Special Sneak Preview of “Book-Smithed”

BOOK-SMITHED

Today, at the annual Smith College Club of Baltimore luncheon, I presented a sneak preview of my documentary, Book-Smithed, about the annual book sale run by this organization. It was a lovely event, and I was grateful for the very positive feedback I received.

I am even more grateful at the wonderful opportunity I was given to work with these amazing women over the past year. They do good work. I am especially grateful to Mary Anderson, the current President of the Smith College Club of Baltimore, without whose participation and involvement this film would not have been possible.

The film would also have been impossible to complete without the invaluable assistance, on camera, of two Stevenson University alumnae: Robin Farrell and Michelle Rossignol. I thank them both from the bottom of my heart.

Here is information on the book sale, and Smith College:

The Smith College Book Sale was started in 1959 by the Smith College Club of Baltimore to raise money for young women who could not otherwise afford to attend Smith. From then until now, the annual sale has raised enough money for a million dollar endowment, which pays for scholarships for two to three Maryland area women a year. This is the story of the women of the sale who work to help other women succeed.

Smith College was founded in 1871 as an academically rigorous single-sex women’s college for young women who would have been qualified to attend the nation’s top universities had those schools admitted anyone but men. Since then, Smith has continued helping young women achieve success.

My film is 20 minutes long, and profiles the history of the sale and the women behind it. While I am not making the actual film available yet – except at events like today’s sneak preview – since I first want to run the film festival circuit, you are nevertheless welcome to watch the trailer.

Tell me what you think, and if you know of any specific film festivals which might be especially interested in screening the film, please let me know!

UFVA 2012 DAY 3 – CHRIS REED NOTES

Today was a very different kind of day for me, as everything that I went to see, or participated in, was “chosen” by previously made commitment. First off was my colleague G.T. Keplinger’s Sony workshop, which I had originally proposed and then passed on to him. Next up was the natural follow-up to that capture-based workshop, which was Charles Roberts’s ingestion-based workshop. Charles is the workshop coordinator at this year’s UFVA conference, and had been involved in early discussions with G.T. and me about the nature of the Sony workshop. I felt compelled, therefore, to attend his workshop (which was great). Then I had the screening of my documentary this afternoon, followed by the screening of my respondent’s film (to which I responded) in the session afterwards.

At the end of the workshops, I briefly attended the “New Media” reception, where I spoke a bit with Tania Khalaf, from the University of North Texas (who is here with an interesting-sounding film, Journey to Hope, which I could not see since it was playing at the same time as my own film). She told me about a vendor she had seen earlier today, who was selling a piece of software called scayl,which allows for instantaneous transfer of large files between two computers via the web (or cloud, or internet, or whatever you want to call it). I’ll have to check it out.

Then, at the end of the day, my colleagues G.T. Keplinger, Dina Fiasconaro and I went to dinner together at Gino’s, where we had some good Chicago-style deep dish pizza. 

And now it’s off to bed, since tomorrow we (G.T., Dina, Brett Levner from University of Nevada/Las Vegas, and I) are presenting our Final Cut Schmo panel. 

This is a record of my notes, taken during the UFVA 2012 sessions that I attended today.

WORKSHOP 9Q, 8:30-10:15am: SxS: Sony Super 35mm + Stevenson Students

G.T. Keplinger, Stevenson University

Stevenson University students recently shot a short film on a
Super 35mm PMWF3K camera & documented the process with the NEXFS100UK. In this hands-on collaborative workshop, learn why Sony’s Super 35mm cameras are great tools for the classroom.

Unfortunately, I did not take any notes, as I was too busy participating in the conversation. We were lucky to have Jody Eldred with us, as he was able, as an accomplished cinematographer, to talk about why the Sony F3 camera is special (especially for the price point).

We also had Kevin O’Connor, Sony’s Account Manager for the Greater Chicago area, on hand to provide the equipment.

I was happy to run into Harlan Bosmajian at the workshop. Harlan and I used to work together, years ago, at the New York Film Academy, He now teaches at Emerson College in Boston.

