New York anti-gravity

We had a great screening at the Long Island International Film Expo.  The festival is put on by a lovely bunch of people and we’ve met lots of other filmmakers.  Great to see so much passion.

We’ve been in Manhattan over the last couple of days for meetings.  The weather turned from amazingly hot to incredibly stormy.  Today the storms were so powerful, a rip in the space-time continuum occurred and anti-gravity poured through. We managed to snap some pictures.  I’m sure if Stephen, Annie and Conrad we’re alive today, they would be fascinated by the images.

 



Twitterviews

Members of the cast, with Sloane and Ant, before the screening. Image courtesy of www.catchesides.co.uk

Yesterday evening Dimensions screened, as part of the 31st Cambridge Film Festival, to a packed out house.  The showing sold out within a day of tickets being on release, so an additional late night showing was added (Thursday 22nd September, 10.30pm).  As that second screening is now almost sold out, a third screening has been added – Saturday 24th September at 5pm. Details are here.

As you can imagine, it has been a hectic few days for Sloane and I.  We’ve received so many lovely emails and messages about the film, so before we dash off to this evening’s screening, I wanted to share a few of the ‘Twitterviews’ we received regarding the film…

“Congratulations@dimensionsmovie ! Currently the biggest seller @CamFilmfest (in terms of seats sold per screening), better even than TTSS!” @camfilmfest

‘What a marvelous film! Can I have 700 films like Dimensions rather than one $200m blockbuster?” @martinhollis

“Wow! #Dimensionsmovie looked gorgeous up on the big screen at #CamFilmFest last night – well done to everyone, what an achievement!” @shawcdb

@dimensionsmovie is an absolute delight, and there’s two more chances to see it at @camfilmfest – don’t miss out! #cff2011” @MovieEvangelist
@dimensionsmovieTruly, it is one of the best films I have seen this year. The direction is top class.” @Helenography
“Saw @dimensionsmovie last night. A really beautiful and thought provoking film. Wonderful to see directors and all the actors there.” @CWCostumes
“Thanks to Cambridge Film Fest and@dimensionsmovie for the cosiest premiere ever..v.proud of the film!” @MatineeIdle
@dimensionsmovie is gripping and visually gorgeous by ANY standards; never mind its shoestring budget.” @salskina
“Loved watching the@dimensionsmovie screening yesterday. Beautiful film. Really Beautiful Film! Check ’em out, if you haven’t already.” @VanessaMayfield
@dimensionsmovie It’s lovely!” @allwellandgood

Just in case you haven’t seen it, the trailer is below.

Thanks!

Ant and Sloane x

 

News

Well, it’s been quite the week as we gear up for the Cambridge Film Festival!  The cast & crew screening at the BFI was great fun and it was lovely to see so many people who were such a huge part of making the film.  The only downside is that Sloane and I really didn’t get enough time to chat to everyone, so apologies for that.

Yesterday, Sky News ran a story about the film.  We received emails from well-wishers as far away as Malaysia.  Sloane and I can’t begin to explain how much these messages of support mean to us!  You can watch the report here (it will load up in a window near the top of the article)…

London Couple Ant Neely And Sloane U'Ren Sell House To Finance Sci Fi Film Dream Dimensions | Showbiz News | Sky News

London Couple Ant Neely And Sloane U’Ren Sell House To Finance Sci Fi Film Dream Dimensions | Showbiz News | Sky Newshttp://news.sky.com/home/showbiz-news/article/16069762Ant Neely and Sloane U’Ren cashed in the profits from the sale of their house in Twickenham to make Dimensions, a 1920’s science fiction film.

 

 

Today The Independent newspaper ran a story on the film – with a great photo of Henry Lloyd-Hughes.

