Archive for the ‘Post-production’ Category

April 1st 2012

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Mesocafé will screen in competition at the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai. The screening dates at the festival, which is held from the 10th to 16th of April, will be announced shortly.

With the festival being just over a week away, getting a film print ready has been my priority over the past seven days.

On Thursday morning, I finally handed the relevant files to my friends at a production facility in Soho to produce a festival screening print.

On Friday morning, I arranged for an international courier to collect the print from Soho.

With the day having been booked off as holiday, I found myself in that truly rare position of having a lot of time on my hands and very little to do.

I simply wandered around Soho, taking in the laid back mood that I could sense in almost all the pedestrians that had taken over some of the side streets, drinking from cool bottles and, somehow, avoiding any collisions with cars and bicycles.

In the evening, I crossed Waterloo Bridge and made my way to the National Theatre.

With the evening’s show of The Collaborators being sold out, I was happy to settle for a standing place.

At the intermission, a lady (middle-aged, elegant and very well-spoken) approached me.

  • Would you like a seat?
  • Well,…
  • You’re welcome to mine. You can’t see the far left corner of the stage though!
  • Perhaps, I could stay here and you could join me.
  • You have an accent; you’re not English? (In a polite and apologetic manner, she ventured)
  • No, I have been living in London since my teens.

A pause.

  • Do you come to the theatre often?, I asked.
  • Twice a week, though I must admit, I am not too keen on the heavy Nordic stuff that seems to be in vogue at the moment. I like to laugh!

Peace and love,

Ja’far

March 25th 2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Filmwise:

Arabic Subtitles: check.

Entire film re-onlined: check.

Newly recreated special visual effects inserted: check.

New screening print with subtitles: to be confirmed.


The past couple of weeks had a sense of déjà vu of some of the more intense periods of work on the film in the run-up to Raindance.

Having re-onlined the whole film the week before last, this past week I took a further two days off work as holiday to be able to set aside four full days to create a  fully Arabic subtitled print. The screening at a film festival in the Middle East is a good possibility, at the moment.


On the first of the four days, I confidently predicted completing the first half of the 104 minutes of film. By the end of the day, I had achieved all of 12 minutes!

The second day, with my expectations tamed by experience, I felt a sense of achievement in having done all of 18 minutes’ worth of subtitles.

The third day: 30 minutes.

The fourth day: I began at 10AM and was done 20 hours later at 6AM the next morning!

Over the next week, I need to prepare all the relevant files, in case I do need to send a print to the festival.

A good week.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

March 18th 2012

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Filmwise: I have re-onlined the entire film.

During the week, I booked two days off work as holiday; added to the weekend, I have had four solid days of work on Mesocafé.

The process could have been a great deal more painful and time-consuming, if it weren’t for the fact that only one of the five reels went off-line during the interchange of hard-drives and edit suites in the run-up to Raindance – a wholly understandable consequence of the huge pressure we were all under to prepare a print for the festival premiere.

The other element in the re-onlining process was the realignment of the shooting and screening speeds of the film – they both are now 25 frames per a second.

I have also inserted into the timeline the new green-screen clips that Daniel created for me more than a month ago. It all looks and feels great.

Over the coming week, I need to complete the re-mastering of the screening print.

Back to school..

One of the tasks I have on my to-do list for the film is to write and insert Arabic subtitles for the whole film. Hopefully, a screening in an Arabic film festival will happen this side of the summer.

The fact that a few historical and literary texts feature in our film meant that I needed to go back to the University of London library to be extra certain that the Arabic subtitles contain the original Arabic quotations. It wouldn’t do to translate into Arabic the English translation of Arabic – I think that’s the right order :- )

The library has been fully refurbished since my last visit, and the students seem a lot younger than my day :- )

Peace and love,

Ja‘far

March 11th 2012

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Filmwise: Once again, the only time resource I have for working on the film – the weekend – has had to be diverted away to a different undertaking. On this occasion, however, the diversion has been most welcome.

A tale of two cabbies..

With the working week out of the way, I strolled leisurely on the South Bank, looking for a place to take a well-earned pit stop from the daily rituals of office, home, office, home. As I was marvelling at the dramatic effect of a sky filled with moon-lit clouds, it suddenly occurred to me that a dear friend had left me a message earlier in the day.

“Hello, sit Sajidah”, I talked into my mobile.

This was the lady, as I have related in the past, that was responsible for the London-wide search for the purse that appears in our film.

“We’re holding a celebration of International Women’s Day, and we would like you to film it for us.”

Realising immediately that I don’t have the camera, sound and lighting kit to undertake such a task, I nevertheless asked about the location where the event was to be held.

“It will be at the events centre, in Hammersmith.”

“Is it at the theatre of the centre?”

“The conference room on the second floor.”

Having attended an event at the said location, the first thought I had was “we need lights!”

