Week 43: Gliese 581 g

(If you have headphones or decent external speakers, I recommend using them.)

{Thank you VERY much to the (very) lovely Ms. Stefanie Daehler who sacrificed a good chunk of her Veteran’s Day to shoot this episode for me.  She did a great job.  She kind of rules, really.}

Apologies in advance for rambling and typos as I am waaay past the point of exhaustion.

First of all, for those who don’t know, Gliese 581 g is a real planet (almost certainly, not confirmed, though).  It’s in another solar system (Gliese 581) and it’s about 20 light years away, which actually makes it pretty close, in the big picture.  The reason it’s a big deal is they only discovered it in September 2010, and they think it has a very good chance of being habitable and thus having life on it.  I was reading an article about it and it got me thinking.

I finished the article, and immediately wrote the text, almost exactly as you heard it, from the perspective of someone who wants both an escape and a new beginning.  I heard this character’s voice in my head right away, and it just came out very quickly.  The question then became, “How the hell do I make this into a 50in50?”

I briefly toyed with the idea of a radio play, but decided to save that one for another time.  I wanted some visuals with this, but my CGI department is rather preoccupied with not existing, so this is what I came up with.  It seemed so simple.  Just record the voice over, shoot some stuff of this guy’s day, slap it together, and presto.  I figured this would be one of the easiest edits I’d done.

Somehow, it was one of the hardest.

The footage was, essentially, improvised.  I had a basic idea of what I wanted and where I wanted to shoot it, but it was very much a run and gun affair because we were racing against the sunset (which happens mighty fast these days).  I had the script with me, and I knew what I would be saying in the voiceover while I was going through the actions.  What made it so tough is… well, it’s hard to articulate.  There was something about getting the look and feel of the visuals to match the sound and feel of the text.  Even though Stef did a great job shooting this, somehow it was extremely difficult to get it to match up.  There was something about the pacing.  The timing of the cuts, for sure, but also the internal metronome in between the cuts.  There was a happy accident, though.

I’d accidentally left the camera shooting at 60 frames per second (as opposed to 24fps, which is what I had envisioned).  I realized it very early on, and I could have just changed the format then, but I decided to leave it.  The cool thing about 60 fps is that you can slow it down to 40% of its speed and it still looks great in slow motion (it’s actually playing at 24fps then, which is the speed of most Hollywood movies).  I had a rough-cut done, and I wasn’t happy with it.  So, I said what the hell and I decided to try putting all of the video in my timeline to 40%.  Obviously I had to shift everything around again, a lot, and that lead to cutting a ton of stuff, but I finally felt like the look of the piece was getting closer to matching the text.

Another element that was tough was the score.  I realized that I hadn’t written a score for any of my 50in50s, so I decided to see what I could come up with in a hurry.  It’s an extremely simple melody, but recording it to match what I was saying, and to match some things in the video was very difficult.  A great experience, though.

Alright, I think that’s about all I can muster for now.  Bed calls.  Only seven episodes left.  Getting close now.  I’ll be off next week for Thanksgiving (and for money-making), but I’ll be back with more, soon.  In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  I’m grateful to you, for watching, reading, and supporting this project.


Brent Rose  11.19.10  6.05am

~ by 50in50 on November 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Week 43: Gliese 581 g”

  1. “and they’d float into my lungs and I’d die…” GENIUS!!

  2. Good its really interesting..

  3. B – I really enjoyed this one. It’s nice to have a simple few that are just thoughts, spending some time in someone’s brain. Also, your writing has become more and more superb as time goes on. You have morphed from a plucky skit-gag man into a consistently surprising and thought-provoking social commentarian, and I, for one, am a fan.

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