Rough Cut of our first feature film is finished

The first rough cut of Chronesthesia is complete!

What a feeling! After assembling the footage every week after the weekend’s shooting, every week for four months, and editing here in Europe every day, we have a full rough cut of the film in just under two months.

Very quick work. Editing on my MacBook Pro on Final Cut Pro X using an external hard drive with proxy footage worked an absolute treat. If I could go back in time, I’d change one major thing. I should’ve known better in hindsight.

Storage options: When you’re transferring and working with your footage from an external hard drive, RPM speeds are important when buying the hard drive.

This will dictate the speed in which the drive sends and receives information to and from your computer, therefore its a major contributing factor to your editing speed. For me, I was more concerned with price. I chose a sturdy and affordable drive, not bothering to check the RPM speed. It used a USB 3.0 connector so I assumed that would be fast enough.


If I navigated out of FCPX for any reason, whether to check a file or send an email, it would take upwards of a minute for FCPX to become responsive again, due to reconnecting to the hard drive. That might not sound like much, but when you’re in the juju and you have a good cutting flow, that minute can really destroy momentum.

The real salt in the papercut is, I have a very fast external hard drive at home that Samuel McSweeney gifted to me. It’s a very expensive Lacie 1TB thunderbolt drive and I’m very grateful to him (Sam’s also the legend who bought me the Marty McFly figurine who watches over me editing), and the full resolution footage is being kept on that drive in a safe place back in Wellington. But if I could time travel, like our good friend Marty, I’d back up to another drive and move my proxy footage to the Lacie and bring that with me.

Griping aside, we got there in the end! The full cut is currently at 94 minutes, a healthy duration for a story that never lets up. From the first minute it’s go, go, go. Very proud of it.

Where to from here?

I exported the XML and sent it to Simeon who reconnected it with his backup of all the full resolution footage, and he’s been able to put it all together and watch it. He’s even started holding a couple of test screenings of trusted friends and colleagues.

This week he’s using the website application Shotgun to list all the shots that need post production work. There is a rather large effects sequence at the end which will take a lot of elements and time, then there are minor effects like sky replacement throughout, and some very cool ‘dreamy’ sequences that Simeon is cooking up something special for.

Keep in mind we are talking about the Animation Supervisor for Batman vs. Superman, a very talented WETA asset who has so much creativity and drive that he’s visual effects supervising another entire feature on the side. He’s been a bit busy with two other major Hollywood productions this last month and is looking forward to taking a step back onto this modest film.

The dream is to have the film professionally sound designed, scored, graded and mixed. To do this, we need money to pay skilled people for their time, talent, and gear.

Getting money, that’s the query. How does one do such a thing? Luckily, in this beautiful day and age we live in, there are many ways. Ideally, we’d strike a deal with the New Zealand Film Commission. They are the chief funding body for New Zealand film, so it only makes sense. To get their financial support, the film has to have legs. There has to be a promise of return. Or it should be internationally recognised. A good way to do this is to get it into a renowned international film festival. We’ve decided that’s what we’re going to do.

Here’s the cheesiest video I’ve posted here so far. It’s celebratory and also has some nerdy information in it.