So, it was without further ado that I got in touch with my usual kit-hire friends to assemble the suitable gear for the adventure.

The move of the camera hire company to Hackney,  and my decision to include three Redhead lights in my wish list, all meant that  a cab was necessary to haul the equipment back to central London.

The gentleman driving the people carrier had the calm and wariness of someone who’d experienced large doses of life’s ups and downs.

“May I ask where you come from; like me, you have an accent!”

He came from Afghanistan. We compared our respective experiences as immigrants living in this great metropolis.

At the events centre in West London, I was met with my filmmaking comrade, and Meso family member, sayyid Kawa Rasul. Huffing and puffing, we managed to get the kit through to the second floor.

To my surprise, not only the audience was already beginning to assemble, but there were a couple of one-man camera news channels who had reserved the best spots for filming the podium.

Sayyid Kawa and I got to work unpacking the kit, with the first port of call being placing the three Redheads where they would not cause a health and safety concern, as well as providing the extra level of illumination.

While attempting to set the camera, finding the recording media, setting the level on the tripod and making sure that the empty bags and cases for the gear stayed in one place, I was surprised to find the event was already getting underway.

I think I missed the first introductory speech. On the plus side, most of the other camera operators were happy with our lighting.

By the time we conducted the final interviews, it was past midnight.

Sayyid Kawa helped me load the kit to a bus that would take us half way to my place. We alighted, and he took the next bus to complete his journey.

I hopped into the first London cab that came into view.

“All this kit and there is still space for me to stretch my legs; I love London Taxis!”

The driver had been a cabby for over 40 years.

“In my day, there were no Tom Toms; if you didn’t know your way, you got the map out!”

We started reminiscing about London of the 1980s and how my first encounter with a London Cabby had revealed to me the honesty, thrift and understated pride of which I’ve become more aware over the years about a cross section of Londoners.

“Life was simple then; you had three channels, no mobile phones or internet; we just talked to each other.”

With the conversation still flowing, we stopped outside my front door.

The first thing the driver did was to stop the meter so as not to charge me for the remainder of the chat.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

March 4th 2012

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Filmwise: Have begun to re-online the entire film. Hopefully, I will be able to dedicate the whole of next weekend to the process.

An embarrassment of riches..

As a consequence of the thesis that at times felt like a millstone around my neck , followed by the post-production purgatory, evenings out with friends have been quite few and far between. Until this week!

I think I must have broken some sort of a pre-thesis and film record by attending two birthday parties within the same week.

The first was Daniel’s, and it offered a great opportunity to catch up with him and Kate, and with Paul Hills, Jonnie Hurn and a few family members of Paul’s new film The Power.

The second party was for Stew, a comrade from the night shift and a dear friend.

The evening allowed me the chance to chat with Stew, and three fellow night-shift veterans: Graham, JP and Stephanie.

Stephanie is preparing to go on tour with Rest Upon the Wind, the play about Khalil Gibran. Highly recommended.

En route home, I got talking with JP about his brilliant comic book “London Horror Comic”. I felt so inspired by JP’s one-man-show that has seen the launch of a comic book anthology back in 2006 and the publishing of four issues with high production values, and truly captivating content.

As we said our farewells on the train, JP kindly handed me a copy of the latest issue. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put the book down until I got to the very last page. Love the dark humour and the intentional economy with which dialogue is written. Kudos.

Link to the London Horror Comic website.

Tick tock..

“Hello, is it too late for a haircut?”, I asked the gentleman with scissors, black attire and bright yellow bleached hair at the hair salon on my local high street.

“There is a bit of a wait!”, he said pointing to the five seated people.

Having exchange a resigned look with the young couple taking the chairs at the top of the row of seats, I took out my book . “Thankfully, this happens to be a thoroughly enjoyable read!”

My immersion in the story was slightly thrown off by the negative energy I was sensing from the woman to my left. “Tock tock”, was the first phrase on the top of the page.

The angry, impatient exhaling of air by the said woman made me raise my eyes away from the page and glance to my left.

“Have you been waiting long?”, trying to dissipate the intense atmosphere, I ventured.

“Thirty minutes! I just hope they don’t close before my turn comes.”

Ice cubes rolled off her tongue and fell crashing on the wooden floor as she spoke in a cold Russian accent.

The two hair stylists found their attempt to cut, comb, snip and hair-dry their way through the queue interrupted by people dropping in to purchase a hair-care product.

Another audible, exasperated ejection of air: “They spend three minutes to serve each customer. They’ve had five customers. That’s 15 minutes’ extra wait for me!”

Henry Ford would’ve been proud to see his ethics have travelled so far as Russia.

When it was finally her turn, she spent the first few minutes on the chair trying to convince both hairdressers that the hair treatment she was getting would only need to be left on her hair for 35 minutes, as opposed to the 45 minutes that both stylists were insisting was the norm.