The Diary: Dimensions; Royal Academy Arts Club; Anna Karenina; Jenny Savile; The X Factor USA - Features, Films - The Independent

The Diary: Dimensions; Royal Academy Arts Club; Anna Karenina; Jenny Savile; The X Factor USA – Features, Films – The Independenthttp://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-diary-dimensions-royal-academy-arts-club-anna-karenina-jenny-savile-the-x-factor-usa-2355261.htmlIt was the biggest beast in British cinema for a decade but as Radcliffe, Watson et al make their high-profile next steps, what becomes of the crew? In the case of art director…

 

There are still a few tickets left for the Thursday, 22nd September screening (10.30 pm at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse) – Sloane and I will be there, so please do come and say ‘hi’ to us.

Sloane and I are talking at the Creative Front / Wired ‘The Price of Storytelling’ event on Wednesday, 21st September. If you are interested in films and filmmaking, then this promises to be an interesting afternoon of speakers and round-table discussions.

On Monday 19th September, Sloane and I will be talking on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire at around 12.20pm.

Last but not least – we are a whisker away from 10,000 views for the teaser trailer on youtube – please help us reach that number by spreading the link (and don’t forget, it is subtitled in 18 languages, so share across the world). Thank you!

Updates…

The teaser trailer now has subtitles in 18 languages.  I was going to list them, but then I thought “Where’s the fun in that?”  So, if you would like to know then click on the link below.  It would be great if you could share the link with friends in other countries!

Other quick updates are:

The first screening (21st September) at the Cambridge Film Festival sold out – evidently within 24 hours of tickets going on sale. There are still some tickets for the screening on the 22nd. Info is here.

We do have some spare seats for our London screening (Southbank) at 1pm on Sunday 11th September.  This is primarily a cast & crew, journalist and blogger screening, but we will allocate spare seats to others on a first come first served basis. EMail info@blog.dimensionsthemovie.com if you want to attend (and let us know how many seats you would like).

Sloane and I recorded an interview with Sky News yesterday. Camilla Rutherford (who plays ‘Jane’, Stephen’s mother) was also interviewed.  We will let you know when it will air (probably Friday 9th, repeating every hour).  We also have a BBC interview coming up, plus various others – we will let you know details as soon as we do.

Apart from that – we’ve managed to catch terrible colds, so are sneezing a lot and working at a reduced speed. Plenty of vitamins and we will be back to full power soon.

 

Anatomy of a Movie

We often get asked how much time and money were spent on the various aspects of making Dimensions.  While every film is different, we thought it might be interesting to put together a visual that shows some of what we experienced on this film.  We also thought it would be good to give a rough idea of the amount of data generated during the process.

The image below basically works by area – the larger the area, the larger the amount (of time, money, data).  We’ve tried to get as close as possible with our figures.  N.B., we didn’t include things like rough cuts (i.e., early edits of the film), music cue demos (versions using just samples), emails, tweets, etc.

Click on the image to make it larger…

 

The end is in sight…

Sloane and Henry Lloyd-Hughes discuss a scene.

As we approach a year to the day from the beginning of the actual film shoot, the end is in sight.  Well, to clarify, the end of actual production is in sight – the hard work of further promoting and selling the film is just beginning.

In the last few months, we have been focusing on audio (music, sound design, foley and dialogue), VFX and grading.

Sean Hart on his first day of filming, last summer. It all seems so long ago, yet, like yesterday.

Sloane and I always said that although we didn’t have anything like the budget required to pull off a period/sci-fi with high production values, we weren’t willing to compromise.  We are incredibly proud to report that we did it – and by we, I mean everybody that has been involved.  Not only have we been  fortunate enough to have an amazingly talented group of people pitch in and make this film with us, but we have also had tons of support from friends, family and industry colleagues – and we will never forget the kindness we have been shown.

Florence does final checks on Camilla Rutherford and Georgina Rich's make-up.

Here is a quick video from the Todd AO dubbing stage in Los Angeles.  The dub stage is the last step in the audio mix – the place we go to get the sound ready for cinema release.  Alex U’Ren (who also did ADR duties during the film shoot) and I worked on the mix in his studio before moving into the big room at Todd AO, where we worked with Aaron Levy and Alex Fehrman.  The film is sounding (and of course looking) fantastic!

Meanwhile, back in the UK, our final VFX shots from The Senate are complete and look amazing.  We would share some with you, but that would spoil the surprise!  We have a few more VFX fixes being done by Dave Owen @ QuietStorm and after we slot them into place, Adam will do the final grading and then we crack open the champagne!

