Thursday, April 29, 2010

All Night Long...

We are officially editors! We have successfully finished a rough cut of our documentary and survived an “All Nighter”... with the help of caffeine and junk food.

It wasn't easy but... during the last 24 hours we have pieced together all the rough cuts of our footage. We have tweaked many sections and went through a lot of footage finding the perfect b-roll. We began working on our title page and credits and chose our documentary’s music bed.

The editing process has taught the entire class how to truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into making all types of film. We learned how to understand what editors go through and the fiascos and challenges they endure. Whether its from a fellow editor or a producer… it can all be very overwhelming at times but it has shown us it can lead to fabulous results as well. We saw first hand patience being tested and the eagerness in completing the rough cut. Many of us are beyond tired but are thrilled to be nearing this documentary’s final phases where we will be using dissolves and audio sweetening, transition effects, titles, and credits. Upon our completion we hope to have a viewing of the documentary… as well as entering it into several Student Documentary Contests and Film Festivals. Lets keep our fingers crossed! =]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Still Going!

Currently, we are still editing bits and pieces of our documentary and we have officially started Act 2. We have successfully finished a rough cut of Act 1 and created an opening title page. We have faced some challenges in the past week, trying to capture in high-definition and back into standard-definition. Together as a team we are coordinating our editing schedules to be more effective since our deadline is quickly approaching. We are down to the wire with two weeks left of our semester and many of us – both editors and non-editors are learning a great deal during this process.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Keep Going!

So far this week we have created a paper edit, or timeline of our footage, and have placed it into the general paradigm. Our editors went to work putting together a rough sequence for what is soon to be our documentary. We then took our timeline and wrote it out on large sheets of paper, which we then taped to the wall for all to see while piecing together the footage for this film. This timeline will be sent out to everybody involved in the editing process so we won’t forget our plans. We acquired some old pictures of the Ambassador’s parents, which we intend to include in the documentary. We originally had some issues trying to figure out how to import these photos onto the AVID system, but with some trial and error, we were able to figure everything out. Dr. Luskay made sure that everybody stayed on track and only captured, or uploaded, the footage that we needed to follow our timeline. Everybody is working very hard. We are all brainstorming and coming up with creative ideas to make this an incredible documentary. Our final deadline is May 5th! Let’s keep going!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let's Get It Started!

We have now officially begun our sleepless nights of editing. It is going to be a long, but productive and educational couple of weeks. Our own editing deadline is May 5! As soon as we arrived back at Pace University we started writing up our bin information and we have captured all of our footage. We have organized our bin information into bin topics with subfolders, different locations, and interviews. There are fourteen hands in one pot and we are doing everything possible to keep this one cohesive documentary. Right now we are discussing the opening, tone, and flow of the film. All of us are putting in our ideas and those contributions are going to make this the best documentary possible. Once we have finished digitizing all 26 tapes we can move on to a rough cut; in this part of the process all of our footage can be compared to clay and it is our job as creative individuals to mold it into what it should be. Stay tuned for more editing blogs!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post Production

Our class has returned safely to the U.S. and post production is now in full swing. We have been working very hard at digitizing the many hours of beautiful footage that we filmed while in the Netherlands. It is amazing to see how all of the hard work of filming is contained within the footage we have. There are so many wonderful shots. From the U.S. Embassy in the Hague, to the busy streets of Amsterdam, we have so much b-roll and interviews to work with. The many days spent in class learning how to film documentaries have really paid off, and can be seen through the footage we filmed in the Netherlands. We will continue our post production with making any necessary script changes, recording voice overs, and editing the actual documentary. This is a very exciting time, and all of the students are working diligently to complete A Day in the Life of an American Ambassador.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just a few words from Prof. Luskay

As I reflect on the work that was done this week, I feel the need to comment about this project. I don't think I have ever seen my students work so hard - and love every minute of it. They began shooting at 8 am and logged and blogged until after 10 pm.
It was a privilege to work with them on this project. We are honored to have spent time with our American Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin. She is an awe inspiring leader and someone that we all hold in high esteem. Her staff was incredibly accommodating and went above and beyond what we had ever anticipated. This truly was an experience that my students and I will never forget.
We will continue to blog as we work through post production beginning next week. The real work of editing this footage now begins.

The Beauty of the Netherlands

Today we filmed the beautiful gardens of the Keukenhof. From famous Dutch tulips to stargaze lilies, flowers colored the entire area.

There was even a flowerbed of tulips that formed the shape of a giant tulip! The sound of running water from the fountains and streams added to the ambience of this magnificent place.

A Dutch organ wagon also added to the excitement and culture of the Keukenhof. One graduate student, Matt West, even had the amazing opportunity to interview close friends of his family. The last one to meet them was Matt’s grandfather in 1945. The journey to the Keukenhoff was the perfect ending to the trip of a lifetime.

Here are the words of the students who participated in this incredible experience.

Pedro Rivera: “After filming the Ambassador and experiencing The Netherlands, I have a new found appreciation for the camera.”

