Category Archives: Productions

Sector 42 – The Space Movie

Three girls on a routine space mining mission in Sector 42 encounter an unknown intelligence. What will it mean to the Corporation? What will it mean to humanity?

Our amateur movie project that began as an idea on January first is finally complete! It’s been five months of long nights in the basement but it was truly a terrifically fun experience and Ken and I had a great time doing it all with our daughters.

We hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

We also enjoyed writing about it, so if you’re interested in the making-of, you’ll find our stories here:

Blog Posts

Making a Space Movie – Audio Editing

After Dave and I got the movie roughed together and the visual effects created, it was time to put the audio together. We used Adobe Audition for sound effects and multi-track editing. There are three distinct steps to the audio editing. First is cleaning up the voice tracks recorded on set. We learned a lot about what not to do and used Audition to correct some of our mistakes. Second is synchronizing the audio tracks to the video, we used twenty-two tracks of audio plus the video track and master track to create the movie. The final step is balancing the audio mix. Audition gives you the ability to modify the volume of each track as well as the direction the sound is coming from (pan). Within each track you can make subtle changes to the volume and pan. Dave created an amazing music score for the movie that was mixed in with the voices and special effects.

Panning the engine sounds in Adobe Audition
Panning the engine sounds in Adobe Audition

The picture shows the interface to auction and some of the tracks. At the top you can see how we varied the pan (blue line) and volume (yellow line) of the space ship rumble track as the ship passes by in the intro scenes. The larger clip on the send line is the music score. Dave and I spent about a week tweaking the levels and timing to get everything so we liked it.

Making a Space Movie – File Management

During our five month adventure we created over 50 thousand files. To be fair, the movie was three minutes long at 24 frames per second and at some point every frame was saved as a separate file so even if we only created each frame once that is over 4,300 files. That would have been nice to create each frame once but we created each segment multiple times. The estimate of 50 thousand is probably low. Dave and I needed to come up with a system to manage the files as well as share them between us while we worked on the movie. Dave was working on a Windows machine and I had a Mac. We each kept our own file structure that worked for us. Dave set up a google share drive that we would use to send files back and forth. Some files were as large as 150Mb. My file structure contained separate folders for potential source material such as sounds, graphics, and poster ideas. Almost every graphic element was created by us. Some of the elements such as the logos and star fields were made in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop so they have their own folders.

Beam Up Test

The original footage was kept in one folder and the frames from each segment of the movie, as well as the completed video, audio, and animation, segments in others. I see a few folders in there with example frames for problems that we were working through such as image quality, masking, color grading and test footage. An early test included beaming my daughter out of our basement.

Making a Space Movie – Live Action

Post-production for the asteroid-themed space thriller (trailer) starring our daughters continues. It’s finally time to put the girls into the shot and the whole live-action thing is certainly the hardest part. In this episode, we’ll go over the live-action shoot and incorporation of the live footage into the 3D set!

On the set with the talent (and Dave)
On the set with the talent (and Dave)

Continue reading Making a Space Movie – Live Action

Making a Space Movie – Exteriors

We’re making a film trailer for an asteroid-themed space thriller starring our daughters and while it completes post-production, I’m telling the story!

Once the interior set was mostly complete, we turned our attention to the exterior shots of space. We’ll start with the starship model and its original metallic-flake candy paint, as well as go over how we made all the tiny little asteroids.

The Artemis, a brave little scout ship in well-lit space
The Artemis, a brave little scout ship in well-lit space

Continue reading Making a Space Movie – Exteriors

Maddie’s Stop-Motion Animation Test

Maddie and I are proud to present her first stop-motion animation test! I have to say that it’s at least as good as my early basement projects.

Maddie captured the individual frames using her new video camera. I pulled the frames into Blender, adding titles and transitions. I also slowed the frame rate down to around 12fps before pulling it back up to 24fps.

Things we learned:

  • 24 is a lot of frames to make 1 second of video
  • Use a tripod!
  • Lighting is important, and the sun is a good light source

We hope you enjoy!