Loop Post


(or How The Best Laid Plans Get Sidetracked)

When we originally prepared the schedule, the plan was to shoot in July so that I would have 2-3 uninterrupted months of postproduction and finish up Loop before my scheduled return to work. As fate would have it, four days after wrapping principal photography, and with sunburned face still peeling, I accepted the opportunity to join the Digital Domain Media Group in Florida, where I would be a part of the team working to bring to life The Legend of Tembo – the first animated feature from DDMG’s Tradition Studios.
This put a serious kink in the production schedule. With a start date of just under a month, we still had to pack up and move halfway across the country, which left precious little time for post. I ended up editing the final sequence first, to make sure we had all the elements we needed for matte paintings – since, unlike New Mexico, Florida has no mountains and especially no deserts..

Not Florida

One month and an epic cross country drive later, I unpacked the workstation and continued editing. Progress was steady but slow, since I was now working full time again. The first rough cut was completed in October, a full three months after principal – the postproduction schedule was now officially shot to hell. Fortunately, Lynn was able to recruit the help of her fellow UNM graduates to help out with the vfx work, so after we locked the edit in December, we set about distributing the vfx workload and collaborating online via Google Hangouts, shot tracker documents and many Dropbox sequences pushed back and forth.


(yes, we are Adobe fanboys)

For an efficient postproduction workflow, we leveraged the interconnectivity of the Adobe Production package – we were able to, for instance, seamlessly push an Adobe Premiere edit file directly into After Effects for colorgrading, and then push frames from AE to Photoshop for touchups and matte painting. Lightwave was used to reproject a few matte painting environments, but in general the production stayed heavily in the 2D compositing realm.


(Every Man’s Fantasy)

Sad but true

Where possible, shots with multiple Christines was done practically with body doubles and over-the-shoulder tricks, taking care to maintain look continuity of the bruises and cuts on a particular version of Christine (this is where the production shoot order boards paid off big, allowing us to keep track of everything from the very beginning).

Some shots, of course, required both Christines to have face time together – these are what are referred to as “sell-shots” – ie we sell the illusion to the audience that there really are two Christines with these shots, and therefore in the next shot (where we are using a body double) you are more likely to believe that it really is in fact Christine. These shots were shot on a locked off camera so that we could shoot two passes of Chistine to composite together.


Finally, after about six months, the last matte painting is delivered and composited, and the final graded set of roughly 15,000 images (totaling just over ten minutes of running time) is finally paired with the sound and original music score from John Kasiewicz, and the resulting mini epic is finally made available to you, the audience. We’ve had a blast making this short film and we’re proud of our work, and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thanks for checking it out and sharing with friends and family!


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