Kevin Talbot: “I have been truly blessed to take part in such a rare opportunity. I experiencing things many never will and seen new sides to people and for that I am truly thankful. Only in Holland…”

Kenyon Hoag: “Europe was something else. I’m very thankful to have experienced The Netherlands. A lot was learning from this project, and hopefully the experience will carry me on to newer and better opportunities in my life.”

Lauren Ostrofsky: “This trip was incredible. The Netherlands is a beautiful country and being able to travel here to experience it first hand has been a blessing. Experiencing the life of a U.S. Ambassador was a rare opportunity and one that I learned a great deal from. The sights, architecture, culture, and history will always be remembered. I am very grateful to everyone for making this trip possible and to my classmates who also taught me a lot. Thank you!”

Alexandra Frye: This experience has truly changed my life. We’ve all grown and I’ve learned so much from filming and just exploring The Netherlands. I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities that I have had thanks to everyone involved.

Sandy Ng: This documentary class was an experience of a lifetime. I would never have imagined that I would not only meet the American Ambassador, but also get a chance to film her life with fourteen other students. It was amazing!!

Megan Caturan: This class, experience, and country have completely changed me. I’m so thankful for this experience and can’t wait to get back to the United States and tell everyone about my time in The Netherlands.

Shereditthe (Texas) Pashia: I have learned so much with this trip to The Netherlands to film the American Ambassador. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I could not pass up. The hands on experience will definitely help me in the future.

Michele Burch: It has been such an honor and privilege to film this documentary on the life of an American Ambassador. I’ve experienced what the film industry is all about telling a story that is meant to be told. The knowledge and skills that I have obtained from this opportunity will push me ahead in life as I make my dream come true-to finally produce a film of my own.

Matthew West: Many people have traveled to Europe for vacation and to visit sights. However, few have had the opportunity that we were given to visit and film locations such as the Peace Palace, U.S. embassy, and the Ambassador’s residence. Being able to film these places was a privilege and honor. This truly was the trip of a lifetime.

Harrison Davies: My experience with the production of this documentary has been a memorable one to say the least. Working with such great peers and experiencing all the culture, landmarks, and insights The Netherlands has to offer was a meaningful endeavor.

Courtney Novak: This experience has made me grow so much as an individual and has changed the way I see the world. This was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget. I’m excited to start my journey in the film industry. Thank you to the U.S. Ambassador, Fay Hartog-Levin, and everyone else involved in making this trip possible.

Caity Kirschbaum: I can’t believe the week is over; I finally came to terms with the fact that I am actually here. I must say that the idea of being here in the Netherlands, shooting a documentary about the US Ambassador, and the opportunity to film in restricted areas, is overwhelming. It has been a privilege and an honor to film in such a beautiful country.

I will never forget this thrilling, unique, and life changing experience. I appreciate all the hard work that everyone contributed. We have gone thru many “firsts” together and I’m glad that we did.

I would like to truly thank everyone involved with making this concept a reality; you are the reason why we were able to have such an amazing experience.

Astrid, Jim, Martijn, Eva, Professor Luskay, and of course Ambassador Hartog-Levin… I can say on behalf of myself and the rest of the students – THANK YOU!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Life of the American Ambassador

Last Day in The Hague

Today was our last day in The Hague with Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin. We started our day at 7:30 and it was very windy. We traveled by bus to the Ambassador's Residence where one of our classmates, Megan Katuran had the honor of accompanying the Ambassador in her daily armored car ride to her office in the US embassy.

Upon our arrival we attended the Ambassador’s scheduling meeting, which took place in her “oval office”. This was followed up by another meeting, with the Ambassador’s senior staff. We were able to grasp a sense of the ambassador’s daily schedule, especially one that consists of many meetings and organized appearances.

We proceeded to the Information Resource Center (IRC) located in another part of the embassy to interview Jim Foster. Mr. Foster is a counselor for Public Affairs. He stated that every experience has a different impact on him. Before working with the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands he has worked and traveled in many different countries

Each country has changed his perspective on America and has given him a whole new appreciation for both the lifestyles-that of Americans and people of the world. We even sat in on a presentation given to the students about the United States Embassy and its role in the Netherlands.

Our time at the embassy wrapped up with a lunch and visit to their gift shop. Many of us bought United States Embassy souvenirs to commemorate our time there.

We continued our day accompanied by Jim Foster and Astrid Bharos following the ambassador and her husband to the Sea Water Plant at Scheveningen. To examine more closely an alternative form of heat & energy, taking the heat from the water to warm low income housing… this is to be the only plant of its kind. We were briefed by Lucy Saunders and Peter Hoogvliet, both employed at the plant. It was very fascinating and an unforgettable way to end our time with the Ambassador.

We packed up the gear and finished our afternoon early. Tonight we are set to have a wonderful wrap-up dinner reserved by Dr. Maria Luskay. This week is slowly concluding with one day left with a visit to the Keukenhoff, the extravagant Dutch Tulip Garden.