We are so happy you made it! Welcome to the post-production stage of our Making a Promo series and the final blog post.
There are a lot of elements within post-production. In this blog post we will touch on the editing, reviews, color correction, special effects, music and sound design for “the Mortgage Apocalypse” promo video.
We might sound like a broken recored but the best edits all come back to planning. If you have a clear plan and a clear vision you can execute one heck of an edit. The best editors understand that it’s all in the details. Every slight adjustment and every frame cut or added can make a huge difference in how the audience feels watching your film. We wanted the energy to be fast and chaotic, like the zombies, while leaving the audience feeling completely immersed in the scene.
The plan early on was to shoot the film in a way that would allow for one long shot to make the viewer feel like they were the ones being chased by the zombies. The problem we ran into is that this would make our 2 minute video more like 5 or 6 minutes. We had a lot of zombie action to fit into the 2 minute film and we felt the use of speed ramping and slow motion would allow us to do this. The speed ramping allowed us to move quickly from one moment to the next while still making the viewer feel uneasy. The slow motion allowed us to slow down a moment and bring the viewer in close for some of those vicious zombie attacks. In the editing room it was a matter of getting the right balance between these two techniques while maintaining the viewers interest. When editing we always share the film internally numerous times until everyone evokes the emotions we want.
Once we have a locked edit we are ready for some colour correction. For the video nerds like us or those wondering, we filmed on the Sony FS7 in Cine EI mode. Colour correction can be a lot of fun and you can change so much of what you record while filming. Just see the difference from the raw image to the final coloured image below:
The really fun part of the post-production process is playing with special effects. For this promo video we wanted to create an atmosphere that is somewhat dream-like and dark. We used a few main effects that would help bring these aspects to life such as particles, smoke and camera shake. You can see how the particles and smoke really alter the environment our characters live in. We also incorporated a subtle camera shake on each turn of the camera giving the viewer a ‘jolt’ as we transition to a different background in the scene. See the sequence below to show you how these special effects add to the world our characters live in:
We had David Lugo, musician and Community Tree Music collaborator, create a custom score for this promo video. Below he talks a bit about the process behind creating the music:
Whenever I begin the process of composing a new piece for visual media, there are typically elements which I will decide before any music has been written. For this particular promo video, I knew that I wanted the instrumentation to include electric guitars with orchestral string sections for added tension.
After watching the video a few times, I took note of the flow and special events in the video for which I wanted the music to be composed around. These events include mostly the slowing down and speeding up of the action, which are pivotal to the overall feel of helplessness and I wanted to accentuate with the rising and slowing in the tempo of the music. Lastly, there is a lot of ‘otherworldly’ ambient sounds which help tie the whole piece up and suggest a post apocalyptic setting.
Having a talented sound designer really helps bring the video to life and takes the viewer from a 2D experience and immerses them into a 3D world. Sound design is just as important as the picture and it is imperative to have a talented sound designer to hit the right points so we can encapsulate the viewer in the world we have created. For a lot of our projects we rely on the talented Soren Begin from Ryken Sound. Below is 30 seconds from the promo video which has no music and just sound effects:
Here is what Soren had to say about his process in sound design for this promo video:
Typically when designing for sound it’s important to create an audio environment consistent with what the viewer expects to hear relevant to what’s on screen. While every project has elements of this zombies are a concept so distant from reality that I was able to approach the Mortgage Apocalypse project in a more creative way. Instead of asking myself ‘what would the viewer expect to hear for what they see?” I was able to ask ‘what do I want the viewer to hear and how do I want them to feel?’. With this in mind I’d like to give you a few examples of my process when approaching the Mortgage Apocalypse.
In the opening sequence it felt clear to me that while the Mortgage Apocalypse has a horror basis there should be playful aspects as well. To compliment this I added screams coming from inside the bank; the kind of screams you would hear in a haunted house theme park attraction; they’re fun and nostalgic, and they set a tone that says ‘this is horror but it’s also lighthearted’. For the zombies I used some standard zombie groaning sounds but I also layered different animal roar and snarl sounds throughout the video, particularly in the aggressive shots. I felt like this added some flare to our zombies and set them apart from the kind we’ve all seen on television shows over the last decade. In the scene where the woman is being chased in slow motion it was important to create a sense of panic. Heartbeats and heavy breathing naturally induce this in most people. For emphasis I transitioned these SFX from a background noise to being the only audio to which the viewer is paying attention. I accomplished this by increasing the volume of both the heartbeat and breathing as the zombie in pursuit catches up. I also added reverb so it feels as though these sounds are literally washing over you.
These are just three examples on a video for which I had creative options throughout. What you hear is also a product of multiple drafts; the feel of a project can change between iterations and I’ll never know if what I’ve got is the best take unless I’ve tried other options.
So thats it! Our idea has been brought to life and we are so excited to share with you the Mortgage Apocalypse. We hope you have enjoyed reading this 4 part blog series on our video production techniques for the Mortgage Apocalypse and have gained some insight into the awesome world of Capture the Moment Media.