need video toaster in L.A. area

need video toaster in L.A. area

Post by gorg » Mon, 02 Nov 1998 04:00:00

Filmmakers need use of video toaster or other effects unit in the Los
Angeles area.

We are filmmakers in Venice, looking for a video toaster or other unit
which can do effects and handle 3/4? videocassettes, preferably with a
person willing and able to use it to do effects for our film entitled
SPIRIT, a dramatic feature on which our 16mm photography has been
completed and most of the editing done.  We have six sequences on which
we need effects.  This would have to be on a deferred payment basis, as
we are out of money.

                         SPIRIT  TREATMENT

        An ancient unseen spirit haunts Mesa country in the high desert of
Northern Arizona. Mother Earth is being raped by drilling and mining.
Mesa people dance and pray to mollify this earth spirit, whose
unhappiness at what has been done to this land and its people may,
according to ancient prophecy, erupt in a rage that could destroy this

        Tela, daughter of the late lamented leader of the Mesa people, has fled
from the harsh desert to seek a middle-class life in Los Angeles, taking
her teenage son, Jesse, half-Mesa, half-Caucasian, who finds himself
excited by the city action but alienated by the violence and the racism.
Trouble peaks as Jesse and his Mesauncle David are caught in an
anti-immigrant raid. Mistaken for illegal aliens, they are jailed.

        The spirit has been hovering over, watching, growing more disturbed,
blowing the wind, shaking the earth, seeking to draw Jesse and David
back, guiding them to escape from internment camp and head for Arizona.

        There the unseen spirit kidnaps Jesse, carries him over the desert as
if in a dream, transforms him, infusing him with belief and purpose.
Jesse takes a stand with his father and David against the mining and
drilling. But the developer won?t stop. Uranium mining is to begin. At a
protest sit-in David is killed by a bulldozer.

        Jesse and his father respond by blowing up the drilling and mining
emplacements. The spirit explodes, beginning widespread earthquakes.The
entire tribe prays, dances, sings to mollify the earth. The earthquakes
gradually subside, as the people are given the one last chance allowed
by the prophecy.

Effects & who will do them?

The title character of our film SPIRIT is never seen on screen but
rather only through point-of-view shots, usually moving, with coincident
visual and sound effects. As this character appears periodically through
the film, these effects will have to repeat with changes. Even when the
Spirit is not directly present, its effects may sometimes manifest.

Though I would do the effects myself if I have access to a toaster and
some advice on using it, I would prefer someone else to do it
I have had an interest in animation, though little experience, and would
have liked to do this work myself, but I have serious health problems
which make that unlikely.  So I am looking for a certain type artist to
take over the finishing work.  This film could serve as a showcase for
an editor and/or an effects animator with artistic vision and an
appreciation for the environment and the interests of local people in
areas of exploitation.  We will all be paid, of course, when we secure a
release for the film.

What I have done so far has been to cut all the sequences that do not
have effects.  This is on 3/4? cassettes in about fifteen tapes because,
having exhausted our money on medical expenses, I have had only an old
linear, cuts-only edit bay.  We have gone over these sequences and
re-edite until they are now close to fine-cut stage.  The half-dozen or
so sequences which require effects have been blocked out.  So, once the
effects come in, there is little more editing to be done except to put
it all together.

The tapes I have done need to be digitalized and effects introduced and
then we will have a cut which can be shown to outfits which offer
finishing funds.  While we have been working on video so far, we do have
hope for an eventual theatrical release or at least television.  Our
original 16mm material looks good enough for blow-up.

What kind of effects do we want?

The main purpose of the effects is to make sense out of the shots which
are supposed to be from the point of view of the title character. I plan
to use most of these shots more than once. I would have liked to have
shot more, but we are talking about low-low-low-low-no budget. So the
way out is to make deficiency into strength and limitations into

These point-of-view shots are the primary use for the effects. Just as
the shots repeat, so must the effects. The repetition of point-of-view
with effects provides the only signs of the presence for the title
character, so their appearances signal the Spirit's presence. So they
need to repeat, so we are talking about one basic form of effect
repeated with different colors dominant, starting with brown, then
yellow and orange and red as the Spirit becomes more agitated, ending
after the crisis and resolution in primarily mellow blue-green. I see
the effects work as one effect appearing in different shapes, actions,
and colors, just as the actors appear in different dress, doing
different things. Unlike the actors, however, the actions and shapes
shown for the Spirit would remain the same or similar, with only the
nature and distribution of the colors changing.

As to the appearance of this Spirit effect, I visualize colors reaching
out ahead from behind the camera, flaming ahead (most but not all of
these shots are moving shots) from both sides, probably also from below
the camera, and maybe even from the fourth side above. These colors
would not be continuous. They would dissolve in (along with sound FX) at
regular intervals, like a heartbeat or breathing. For any scenes where
we are not adopting the Spirit's point of view, these flaming effects
could be used solely on the bottom of the screen .