WORKSHOP 10P, 10:30am-12:15pm: Surely you Ingest! XDCAM Tapeless Workflow for Safety and Flexibility

Charles Roberts, Fitchburg State University

A hands-on demo of ingesting tapeless Sony XDCAM content using Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere in a safe and resilient way.

This was a terrific workshop. I learned a tremendous amount. Charles gave those of us unskilled in AVID just enough info so that we could quickly adapt and apply the media management lessons he was teaching us. I am now far less concerned about my own transfer to AVID. I hope to be able to lead by example in making Stevenson University truly “software agnostic” in its approach to teaching editing. If I can master Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, and AVID, within the year, then I know our students can.

Here is what Charles taught us:

Tapeless Acquisition & Workflow

You have to know where you’re going to end up when you start. “Workflow” is what keeps your whole system operating.

AVID

AMA = AVID Media Access

Starting with Media Composer 5, AVID started treating all file formats the same – it’s just a file wrapper, after all.

With AVID now, you can have a system where AVID brings everything in and controls it via its database (AMA, or AVID media databasing), or you can have it treat the project just as metadata (à la FCP or Premiere), called “project linking.” The decision you make is what determines your workflow.

In AVID, unless you’re working with proxies, you are limited to 1080p or lower.

Do no harm to metadata.

Formats:

  • XDCAM – great workflow – metadata and media in the folder
  • H264 (DSLR) – pros and cons – not a lot of metadata there
  • AVCHD – where XDCAM was 5 years. “Not ready for big time yet.” Codec is very processor intensive (never edit with it)

Redundancy rule – you can’t erase a disc until you have three copies (then you can delete the “third,” which is the original on the card)

To copy disc – option-click and drag to duplicate and then rename.

Make sure students never rename the BPAV (which you can rename BPAV if they messed it up)

AMA settings in AVID

  • When you create a Bin in AVID, it exists outside of the project, as well, as its own file.
  • Leave “Enable AMA Volume Management” on – always
  • Leave checked “When mounting previously mounted volumes, do not check for modifications to the volume”

BINS

  • use ACTIVE BIN (rather than VOLUME folder names) – manually manage
  • Create New – AVID assigned
  • Auto-mount recognized volumes

AMA Link – chainlink icon means it’s linked to the AMA volume – if link goes away, your media is offline

To clone between BINS – option-click and drag

To duplicate – command-d

Dragging just moves

TRANSCODE (in Clip Menu – Consolidate/Transcode option)

RELINK using TRANSCODE settings

Then you can RELINK using “Selected Items in All Bins

PREMIERE

Once you change the folder name on root drive, you can only relink files individually, since it loses the directory (unlike in AVID or FCP) – you have to actually relink the first file

Check out these links:

http://vimeo.com/awalkerstudios

http://www.amazon.com/Avid-Agility-Working-Intuitively-Composer/dp/1477654356/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1344615734&sr=8-2&keywords=AVID+Agility

 

SCREENING 11D, 1:30-3:15pm:

The Agony and Sweat of the Human Spirit (15 mins.)

D. Jesse Damazo, University of Iowa

A quiet ukuleleist and his talkative manager struggle to realize their artistic vision in this comic story of loss and friendship.

Smith College Book Sale (30 mins., Work-in-Progress)

Christopher Reed, Stevenson University
Respondent – James Joyce, Montana State University


The Smith College Book Sale was started in 1959 by the Smith College Club of Baltimore to raise money for young women in Maryland who could not otherwise afford to attend Smith. This is the story of the women of the sale who work to help other women succeed.

I will admit that I have nothing much to say about the first film. I did not understand it, nor find it very interesting, so I’ll refrain from commenting.

I was grateful for the people who gave me feedback on my own film, including my respondent, Jim Joyce.

