Making the Print

In film, the final work on the titles and the sound mix should more or less coincide. You can then move on to actually making the print. When you and the editor are satisfied, you can give instructions for the mix to go to the lab, where an optical negative will be made from the magnetic recording. The only thing you should do before that is to make sure that you have a duplicate copy of the mix so that if anything goes wrong or if the mix gets lost, you won't have to go through the whole recording session again. At that point, you're finished with the sound.

Once you have concluded the work on the titles and the credits, you can leave the film at the lab for the negative cut. This can take anywhere from a few days to weeks or months, depending on the length of the film. When the first answer print is ready, check first that the film is in sync and that the sound quality is good. Second, you need to see that the lab hasn't made any mistakes in the negative cut. Mistakes can range from frames or a shot missing or opticals lost to, as once happened to me, a shot printed upside down. Finally, you need to check the color quality of the print. Is the color bias right? Are the blues too blue or the greens too pale? Do some scenes have peculiar tones to them? Are some scenes printed too light and others too dark? Does the film have an overall unity to its color?

You'll be asking yourself these and a dozen other questions. Normally, the first print will reveal a number of faults, and it is your task to catch them. Once you see what the faults are, you have to sit down with the lab technicians and see how they can be corrected. The best way of doing this is to get your cameraperson to sit in on the color grading and comment on the problems of each scene.

Your film may go through two or three trial prints until you are satisfied you have the best copy possible. The cost of the extra trial prints is usually borne by the lab. All this takes time, but it's worth it because now you have something to show for those months of effort. Now, finally, you have a film that you can be terribly proud of and that, even in all modesty, you think might be an outside candidate for a documentary Oscar.

Part Five


Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

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