on Post-production

Shortly after completing principle photography in December, and after taking a well-deserved and much-needed break from work, I started to think about the workflow for post-production. Having never edited something so large, I had no idea what to expect, or even if we had the right tools for the job. I started scouring the internet for ideas and expectations for editing a feature-length film with Final Cut Pro X (fcpx). I didn’t see many people doing that, so in the same spirit as my lengthy post on directing my first feature in Africa, I offer you my nerdy narrative on our post-production process. Maybe it can come in useful to others who are considering FCPX as an editing platform. Why Final Cut X? Over a year ago, I directed our first project that we edited in FCPX. We had been undecided up until that point whether we would jump ship (from Final Cut Studio) to Adobe Premiere, but figured the free trial for FCPX was worth giving it a chance. We were blown away by how quickly we were able to take 6 hours of unlogged footage and assemble it into a finished video package. Normally this process would have taken 2 weeks for the logging alone. FCPX and its range-based keywording and scrubbable event library allowed us to do this in a day. The trackless, magnetic timeline, with auditions and compound clips helped us to very quickly assemble a rough-cut. It did take us a few weeks to really learn the ins-and-outs of using FCPX efficiently, but by the end we understood the unconventional but clever choices Apple...

A Banner Year

In many ways, 2013 was the highlight of not only our 6+ years of ministry in Africa, but of our lives. Every year is better than the last, and we can’t imagine what could be in store for 2014 in God’s kingdom work and our small part to play in it. Come, take a short walk with us through the past year of ministry, movies, maasai, and mobilizing the African church. January began with a party to celebrate the completion of production (filming) of Andy’s directorial debut movie, The Distant Boat.  47 days of filming across a good swath of Kenya produced 80 hours of footage that would now need to be edited into a 2 hour movie. Lesa also led a group of 20 high school students on the annual CFS (Cultural Field Studies) trip to Olepishet, our Maasai village where we partner with the local church to do community development. We can’t remember what happened in February. Our family photo album contains photos of legos and deformed faces so apparently the kids weren’t getting enough homework. Andy helped lead worship at a conference for workers in creative access nations. During our first 6 months in Kenya (2007) we lived through the harrowing experience of a deadly and violent election, which saw a thousand people killed and a quarter of a million people displaced. Our home at the time was on the border of Kibera slum, and riots, gunshots, tear gas were sometimes literally a block away. This March was the first presidential elections since 2007, and in preparation for an uncertain time we stockpiled food, fuel, water,...

The Distant Boat has arrived!

It’s been an epic journey, and as one chapter ends with the final public release of the film, the next chapter begins as the African church takes this tool and uses it to mobilize the next generation of African missionaries. 2 years in the making 223 cast and crew and extras 80 thousand dollars raised 47 days of production 82 hours of footage 10 months of post-production 54 minutes of original music 300 pastors and church leaders now starting a movement to reach a continent with a missions tool like no other The past month has been filled with 3 premieres for different audiences, TV interviews, and a big missions conference where we officially handed off the movie to about 300 African pastors and church leaders. The response has been incredible. Pastors weeping. Theatres packed. And a strong sense of God’s sovereign hand who used a bunch of nobodies and did something amazing for His glory. You’re probably wondering where and when you’ll be able to see this. Well, it’s today. Right here. Here’s what you need to do… Go to https://vimeo.com/ondemand/distantboat. For $5 you can download the film, which we will use the money to buy more DVDs and resource materials for rural pastors. Invite your friends, pastors, mission committee over to your house to watch it. Watch it, laugh and cry at all the appropriate parts, feel deeply moved at the end to sell all you have and move to Africa. Pray about how you can use this message at your church to raise the bar for missions involvement and support. Support a missionary. Build a relationship with...

Finishing the movie

The events of the past week have had a rippling effect in our movie release plans. Last week was to be filled with media interviews and showing our trailer on TV and gearing up for a huge pastor’s conference about this movie. Now those pastors are officiating funerals and counseling grieving families. They also decided it wasn’t best to advertise too publicly that thousands of Kenya’s missions-minded pastors would all be together in one place at a certain day and time. They’ve delayed their conference a few weeks, and we’ve delayed our release to be closer to their dates. Things are finally coming together, though. After spending the past 2 months writing about 54 minutes of underscore, working with some of Kenya’s best musicians in licensing their music for the film, and pulling a couple of 80+ hour weeks in sound design and mixing, the movie is almost ready for release. Just last week we went to a major cinema in Nairobi to test our DCP, which is a special video format for the large, expensive digital projection systems that most theaters own. We decided to make our own DCP instead of sending a hard drive to LA and paying thousands of dollars to have one made for us. We honestly weren’t sure we could do it. But after a lot of trial-and-error we were able to make it work, and were totally blown away by the quality of the picture and sound. It really looked like a movie. And sounded like one. Also, if you haven’t seen the new Distant Boat website, please check that out. And the...
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