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Unfiltered Entertainment's Wake the Witch

Shot with JVC's GY-HD250U and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 By John Virata

Unfiltered Entertainment, Inc., worked over the months of September, October and November of 2008 to finish shooting Wake the Witch, a direct to DVD psychological horror/suspense feature film that is expected to be released through Amazon.com and Filmbaby.com this month. The company edited the movie in Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and shot it using JVC's GY-HD250U camcorder, shooting more than 20 hours of footage during the course of 24 days. Digital Media Net's John Virata spoke with Chad Haufschild, Director of Photography for Wake the Witch, on how the film was made.

DMN: Can you describe your production workflow?
Chad Haufschild: We began the production with a weekly schedule for each shoot day, pretty basic stuff that allowed us to prepare call sheets and a location schedule. We all have day jobs, so we shot on weekends. That left our weekday evenings free to plan in more detail the next weekend's shoot.

We didn't storyboard per se . We made shot diagrams instead, using a bird's eye view of the location and diagramming where the camera would be and movement in relationship to set and talent. Dorothy and I have worked together for a long time and that method works much better for us than actual storyboarding.

Each weekend yielded about one tape, not always a full tape so we averaged about 45 minutes each weekend. I would ingest the footage during the week and clean the capture bin of unwanted and accidental footage and sort the footage by scene. We rolled tape with the slate in frame so the thumbnail was always the day, scene and shot number. It made file management much easier.

Setting up a shot

I began the rough cut right away. Each week I would try to cut the scenes we shot the weekend before. This was critical. It allowed us to catch some things that just didn't work. We could then schedule pickups or reshoots. We knew we would not have the ability to call our talent back for pickups weeks after shooting ended.

Karen gets attacked

We edited the movie in three pieces using Cineform's intermediate, Prospect HD. We did so in our spare time (damn day jobs). Two weeks after shooting had wrapped I passed the first third to Dorothy to work through as I completed the second section and so on. We passed the footage back and forth several times using an external eSATA drive, copying the drive on to a RAID 0 array in each system. As a nice by-product of the process we had backups in different locations throughout the entire post process. Once we had a near-lock on the picture, it stayed in my hands for the remainder of the post process. That's also when I began sending clips to Andrew Johnson, our third producer and visual effects guy. We also burned a DVD as the project stood for our composer, James Oliva, so he could begin work. All this time our behind-the-scenes and still photographer, Greg Kubitzchek (also one of our local mentors and the newest member of the Unfiltered Entertainment, Inc production team), had been working on the special features and DVD architecture. We also passed the footage on using the same eSATA workflow to John Spence, another mentor of ours, to cut a trailer which can be seen on our website and a few other places online.

I conformed the footage and mixed the audio while the finished pieces rolled in. Once the edit was complete I exported to a single 38GB Cineform file and passed it to Greg for encoding and DVD creation. As I type DVDs are being burned and printed for self distribution through Filmbaby.com and Amazon. We're also submitting to festivals including the Omaha Film Festival and the Atlanta Horror Film Festival. Wish us luck.


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Related Keywords:filmmaking, HDV, film editing, video camera, JVC GY-HD250U

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  • Unfiltered Entertainment's Wake the Witch by DMN Editorial at Oct. 16, 2009 6:47 pm gmt

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