I went back to my book to recommence reading; “tock tock” now read “tick tock”.

Later in the week, I made a last minute dash from the edge of the City to the West End for my weekly fix at the pictures.

“There are three people ahead of me, and each seems to be taking two to three minutes to walk up to the booth and buy the ticket.. Oh, stop imitating the Russian protégé of Henry Ford!”

The second film I watched before heading home that night was Safe House (Dir. Daniel Espinosa, 2012).

The Denzel Washington character famously ends a speech with “tick tock..tick tock!”

Peace and love,

Ja’far

February 26th 2012

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Filmwise:

Mesocafé: I seem to have figured out a way to re-online the film without re-visiting the entire endeavour of replacing the low resolution clips with high definition rushes. I say, “entire”, as there are other elements in the process the rectifying of which will need many a free evening and weekend.

I was meant to spend this weekend inserting into the film the newly onlined green screen clips that Daniel delivered last week. Alas, I haven’t been able to carve out the time.

A pre-shoot promo for a friend..

With the day booked off work, I left my place mid Thursday morning and headed to Edgware Road; needed to visit a bakery in the Arab Quarter for some provisions.

Earlier in the week, I had agreed with a friend that I would spend a few hours with him to create an extended pre-shoot promo for his upcoming feature. Knowing what I now know of post-production, editing has a habit of running overtime. Ergo the need for food.

On arriving to my friend’s home close to Islington, we did away with the niceties of going to the living room, and headed directly to the kitchen; I was famished.

Twelve hours later, I walked out into the cold fresh air of a February night.

I am pleased with the result of our collaboration. My friend has a promo that he can show to potential investors, and I have had the pleasure of working on a new film.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

February 19th 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Filmwise:

Mesocafé: Daniel has delivered the recalibrated and onlined green screen shots. I won’t be able to go through them until I’ve figured out the best route to re-online the film without re-visiting the whole effort.

Cannes documentary: had a quick look at the present cut; found a couple of areas for potentially improving the storytelling element of the film.

Lucky generation..

Sitting at my favourite café in my neck of the woods, with headphones attached to the smartphone, it struck me how fortunate our generation is in having access to so much information and knowledge.

More to the point, thanks to IT development, I was able to enjoy a cup of coffee in happy surroundings whilst doing some translation work that I had saved on my phone.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

February 12th 2012

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Filmwise:

  • Mesocafé: Earlier in the week, Daniel got in touch with a couple of queries about the rushes for the green screen scenes. I have spent this weekend re-checking the files he has to make certain that nothing is amiss. Earlier this evening, Daniel sent me the great news that he’s ploughed through the whole list of scenes. There is one remaining scene which I added to the list yesterday.

New script: This weekend, I finally had the opportunity to read through the whole of the treatment for my next feature. As I have related in the past, this is a romantic comedy the initial outline for which I began scribbling around the time we were in pre-production for Mesocafé, and started a more serious attempt at an outline in the summer of 2009.

Alas, due to the need to think about the best route for addressing the technical glitch with the screener we showed at Raindance in October, I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I would have liked with the new script this weekend.

I have a day booked off work at the end of the month that precedes a weekend. Hopefully, I will use those three days off work to get some real traction on the new script.

Finally, I have just watched the BAFTA Awards – so moved by Martin Scorsese’s humility and generousity as he received the fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

February 5th 2012

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Filmwise:

  • Mesocafé: Daniel has collected the rushes for the green screen shots.
  • Cannes documentary: Having created a viewing cut, I am taking a break from the project to allow for a more objective assessment.

‘So cheap..’

After work at the start of the week, I hopped on the train for the short journey to the West End; I needed my theatre fix.

The play I settled on was one I had read briefly about.

Having opted for a seat at the edge of the front row, I thought it best to stand in the corner, leaning against the edge of the stage; it seemed like a better option than popping up and down for people until the row was full.

“I haven’t heard anything about this,” said a middle-aged gentleman (public school).

“It’s had mixed reviews,” said his female friend.

After settling into my seat at the edge of the front row, I noticed the feet of the aforementioned gentleman come into view on the floor next to me.

“I hope you will excuse my friend; he’s got bad legs!”

“There is nothing wrong with my legs; they’re just long!”

Trying to make conversation, “Do you always take these seats?”

“Yes”, she replied in a friendly tone.

“Well, they’re so cheap”, he added.

Peace and love,

Ja‘far


January 29th 2012

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Filmwise:

Mesocafé: Liaising with festivals.
Cannes documentary: Completed a very preliminary viewing copy.
A  large chunk of the week has been taken up with admin work for the film.
The completion of the rough cut of the Cannes documentary, including temporary music and subtitles, took the remainder of the week.
Obviously, this is a mere foundation for the final locked picture; it is, nevertheless, an auspicious beginning.
Peace and love,
Ja’far