Sloane directs Sam Harrison, Hannah Carson and George Thomas. The three children have a wicked sense of humour and made the crew giggle by doing 'jazz hands' before each take.

So, now is the time we need to ask for your help.  Please, please, take a moment to share  www.blog.dimensionsthemovie.com with friends who you think might be interested in the film.  If you are on twitter or facebook, please tell people about the film there.  On facebook, if you go to the dimensionsthemovie fanpage and click ‘share’ (bottom left) you can post in on your wall or, even better, send friends a private message about the film and ask them to ‘like’ the fanpage.

Simply click 'share' and then choose who you want to share the page with.

You can find us on twitter here.

Once again, Sloane and I would like to tell you how grateful we are for your help and support!

Very best,

Ant and Sloane

P.S. Trailer is coming very soon!

Olivia Llewellyn filming a scene by the River Cam.

 

 

Recording the film score part 2

Richard Lancaster (Recording Engineer), Joe Kearns (ProTools Engineer) and Christoph Bauschinger (Score Producer) in the control room at British Grove Studios. In the background, you can see Natalie Holt who did both orchestrations and played viola at the session.

Yesterday, Sloane and I went down to London to do the final mixes on the film score with Christoph Bauschinger.  The score is sounding great and we are incredibly happy with the results.  We’ve worked with a lovely group of people on the score and look forward to working with them again.

Some members of the London Metropolitan Orchestra waiting to record the cue '15 Years Later' (which you can see at the Dimensionsmovie youtube site).

Next stop is to get the files to L.A. to add them to the rest of the audio mix, where Alex U’Ren is currently working on the foley and dialogue.

I really like this picture of Sloane U'Ren (Director) by Chris Burgess. It feels like a classic early 1960s image... and funnily enough our next film is set in the early 1960s.

Meanwhile, I thought this seemed like a good opportunity to share some photos from the recording session – thanks to Chris Burgess (First A.D. and a superb photographer) for these images. I also want to share a link to a video made by Andy Brown, Music Director and Conductor of the London Metropolitan Orchestra (LMO), about the recording session.

The standard of players in the LMO is just amazing. We feel incredibly lucky to have them be a part of Dimensions.

Adam Garstone (Editor) with a blatant attempt at product placement! I imagine he received at least several dozen crates of Coca-Cola for this shot.

Christoph Bauschinger (Score Producer) demo-ing the new 'Conductor Hero' game - coming to all good gaming consoles soon.

Watching a take (can't tell you which one though, as it's a secret).

Sloane U'Ren (Director) looking all ninja in black.

Antony Neely (Composer, Screenwriter) booking a well-needed hair cut appointment.

And you can watch Andy Brown’s LMO video of the recording session here…

 

Recording

Just a quick post to say we recorded the film score today, and it went fantastically well. We recorded at British Grove Studio (which is amazing) with the London Metropolitan Orchestra. The LMO were just superb – nailing cues quickly and playing with great emotion. We will post video and photos later, but for now, here is a quick clip:

Thanks to Christoph Bauschinger (score producer), Natalie Holt (orchestrations), Andy, Steve and all the amazing musicians from LMO, Richard (recordist), Joe (ProTools op) and British Grove. Everyone involved has really excelled and Sloane and I are so incredibly grateful.

Next up is mixing the score!

Grading

As the edit draws close to completion, Adam has started to work on grading (colour correction/manipulation) the film. In our case, as Simon Dennis and his team got beautiful colours ‘in camera’ (i.e., during the shoot), most of the grading work will be quite subtle. Small changes in colour can change the feel of the pictures quite dramatically – perhaps warming or cooling a particular sequence. In certain scenes, Sloane wants to gently accentuate the mood through colour, so slight adjustments will be made accordingly. In other parts, specific areas of the picture (see the videos below for an example) will be lightened/darkened to help draw the viewers attention.

