The Experience of Making A Short Film

desk

Let’s do something. How about movies?

~Sreyan Mullick Chowdhury.

Sreyan talked me into something I was originally uninterested in. Ever since I have known him, he’s been enthusiastic. Some people have questioned his abilities. But after being his friend for four years, I’ve understood something. He’s a person full of potential, and capable of a lot of things.

The Anon. Productions happens to be one of his dream projects. It was our dream project. Now, it’s transformed into something else. It has expanded. It has more members, who each specialize in different fields. It’s a working production house. And quite recently, it produced a short film.

This post is about how we brought into existence a movie based on the theme ‘Then and Now’.

If you want to skip to the short film, click here.


I won’t narrate in detail about what happened during each day. I’ll give you a gist.

The first 3 days were spent on shooting the video. Here are some pictures, from the ‘shooting days’ :

fixing camera
Shooting the ‘black and white portion’ of the film
crazy agnij sreyan
Sreyan with Agnij [behind the camera] *craziness*

in shoot

I wasn’t involved during these days. The last two days (before the submission date) were critical to me.


Day 4 (21st of January, 2015):

My college ended at 5:00 PM. I went home and set up the condenser microphone, the stand, and connected the microphone to my laptop.

All ready
All ready

The short film would contain no conversations (among the actors). Narration, foley sounds and music – these would be contributing to the ‘audio’ of the movie. Nilanjan, the co-writer and the co-director would be narrating for the movie. He came to my house at 8 PM. He read the lines to himself again and again to get the proper emotions in his voice. Sreyan and Avishek were editing the video files at Avishek’s house.

screenshot_premier pro

We were communicating via Skype.

Sreyan [right] and Avishek
Sreyan [right] and Avishek

At 12:30 AM, Nilanjan was ready. I set the microphone to his level. He then narrated. Our work was completed at 3:00 AM. Nilanjan perfected himself within three takes. But there was slight noise in the background, and the sound needed to be crisp. Coupled with that, I’m not an expert at mastering and editing. I did my best.

screenshot_audition

And the end product, although produced at a late hour, wasn’t so bad 🙂


Day 2 [The Final day before submission – 22nd of January, 2015]

Video editing had been completed during the previous night by Sreyan and Avishek. Meanwhile, after completing our work on the narration, I had sent the audio files to them. Sreyan had positioned the narration properly (in the video). What was left was the foley sounds, and the music. Frankly, I was too scared to even think of how to do it. We had absolutely no knowledge on how to make foley sounds.

After attending college, Sreyan and I boarded a bus and came to my home. We were tired. The previous night, Sreyan had had no rest. I had slept for 3 hours. The tension however, drove the sleep away. We set up the microphone, the laptop, and started our job.

We noted down the scenes that required folly. And I created a preset on Audition after recording a ‘typing foley’.

Practicing
Practicing

We spent an hour deciding how to get the other parts done. Moreover, we would have to wait till everyone was asleep in the house, because noise was not something we could allow. Avishek and Nilanjan arrived at 10:00 PM, and the four of us had Chinese food for dinner 🙂

At 12:00 AM, work resumed. It was amazing! With each passing minute, we discovered newer and better ways to make and record foley sounds! I even tried to pan the microphone with Sreyan’s footsteps. Several effects were ready by 3:00 AM – typing, blowing out a candle, walking, letter falling, sitting on an easy-chair, and several others. But, by then, exhaustion was gradually creeping over the two of us. We decided to take a break, and talk for a while…

The Date of Submission

The 6:00 AM alarm on Sreyan’s cellphone woke the four of us. We had a few hours left before submission. Mayhem broke out inside our minds.

Within half an hour, we recorded the remaining foley sounds – knocking, writing, crumbling, etc. Nilanjan utilized that time to download a track that contained firefly sounds.

In the next half hour, I edited the foley tracks, and made them ready for use. Here are two foley sound-tracks:

Blowing out a candle [Alternative link on SoundCloud]

Typing [Alternative link on SoundCloud]

What followed that was two and a half hours of video editing by Avishek and Sreyan. Now that I’m recalling everything, I realize what level of expertise the two possess. Under the enormous pressure, they swiftly placed all the foley tracks, added a huge number of minor details, added credits, added the intro, and even corrected several portions!

However, the music was not yet done. At 11:00 AM, Avishek asked me to connect my (musical) keyboard to my laptop, and stated

You have exactly five minutes. Watch the video and play, just play what you think is right, and play without any mistakes.

I was not very satisfied with what I had done. The only thing that was good was the final music – I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi. 

The Last Hour

I pulled out the UPS, packed it in a bag (since the laptop battery wasn’t powerful enough to last for an hour).The four of us got ready. Nilanjan called a taxi. I packed in anything we would need. The video rendering process was initiated, and the three of us – Avishek, Nilanjan and myself – started off for St. Xavier’s College. We submitted the short film later that day.


 We don’t know the results yet. The judges haven’t decided. 7 other colleges are competing against us. Our film wasn’t perfect. However, we all agreed something…

This was the craziest project we had all taken part in!

And, we had given in everything we had in the five days that were available to us.

Finally, before ending this post, here are some pictures:

Sreyan and Sourya
Sreyan and Sourya
Sourya Sur Roy - the only face in the film
Sourya Sur Roy – the only face in the film
Aritra Mitra
Aritra Mitra
Nilanjan Banerjee
Nilanjan Banerjee

The joy in creating this short film transcended everything. And frankly, the decision of the judges won’t matter. We, The Anon. Productions, thoroughly enjoyed making our first short film. I’m happy. We’re happy.


Check out the Facebook page of The Anon. Productionsand surely subscribe to our YouTube channel, for getting updates of our future projects.


Update:

On the 19th of February, 2015, the judges did come to a decision. They decided to mark our work the best among the 7 short films that had been submitted. We won the competition. I’ll admit something. The victory didn’t matter much. However, this acknowledgement was a big form of encouragement for us. Thank you everyone – viewers and judges 🙂

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