The form of these colors could be fluctuating shapes. Negative colors
would work. Like something off a video toaster. In fact, the idea
occurred to me that I might be able to make something off a video
toaster work. The toaster images that I like change the existing shapes
and colors in the scene rather than introducing foreign shapes.  Thus
our Spirit would manifest onscreen as extending limbs or other shape
silhouetted solely through fluctuating areas of changing colors in the
background landscape.

One problem with using some toasters, however, is my preference that
most of the time the effect should appear around the edges of the screen
and only consume the whole screen briefly, if at all. In the
Schwarznegger film PREDATOR, the point-of-view shots used to establish
the unseen title character used a visual frame that looked like the
Predator was looking out through a monitor (the view was also strangely
colored). If we wanted to be crude, we could use a couple irises to
represent eye holes so nobody could possibly not get the idea.  More
appropriately, maybe the shape of the colors flaming from behind the
camera could resemble tenacles or claws or arms -- but only in a vague
way without detail, because it is a spirit.  None of it should be too
defined in detail.  At least the Spirit could be allowed a viewing space
in the center of the screen. In the few scenes where we need to indicate
the proximity of the Spirit but not point-of-view, similar colors would
flicker at the bottom of the screen.

There is one effect we got by accident that I would like to include for
the Spirit's point-of-view appearances. There is a sequence where the
Spirit travels quickly from the desert to Los Angeles. My plan had been
to take a car and start in the desert and do a time lapse (or maybe I
should say distance lapse) driving to L.A. We would need about 30
seconds, or 24x30 or 720 frames. So 120 miles would mean stopping 6
times every mile to take one frame at each stop. Unfortunately, on the
last day I had a few hours to do it, the only camera I was able to get
did not do single-frames. So I decided we would go from position to
position flipping the camera on and off as quickly as possible. That
gave us about 10 or 12 frames each shot. We did not have time to do 120
miles but stopped maybe fifteen times. The lab called me that night to
tell me they thought we had a shutter problem on this footage! (Ha! Ha!)
Each space between the shots is white. I like the bizarre result and
will probably keep it as shot, especially since I am not anxious to
shoot again unless and until we get the money to make it easy. To add
this effect in the other Spirit sequences would be to simply white out a
few frames at our regular intervals.
SPIRIT sequences
1st sequence: scene 1                           EFFECTS
        Title character Spirit is awakened in the desert by drum music and
2nd sequence: scene 2
        1st sequence existed in the mind of our young hero Jesse, whom we
dissolve to     as he awakens at a gig with his punk rock band, who get in
a fight with a Nazi             heavy metal band.
3rd sequence:  scenes 3 through 13
        Jesse?s mother Tela threatens to return to his father in the desert if
Jesse gets              into any more trouble, but then Jesse is arrested
mistakenly, then escapes and
        crashes in a police chase.
4th sequence: scene 14                          EFFECTS
        The title character Spirit flies to Los Angeles as the drums pound
5th sequence: scenes 15 & 16
        Tela returns Jesse and her Uncle to their desert village, where they
find the                mesa people protesting the mining and drilling resulting from
the leasing of
        aboriginal mineral rights to for mining, such as Tela has done.
6th sequence: scenes 17 through 20
        At the family ranch, Jesse?s father Tom argues with Tela over her
mineral lease,
        and she goes, leaving Jesse.
7th sequence: scenes 21 through 26
        Tom tries to put Jesse to work, but Jesse gets drunk.
8th sequence: scenes 27 through 31              EFFECTS
        Jesse dreams of his girl Pilar.
9th sequence: scenes 32 through 37
        Tom tries to work hungover Jesse, and Jesse runs away.
10th sequence: scenes 38 through 47             EFFECTS
        Tom and Uncle chase Jesse but lose him in the desert, and then the
        character  Spirit chases and catches him and carries him off over the
11th sequence: scenes 48 through 51
        Jesse appears changed and vows to help Tom and Uncle resist the mining.
12th sequence: scenes 52 through 67
        Tom and Tela fail to reconcile, and she leaves, but Jesse stays.
13th sequence: scenes 68 & 69
        Uncle is accidentally killed by a bulldozer in the protest.
14th sequence: scene 69                         EFFECTS
        The title character Spirit & the dancers react to Uncle?s funeral.
15th sequence: scenes 72 through 74
        Pilar escapes the Nazis.
16th sequence: scenes 75 through 80
        Tom and Jesse blow up the mining equipment, then pray to the Spirit to
stop the
        earthquakes that have begun to ravage the area, and the Spirit calms,
        allowing the people another chance, and the people, the dancers, and
        Spirit dance to celebrate.                      EFFECTS                                        

If this fits you and interests you, please contact me.


Alan Gorg 11522
Marina del Rey
CA 90295
(310)288-6411 messages
(310)822-0344 fax


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