Here is that feedback:

Jim Joyce:

  • Film should focus more on great academic tradition of Smith & women’s education
  • Right now film has “shotgun approach” to telling the story
  • It starts to gel when we find out that there are people who return to sale (buying and selling) every year, just as there are women who return to work for sale every year
  • Most engaging parts are interviews with women about how Smith affected their lives
  • Need to find framing device and spine
  • Need to find something accessible for our point of entry
  • How is film stylistically different at beginning, middle and end (how does it change)?
  • Maybe I should switch musical styles throughout
  • I still need to find one thread, and maybe also removed redundancies
  • Three points (from the “real” James Joyce): Spine, Beauty, Radiance
  • He wants me to put more of my point of view in the film – more Chris Reed
  • Hit us with the hook

Woman in audience:

  • Loved movie
  • Smith reminiscence section could be shortened or have images laid over it

Savvas:

  • Make sure movie is about more than just book sale
  • Cut 30-second trailer that would help me focus on what story I want to tell – it would give me my spine

Other woman in audience:

  • Why 30 minutes?
  • Try a 15-minute cut, then bring it back up by an additional 4/5 minutes
  • Focus on the little details of the book sale – that’s fun stuff

G.T:

  • Wants to know why the book sale shifted away from Towson Armory, and when?
  • Have there beens up’s and down’s?
  • Found music annoying; hopes it was temp track

Savvas:

Thinks that the footage I have could me more than just a film – perhaps create a website where I could post all the Smith and book sale testimonials, as an accompaniment to film

SCREENING 12C,  3:30-5:15pm:

Shock (10 mins.)

James Joyce, Montana State University


Respondent – Christopher Reed, Stevenson University


Alienated from family and friends after a recent tragedy, Christie struggles with her place in college and life as she watches her roommate’s tortoise while finishing an engineering project started by her brother.

1996 (90 mins., Work-in-Progress)

Matt Meyer, George Fox University

A NASA physicist feels his life was derailed back in 1996, when he couldn’t save his sister from a high school shooting. So now, 19 years later, he figures out a way to go back in time to try to change things.

I tried to give Jim Joyce the same kind of substantive feedback that he gave me, but I won’t publish it here. His film and my film were strange bedfellows, and I think he would have been better served by someone with more of an experimental narrative approach to filmmaking. I might have been better served by a documentarian, but I felt he gave it a good shot.

The feature film that followed Jim’s film was interesting, as it was something directed by Matt Meyer from a script written by his students, and shot and edited over a 3-year period. It’s a bit of a mess (and still unfinished), but a worthy experiment in making movies with one students. The script held my interest over the course of the film, and the actress Haley Talbott was well worth watching.

Good night!

Smith College Book Sale Documentary Trailer

I finally finished the rough cut of the documentary I have been working on since November, 2011.

Here is a little teaser (the first two minutes of the movie).

Once I get feedback from colleagues and re-cut it, I might start showing the full film to a select few.

The full rough cut is being presented at the 2012 UFVA (University Film and Video Association) Conference in Chicago, Session 11D (Friday, August 10), 1:30pm, Room 502, Luddington Building, Columbia College of Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash.

I couldn’t have made it without my two helpers, Stevenson University Film/Video alumnae Robin Christine Farrell and Michelle Rossignol. Thanks, Robin and Christine! And thanks, also, to the women of the Smith College Club of Baltimore, and especially to their President, Mary Anderson!

Here is some info on the film.

Synopsis:

The Smith College Book Sale was started in 1959 by the Smith College Club of Baltimore to raise money for young women in Maryland who could not otherwise afford to attend Smith.  This is the story of the women of the sale who work to help other women succeed.

Detailed Description:

Smith College was founded in 1871 as an academically rigorous single-sex women’s college for young women who would have been qualified to attend the nation’s top universities had those schools admitted anyone but men.  Since then, Smith has continued to be a top school, and has remained committed to its mission to help young women achieve success in life.

The Smith College Book Sale was begun in Baltimore in the late 1950s after the women of the local alumnae association decided to raise money for an endowed scholarship program.  From the time of its inception in 1959 to the present, the annual Smith College Book Sale has raised enough money for a $1,000,000 endowment fund, which allows 2 to 3 Maryland-area women a year to attend Smith.