Tom had made a temp track over the weekend so I was able to lay this on the film first thing. The track already adds so much to the film. The suspense is much greater and the atmosphere compliments Tom and Ratfink’s mood changes very well. I have learnt that in Final Cut Pro, when you are exporting the film for sound you must have the colour bars and tone on the timeline itself. Because when you come to sync the temp track with the timeline the tone is not there. This is a basic mistake, but at least I have learnt.
I began to work on the dream scene, as this is where I have noticed most problems. It has been suggested by Hugh Jones not to use the rat shadow at all. However I tried to make the shadow work. First of all I tried using flash forewords of Ratfink approaching Tom in the end scene, and then making the image look dreamy with strange colours and bendy images. However this just looked very tacky. But I applied the same colours to the shadow and this did make it look much more menacing, however the change between Rat Shadow and Brenda’s shadow still didn’t feel right. So I had the idea of Tom waking up still in his dream and seeing the rat shadow, then suddenly waking up for real seeing a shadow and it be Brenda. This did work but it still wasn’t right.
Dave popped in to hear the temp track and suggested I didn’t spend so much time on the dream. So I left it how it was and moved on.
I cut the scene where Tom is gaining courage to ask for the knife back from Ratfink this meant that the dream scene cut straight to Tom entering the garage and asking for the knife. This was a suggestion from Hugh and it works very well. I then worked on the end sequence. The reason why this scene didn’t work was because when you watched Tom on the floor closing his eyes, you think why isn’t he getting up? He’s got enough time to escape. So I made the shots on Tom much quicker so the audience wouldn’t have time to think and cut to Ratfink quicker as if he was moving fast. I also shortened the length of time between Ratfink and Tom’s dialogue. I took out extra shots of Tom and Ratfink that were supposed to build suspense, but kept the shot of Ratfink lowering his knife and sped it up. The whole scene ran much quicker and was full of energy and action.
I tidied the finale with Brenda by cutting down the shot that reveals her. Originally the shot tilted from Ratfink up Brenda’s body ending on her face. The shot is now just a tilt up of Brenda’s body. I also shortened the time between Tom and Brenda’s dialogue exchanges, as they felt staged and unnatural. As well as this I decided to hold on Brenda much longer from over the shoulder of Tom and cut into her cleavage shot as she deals with keys. I then cut much earlier to the final wide shot as Brenda kisses Ratfink and then back to Ratfink as he gives one last look, then cut back to Tom for his reaction and then to the wide. This made everything much tighter and smoother.
Dave had told me that he wasn’t too sure about the scene that begins with Tom and Ratfink talking about a holiday that Tom is going to take Brenda on. I felt this could be a scene where we could cut out Tom entering the garage as this happens too many times throughout the film. So I cut out the holiday conversation and begun with a shot of Ratfink looking at Tom. I slowed this down so it lasted about five seconds then cut to the wide of Tom doing work in the garage with Ratfink in the background and then back to Ratfink with a pause before he says “Tom….” with a devious voice. This worked very well and set the scene for Ratfink to become in charge of Tom with his evil ways.
After making these major changes I went back to the dream sequence and decided to take all of the footage of the rat shadow out and decided to have the nightmare build through sound. Jeremy suggested using sounds of Tom saying, “Where’s the knife” and then I added some flash forewords of Ratfink shouting “Shut up Tom!” This worked well but I will leave it all up to the sound king that is Tom French
On the Thursday I showed the new cut to Dave and Robert Carter. Again, it was valuable to have another outside perspective on it. He suggested it could be even tighter, but then I hadn’t done my final tweaking because I wanted to hear the music first. He also felt that the character of Brenda needed to be more involved in the narrative. But then cuts I had made of Brenda weren’t very revealing or prominent in conveying her plans to trap Tom. Dave therefore realised he should have involved her more at the script stage.
All three of us realised while watching the film noticed that the beginning was too long, as Robert pointed out that the audience understands what is going on between Tom and Rat and don’t need to be told twice. So I cut that down with Dave and it worked much better. Dave and myself then made some minor changes, trying to figure out how to make the conversations between Ratfink and Tom tighter. The whole film still felt a bit flat, there was too much of the garage. So I suggested we cut out a whole scene. We realised that in the “where’s the knife” nothing is said that isn’t said elsewhere in the film. It isn’t needed and made the cut to the penultimate scene messy and gangly. We watched the film through and realised it worked well without it. So we decided to think about it over the weekend, but I have a feeling it may stay out.
I was not able to attend college on Friday because I had a job interview, so I was unable to listen to show the refreshed cut to Hugh Jones. However I was in touch with Dave all day and he kept me updated, they showed the cut to Hugh without the “where’s the knife” scene and he said it was much better.
So we are on track for having a picture lock down by the end of this coming week – 12th May. We are definitely doing the final sound mix down at De Lane Lea in two weeks, which will be fantastic, a great experience for us all.
Hope everyone is well.