound editor & mixer Matteo Grilli, colorist Drew Daniels, and visual effects artist Shaun Finney… and wait for the remaining pieces to fall into place!

While we wait, this becomes a good time for some reflection. And since our director Eric Jacobus also happens to be the editor as well, he had some interesting insights into that experience and why it might have actually been better to have someone else do the editing.

As directors we’ve all heard it: you shouldn’t edit your film because you become attached to it. But being married to footage is only half of the problem, and it’s not impossible to overcome that… The real issue, however, is that as directors we’re married to “directing”. Directors tell people what to do, while editors help viewers understand what the hell the director was thinking. A director in the editor’s seat will glue shots together to tell the audience what to think, forcing his vision across even if there’s not enough information to really make the idea work. Editors glue shots to make use of the target viewers’ average mental faculties, producing the intended effect.

To read Eric’s full post on the subject, check out his blog The Actionist.