We have a purely digital work flow (we shot on the Canon 5D), and of course our grading is being done digitally. It is amazing to think though that this is a relatively recent way of working – ‘O Brother, Where Art Though’ was the first film to be completely graded digitally (it was shot on film and then scanned). There is no doubt that we couldn’t have made Dimensions if it wasn’t for digital technology – our budget just wouldn’t have allowed us to shoot on film. Of course a digital versus film debate rages (like vinyl versus CD), but the bottom line is that in a digital world, indie filmmakers can achieve so much more then was possible only a few years ago.

Of course these ‘tools’ don’t necessarily make for a better film – after all, we’ve all seen amazing looking films that don’t engage us at all on a story level. Sloane and I have always said that the story is the key – we hope that our audience will become engaged and involved with Stephen, Conrad, Annie, Jane and the others. That said, Sloane of course wanted to present the story in the best looking way possible. If we want viewers to buy into our elegant 1930s (ish) world and then follow the characters to darker places, then we need to set that world up – and with our tiny budget that was no easy feat.

Although we were short on budget, we were not short on talent. Somehow, every department managed to make magic happen and we are continuously amazed (and thankful) that we had such a brilliant group of people working with us. When Sloane and I speak of Dimensions we like to refer to it as our film – the ‘our’ being everyone that has been (and will be involved). We are very proud of what we have achieved and feel immensely fortunate that we have such a fantastic team of people involved.

This is a quick iPhone video of Adam lightening Jane’s (played by Camilla Rutherford) face to bring her out of shadow. In this scene, Jane is hosting a garden party and talking to her friend Alice (Georgina Rich). An army of wasps, changeable weather and a huge amount to shoot in little time made it a challenge, so it is lovely to see it come together!

First of all, Adam sets up the software to track Jane’s movements…

And then makes the required adjustments…

Goodbye, Fred

I just heard the very sad news that the Art Director Fred Hole died over the weekend. Many of you won’t know who Fred was, but you will have seen his work. He worked on classics such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Aliens, numerous Bond films, Raiders of the Lost Ark – the list goes on.

Sloane and I had the honour and privilege of working closely with Fred on Kavanagh Q.C. and I have always seen Fred as a mentor – not only in a ‘film’ sense, but also in a ‘life’ sense. We last saw him, with his wife June, a few years ago when we met for a walk around Black Park with our dogs (Fred and June had a lovely lab called Suzie).

Not only did Fred share his huge wealth of information with Sloane and I, but he also gave us some great memories. A couple of favourites are the time he sidled over to Sloane, on set, and with a serious tone of voice told her he had a note for her. He slipped her a piece of paper and she unfolded it to reveal – a musical note. Fred also had a habit of hiding behind the art department drawing rack and then nonchalantly strolling out when someone entered the room, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

He shared stories and memories of his early days in the industry – sleeping under a draughting table for a few hours at night before getting up to start another day. Stumbling off a plane in the Caribbean after too much duty free on his way to work on Live and Let Die (he also told me that one of the gravestones in the film was inscribed with ‘Here lies Fred Hole, who died of drink’).

I asked him if he had any regrets at all about working in the industry, and he told me the only one he had was not spending as much time with his family as he would have liked. He particularly mentioned that he regretted being off on so much location work when his children were growing up.

Out of the many life lessons Fred taught me, one I will share with you is his technique for dealing with a particularly busy day (evidently he was taught this by one of his mentors, but I can’t recall who). My technique would have been to hit the ground running as soon as I got to work, but Fred had a different take – one that I still use to this day. He would have me put the kettle on and then the pair of us would tidy the art department before doing any work. Fred explained to me that by taking a little time to tidy we could collect our thoughts and plan the day, as opposed to diving headlong in a blind panic. At first it seemed counter intuitive and a waste of valuable time, but I soon realised how right he was. That fifteen minutes of tidying meant that by the time we started work ‘proper’ we had worked out exactly what needed to be done and in what order.

I could go on for hours sharing memories of Fred. He was a mentor and someone I will always be in awe of. I am proud to have been able to call him a friend and will never forget his generosity, kindness, wisdom and sense of humour. Thank you, Fred, may you rest in peace.